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levite

levite


  2  definitions  found 
 
  From  Webster's  Revised  Unabridged  Dictionary  (1913)  [web1913]: 
 
  Levite  \Le"vite\  (l[=e]"v[imac]t),  n.  [L.  Levites  Gr 
  Leyi:`ths,  fr  Heb.  Levi,  one  of  the  sons  of  Jacob.] 
  1.  (Bib.  Hist.)  One  of  the  tribe  or  family  of  Levi;  a 
  descendant  of  Levi;  esp.,  one  subordinate  to  the  priests 
  (who  were  of  the  same  tribe)  and  employed  in  various 
  duties  connected  with  the  tabernacle  first  and  afterward 
  the  temple,  such  as  the  care  of  the  building,  bringing  of 
  wood  and  other  necessaries  for  the  sacrifices,  the  music 
  of  the  services,  etc 
 
  2.  A  priest;  --  so  called  in  contempt  or  ridicule. 
 
  From  Easton's  1897  Bible  Dictionary  [easton]: 
 
  Levite 
  a  descendant  of  the  tribe  of  Levi  (Ex.  6:25;  Lev.  25:32;  Num. 
  35:2;  Josh.  21:3,  41).  This  name  is  however,  generally  used  as 
  the  title  of  that  portion  of  the  tribe  which  was  set  apart  for 
  the  subordinate  offices  of  the  sanctuary  service  (1  Kings  8:4; 
  Ezra  2:70),  as  assistants  to  the  priests. 
 
  When  the  Israelites  left  Egypt,  the  ancient  manner  of  worship 
  was  still  observed  by  them  the  eldest  son  of  each  house 
  inheriting  the  priest's  office.  At  Sinai  the  first  change  in 
  this  ancient  practice  was  made  A  hereditary  priesthood  in  the 
  family  of  Aaron  was  then  instituted  (Ex.  28:1).  But  it  was  not 
  till  that  terrible  scene  in  connection  with  the  sin  of  the 
  golden  calf  that  the  tribe  of  Levi  stood  apart  and  began  to 
  occupy  a  distinct  position  (Ex.  32).  The  religious  primogeniture 
  was  then  conferred  on  this  tribe,  which  henceforth  was  devoted 
  to  the  service  of  the  sanctuary  (Num.  3:11-13).  They  were 
  selected  for  this  purpose  because  of  their  zeal  for  the  glory  of 
  God  (Ex.  32:26),  and  because  as  the  tribe  to  which  Moses  and 
  Aaron  belonged,  they  would  naturally  stand  by  the  lawgiver  in 
  his  work 
 
  The  Levitical  order  consisted  of  all  the  descendants  of  Levi's 
  three  sons,  Gershon,  Kohath,  and  Merari;  whilst  Aaron,  Amram's 
  son  (Amram,  son  of  Kohat),  and  his  issue  constituted  the 
  priestly  order 
 
  The  age  and  qualification  for  Levitical  service  are  specified 
  in  Num.  4:3,  23,  30,  39,  43,  47. 
 
  They  were  not  included  among  the  armies  of  Israel  (Num.  1:47; 
  2:33;  26:62),  but  were  reckoned  by  themselves.  They  were  the 
  special  guardians  of  the  tabernacle  (Num.  1:51;  18:22-24).  The 
  Gershonites  pitched  their  tents  on  the  west  of  the  tabernacle 
  (3:23),  the  Kohathites  on  the  south  (3:29),  the  Merarites  on  the 
  north  (3:35),  and  the  priests  on  the  east  (3:38).  It  was  their 
  duty  to  move  the  tent  and  carry  the  parts  of  the  sacred 
  structure  from  place  to  place  They  were  given  to  Aaron  and  his 
  sons  the  priests  to  wait  upon  them  and  do  work  for  them  at  the 
  sanctuary  services  (Num.  8:19;  18:2-6). 
 
  As  being  wholly  consecrated  to  the  service  of  the  Lord,  they 
  had  no  territorial  possessions.  Jehovah  was  their  inheritance 
  (Num.  18:20;  26:62;  Deut.  10:9;  18:1,  2),  and  for  their  support 
  it  was  ordained  that  they  should  receive  from  the  other  tribes 
  the  tithes  of  the  produce  of  the  land.  Forty-eight  cities  also 
  were  assigned  to  them  thirteen  of  which  were  for  the  priests 
  "to  dwell  in",  i.e.,  along  with  their  other  inhabitants.  Along 
  with  their  dwellings  they  had  "suburbs",  i.e.,  "commons",  for 
  their  herds  and  flocks,  and  also  fields  and  vineyards  (Num. 
  35:2-5).  Nine  of  these  cities  were  in  Judah,  three  in  Naphtali, 
  and  four  in  each  of  the  other  tribes  (Josh.  21).  Six  of  the 
  Levitical  cities  were  set  apart  as  "cities  of  refuge"  (q.v.). 
  Thus  the  Levites  were  scattered  among  the  tribes  to  keep  alive 
  among  them  the  knowledge  and  service  of  God.  (See  {PRIEST}.)