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SHIMEATHITES (shĭm'ē-ăth-īts, Heb. shim‘āthîm). One of the three families of scribes who lived at Jabez in Judah (1Chr.2.55). They were Kenites related to the Recabites.

SHIMEATHITES shĭm’ ĭ ə thīts (שִׁמְעָתִ֖ים; LXX Σαμαθιειμ). A reference to one of three families of scribes who lived at Jabez (1 Chron 2:55), and who were descendants of Caleb. Jabez is identified as one of a group of towns in the vicinity of Bethlehem and the Valley of Elah. They are identified also as Kenites who came from the line of Hamath, father of the house of Rechab. The passage is obscure, as the Kenites were a tribe of seminomadic metal workers, first noted in the Wadi Arabah, toward Tell ’Arad (Num 24:21; Judg 1:16), and who seem to have entered the Palestinian locale in company with the tribe of Judah (cf. 1 Sam 15:6), which accounts for their settling with them. Intermarriage and the broadened usage of names may help explain some obscurities.


Y. Aharoni, The Land of the Bible (1967), 226, 227.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

shim`athim; Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus Samathieim; Lucian, Samathein): A subdivision of the tribe of Caleb (1Ch 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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