Levites

Levites (Lee´vits)

Generally, those belonging to the tribe of Levi, although in some passages, “Levite” seems to be a description of function rather than a tribal name (e.g., a Levite who belonged to the tribe of Judah is mentioned in (Judg 17:7). In any case, wherever the Levites appear they are priests, whose function was not only to sacrifice, but also to transmit and administer the divine law (Deut 17:18; Deut 33:10). In Deuteronomy, they make up the whole priesthood and live in various towns in the country, perhaps in special levitical cities (Josh 21:1-42). In the Temple period, however, it seems that the Jerusalem authorities did not accept Levites as true priests and they were reduced to a subordinate position in the cultic staff (2Kgs 23:8-9; Ezek 44:10-14). In the postexilic period, their high position and the importance of their duties is once again emphasized, especially in 1 and 2 Chronicles (1Chr 15:11-15; 1Chr 16:4-37; 2Chr 29:34). Two collections of psalms in the Psalter are attributed to groups into which the Levites were divided, Asaph (Ps 50, Ps 70-83) and Korah (Ps 42-49). They also retained their ancient functions of administering the law (1Chr 23:4; 2Chr 19:8-11) and of teaching it to the people (2Chr 17:7-9; 2Chr 35:3). The Levites retained their high status in the NT period, as (Luke 10:32) assumes.

Judg 17:7

7Now there was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the clan of Judah. He was a Levite residing there.

Deut 17:18

18When he has taken the throne of his kingdom, he shall have a copy of this law written for him in the presence of the levitical priests.

Deut 33:10

10They teach Jacob your ordinances,
and Israel your law;
they place incense before you,
and whole burnt offerings on your altar.

Josh 21:1-42

Cities Allotted to the Levites
1Then the heads of the families of the Levites came to the priest Eleazar and to Joshua son of Nun and to the heads of the famili ... View more

2Kgs 23:8-9

8He brought all the priests out of the towns of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had made offerings, from Geba to Beer-sheba; he broke down ... View more

Ezek 44:10-14

10But the Levites who went far from me, going astray from me after their idols when Israel went astray, shall bear their punishment.11They shall be ministers in ... View more

1Chr 15:11-15

11David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, and the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Eliel, and Amminadab.12He said to them, “You are the heads of fa ... View more

1Chr 16:4-37

4He appointed certain of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel.5Asaph was the chie ... View more

2Chr 29:34

34But the priests were too few and could not skin all the burnt offerings, so, until other priests had sanctified themselves, their kindred, the Levites, helped ... View more

Ps 50

The Acceptable Sacrifice
A Psalm of Asaph.
1The mighty one, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.2Out of Zion, t ... View more

Ps 70-83

Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
To the leader. Of David, for the memorial offering.
1Be pleased, O God, to deliver me.
O Lord, make haste to help me!2Let th ... View more

Ps 42-49

BOOK II
(Psalms 42-72)
Longing for God and His Help in Distress
To the leader. A Maskil of the Korahites.
1As a deer longs for flowing streams,
so my soul longs ... View more

1Chr 23:4

4“Twenty-four thousand of these,” David said, “shall have charge of the work in the house of the Lord, six thousand shall be officers and judges,

2Chr 19:8-11

8Moreover in Jerusalem Jehoshaphat appointed certain Levites and priests and heads of families of Israel, to give judgment for the Lord and to decide disputed c ... View more

2Chr 17:7-9

7In the third year of his reign he sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah.8With them were the ... View more

2Chr 35:3

3He said to the Levites who taught all Israel and who were holy to the Lord, “Put the holy ark in the house that Solomon son of David, king of Israel, built; yo ... View more

Luke 10:32

32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.