Simon (1)


(Simon, Greek form of SIMEON (which see)):

The persons of the name of Simon mentioned in the Apocrypha are:

(1) Simon the Maccabean (Hasmonean), surnamed THASSI (which see), the 2nd son of Mattathias and elder brother of Judas Maccabeus. On his deathbed, Mattathias commended Simon as a "man of counsel" to be a "father" to his brethren (1 Macc 2:65), and a "man of counsel" he proved himself. But it was not till after the death of Judas and the capture of Jonathan that he played the chief role. Dispatched by Judas with a force to the relief of the Jews in Galilee he fought with great success (1 Macc 5:17; Josephus, Ant, XII, viii, 1 f). We find him next taking revenge along with Jonathan on the "children of Jambri" (1 Macc 9:33), and cooperating in the successful campaign around Bethbasi against Bacchides (circa 156 BC) (1 Macc 9:62), and in the campaign against Apollonius (1 Macc 10:74). In the conflict between Tryphon and Demetrius II, Simon was appointed by Antiochus VI "captain from the Ladder of Tyre unto the borders of Egypt" (1 Macc 11:59). After the capture of Jonathan at Ptolemais by Tryphon, Simon became acknowledged leader of his party. He thwarted Tryphon in his attempts upon Jerusalem, in revenge for which the latter murdered Jonathan (1 Macc 13:23). Simon then took the side of Demetrius on condition of immunity for Judea, and so `in the 170th year' (143-142 BC) `the yoke of the heathen was taken away from Israel' (1 Macc 13:41). Simon applied himself to rebuild the strongholds of Judea, reduced Gazara, captured the Acra (citadel) and made Joppa a seaport. He showed his wisdom most of all in his internal administration:

"He sought the good of his country"; commerce and agriculture revived; lawlessness was suppressed and "the land had rest all the days of Simon (1 Macc 14:4). His power was acknowledged by Sparta and Rome (1 Macc 14:16). In 141 BC he was appointed by the nation leader, high priest and captain "for ever, until there should arise a faithful prophet" (1 Macc 14:41), and thus the Hasmonean dynasty was founded. A new chronological era began with the first year of his administration, and he minted his own coins. A few years later Simon again meddled in Syrian politics (139 BC), this time at the entreaty of Antiochus VII (Sidetes) in his contest against Tryphon; when, however, Antiochus was assured of success, he refused the help of Simon and sent Cendebaeus against Judea. Judas and John, sons of Simon, defeated the invaders near Modin (137-136 BC). In 135 BC Simon met his death by treachery. Ptolemy the son of Abubus, Simon's own son-in-law, determined to secure supreme power for himself and, in order to accomplish this, to assassinate the whole family of Simon. He accordingly invited Simon and his sons to a banquet in the stronghold of Dok near Jericho, where he treacherously murdered Simon with his two sons Mattathias and Judas. The other son, John Hyrcanus, governor of Gazara, received intimation of the plot and saved himself to become the head of the Hasmonean dynasty. "The significance of Simon's administration consists in this, that he completed the work of Jonathan and left the Jewish people absolutely independent of Syria" (Schurer).


(2) Simon I, the high priest, son of Onias I, whom he succeeded circa 300 BC. He was one of the last of the Great Synagogue, and to him is attributed the saying, "On three things the world depends--the Law, Worship and the showing of kindness." According to Josephus (Ant., XII, ii, 5) this Simon was called "the Just" (ho dikaios), "on account of his piety and his benevolent disposition toward his countrymen."

Many authorities (Herzfeld, Derenbourg, Stanley, Cheyne) assert that Josephus is wrong in attaching this epithet to Simon I instead of Simon II, and Schurer is not certain on this question. But the Talmud passage which Derenbourg cites means the opposite of what he takes it, namely, it is intended to show how splendid and holy were the days of Simeon (ha-tsaddiq) compared with the later days. Besides, Josephus is more likely to have known the truth on this matter than these later authorities. The same uncertainty obtains as to whether the eulogium in Sirach 50:1 of "the great priest" refers to Simon I or Simon II. Schurer and others refer it to Simon II. It is more likely to refer to the Simon who was famous as "the Just," and consequently to Simon I. Besides we know of no achievements of Simon II to entitle him to such praise. The building operations mentioned would suit the time of Simon I better, as Ptolemy captured Jerusalem and probably caused considerable destruction. The Talmud states that this Simon (and not Jaddua) met Alexander the Great.

(3) Simon II, high priest, son of Onias II and grandson of Simon I and father of Onias III, flourished about the end of the 3rd century BC, and was succeeded by his son Onias III circa 198 BC. Josephus says that this Simon in the conflict of the sons of Joseph sided with the elder sons against Hyrcanus the younger. Schurer (probably incorrectly) thinks he is the Simon praised in Sirach 50:1. See (2) above (3 Macc 2:1; Josephus, Ant, XII, iv, 10).

(4) Simon, a Benjamite, guardian of the temple, who, having quarreled with the high priest Onias III, informed Apollonius of the untold sums of money in the temple treasury. Apollonius laid the matter before the king Seleucus IV, who sent Heliodorus to remove the money. An apparition prevented Heliodorus from accomplishing his task (2 Macc 3:4). It is further recorded, that Simon continued his opposition to Onias. He is spoken of as brother of the renegade Menelaus (2 Macc 4:23). Of his end we know nothing.

(5) Simon Chosameus (Codex Vaticanus (and Swete) Chosamaos; Codex Alexandrinus Chosomaios), one of the sons of Annas who had married "strange wives" (1 Esdras 9:32). Simon apparently = "Shimeon" (shim`on) of the sons of Harim (Ezra 10:31); Chosameus is probably a corruption standing in the place of, but not resembling, any of the three names:

Benjamin, Malluch, Shemaraiah, which Esdras omits from the Ezra list.

S. Angus

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'SIMON (1)'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.