So continuing on with the curses and blessings that Jacob is pronouncing on his 12 sons, he comes to Simeon and Levi.
“Simeon and Levi are brothers,
related by weapons of violence.
Let me not enter their council,
let my honor not be connected with their people;
for in their anger they killed men,
and at their whim they maimed cattle.
Cursed be their anger, for it has been fierce;
their fury, for it has been cruel.
I will divide them in Jacob
and scatter them in Israel.”
So if we recall, Simeon and Levi are the two who led the murderous rampage on the men living in the town of Shechem to avenge the rape of their sister Dinah (go to Genesis 34 if you want to reread this story).
The gist of this pronouncement is that neither Simeon nor Levi would would inherit the promised land in the same way and proportion as their other brothers.
And this is exactly how things unfolded.
Both of these tribes would be literally divided and scattered in Israel.
Simeon would struggle to maintain its tribal identity and by the time we come to the census in Numbers 26, we will see that their population had experienced a 40% decrease down to only 22,000 military eligible men (between the ages of 20 to 50 years old).
Furthermore, when Moses is handing out the tribe’s land inheritances, Simeon’s allotment ended up falling within the borders of Judah’s territory.
They were literally like the bull’s eye in the center of a target as they were completely encircled and dominated by the tribe of Judah.
What made matters even worse is that the piece of real estate they ended up receiving was in the Negev, which for the most part was a lifeless desert.
In the long run, Simeon would end up becoming completely swallowed up by the other tribes with some of them joining Judah and the 10 northern tribes of Ephraim.
Also some members of the tribe even ended up leaving the Holy Land altogether and joining Edom (descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother).
How true Jacob’s prediction that Simeon would end up being scattered turned out to be!
Now Levi was also scattered but how it happened is interesting.
Levi was given 48 cities within the tribal boundaries of every tribe.
However, contrary to Simeon’s loss of tribal identity and near extinction, Levi was divided and elected away from the other tribes to become the priests of God.
They would be the ones assigned to officiate at the Wilderness Tabernacle and then later the temple.
Ever since God set them apart to become priests unto Him, they have always been viewed as being separate from Israel.
Even today, Jews consider their Levite brethren to be separate and NOT Jews like them.
This is a distinction that God has made and it is important for us to be aware of it because the Levites are going to once again play a central role as we approach the end times.
Now isn’t it amazing that the same prophetic statement “I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel” came true for both Simeon and Levi but the outcomes for each tribe were polar opposites of each other.