The tribe of Simeon is next to receive their inheritance. Theirs is unique among all the others as it is surrounded on all sides by another tribe.
Judah was given a VERY large portion. So large that they couldn’t care for all of it. The people were occupying the outer reaches and the center portion was left unproductive. This was most likely discovered during the 21 scouts survey of the land. I would have to say that God arranged this and pointed it out to the men tasked with finding land for the remaining tribes.
I wonder what the tribe of Judah thought of this problem. Did they plan on “reserving” this land for future generations? Did they recognize this issue as a problem or count it as a blessing? Did they purposefully occupy the outer ring to prevent invasion? Was their settlement practice out of necessity or plan? Were they actually in this area too but only thinly scattered.
The tribe of Judah was the largest of all the tribes while Simeon was the smallest. Simeon was even smaller than Levi. The tribe of Simeon was one of the larger tribes when they originally left Egypt but their numbers had been cut by more than half during the 40 years of wandering. I wonder if this means that the men of Simeon were more sinful and/or less fertile than those of the other tribes. Bearing children was seen as an obvious sign of God’s blessing resting on you. Somehow the tribe of Simeon wasn’t showing that sign.
Simeon was one of the sons that Israel’s final “blessings” wasn’t pleasant for. “Simeon and Levi are brothers— their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel” (Genesis 49:5-7). Levi would give counsel but would be scattered throughout Israel. Simeon would not give counsel and would be confined to one small section. They would have no room to expand. I don’t know if there were any inhabitants in this area but I would assume there wasn’t otherwise Judah would have dealt with it right away. This made Simeon safe within the confines of their brothers.
I wonder if God placed them in the middle of Judah for their own protection. Their numbers were small enough that they might have needed protection. I’m curious too what became of this tribe during the early years of David’s campaign. We are told that the tribes of Benjamin and Judah supported David in the beginning and also those two were the only two who remained true to David’s bloodline of kings. So what happened to the tribe of Simeon? Were they absorbed into the tribe of Judah? Did they relocate later on? Did they seed their territory to Judah? Where did they go? Maybe this was the “scattering” that Israel talked about in their “blessing.” I wonder how long it took for this change to happen.
What about the tribe of Levi? How did they split their allegiance during Israel’s split history? Did they stay with the Ark or did they move their allegiance to the cities they were living in? We hear of priests advising kings in both halves of Israel’s split. They were certainly in action during Jesus’ lifetime.
Do the Jewish people today trace their heritage back to a specific tribe? Did they lose this ability with the passage of time and the various confinements? We know that Jesus’ heritage was traceable ALL THE WAY back to Adam. Zachariah was able to trace his lineage to the tribe of Levi. Paul was able to trace his lineage to the tribe of Benjamin. I don’t know about each of Jesus’ disciples for certain. We are not given that information straight out. Some make the assumption that most of them were from the tribe of Judah but I’m not convinced. As long as this information was critical to God’s plan it was maintained. That much I KNOW. Beyond that, I’ll leave it in His hands.
Father God, thank you for caring for ALL of Your people, even those that were less than stellar. You take care of the little person as well as the lofty one. I know the story doesn’t follow the tribe of Simeon but You never forget about them. NO ONE falls through the cracks of Your hands! Thank You that I don’t have to have a big story or be of major importance for You to care for me. Thank You that I matter no matter what. I don’t have to be famous to be precious in Your eyes. Thank You for loving me, warts and all!