shim'-e-ath-its shim`athim; Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus Samathieim; Lucian, Samathein):
A subdivision of the tribe of Caleb (1 Chronicles 2:55). In the three families mentioned in this passage Jerome saw three distinct classes of religious functionaries: Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) canentes atque resonantes et in tabernaculis commorantes. The Targum has a similar explanation, except that the "Sucathites" are those "covered" with a spirit of prophecy. Bertheau (Handbuch zum Altes Testament) accepts Jerome's explanation, except that he regards the first class as gate-keepers (Aramaic tera` = Hebrew sha`ar). Wellhausen (DGJ, 30 f) finds underlying the three names tir`ah, a technical term for sacred music-making, shim`ah, the Halacha or sacred tradition. Buhl (HWB13) derives Shimeathites and Sucathites from unknown places. Keil interprets as descendants from the unknown Shemei (compare Curtis, ICC). The passage is hopelessly obscure.
Horace J. Wolf
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