1 Chronicles 4:31-43
And at Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusim, and at Bethbirei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities to the reign of David.…
This tribe is classed with that of Judah, as their possessions were partly taken out of their extensive territory (see Joshua 19:1). As Simeon had only a limited portion of the land of Judah, they were forced to seek accommodation elsewhere. In consequence of their sloth or cowardice, some of the cities within their allotted territory were only nominally theirs, and were never taken from the Philistines till David's time, when, the Simeonites having forfeited all claim to them, he transferred them to the tribe of Judah (see 1 Samuel 27:6). Let us learn two lessons from this tribe - first, with reference to this transfer, and second, with reference to the sad results that followed the supineness or cowardice which characterized it.
1. We learn from Genesis 49:5-7 that cruelty characterized this son of Jacob, and that righteous retribution followed. Also we see how one sin begets another. Cruelty has in its train cowardice. True bravery and magnanimity is the result of a nature ennobled by Divine grace. Wherever we find cruelty, there we may be certain to find cowardice and supineness. One strengthened grace strengthens every other in the man. One indulged sin weakens every grace, and begets sins which bear that sin's "image and superscription" at every turn and throughout many generations. Simeon's descendants, though not personally guilty of their father's sin, have the brand upon them. Their sins are but the outward ripple on the stream where their father cast in the first stone of crime. Thus Simeon's sin lived in his generations. Thus men live long after they are dead. All true living influence begins to be potent after we have disappeared from the scene. How solemn, then, how awfully responsible, is each one's life!
2. Now look at the sad results of their supineness. Inasmuch as they did not fight the Philistines and gain possession of their cities, David took them from them and allotted them to Judah. What a remarkable confirmation of our Lord's words, "To him that hath [Judah] shall more be given; and from him that hath not [Simeon] even that he hath shall be taken away"! See another consequence of this supineness. They sought larger territory, and found it in the pastures of Gederah. For a time all seemed bright and prosperous. But soon they were attacked by foes, and had to fly to Mount Seir. This would have been unnecessary had they been valiant, fought the Philistines, and become possessed in reality of what they had only nominal possession before. Reader, learn the solemn warning. "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life;" "Make your calling and election sure. Make that nominal possession of Christ - that profession of religion you wear - a reality, a true and living possession. Thus will you, too, save yourself from similar results, and will reap your reward. - W.
Parallel VersesKJV: And at Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusim, and at Bethbirei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities unto the reign of David.