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Simeon is a given name, from the Hebrew שמעון (Biblical Šimʿon, Tiberian Šimʿôn), usually transliterated as Shimon. In Greek it is written Συμεών, hence the Latinized spelling Symeon.


The name is derived from Simeon, son of Jacob and Leah, patriarch of the Tribe of Simeon. The text of Genesis (29:33) argues that the name of Simeon refers to Leah's belief that God had heard that she was hated by Jacob, in the sense of not being as favoured as Rachel.

כִּי־שָׁמַע יְהוָה כִּי־שְׂנוּאָה אָנֹכִי וַיִּתֶּן־לִי גַּם־אֶת־זֶה וַתִּקְרָא שְׁמֹו שִׁמְעֹון׃
Because the LORD had heard that I was hated, he had therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon.

implying a derivation from the Hebrew term shama on, meaning "he has heard"; this is a similar etymology as the Torah gives for the theophoric name Ishmael ("God has heard"; Genesis 16:11), on the basis of which it has been argued that the tribe of Simeon may originally have been an Ishmaelite group (Cheyne and Black, Encyclopaedia Biblica). Alternatively, Hitzig, W. R. Smith, Stade, and Kerber compared שִׁמְעוֹן Šīmə‘ōn to Arabic سِمع simˤ "the offspring of the hyena and the female wolf"; as supports, Smith points to Arabic tribal names Simˤ "a subdivision of the defenders (the Medinites)" and Samˤān "a subdivision of Tamim".[1]

In classical rabbinical sources, the name is sometimes interpreted as meaning "he who listens [to the words of God]" (Genesis Rabbah 61:4), and at other times thought to derive from sham 'in, meaning "there is sin", which is argued to be a prophetic reference to Zimri's sexual miscegenation with a Midianite woman, a type of relationship which rabbinical sources regard as sinful (Jewish Encyclopedia).

In the Bible[edit]

Persons with the given name[edit]

Up to 1700 AD[edit]

Ordered chronologically.

Since 1700 AD[edit]

Ordered alphabetically by last name.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Encyclopædia Biblica: Q to Z, edited by Thomas Kelly Chase. p. 4531