also known as: Shimon or Simeon
This name is the abbreviated form of Simeon and is the name of 9 biblical men.
- Simon Peter, one of the 12 closest disciples specifically chosen by Jesus Christ and an apostle (Matthew 4:18)
- Simon the Zealot, one of the 12 closest disciples specifically chosen by Jesus Christ
His name is briefly mentioned in Matthew (Matthew 10:2-4), Mark (Mark 3:16), Luke (Luke 6:14), and the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:13). There is apparently no other biblical record of this apostle, so he remains more obscure than most.
Before he was called to apostleship, he had apparently been a member of the fanatical sect of the Zealots, an aggressive political party, that opposed the Roman census for taxation and their occupation of Judea. They were looking for a conquering Messiah. The ancient historian Josephus mentions its founder—a man named “Judas of Galilee” (Acts 5:37) or “…the Galilean” or “…of Gamala.” The movement began in 6 A.D. and was defeated by the Romans in 70 A.D.
This apostle is also called Simon the Canaanite in some translations of Matthew 10:4 and Mark 3:18—King James Version, AKJV, and “Cananite” in the NKJV. This word “Canaanite” does not mean a native of Canaan, but is derived from the Syriac word Kanean or Kaneniah, which was the name of a Jewish sect. Some English Bible translations use the word “Cananaean” here with the marginal note: “or Zealot.” The New American Standard Bible (NASB) and many others say “Zealot.” The NASB includes the marginal note: “Or Cananaean.” Cananaean: “member of a Jewish sect that bitterly opposed the Roman domination of ancient Palestine.”
A hundred thousand Jews from Israel had been settled in this province by Ptolemy Soter (B.C. 323-285), where by this time they had greatly increased in number. They had a synagogue in Jerusalem for such of their number as went thither to the annual feasts. Simon was seized by the soldiers as the procession wended its way to the place of crucifixion as he was passing by, and the heavy cross which Christ from failing strength could no longer bear was laid on his shoulders. Perhaps they seized him because he showed sympathy with Jesus.
He afterwards became a professed convert to the faith under the preaching of Philip the deacon and evangelist (12-13). His profession was, however, soon found to be hollow. His conduct drew a stern rebuke from Peter (8:18-23). From this moment, he disappears from the Church’s history.
The term “Simony,” as denoting the purchase for money of spiritual offices, is derived from him.