[b-hebrew] The Name "Simeon"

pporta at oham.net pporta at oham.net
Fri Dec 7 00:36:32 EST 2007

Dear Jim,

With a quite constructive mind and with no intention of denying you may be 
right in some sense, I would argue this against your analysis:

1. The word "Shim'on" lacks the aleph of "sana'", to hate. It consists only 
of the very consonants of "shama'", to hear, plus a final -ON.
If you theory is true and sure... should not this aleph be part of the name 

2. The end syllable -ON is a quite usual end in biblical Hebrew and in today 
Israeli Hebrew as well. It is that of several masculine nouns that usually 
mean the fulfilment of the key concept of the word they come from. In no way 
I see it is the N of "saNa'", to hate

Now, in a little more detail:

About 1. How do you explain that the aleph of "sana'", to hate, does not 
appear in the name "Shim'on"?
About 2.
a. YitrON, profit, outcome (Ecc 2:11), of "yatar" (this form not found in 
the Bible but many other forms of this verb are found...), to remain over.
b. (K')pitrON, (as) interpretation (Gn 40:5), of "patar" (Gn 40:22), to 
c. (w')xesrON, (and) lacking (Ecc 1:15), of  "xaser", to lack (1Ki 17:16)
d. zikarON, memorial (Ex 17:14), of "zakhar", to remember (Ec 9:15)
And in modern Hebrew:
e. shiltON, government
f. gizrON, etimology
g. kisharON, skill....
h. and....... many others.

What can you say as a replay to these main two points that defy your 

Pere Porta
Barcelona (Spain)

> Most of this clever Hebrew wordplay is missed if one simply says, as do 
> the
> scholarly books I have consulted, that “Simeon” is a play on the word 
> shama’/“
> heard”.  Yes, that is in part true, but it misses the most exciting 
> aspects
> of what the author is doing with the name “Simeon” here.  S-M-N/“Simeon”
> reflects both S-M/shama’/“heard” and S-N/sana’/“hated”.  S-M + S-N = 
> S-M-N.
> The word “heard”, standing alone, tells us almost nothing about Simeon. 
> But
> the words “heard, hated” deftly summarize Simeon’s future life.  Simeon 
> that his full-sister Dinah had been with young Shechem, and Simeon HATED 
> the
> men of Shechem for that.  Simeon HEARD Joseph’s dreams, which seemed to 
> foretell
> that Joseph would rule over his older half-brothers, and Simeon HATED 
> Joseph
> for that.  In both cases, it is precisely Simeon who is the ringleader in
> killing the men of Shechem, and in almost murdering young Joseph.  “Heard, 
> hated.”
> As we are beginning to see, the sophisticated multiple puns on the names 
> of
> Jacob’s 12 sons deftly foreshadow what these sons then do in the rest of 
> the
> text.
> The key here is to focus on the true Hebrew consonants, and the precise 
> order
> of these key consonants.  It is also important to realize that sometimes
> similar, rather than identical, consonants are used in the punning done by 
> the
> author of the Patriarchal narratives.
> To view “Simeon” as merely being a play on the word shama’/“heard”, 
> nothing
> else, is to miss much of the brilliant Hebrew wordplay in the Patriarchal
> narratives.  ShaMa’ + SaNa’ = SiMeoN.  S-M + S-N = S-M-N.  It’s right 
> there, if
> we will simply look at the key consonants that appear, and the precise 
> order
> in which they appear, in the text of Genesis 29: 33.  That’s the way the 
> author
> of the Patriarchal narratives does puns.  It’s a vital key to 
> understanding
> what the author is trying to tell us in the Patriarchal narratives.

> Jim Stinehart

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