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In the Old Testament, the third son of Jacob and Leah (Gen. 29:34; 35:23). Levi became the father of one of the tribes of Israel.

The tribe of Levi

Jacob blessed Levi and his descendants (Gen. 49:5–7, 28). Descendants of Levi ministered in the sanctuaries of Israel (Num. 1:47–54). Aaron was a Levite, and his descendants were priests (Ex. 6:16–20; 28:1–4; 29). The Levites assisted the priests, the sons of Aaron (Num. 3:5–10; 1 Kgs. 8:4). They sometimes acted as musicians (1 Chr. 15:16; Neh. 11:22); slaughtered sacrifices (2 Chr. 29:34; Ezra 6:20); and generally assisted in the temple (Neh. 11:16). The Levites were dedicated to the service of the Lord to execute the ordinances for the children of Israel. The Levites were themselves offered on behalf of the children of Israel (Num. 8:11–22); they thus became God’s peculiar property, given to Him in place of the firstborn (Num. 8:16). They were not consecrated but were cleansed for their office (Num. 8:7–16). They had no land inheritance in Canaan (Num. 18:23–24), but they received the tithe (Num. 18:21), forty-eight cities (Num. 35:6), and a right to receive the alms of the people at feast times (Deut. 12:18–19; 14:27–29).