According to Deuteronomy the Levites were priests who offered sacrifices and passed on the teachings of the law (Deut. 17:18; 33:10). They are scattered round the towns, but in view of the centralization of worship in Jerusalem Levites were invited to join the Zadokite priests descended from Aaron through Zadok, priest to David (2 Sam. 15:24), but always in a subordinate role. They were suspected of dabbling in rural Canaanite rites (Ezek. 44:10–14) and became Temple vergers, musicians, and slaughterers. This was the situation after the Exile and the P tradition in the Pentateuch assigns the distinction even to the time of Moses (Num. 18:2–6). Levites retained their office, supported by tithes, as long as the Temple lasted (until 70 CE). The NT mentions them as accompanying priests to see John the Baptist (John 1:19), as a character in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:32), and Paul's companion Barnabas is said to be a Levite from Cyprus (Acts 4:36).

Dictionary of the Bible.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Levites — • The subordinate ministers appointed in the Mosaic Law for the service of the Tabernacle and of the Temple Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Levites     Levites      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • LEVITES —    a body of men divided into courses, the servants of the priests in the worship of the Temple of Jerusalem; they were not permitted to enter the sanctuary or serve at the altar, their duties being limited to keeping watch over the Temple,… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • LEVITES —    the descendants of JACOB s son, Levi, who became an Order of PRIESTS in ANCIENT JUDAISM …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Levites — n. member of the tribe of Levi (one of the 12 tribes of Israel) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Lévites —  Левиты …   Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов

  • Levites —   Lewika …   English-Hawaiian dictionary

  • LEVITES IN THE HALAKHAH — The levite has no privileges, neither through personal or family status nor any special sanctity, and it was ruled that the levite is equivalent to the Israelite in all things, including ritual defilement through contact with a corpse, which is… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • priests and Levites — In the OT the priests were intermediaries between the people and their all powerful God. Their main function was to offer sacrifices, with a subsidiary duty until the Exile [[➝ Exile, the]], of teaching the Law. They were also in charge of Urim… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • TEMPLE — The article is arranged according to the following outline: first temple history structure the ground plan of the temple the detailed plan of the temple general description the porch THE MAIN ROOM (HEKHAL) OR HOLY PLACE …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • LEVI — (Heb. לֵוִי), third son of Jacob and Leah, born in Paddan Aram (Gen. 29:34); father of the tribe named after him. The name Levi is explained in the Pentateuch by Leah s words at his birth: Now this time my husband will become attached to me (Heb …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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