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Descriptive Geography and Brief Historical Sketch of Palestine

By Rabbi Joseph Schwarz, 1850

Simeon. שמעון

The boundaries of the territory of Simeon are, it is true, not laid down in the Scriptures; for his portion was contained in the midst of that of the sons of Judah (Joshua 14:1); but as the towns which fell to this tribe are designated, the boundaries can thereby be ascertained, and this gives us the following result:

Towards the east this territory extended as far as Moladah; thence the boundary ran southwesterly to the Wady Kiseimi, i.e. Azmon or Ezem; thence it ran north to the Wady Sheria (the stream Besor), near Ziklag, for this belonged to Simeon, and lay on the northern part of this Wady; it extended then farther north to the Wady Simsum, on the northern edge of which is the village of the same name, which I suppose to be the ancient Sansannah, and reached as far as Baahath Be'er, which is the modern village Beilin, situated 1 English mile north of Barkusia,--(in 1 Chron. 4:32, it is called Baal). Hieronymus says, "Be'er was 8 mill from Eleutheropolis," which suits exactly for Beilin; but this town itself, forming as it did the most northern point of the territory of Simeon, belonged to the tribe of Dan. Towards the south there were Beersheba, Moladah, Chazar-Shual, &c. In the Lowland were Attar, Ashan, Chazar-Susah, &c. But the district, however, which lay between this and the Mediterranean, remained the property of the tribe of Judah. (Judges 2:18.)*

* In Echa Rabbethi to ch. 2:2, is mentioned a mountain of Simeon, which proves that this tribe must have possessed likewise a part of the mountains belonging to Judah.

Having already described the greater part of the towns of Simeon when treating of the territory of Judah, we have to notice only the following:

Beth-Hammerkaboth and Chazar-Susah בית המרכבות וחצר סוסה (Joshua 19:5), are probably identical with the so-called "chariot cities" of 2 Chron. 1:14; and these were Madmannah and Sansannah, mentioned in the territory of Judah.

Ajin and Rimmon עין רמון (ibid. 19:7). The Septuagint translates these names with Thalche, which was a village at the time of Hieronymus, called Thalla, about 15 mill from Eleutheropolis, but is at present unknown.

Etam עיטם (I Chron. 4:32; Judges 15:8). There is a village, 2½ English miles north of Beth-Djibrin, called Gutna, as much as Utna, corrupted, perhaps, from Utma, and this from Etam. Josephus (Ant., book 5, chap 1.), says, to Simeon belonged a part of Judea, which bordered on Arabia and Egypt.