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For the grandson of Simeon ben Gamliel (I), see Shimon ben Gamliel (II).

Simeon ben Gamliel (I) (Hebrew: שמעון בן גמליאל‎ or רשב"ג הראשון, c. 10 BCE – 70 CE) was a Tanna sage and leader of the Jewish people. He served as President of the Great Sanhedrin at Jerusalem during the outbreak of the First Jewish Revolt, succeeding his father in the same office after his father's death in 52 CE and just before the destruction of the Second Temple.

He was a direct descendant of King David and the great-grandson of Hillel the Elder.[1][2] He was a contemporary of the high priests Ḥanan ben Ḥanan and Yehoshua ben Gamla.

He is one of the Ten Martyrs mentioned in Jewish liturgy. According to the chronological tables brought down by Rabbi Sherira Gaon, he was beheaded, along with Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha the high priest, prior to the Temple's destruction,[3] although the historian Josephus Flavius mentions only the execution of "Ishmael" in Cyrene during the war with Rome (ca. 66-68 CE).[4] The account is mentioned in, both, Tractate Semachot ch 8, and in Avot de-Rabbi Nathan (38:3), where Simeon ben Gamliel is given the title of nasi, along with the dignitary title of "Rabban" ("our Master"). Before his death, he and his fellow jurists opposed the appointment of Josephus as military governor of the Galilee and sought to remove him from that post, but to no avail.[5]

His tomb, located in Kafr Kanna near the Golani Interchange in the lower Galilee of northern Israel, has remained an important site for Jewish pilgrims for almost 2000 years.[6]


  • All my life have I been reared among the Sages, but I have found naught better for the body than silence; 'Tis not the conveyance of teachings which is the principal [aim], but rather the discharge of one's duty (i.e. action). Whosoever is verbose brings on sin.[7][8]
  • By three things is the world sustained: by judgment, by truth, and by peace.[9][10]

Preceded by
Gamliel I
Succeeded by
Johanan ben Zakkai


  1. ^ (Hebrew) "תלמוד ירושלמי - מסכת כלאיים, פרק ט".
    Yitzhak Buxbaum (2008), The Life and Teachings of Hillel, Jason Aronson, Incorporated, p. 304, ISBN 978-0742565876, Ketubot 62b says that Rabbi Judah the Prince, was a descendant of King David on his mother's side, via Shefatiah, David's son by his wife Avital, and Hillel [the Elder].
  2. ^ Wilhelm Bacher, Jacob Zallel Lauterbach, Simeon II. (Ben Gamaliel I.), Jewish Encyclopedia [1]. N.b.: the Jewish Encyclopedia speaks of "his grandfather Hillel", in a generic sense, but the genealogical sequence was Hillel the Elder > Simeon ben Hillel > Gamaliel the Elder > Simeon ben Gamliel.
  3. ^ The Iggeres of Rav Sherira Gaon, ed. Nosson David Rabinowich, Jerusalem 1988, chapter 8 (p. 86)
  4. ^ Josephus, The Jewish War (6.2.2.). Emil Schürer (q.v.) and H. St. J. Thackeray thought this high priest to be Ishmael ben Phiabi II.
  5. ^ Josephus, The Life of Flavius Josephus, (abbreviated Life or Vita), § 38
  6. ^ "Tomb of Shimon ben Gamliel vandalized", Jerusalem Post, April 21, 2006 (accessed August 7, 2012).
  7. ^ Pirkei Avot 1:17
  8. ^ The Living Talmud - The Wisdom of the Fathers, ed. Judah Goldin, New American Library of World Literature: New York 1957, p. 74
  9. ^ Pirkei Avot 1:18
  10. ^ The Living Talmud - The Wisdom of the Fathers, ed. Judah Goldin, New American Library of World Literature: New York 1957, p. 75