🔼The name Simon: Summary
- He Who Hears
- Snub Nosed (Not Semitic)
- From the verb שמע (shama'), to hear.
- From the noun σιμος (simos), someone with a hollow face and a wide, flat nose.
🔼The name Simon in the Bible
The name Simon is the Hellenized version of the name Simeon (in Greek: Συμεων; in Hebrew: שמעון). The name Simon occurs 76 times in the New Testament; see full concordance, and covers nine different Simons:
- One of the two first disciples of Jesus, later mostly known as Peter (Matthew 4:18). This Simon's brother was called Andrew and their last name appears to have been Barjona, which suggests that either their father or a patriarchal ancestor was called Jonah.
- One of the lesser known disciples of Jesus, who was known as the Zealot (Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13). We don't know much about this disciple; he's mentioned only in passing and plays no further role in the Bible. But where the Lucan author calls him the Zealot, Matthew and Mark call him the Kanaanite (Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:18). Some scholars (Spiros Zodhiates) propose that this Simon is the same as the next one, but there's no available evidence to either support or refute this proposal.
- A brother of Jesus, James, Joseph (or Joses) and Judas, all sons of Joseph and Mary (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3).
- A leper living in Bethany, at whose house an unnamed woman famously anoints Jesus' feet (Matthew 26:6).
- A native of Cyrene, father of Alexander and Rufus, who is pressed into bearing Jesus' cross on the way to Golgotha (Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21).
- A Pharisee in whose house Jesus dines, when again some woman anoints his feet (Luke 7:36-40).
- The father of Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus (John 6:71).
- A magician living in Samaria, who was converted and baptized by Philip the Evangelist (Acts 8:9). When Peter and John travel to Samaria, Simon the magician offers them money in exchange for the power to pass on the Spirit of the Lord. Peter points out Simon's folly in what seems a rather disproportionally harsh rebuke, but perhaps Peter was shocked to recognize a potentially lethal heresy in this otherwise sincere and talented man.
- A tanner at Joppa in whose house Peter lodges when he has the vision of the Great Sheet (Acts 9:43). This vision allows Peter to feel free to associate with the Roman centurion Cornelius and subsequently convert him and many others (Acts 10:44).
🔼Etymology of the name Simon
The Greek name Simon is an adjusted version of the name Simeon, and that name comes from the common Hebrew verb שמע (shama'), meaning to hear:
The verb שמע (shama') means to hear and may also mean to understand or obey. Noun שמע (shema') means sound. Nouns שמע (shoma') and שמועה (shemu'a) mean tidings, report or mentions. Noun השמעות (hashma'ut) describes that which is caused to be heard. Noun משמע (mishma') means rumor or a thing heard. Noun משמעת (mishma'at) refers to a group or listeners.
For a meaning of the name Simon, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Spiros Zodhiates (The Complete Wordstudy Dictionary New Testament) read Hearing. Also note the striking similarities between our names Simon & Simeon and the common noun σημειον (semeion), meaning mark or sign.
Perhaps an even stronger association with our name existed with the word σιμος (simos), which described the characteristics of a non-Semitic face: flat or hollow, with a wide and flat nose. Greeks referred to the Egyptians and Scythians with this word, and Aristotle called all children simoi. The Latin variant of this noun, namely simia, came to denote apes, hence our English adjective "simian" (the name of the order that also includes us humans).