Antiquities of the Jews — Book XIII
5. [An. 91.] As to Alexander, his own people were seditious against him. For at a festival which was then celebrated, when he stood upon the altar, and was going to sacrifice, the nation rose upon him, and pelted him with citrons. [Which they then had in their hands, because] the law of the Jews required, that at the feast of tabernacles every one should have branches of the palm tree and citron tree: which thing we have elsewhere related.52 They also reviled him, as derived from a captive, (45) and so unworthy of his dignity, and of sacrificing. At this he was in a rage, and slew of them about six thousand. He also built a partition wall of wood round the altar; and the temple; as far as that partition; within which it was only lawful for the priests to enter. And by this means he obstructed the multitude from coming at him. He also maintained foreigners of Pisidiæ and Cilicia. For as to the Syrians, he was at war with them, and so made no use of them. He also overcame the Arabians; such as the Moabites, and Gileadites, and made them bring tribute.
Jerusalem Talmud Berachot 7:2
It was taught: Three hundred Nazarites went up [to Jerusalem to have their vows annulled] in the time of R. Simeon b. Shetah.
He [Simeon] found a way out of the vows for one hundred and fifty of them. But he could not find a way out of the vows for [the remaining] one hundred and fifty. He went to Yannai the king and said to him, “We have here three hundred Nazarites who must offer nine hundred sacrifices [to fulfill their vows]. If you donate half, I will donate half.” He [Yannai] sent him four hundred and fifty [animals]. One talebearer then went and told Yannai that [Simeon] did not contribute any [animals] of his own. Yannai the king heard this and became angry. Simeon ben Shetah feared the consequences and fled. After some time, several esteemed individuals from the kingdom of Persia came to visit Yannai the king. When they were sitting and eating they said to him, “We recall that a certain elder used to be here, and used to speak words of wisdom to us.” Yannai told them what had happened [to Simeon]. They said to him, “Send for him and bring him back.” He sent for him with assurance [that no harm would befall him]. And Simeon came back and took his place of honor between the king and the queen. Yannai said to him, “Why did you deceive me?” Simeon said to him, “I did not deceive you. You gave your part out of your wealth. And I gave my part out of my knowledge of the Torah [by finding a way out of their vows for half the Nazarites,] as it is written, ‘For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money’ [Qoh. 7:12].”
Yannai said to him, “Why then did you flee?” He said to him, “I heard that my master was angry at me and I wanted to fulfill this verse: ‘Hide yourselves for a little while until the wrath is past’ [Isa. 26:20]. And it was said concerning me, ‘And the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it’ [Qoh. 7:12].” And Yannai said to him, “Why did you take a seat between the king and queen?” He said to him, “In the book of Ben Sira it is written, ‘The wisdom of a humble man will lift up his head, and will seat him among the great’ [Ben Sira 11:1].” He [Yannai] said, “Bring him the cup so that he may recite the blessing [after the meal over it].” They brought Simeon the cup and he said, “Let us recite a blessing for the food which Yannai and his associates have eaten.” Yannai said to him, “Must you persist in your stubbornness? [Are you making fun of us because we did not serve you any food?]” Simeon said to him, “What then should I say, ‘Let us recite the blessing for the food which we have not eaten’?” Yannai said, “Bring him food so that he may eat.” And so they brought out the food [vegetable P.M.]. And he ate, and then he said, “Let us recite the blessing for the food which we have eaten.”
The student asked the angel, "until when will this man be condemned in Judgement?" He (the angel) said to him: Until Shimon Ben Shetach dies and someone replaces him (as Nasi of the Sanhedrin).
"Why?" the student asked. The angel answered, "because the Jewish witches are still living in Ashkelon and he has not yet placed judgement upon them."
The student went and told Shimon ben Shetach. What did Shimon do? He gathered together 80 young and studious men on a day when it was raining, and they were each given a jar with a dry cloak/tallit in it. He instructed them to keep their cloaks/tallit dry and to ensure that they were not seen by the witches until the appointed signal.
He left the young men outside the cave, and approached the witches' residence. "Who are you," they asked. Shimon answered, "I am a magician, and I came to see you magical works."
"What magic can you do," the witches inquired.
"I can make 80 young men appear in dry cloaks, even thought it is a rainy day."
"Show us!" The witches demanded.
Shimon went outside and signaled to the young men to take out the cloaks and cover themselves in them, and they entered and lifted the witches off the ground (to prevent them from doing sorcery, which can only be done while on the ground) and they hung them all.
Relatives of those witches who were angered by this came forward with false testimony accusing Shimon ben Shetach’s son of a capital crime. Upon being convicted and led to his death the witnesses recanted their testimony. Shimon desired a new trial for his son, but the son insisted that the punishment be carried out, as we learned, if a witness recounts their testimony, we do not believe them.
On the twenty eighth of Teves the Assembly was rightfully constituted. When the Sanhedrin, constituted by Sadducees, was in session together with Yanai (Alexander Janneus) and Salome at his side, there were none of the main body of Israel with them with the exception of Shimon ben Shetach. They (the king, queen, and Shimon) asked of the "Sanhedrin" various questions dealing with different areas of Halacha, but they were not able to cite any sources from the Torah to support their positions. Shimon ben Shetach said to them: "Anyone who is able to support his view with a proper citation from the Torah is fit to sit on the Sanhedrin. However, anyone that cannot is not fit." Once, a case came before them that they clearly were unable to resolve by bringing a decisive proof from the Torah. One of their elders, however, tried but was challenged by Shimon ben Shetach. The elder said: Give me time to think it through, and by tomorrow I'll answer you. But even after much thought he was still unable to respond to Shimon ben Shetach. Too embarrassed, he did not show up the next day. Shimon replaced him with one of his own disciples. He explained to them that a Sanhedrin must be composed of 71 members and this scholar (his disciple) was the only suitable replacement. One by one he was able to eventually replace the whole Sanhedrin. The day that the process was completed was declared a holiday. Megilas Tanis Chapter 10
Shimon ben Shetach instituted that children should go to day school (yeshiva ketana). Yerushalmi Kesubos Chap. 8
Rav Yehuda said that Rav said the following: May Yehoshua ben Perachia be praised because without him the Torah would be forgotten from Israel ... He instituted that teachers would be set up in every state and city and that the students would be required to go from the ages of six or seven. Bava Basra 21a
Gemara Yerushalmi Baba Metzia 2:5
R. Shim'on ben Shetach made a living by selling linen. His students decided to buy a donkey for him to make it easier for him. They purchased a donkey from a bandit and it turned out that there was a precious stone dangling from it. They told him about it and said that he doesn't need to work hard anymore. R. Shimon ben Shetach said: Return it! They said to him, although gezel akum is prohibited, returning an avedah to an akum is not required!So he said:
Should they say "Shim'on ben Shetach is a barbarian?!"
"Shim'on ben Shetach wants to hear Blessed is the God of the Jews more than anything in the world."