Manual LEVITES - All The Bible Teaches About

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  1. Why were the Levites chosen to be G‑d’s special ministers?
  2. Who wrote the book?
  3. Related Readings
  4. Book of Leviticus Overview - Insight for Living Ministries

And Joseph said: Ask. And Annas and Caiaphas, taking up the law , adjured Joseph Levites of Their Repentance of the Crucifixion of the Messiah. Levites were Overseers in Building and the Repairs of the Temple.

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Why were the Levites chosen to be G‑d’s special ministers?

Levites: Age of when Inducted Into office. Levites: Age of when Retired from office. Levites: Assigned To, by Families. Levites: Assisted the Priests in Preparing the Sacrifice. Levites: Carried the Ark of the Covenant. Levites: Consecration of. Levites: Custodians and Administrators of the Tithes and Other offerings.

Levites: Degraded from the Levitical office by Jeroboam. Levites: Enrollment of, at Mount Sinai. Levites: Exempt from Enrollment for Military Duty. Levites: Functions of had Charge of the Temple. Levites: Gershonites and Their Duties. Levites: Intermarried With Canaanites. Levites: John's Vision Concerning. Biblical literalists insist that the history of the Levites is just as the Bible describes it: they served the sons of Aaron in the wilderness in the days of the Tabernacle ; they settled among the diverse tribes after the conquest of Canaan ; and they gradually came to Jerusalem after the establishment of the Temple.

Some biblical critics agree with this basic scenario, adding mainly that centralization of the Levites in Jerusalem was not necessarily a voluntary matter. Indeed, the Books of Kings seem to describe a situation in which those who refused to stop offering sacrifices at local altars would face serious consequences. Others believe that the Levites only gradually developed as a second-tier priesthood in Jerusalem and that their biblical history was created after the fact to suit the situation of later times.

Deuteronomy in particular appears to provide a backdated law "of Moses" describing the reforms of King Josiah 's era. The Books of Chronicles similarly portray a well defined role for the Levites during the period of the kings, while in the earlier Books of Kings their role is hardly mentioned.

Who wrote the book?

Some suggest that the Levites may in fact have been local rivals to the Jerusalem priesthood who for centuries resisted the Temple's claim to be the only authorized sanctuary of Yawheh. It could also be that the reason for the Levites' not receiving an inheritance with the other tribes is that they were actually already living in the land when the Aaronic priesthood migrated to Canaan. In this scenario they would represent the native proto-Israelite traditions of worship at local shrines and high places , while the Aaronic priesthood represented the "Jerusalem only" tradition.

Some also question the account in Chronicles which portrays the northern Levites as defecting en masse to Rehoboam after Jeroboam 's schism. The story of the Levite of Judges indicates strong Levite involvement at the northern shrine at Dan, for example, while the story of Korah's rebellion indicates longstanding tension between the more democratic Levites and the elitist Aaronic priests Num.

Northern Levites who did not move to Jerusalem may have been among those who later served as priests to the Samaritans. Because genealogical records dating back to biblical times do not exist, Levitical status is generally determined by oral tradition, passed from father to son, with children being Levites if their father and grandfather were. However, it is difficult to know if all those who claim Levitical status are true Levites, and many who might hold that status genetically are unable to claim it because one generation may have failed to pass the status on to the next for various reasons.

Although the vast majority of Jews did not adopt surnames until the modern era, many have taken a last name to signify their supposed status as Levites.

Related Readings

Because of diverse geographical locations, the names have several variations:. Having a last name related to Levi, however, does not necessarily mean a person is a Levite, and many Levites do not have such last names. In traditional Judaism, tribal status is determined by patrilineal descent, so a child whose biological father is a Levite is a Levite. In cases of adoption or artificial insemination, status is determined by the genetic father. Because Jewish status is traditionally determined by matrilineal descent, conferring levitical status on children requires both biological parents to be Jews and the biological father to be a Levite.

Some Jewish names that sound like Levi may or may not be intentionally related to the name. Examples include Love , which may be an anglicized version of Loewe, and Levant , which relates to the Levantine area of the Middle East. The Jewish names Cohen , Kahn' , Cohn , and similar names denote a supposed descent from the Kohanim , or Aaronic priests. Today, Levites in Orthodox Judaism have certain rights and obligations, although these responsibilities have diminished greatly because of the destruction of the Temple.


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For instance, Levites are eligible to be called to the Torah before the general congregation, but after the Kohanim. In some congregations, the Levites also provide assistance to the Kohanim , particularly washing their hands, before the Kohanim recite the Priestly Blessing. They also do not participate in the Pidyon Haben [1] redemption of the firstborn ceremony, because they are traditionally pledged to Divine service.

Conservative Judaism theoretically recognizes Levites as having special status, but not all Conservative congregations call Kohanim and Levites to the first and second reading of the Torah , and many no longer perform rituals such as the Priestly Blessing and Pidyon Haben, in which the priestly classes has a special role. Reconstructionist and Reform Judaism have generally abolished all Biblical caste distinctions. Many adherents of Orthodox Judaism believe in the eventual rebuilding of a Temple in Jerusalem and a resumption of the Levitical role.

Some have even founded schools to train priests and Levites in their respective roles. Some Conservative Jews also believe in a future restoration of the Temple and in some special role for Levites, although not the ancient sacrificial system as previously practiced.

More in this section

Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism generally do not hope for a future physical Temple, believing that God's covenant is fully present without it. A Bat Levi daughter of a Levite is recognized as having lineal sanctity in both Orthodox and Conservative Judaism, stemming from her traditional eligibility to receive proceeds of the Levitical tithe. In both Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism, children of a Bat Levi, regardless of her marital status or husband's tribe, retain their traditional exemption from the requirement of being redeemed through the Pidyon HaBen ceremony because of this lineal sanctity.

Conservative Judaism permits a Bat Levi to perform essentially all the rituals a male Levi would perform in those Conservative synagogues which have both retained traditional tribal roles and modified traditional gender roles. New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The whole assembly together was 42,, besides their male and their female servants, of whom there were 7,; and they had male and female singers. Their horses were ; their mules, ; their camels, ; their donkeys, 6, Some from among the heads of fathers' households gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1, gold drachmas, 50 basins, priests' garments. Some of the heads of fathers' households gave into the treasury of the work 20, gold drachmas and 2, silver minas. That which the rest of the people gave was 20, gold drachmas and 2, silver minas and 67 priests' garments.

Now the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants and all Israel, lived in their cities And when the seventh month came, the sons of Israel were in their cities. Now on the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.

He said to them, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor. Who said of his father and his mother, 'I did not consider them'; And he did not acknowledge his brothers, Nor did he regard his own sons, For they observed Your word, And kept Your covenant. They spent the night around the house of God, because the watch was committed to them; and they were in charge of opening it morning by morning.

Now some of them had charge of the utensils of service, for they counted them when they brought them in and when they took them out. Some of them also were appointed over the furniture and over all the utensils of the sanctuary and over the fine flour and the wine and the oil and the frankincense and the spices. Of the Gershonites were Ladan and Shimei. The sons of Ladan were Jehiel the first and Zetham and Joel, three. The sons of Shimei were Shelomoth and Haziel and Haran, three. These were the heads of the fathers' households of Ladan.

These four were the sons of Shimei. Jahath was the first and Zizah the second; but Jeush and Beriah did not have many sons, so they became a father's household, one class. The sons of Amram were Aaron and Moses And Aaron was set apart to sanctify him as most holy, he and his sons forever, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister to Him and to bless in His name forever.


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But as for Moses the man of God, his sons were named among the tribe of Levi. The sons of Moses were Gershom and Eliezer. The son of Gershom was Shebuel the chief. The son of Eliezer was Rehabiah the chief; and Eliezer had no other sons, but the sons of Rehabiah were very many. The son of Izhar was Shelomith the chief. The sons of Hebron were Jeriah the first, Amariah the second, Jahaziel the third and Jekameam the fourth. The sons of Uzziel were Micah the first and Isshiah the second. The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi. The sons of Mahli were Eleazar and Kish. Eleazar died and had no sons, but daughters only, so their brothers, the sons of Kish, took them as wives.

The sons of Mushi were three: Mahli, Eder and Jeremoth. Then I set apart twelve of the leading priests, Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and with them ten of their brothers; and I weighed out to them the silver, the gold and the utensils, the offering for the house of our God which the king and his counselors and his princes and all Israel present there had offered. Thus I weighed into their hands talents of silver, and silver utensils worth talents, and gold talents, read more. Then we journeyed from the river Ahava on the twelfth of the first month to go to Jerusalem; and the hand of our God was over us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and the ambushes by the way.

Thus we came to Jerusalem and remained there three days. Everything was numbered and weighed, and all the weight was recorded at that time. Now the duties of the sons of Gershon in the tent of meeting involved the tabernacle and the tent, its covering, and the screen for the doorway of the tent of meeting, read more. This shall become theirs as pasture lands for the cities. Because God was helping the Levites who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the LORD, they sacrificed seven bulls and seven rams. Now David was clothed with a robe of fine linen with all the Levites who were carrying the ark, and the singers and Chenaniah the leader of the singing with the singers.

David also wore an ephod of linen. Now these are the singers, heads of fathers' households of the Levites, who lived in the chambers of the temple free from other service; for they were engaged in their work day and night. From the outside to the inner gate were chambers for the singers in the inner court, one of which was at the side of the north gate, with its front toward the south, and one at the side of the south gate facing toward the north.

Then to Abiathar the priest the king said, "Go to Anathoth to your own field, for you deserve to die; but I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before my father David, and because you were afflicted in everything with which my father was afflicted. Then Jeshua with his sons and brothers stood united with Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah and the sons of Henadad with their sons and brothers the Levites, to oversee the workmen in the temple of God. His officers also contributed a freewill offering to the people, the priests and the Levites.

Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, the officials of the house of God, gave to the priests for the Passover offerings 2, from the flocks and bulls. So the service was prepared, and the priests stood at their stations and the Levites by their divisions according to the king's command. They slaughtered the Passover animals, and while the priests sprinkled the blood received from their hand, the Levites skinned them. Then they removed the burnt offerings that they might give them to the sections of the fathers' households of the lay people to present to the LORD, as it is written in the book of Moses.

They did this also with the bulls. So they roasted the Passover animals on the fire according to the ordinance, and they boiled the holy things in pots, in kettles, in pans, and carried them speedily to all the lay people. Afterwards they prepared for themselves and for the priests, because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were offering the burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves and for the priests, the sons of Aaron. The singers, the sons of Asaph, were also at their stations according to the command of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the gatekeepers at each gate did not have to depart from their service, because the Levites their brethren prepared for them.

Thus the sons of Israel who were present celebrated the Passover at that time, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days. There had not been celebrated a Passover like it in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet; nor had any of the kings of Israel celebrated such a Passover as Josiah did with the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

Moreover, the priests and the Levites who were in all Israel stood with him from all their districts. For the Levites left their pasture lands and their property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had excluded them from serving as priests to the LORD. He set up priests of his own for the high places, for the satyrs and for the calves which he had made.

Book of Leviticus Overview - Insight for Living Ministries

They strengthened the kingdom of Judah and supported Rehoboam the son of Solomon for three years, for they walked in the way of David and Solomon for three years. Whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams, even he may become a priest of what are no gods. I also discovered that the portions of the Levites had not been given them, so that the Levites and the singers who performed the service had gone away, each to his own field. So I reprimanded the officials and said, "Why is the house of God forsaken?

All Judah then brought the tithe of the grain, wine and oil into the storehouses. In charge of the storehouses I appointed Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and in addition to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah; for they were considered reliable, and it was their task to distribute to their kinsmen. And be with the king when he goes out and when he comes in. And each one of them took his men who were to come in on the sabbath, with those who were to go out on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.

The priest gave to the captains of hundreds the spears and shields that had been King David's, which were in the house of the LORD. The guards stood each with his weapons in his hand, from the right side of the house to the left side of the house, by the altar and by the house, around the king. Thus be with the king when he comes in and when he goes out. Now when these things had been completed, the princes approached me, saying, "The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, according to their abominations, those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites.

Of the singers there was Eliashib; and of the gatekeepers: Shallum, Telem and Uri. The families of the sons of Kohath were to camp on the southward side of the tabernacle, read more. All Israel with their elders and officers and their judges were standing on both sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, the stranger as well as the native Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the LORD had given command at first to bless the people of Israel.

The Law

As for the sons of Israel's half, which Moses separated from the men who had gone to war-- now the congregation's half was , sheep, and 36, cattle, read more. The whole length shall be 25, cubits and the width 10, The genealogical enrollment included all their little children, their wives, their sons and their daughters, for the whole assembly, for they consecrated themselves faithfully in holiness. For the priests and the Levites had purified themselves together; all of them were pure Then they slaughtered the Passover lamb for all the exiles, both for their brothers the priests and for themselves.

The sons of Israel who returned from exile and all those who had separated themselves from the impurity of the nations of the land to join them, to seek the LORD God of Israel, ate the Passover. Then the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites.

And the sons of Aaron the priest, who were of the Levites, received thirteen cities by lot from the tribe of Judah and from the tribe of the Simeonites and from the tribe of Benjamin. The rest of the sons of Kohath received ten cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Ephraim and from the tribe of Dan and from the half-tribe of Manasseh. The sons of Gershon received thirteen cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Issachar and from the tribe of Asher and from the tribe of Naphtali and from the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.

The sons of Merari according to their families received twelve cities from the tribe of Reuben and from the tribe of Gad and from the tribe of Zebulun. They gave these cities which are here mentioned by name from the tribe of the sons of Judah and from the tribe of the sons of Simeon; and they were for the sons of Aaron, one of the families of the Kohathites, of the sons of Levi, for the lot was theirs first.

Thus they gave them Kiriath-arba, Arba being the father of Anak that is, Hebron , in the hill country of Judah, with its surrounding pasture lands. But the fields of the city and its villages they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as his possession. So to the sons of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Libnah with its pasture lands, and Jattir with its pasture lands and Eshtemoa with its pasture lands, and Holon with its pasture lands and Debir with its pasture lands, and Ain with its pasture lands and Juttah with its pasture lands and Beth-shemesh with its pasture lands; nine cities from these two tribes.

From the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with its pasture lands, Geba with its pasture lands, Anathoth with its pasture lands and Almon with its pasture lands; four cities. All the cities of the sons of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their pasture lands. Then the cities from the tribe of Ephraim were allotted to the families of the sons of Kohath, the Levites, even to the rest of the sons of Kohath.

They gave them Shechem, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, in the hill country of Ephraim, and Gezer with its pasture lands, and Kibzaim with its pasture lands and Beth-horon with its pasture lands; four cities. From the tribe of Dan, Elteke with its pasture lands, Gibbethon with its pasture lands, Aijalon with its pasture lands, Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; four cities.

From the half-tribe of Manasseh, they allotted Taanach with its pasture lands and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; two cities. All the cities with their pasture lands for the families of the rest of the sons of Kohath were ten. To the sons of Gershon, one of the families of the Levites, from the half-tribe of Manasseh, they gave Golan in Bashan, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Be-eshterah with its pasture lands; two cities. From the tribe of Issachar, they gave Kishion with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands, Jarmuth with its pasture lands, En-gannim with its pasture lands; four cities.

From the tribe of Asher, they gave Mishal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands, Helkath with its pasture lands and Rehob with its pasture lands; four cities.

From the tribe of Naphtali, they gave Kedesh in Galilee, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Hammoth-dor with its pasture lands and Kartan with its pasture lands; three cities. All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their pasture lands. To the families of the sons of Merari, the rest of the Levites, they gave from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with its pasture lands and Kartah with its pasture lands. Dimnah with its pasture lands, Nahalal with its pasture lands; four cities.

From the tribe of Reuben, they gave Bezer with its pasture lands and Jahaz with its pasture lands, Kedemoth with its pasture lands and Mephaath with its pasture lands; four cities. From the tribe of Gad, they gave Ramoth in Gilead, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Mahanaim with its pasture lands, Heshbon with its pasture lands, Jazer with its pasture lands; four cities in all. All these were the cities of the sons of Merari according to their families, the rest of the families of the Levites; and their lot was twelve cities. So all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah gave the portions due the singers and the gatekeepers as each day required, and set apart the consecrated portion for the Levites, and the Levites set apart the consecrated portion for the sons of Aaron.

Now the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants and all those who had separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the law of God, their wives, their sons and their daughters, all those who had knowledge and understanding,. But you shall cleanse them and present them as a wave offering; for they are wholly given to Me from among the sons of Israel I have taken them for Myself instead of every first issue of the womb, the firstborn of all the sons of Israel.

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