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Levites

(lē`vīts), a religious caste among the ancient Hebrews, descended from Jacob's son Levi and figuring prominently in the Bible. There were three divisions of Levites—Kohathites, Merarites, and Gershonites. Loyal to Moses during the Golden Calf incident, they were rewarded with special religious privileges. The Levites replaced the firstborn, who devoutly served God for having been saved at the Passover. They alone of the tribes received no allotment of land; instead they received revenues from certain cities, and each city had its quota of Levites to support. With the unification of worship at Jerusalem, the Levites became temple servants with hereditary assignments, and later were teachers of the Law. The Book of Leviticus is named for them.

Levites

 

(ancient Hebrew), ministers of religious worship among the ancient Hebrews.

The origin of the Levites has not been completely clarified; according to tradition, they were descendents of the tribe of Levi (one of the tribes of the Judaic-Israelite tribal federation, second to first millennium B.C.) In the first half of the first millennium B.C., the Levites were the priests of the ancient Hebrew peripheral sanctuaries, whereas they played a secondary role in the worship connected with the central temple to Yahweh in Jerusalem. In the second half of the first millennium B.C. they formed a closed corporation, owned land, and received tithes. Between the sixth century B.C. and the first century A.D. the importance of the Levites in the worship of the temple to Yahweh in Jerusalem and in the life of Judaic society markedly increased, although they remained subordinate to the highest category of priests, the Cohanim.

REFERENCES

Vaux, R. de, Les Institutions de l’ancient testament, vol. 2. Paris, 1960. Pages 213–31 (”Le Lévitisme”).
Gunneweg, A. H. Y. Leviten und Priester. Göttingen, 1965.
References in periodicals archive ?
It is used most perversely when depraved men in Gibeah wish to have unnatural relations with a Levite, urging his host to send the man out so they can be intimate with him [ve-neda'ennu] (Judg.
(12) David sets up the twenty-four watches of priests and the twenty-four watches of Levites (I Chron.
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The very Last Word of David supports the Chronicler's revision of the earliest age one could be called a Levite.
Neither this nor any other Biblical evidence points to firstborns serving as priests."(44) Nevertheless, the Rabbis understood this passage to reflect the time prior to the transfer of the cultic role from the firstborn son who "opened the womb" to the Levite, which the Bible places a little over a year after the Israelites left Egypt.
And it seems, like the priest and the Levite who crossed the road to avoid the wounded Samaritan, much of the world has turned a deaf ear to the cries of the Palestinian people.
"We have fallen into the hypocrisy of the priest and the Levite whom Jesus described in the parable of the good Samaritan."
9 on the proposed purchase of the Levite property, at 460 Howard Road, for $575,000.
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