The Tribe of Levi
Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah. Jacob was the second son of Rebekah
and Isaac. Jacob went on a journey to find a wife. He came into the land of the
peoples of the east. There in Haran is where Jacob found Rachel. He loved
Rachel, the youngest daughter of Laban. Jacob promised to serve Laban seven
years for Rachel. Completing the seven years Jacob expected to marry Rachel, but
was tricked to marry Leah, the older daughter. Zilpah was the hand maid sent
with Leah. Jacob worked another seven years to marry Rachel. (Genesis
Leah conceived and bared Jacob a son for the third time. Leah believed with the birth of Levi her husband Jacob would join unto her, because she had given him three sons, therefore Leah called his name Levi. (Genesis 29:34).
Levi had a sister Dinah, also the daughter of Leah and Jacob. (Genesis 34:1). Dinah went out to see the daughters of the land and was seen by Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, who was the prince of the country. He took her and lay with her and defiled her. His soul was strongly attracted to her and he loved her and wanted to marry her. Jacob heard Dinah had been defiled he waited until Hamor came to talk to him. Because these people were not circumcised Jacob said if they would consent that every male be circumcised then he would give Dinah to dwell with them, and they could become one people. Hamor had all his men circumcised. The third day, when they were sore, two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. This troubled Jacob who told Simeon and Levi they had made Jacob morally offensive among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites, and Perizzites and he feared for his life. (Genesis 34:1-31).
Jacob had taken his family to dwell in the land of Canaan. Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel by the LORD GOD, had twelve sons. His favorite was Joseph whose mother was Rachel. Joseph was hated by his brothers who plotted to kill him. Instead of shedding blood the brothers sold Joseph into slavery. Joseph ended up ruler over Egypt and second only under the Pharaoh. Pharaoh gave Joseph the name of Zaphnath-paaneah. There was a famine over all the land and Jacob sent ten of his sons to Egypt to buy corn. They did not know they would be dealing with Joseph, their brother. The whole family of Jacob, Israel, reunited and lived in the land of Egypt, the country of Goshen for many years under the Pharaoh. Time passed and many things changed. (Genesis 37-49) including the death of Joseph, all his brethren and all that generation.
The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. (Genesis 46:11). The prophecy concerning Levi which shall befall him in the last days given by his father Jacob was “Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.” (Genesis 49:5-7).
The children of Israel were fruitful, and increased, abundantly, and multiplied and grew exceeding mighty; the land of Egypt was filled with them. The new king, Pharaoh, made them slaves to build treasure cities for Pharaoh, Pithon and Raamses. When the Hebrews still multiplied the Pharaoh commanded every son that was born to the Hebrews should be cast into the river and every daughter should be saved. (Exodus 1). Moses was born of the parents who were from the tribe of Levi.The father of Moses and Aaron was Amram his wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi. Moses had a brother Aaron and a sister Miriam. Jochebed bare to Amram in Egypt Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister. (Numbers 26:59). Moses was hidden by his mother for three months. When she couldn’t hide him any longer she put Moses in an ark of bulrushes and floated in the river. The daughter of Pharaoh found him and raised him as her son. Moses was forced to flee Egypt and was called by the LORD to save His people from the treachery of Egypt. The story of Moses saving the children of Israel can be found in Exodus 1-15).
The LORD GOD gave Moses the Ten Commandments, (Exodus 20), for His people, and laws for the children of Israel to follow. Because of the disobedient and rebellion of the children of Israel they were forced to wonder in the wilderness for forty years. (Numbers 14).
The children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD. The LORD swore that He would not show them the land, which the LORD had, swore unto their fathers that He would give them, a land that flowed with milk and honey. (Joshua 5:6).
The LORD appointed Aaron, the brother of Moses and his sons to minister unto the LORD in the priest’s office. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleasar and Ithamar. They were consecrated into the ministry in the priest’s office. (Exodus 28:1-3). Nadab and Abihu died because they offered strange fire before the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai, they had no children. Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest office in the sight of Aaron their father. (Numbers 3:4).
At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day. (Deuteronomy 10:8). The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part or inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance. (Deuteronomy 18:1). The tribe of the Levites was not numbered among the rest of the tribes. They were appointed over the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the vessels of it, over all things that belonging to it, and they shall bear the tabernacle, all the vessels, and they shall minister unto the tabernacle. They shall encamp round about the tabernacle. (Numbers 1:47-54). The names of the sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. (Numbers 3:17).
The sons of Gershon were the family of the Libnites, and the family of Shimites they were the families of the Gershonites. The duties of the Gershonites shall be to pitch behind the tabernacle westward. The charge of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation shall be the tabernacle, and the tent, the covering thereof, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, the hangings of the court, the curtain for the door of the court, which is by the tabernacle, and by the altar round about, and the cords of it for all the service thereof. (Numbers 3:21-25).
The sons of Kohath were the family of the Amramites, the family of the Izeharites, the family of the Hebronites, and the family of the Uzzielites. These are the families of the Kohathites. Their duty is the keeping the charge of the sanctuary. The families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward. Their charge shall be the ark, the table, the candlestick, the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof. (Numbers 3:27-31). Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary. (Numbers 3:32).
The sons of Merari were the family of the Mahlites, the family of the Mushites: these are the families of Merari. They shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle northward. Under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari shall be the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars, the pillars, the sockets, all the vessels, and all that serves the pillars of the court round about, their sockets, their pins, and their cords. Those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel; and the stranger that comes near shall be put to death. (Numbers 3:33-38).
The LORD gave to the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, and the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. (Numbers 18:21).