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Who is Levi in the Bible?


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Philip Kosloski - published on 07/19/21

Levi is one of the 12 sons of Israel, and members of his tribe became the served in the Temple as priests and assistants.

Throughout the Bible the name Levi appears quite often. This is because of Levi’s vital role in the religious customs of Israel.

Levi was the third son borne to Jacob (Israel) by Leah, and full brother of Ruben, Simeon, and Judah.

He avenged the humiliation of his sister, Dinah, by slaughtering an entire tribe.

This did not sit well with his father, Jacob, who rebuked him for such violence.

Little else is known about Levi, but his descendants became grew to prominence during the Exodus with Moses, who also belonged to the tribe of Levi.

They were the only tribe who responded to Moses’ cry for help after the golden calf incident.

Moses stood at the gate of the camp and shouted, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” All the Levites then rallied to him … Then Moses said, “Today you are installed as priests for the Lord, for you went against your own sons and brothers, to bring a blessing upon yourselves this day.”

Exodus 32:25-29

As a result, the name of Levi was forever remembered throughout the history of the Old Testament. The Jewish Temple priests, or Kohanim, came from the tribe of Levi, and other religious assistants from the tribe were known as Levites. The levitical priesthood lasted until the Temple was destroyed. Jesus came to initiate a new priesthood not limited to a specific tribe.

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