In Bereshis 46:10 among the sons of Shimon there is listed one וְשָׁאוּל, בֶּן-הַכְּנַעֲנִית. I have seen various explanations for who this person is:
- He is the son of Shimon and Dina. He is referred to as בֶּן-הַכְּנַעֲנִית because Dina was raped by Shechem who lived in Canaan. (Rashi ad loc)
- He is the son of an actual Canaanite woman whom Shimon married. He is being branded as such because marrying women from Canaan has been a big no-no since the says of Avraham (Ibn Ezra ad loc.)
- He is Zimri the eventual prince of Shevet Shimon (Sanhedrin 82b)
The problem I have with each of these explanations is:
- Why would the pasuk go out of its way to refer to Dina in this way? We seem to be insulting her because she was raped? Furthermore, does this imply that all other sons of Shimon were from another woman?
- Now we seem to be insulting Shimon! Why would he have married a Canaanite woman if it was such a big no-no? Furthermore, why didn't his kids die as Yehuda's did for the same infraction (see continuation of Ibn Ezra ad loc). And, similar to above, why is this title only applied to one of the sons and not the others?
- This would imply that Zimri was at least 250 years old when he took Kozbi, this seems hard to imagine. Furthermore, Zimri is never referred to as the son of Shimon. Lastly, why would we bring up Zimri's eventual infraction here in the listing of the sons of the tribes? It seems conceptually out of place and intentionally confusing
Hence, I would like to know there are either other explanations for who שָׁאוּל, בֶּן-הַכְּנַעֲנִית was or if there is a commentator who addresses any of these problems?