There were 12 shevatim that got land in Eretz Yisroel , which split into 2 territories - Yehuda and Yisroel. In the land of Yehuda we had Shimon, Yehuda and Binyomin.

12-3 = 9 , yet the reference is always to 10 - even the tearing of the garment towards the beginning of Melachym. I would even argue the number should be 8 as the vast majority of Levi was in Yehuda.

So , whence 10?

  • Shimon where does it say that I dont know Navi I was under the impression it was Yehuda and Binyamin Commented Dec 21, 2010 at 8:08
  • in Sefer Yehoshua, Shimon does not get a segregated portion but is dispersed among Yehuda's portion.
    – inSeattle
    Commented Dec 21, 2010 at 8:19

1 Answer 1


A large part of Shimon lived in Yehudah's boundaries, true (as described in Josh. 19:1-9). But in I Chron. 4:31, after (more-or-less) the same list of cities is repeated, the verse adds a crucial detail: "These were their cities until the reign of David."

Pseudo-Rashi and Metzudas David explain that in this period the Tribe of Yehudah's population increased so much that they needed this land - it was actually originally just given to the tribe of Shimon on a temporary basis anyway - and so they forced them to leave. Verses 39-43 describe how some bands of Simeonites conquered areas outside of Eretz Yisrael and settled there, but evidently the bulk of the tribe went to live among the other tribes in the northern half of the Land; thus in II Chron. 15:9 and 34:6 they are associated with Menashe and Ephraim.

Also worth pointing out: in Bereishis Rabbah 98:10, R' Tanchuma says that "all of [the Cities of Refuge] were from the tribe of Shimon." Matnos Kehunah explains that the 24000 Simeonites who died during the affair of Baal Peor (Rashi to Num. 26:13) should indeed by rights have been given large territories in the Land of Israel; on their deaths their widows inherited these properties, so that each tribe absorbed about two thousand of them, and those areas were designated as the cities for the Levi'im. (Though Etz Yosef explains this Midrash differently.) According to this, too, most of the tribe lived outside the borders of Yehudah and Binyamin.

  • How was the lot in Yehoshua temporary just for Shimon??? I just started Yeshaya, when I get to Divrei haYomim again I'll try to remember to look out for this mention of Dovid haMelech kicking out Shimon.
    – inSeattle
    Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 2:10
  • Malbim (to Josh. 19:1) explains that after Yehoshua assigned the south of Eretz Yisrael to the tribe of Yehudah (by lot), he realized that this area was much too big for its population. Thus, when the commissioners went to survey the rest of Eretz Yisrael and divide it into portions for the remaining tribes (ibid. 18:4ff), one of these portions was the extra land of Yehudah's, which Shimon ended up being assigned. This is the only case of a tribe receiving such a portion entirely out of another's. So clearly there was some kind of understanding that this could later be changed as needed.
    – Alex
    Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 15:51

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