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When Moses is about to die he blesses all the tribes except the tribe of Simeon which is somehow left out

Deuteronomy 33:1-29 NASB

7 And this regarding Judah; so he said,

“May Reuben live and not die, Nor his men be few.”

8 Of Levi he said,

12 Of Benjamin he said,

13 Of Joseph he said,

18 Of Zebulun he said,

And, Issachar

20 Of Gad he said,

22 Of Dan he said,

23 Of Naphtali he said,

24 Of Asher he said,

All tribes are blessed in different ways but Simeon is even not mentioned here.

Could there be something significant why Simeon is left out?

  • There is definitely something very significant. Simeon didn't even get its own territory in the land of Israel, but shared its land with the tribe of Judah! See one of answers here which suggests that Simeon's descendants were of impure stock hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/15587/… – Bach May 6 '19 at 18:32
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Moses died circa 1406 B.C. In order to understand why Simeon is not mentioned in Deuteronomy, we must go back in time to when Jacob, the father of the twelve sons who were the progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel, died (circa 1859 B.C.). The record of Jacob’s blessings is in Genesis chapter 49. The relevant section is in verses 5-7:

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.

The New International Study Version notes give this explanation with regard to Jacob’s prophetic words that Simeon’s descendants would be scattered:

Fulfilled when Simeon’s descendants were absorbed into the territory of Judah (see Joshua 19:1, 9) and when Levi’s descendants were dispersed throughout the land, living in 48 towns and the surrounding pasture-lands.

At the time of the second census conducted by Moses and Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, the tribe of Simeon was the smallest and weakest of all the tribes that came out of Egypt, only 22,200 men aged 20 years or more (Numbers 26:14).

Simeon was cursed by his father Jacob, probably because of the event recorded in Genesis 34:24–30 when Simeon and Levi took revenge on the men of Shechem after the rape of Dinah. After the horrific event, Jacob said to Simeon and Levi,

You have brought trouble on me by making me a stench to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed (Genesis 34:30).

Moses was undoubtedly aware of this and that may be why the tribe of Simeon was excluded from Moses’ blessing.

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  • Interesting theory. If that is true, why is it included in Rev 7? – user25930 May 6 '19 at 21:14
  • Good point, although in Revelation the tribe of Dan is omitted whereas Ephraim and Mannasseh are listed separately (two Joseph tribes). I honestly don't know the reason for those differences in Revelation. – Lesley May 8 '19 at 16:33
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    Lesley: The tribes of Ephraim and Dan are omitted there as not deserving of symbolic significance. Why? Ephraim -It grumbled against its inheritance in the land; it “vehemently tried to pick a quarrel with” Gideon; it fought against Jephthah; (Compare Joshua 17:14, 15; Judges 8:1; 12:1-6; Psalm 78:9, 67, 68.) The tribe of Dan also made a bad name for itself. The very terms of the blessing upon this tribe, as uttered by Jacob upon his deathbed, imply this tribe would take an unfavorable course: Genesis 49:17 – Ozzie Nicolas Mar 22 at 9:08
  • @Ozzie Nicolas - Thanks for sharing that useful information. – Lesley Mar 22 at 17:05
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Why is the tribe of Simeon missing from Deuteronomy 33:1-29?

Moses did not mention Simeon by name in his farewell blessing of Israel. This is not to say the tribe was not blessed, for it was included at the end in the general blessing.

Deuteronomy 33:29 (NASB)

29 “Blessed are you, O Israel; Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, Who is the shield of your help And the sword of your majesty! So your enemies will cringe before you, And you will tread upon their high places.”

Simeon was named first among the tribes assigned to stand on Mount Gerizim in connection with the blessings to be pronounced.​Deuteronomy 27:11, 12.

Deuteronomy 27:11-12 (NASB)

11" Moses also charged the people on that day, saying, 12 “When you cross the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin."

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The Pulpit commentary observes for Deut 33:8

The blessing on Levi is also in the form of a prayer. In Jacob's blessing, Simeon is joined with Levi, but Moses passes him over altogether, probably because, as Jacob foretold, he was to be scattered among his brethren (Genesis 49:7), and so lose his tribal individuality. Simeon, however, is included in the general blessing pronounced on Israel; and as this tribe received a number of towns within the territory of Judah (Joshua 19:2-9), it was probably regarded as included in the blessing on that tribe.

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Since both Simeon and Levi were involved in the violent acts that Jacob spoke of, it is not like God to punish one of the brothers and not the other one. Consequently, there must be another reason that Simeon’s Name is omitted from Deuteronomy 33.

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Jasher 45:2 "And Simeon his brother took his sister Dinah for a wife, and she bare unto him Memuel, Yamin, Ohad, Jachin and Zochar, five sons."

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