Monday, December 5, 2011

Testaments of the Twelve Patriachs - Simeon

Story Summary

In the Testament of Simeon, who was the second son of Jacob/Israel, Simeon expressed how envy drove him to a murderous plot against his brother Joseph.

On his deathbed, and after some details to set the Testament in motion (1:1-3), Simeon explains how he grew up proud, strong, and accomplished (1:4-6). 

Despite Simeon's strengths and achievements, he was jealous of the favoritism Jacob/Israel showed for Joseph.  Simeon plotted to kill Joseph, but God protected Joseph by having Judah sell Joseph as a slave.  Simeon then was angry at Judah for five months.  God withered Simeon's right hand for seven days.  This caused Simeon to realize his sinful envy and repent for two years (1:7-18).  If you flee to God, you can overcome envy (1:19-20).

Simeon mourned for his role in Joseph's enslavement (2:1-2).  Yet Joseph did not mistreat any of his brothers in Egypt because he walked in singleness of heart for God.  Simeon's progeny should follow Joseph's example (2:3-11).

Simeon advises his sons to avoid fornication because it will drive them away from God and toward Beliar (Belial) (2:12).  Furthermore, the writings of Enoch predict that they will attack the tribe of Levi, but Levi will prevail, despite being small in number, because they are fighting for God (2:13-15).

Simeon says these things to be free of the guilt of his progeny.  If his progeny will put aside envy, then the Canaanites will be destroyed, there will be peace on earth, and God will glorify Shem (3:1-6).  For God Himself will appear on earth, within a body, to save men; the Gentiles and the Jews.  The spirits of deceit will be crushed and ruled.  Therefore Simeon's progeny should not attack the tribes of Judah or Levi because God's salvation will come from them; uniting High Priest and King, God and man (3:7-12).

Then Simeon died (3:13-17).

Christian Parallels

Simeon's general message against envy is a theme repeated in the New Testament, such as Romans 1:29, Galatians 5:26, Titus 3:3, James 3:14, James 3:16, and 1 Peter 2:1.

Simeon 1:19 says that if you flee to God, evil spirits will flee from you, which is similar to James 4:7.

In Simeon 1:20, we find a call to forgive those who are hostile to you, similar to Jesus' words in Matthew 6:12 and Luke 11:4.

Simeon 2:4 recalls how Joseph was compassionate and loving to his brothers despite their selling him into slavery, similar to Jesus' words in Matthew 5:44 and to the sentiment of Romans 12:14.

Simeon 2:11 advises to make "your ways straight before men," which, in phrase, rings of the quoted prophesies regarding John the Baptist (Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4, John 1:23), and, in meaning, is very close to Romans 14:15-18 with the added conclusion of thereby finding "grace before the Lord and men."

The sentiment of Simeon 2:12 against fornication is included in the New Testament, such as 1 Corinthians 6:18, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 5:3, and Colossians 3:5.

We see in Simeon 3:5 a prophesy for a time of peace on earth, which is common to both Jewish and Christian eschatology.

Along the lines of prophesy regarding Jesus, the verses are practically blatant in Simeon 3:7-12.  Simeon 3:7 tells us that God Himself will appear on earth and save men.  Simeon 3:8 claims that men will rule over evil spirits, much like in Matthew 10:1, Mark 5:13, Luke 10:17, and Acts 5:16.  In Simeon 3:9, God will take on a body and eat with men. Within the verses of Simeon 3:10-11, we see that Salvation will come from the lineages of both Levi and Judah, merging High Priest and King, and God and man, to save the Gentiles and the Jews.  Consider that Matthew 1:1-17 has Jesus' lineage of Joseph traced through the tribe of Judah, and many Biblical scholars suggest that Luke 3:23-38 has Jesus' lineage traced through Mary, and hold that Mary had bloodline ties to Levi (although they are under some dispute where exactly the Levitical bloodline enters).

Finally, in Simeon 2:12 we see Beliar cast as opposite to God similar to the way in which Christianity claims Satan is opposite to God.

Memorable Quotes

"And I set my mind against [Joseph] to destroy him because the prince of deceit sent forth the spirit of jealousy and blinded my mind, so that I regarded him not as a brother, nor did I spare even Jacob my father." - Simeon 1:8

"And henceforward he sympathiseth with him whom he envied and forgiveth those who are hostile to him, and so ceaseth from his envy." - Simeon 1:20

"And my father asked concerning me, because he saw that I was sad; and I said unto him, I am pained in my liver." - Simeon 2:1 (showing belief of organ-related emotions)

"Therefore was Joseph comely in appearance, and goodly to look upon, because no wickedness dwelt in him; for some of the trouble of the spirit the face manifesteth." - Simeon 2:10

"For I have seen it inscribed in the writing of Enoch that your sons shall be corrupted in fornication, and shall do harm to the sons of Levi with the sword." - Simeon 2:13 (an Apocryphal book of Enoch snags a source reference)

"Then the Mighty One of Israel shall glorify Shem." - Simeon 3:6 (Shem was one of Noah's sons, who, together with Jephath, covered Noah's naked body when he had passed out drunk.  Ref. Genesis 9:20-27)

"For the Lord God shall appear on earth, and Himself save men," - Simeon 3:6

"For the Lord shall raise up from Levi as it were a High Priest, and from Judah as it were a King, God and man, He shall save all the Gentiles and the race of Israel." - Simeon 3:11 (Matthew 1:1-17 has Jesus' lineage of Joseph traced through the tribe of Judah.  Many Biblical scholars suggest that Luke 3:23-38 has Jesus' lineage traced through Mary, and hold that Mary had bloodline ties to Levi, but are under some dispute where exactly the Levitical bloodline enters.)

"For the sorcerers told them, that on the departure of the bones of Joseph there should be throughout all the land darkness and gloom, and an exceeding great plague to the Egyptians, so that even with a lamp a man should not recognize his brother." - Simeon 3:15 (Moses would later remove Joseph's bones during the Exodus according to Simeon 3:17)

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