Reuben and Simeon were the first two sons of Jacob and Leah, Jacob’s first wife. They can be found on the Biblical Timeline Chart around 1704 B.C. Though Jacob’s favorite wife was Rachel, her sister Leah was the one that bore him half of his sons. The conceptions and births of Reuben and Simeon were detailed in the Book of Genesis, chapter 29, verses 31-33.
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Reuben, as the firstborn son, was supposed to be the leader of the brothers and carry the most responsibility. After Rachel had died, Reuben went in and slept with Jacob’s concubine Bilhah as noted in Genesis 35:22. Because of Reuben’s sexual sin in this event, he forever lost his firstborn inheritance as pointed out by Jacob’s final blessing on his deathbed in Genesis 49:3-4. Well after this, when the brothers were out tending the sheep, and the group turned on the younger brother Joseph out of jealousy, Reuben tried to rescue him. His attempt was unsuccessful, and Joseph was sold off as a slave. Jacob’s final blessing over Reuben was, “Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power. Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it.” (Genesis 49:3-4)
Simeon, the second born of Jacob’s sons, was named by Leah because “the Lord has seen my misery” according to verse 32 of Chapter 29 of the Book of Genesis. When Dinah, Simeon’s sister, was violated by a Hivite, Simeon and his brother Levi took it into their own hands and went against their father’s decision to live at peace with these people and attacked the unsuspecting city. This act resulted in Simeon and Levi losing the leadership of the city. When Jacob prophesied over his sons on his deathbed, this is what he spoke of Simeon, “Simeon and Levi are brothers – their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger and hamstrung oxen as they pleased. Cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel! I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel.” (Genesis 49:5-7)
Reuben and Simeon went with their brothers to Egypt during a severe famine in search of food. There they were reunited with their long lost brother Joseph that the brothers had caused to be separated from the rest of the family. The journey resulted in Jacob and all of the tribes of Israel settling in Egypt as can be seen in detail in chapter 47 of the Book of Genesis.
Elsewhere in the World
During this time, the following events at various locations around the world are recorded:
- Middle Kingdom of Egypt reestablished prosperity and stability. This brought about art, literature and building projects reappearing on the Egyptian scene. Military and political security, agricultural and mineral wealth, and religion all flourished during this period.
- Hittites take over the area now covered by Turkey. The Hittites were considered members of the Bronze Age, but forerunners of the Iron Age.
- Bronze to Iron Age – During this period making items of bronze seemed to be migrating into the Iron Age. The manufacture of artifacts from iron was noted. Iron became a very valuable commodity and was used to produce goods.
- In Greece – In Greece, the Middle Helladic Period was in full swing. During this time, settlements drew closer together and gravitated toward hilltops. During this period, rectilinear pottery was being influenced into curvilinear by the Minoans.
- China – The first Chinese dynasty known as the Xia migrated into the Shang Dynasty around the 18th century.
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