Studies in the Books of Chronicles
I Chronicles Chapter 4:24 – 43
The Sons of Simeon
Simeon had a Record
Simeon was not one of the noted tribes in Israel. The members of this tribe were placed at a severe disadvantage by their father, who along with Levi committed a fearful act of genocide which Jacob never forgot (Genesis 49:5-7). Jacob’s words foretelling the scattering of Simeon were certainly fulfilled.
This lack of blessing may well have contributed to Simeon’s poor position among the tribes. When Joshua was dividing the land, it seemed that initially Simeon was only granted territory which had already been allotted to Judah (Joshua 19:1). Therefore, strictly speaking they were without their own independent land. This explains the comment in v31, implying that they lost these cities in David’s time. John Gill refers to the rabbis who believed that David expelled the Simeonites from Judah. Some think this was due to a lack of ambition on their part, to go forth and claim new territory for themselves. There are others, however, who take the viewthat the reference to the Simeonites losing their inheritance in Judah is to the division of the kingdom when Simeon joined with Jeroboam, therefore, forfeiting their right to live among Judah.
In earlier times, though, there was no sense of resentment. The children of Judah accepted that their territory was too large and needed to be shared (Joshua 19:9). There is the record that Judah and Simeon fought side by side in expanding their territory (Judges 1:3,17). With the passage of time, however, the territory of Simeon, was squeezed placing these people at a severe disadvantage.
Despite this the people of Simeon did not lose their place and this tribe could look with comfort to their continued inclusion. In the great prophetic chapters of Scripture Simeon retains his place among the tribes of Israel (Ezekiel 48:24, Revelation 7:7).
We may lose our earthly inheritance but never our heavenly entitlement. We may lose our national identity but our place among the Lord’s people will never be in doubt.
With information, not gleaned elsewhere in Scripture, the historian briefly records the conquests of Simeon. Owing to a significant increase in numbers they were forced to seize new territory, which they accomplished with great success. In the days of King Hezekiah they won territory which remained in their possession, around 200 years later. It is also evident that the people of Simeon travelled west to the Philistines and east to Mount Seir, the land of the Edomites. They are an encouragement, that with God’s help disadvantage can be overcome.
Many scholars believe this protected Simeon from the captivity, placing his people at a distance from the Babylonian rampage. Therefore, the battles won by the Simeonites in the days of Hezekiah were a boon for succeeding generations. We have a gospel witness because of the faithfulness of a generation who were bold enough to separate from apostasy. Let us be careful that we pass on a similar legacy.
Like Simeon we will have our battles to fight and win. The New Testament calls upon us to fight the good fight, to endure hardness, to wrestle with the forces of evil and contend earnestly. Let us be faithful, be overcomers, and bequeath our children a goodly heritage.