The genealogies and lists of names are sometimes very hard to follow in the Old Testament. In this instance, there are two names spelled exactly the same in two consecutive verses. At the end of each verse, they both list the number of sons -- so they can't be the same person?

Belonging to the Gershonites:

Ladan and Shimei.

8 The sons of Ladan:

Jehiel the first, Zetham and Joel—three in all.

9 The sons of Shimei:

Shelomoth, Haziel and Haran—three in all.

These were the heads of the families of Ladan.

10 And the sons of Shimei:

Jahath, Ziza,[a] Jeush and Beriah.

These were the sons of Shimei—four in all.

11 Jahath was the first and Ziza the second, but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons; so they were counted as one family with one assignment.

3 Answers 3


It seems to me that the second Shimei mentioned in verse 10 refers to the Shimei listed in verse 7. The first Shimei in verse 9 therefore likely referenced a son of Laadan since his descendants were called the chief fathers of the house of Laadan.

Regarding the identity of the first Shimei however, it seems possible that he was synonymous with the Shemaiah mentioned in Nehemiah 12:35, in which case it would seem to imply that he were Jehiel's brother; for Jehiel was the son of Mattaniah(2Ch 20:14), and Shemaiah was the son of Mattaniah(Neh 12:35), meaning that there is a strong possibility that they were brothers(I had originally said that Shimei/Shemaiah was possibly Jehiel's father based on the reasoning that his brother would not have been called 'the chief of the Laadanites' if Jehiel himself were the chief; but how should such a reference to his father's house as 'chief' resolve the matter of which brother was called 'chief'? Obviously it would not; he would still have had brothers being called 'chief' - cf. Numbers 3:32). The mention then of Zetham and Joel in verse 8, probably referenced Jehiel's own sons(1Ch 26:21-22), and if so, the mentioned number of men(three) in that verse would have referred to those contemporary with David(1Ch 23:6).

Other explanations as to the identity of Shimei may exist however, such as it being a surname of one of the three mentioned in verse 8.


In my research of this same Shimei, grandson of Levi, son of Gershon, it is my thought that 1 Chronicles 6:16-20; 42-43 might be an attempt of clarification to the earlier written 1 Chronicles 23:7-11 identity crisis.

Starting with chapter 6, The names of the sons of Gershon are now Libni and Shimei with Libni changed from Ladan (still implying two sons of Gershon though). Following Ladan from 23:8 we have the sons of Jehiel (the first), Zetham and Joel, specifically stating that there were three sons. Looking at verse 6:20 only one son of Libni is mentioned, Jahath (presumption same as Jehiel, the first son, as would be tradition). But the verse goes on to reference Jahath's lineage as Zimmah, Joah, Iddo, Zerah, Jeatherai. Going then to 6:43 and reading backwards towards verse 39 we then see the lineage of Gershon: [implied Libni or Laban*], Jahath [or Jehiel], Shimei, Zimmah, Ethan, Adaiah, Zerah, Ethni, Malkijah, Baaseiah, Michael, Shimea, Berekiah, Asaph. Here this Shimei is not the son of Gershon but instead a fourth generation of Gershon. (*Presumption: It's possible that Laban/Libni is not listed as he is now dead at the time of the recording).

Once again going back to 23:9 the sons of Shimei are listed as Shelomoth, Haziel and Haran, with a reference to only three sons and being part of the Laban family line. I'm in belief that this Shimei is son of Jahath [Jehiel] of Libni [Laban]family as verse 23:9 indicates.

The Shimei of 23:10 lists Jahath, Ziza (Zina), Jeush and Beriah, referencing he has 4 sons (not 3), with the two last named as being merged together into one unit. Notice the "And the sons of Shimei" is used in the verse. I'm in belief that this references Shimei is the son of Gershon directly.

So, in conclusion, I believe there are two Shimei's within the Gershon family tree, one a grandson of Libni and the other the direct son of Gershon.

  • Welcome to BH.SE Karen - this is an excellent first answer, thanks for contributing! Please don't forget to register your account and take the Site Tour to learn more about how the site works.
    – Steve can help
    Mar 8, 2023 at 11:54

I guess that Shimei is short for Shelomoth.

Note too the distinction: These were the heads of the families of Ladan vs These were the sons of Shimei

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.