1. The third son of Jacob and Leah, born in Mesopotamia; and father of three sons, and of Jochebed the mother of Moses, Ge 29:34; Ex 6:16-20. For his share in the treacherous massacre of the Shechemites, Ge 34, his father at death foreboded evil to his posterity, Ge 49:5-7; but as they afterwards stood forth on the Lord's side, Moses was charged to bless them, Ex 32:26-29; De 33:8-11. The tribe of Levi was, according to Jacob's prediction, scattered over all Israel, having no share in the cities in the portions of other tribes. All the tithes, first fruits, and offerings, presented at the temple, as well as several parts of all the victims that were offered belonged to the tribe of Levi. See LEVITES.
2. The apostle Matthew was also called Levi. See MATTHEW.
adhesion. (1.) The third son of Jacob by Leah. The origin of the name is found in Leah's words (Ge 29:34), "This time will my husband be joined [Heb yillaveh] unto me." He is mentioned as taking a prominent part in avenging his sister Dinah (Ge 34:25-31). He and his three sons went down with Jacob (Ge 46:11) into Egypt, where he died at the age of one hundred and thirty-seven years (Ex 6:16).
(2.) The father of Matthat, and son of Simeon, of the ancestors of Christ (Lu 3:29).
(3.) Lu 3:24.
1. Jacob's third son by Leah, ("joined"), expressing her trust; "now will my husband be joined unto me, because I have borne him three sons" (Ge 29:34). Levi joined Simeon in avenging their own full sister Dinah's wrong by treacherously slaying the Shechemites, and so incurred Jacob's curse. They made circumcision, which God gave as a pledge of His holy covenant, the instrument of hypocrisy and bloody revenge. Jacob's moral weakness, in reproaching his sons not with the treacherous murder but with exposing him to danger ("ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land"), is faithfully delineated (Genesis 34). On his death bed he took a less selfish and juster view of their deed (Ge 49:5-7): "Simeon and Levi are brethren" in character as in birth, "instruments of wickedness are their swords (Hebrew). O my soul, come not thou into their secret" (deliberative council), renounce all fellowship with their act; "mine honour" (glory, my spirit, which is man's glory, the center of his personality framed in God's image);" for in their anger they slew a man and in their wantonness (Hebrew) houghed an ox."
In Ge 34:28 it is merely said "they took their oxen." Genesis 49 brings out the additional fact that in cruel revenge they wantonly severed the hind foot tendons of the Shechemites' oxen. Simeon, as the one detained in Egypt, by Joseph, was probably the foremost of Levi's sons in the cruel attack on Rachel's son, and Levi probably joined him, though the spite began with the base born sons of Bilhah and Zilpah. The discipline made the sons, once so unfeeling towards Joseph, to become self sacrificing for Benjamin. As the two joined in crime, retributively they should be "divided and scattered" in Israel. Levi received no land inheritance but cities scattered through Israel (Jos 21:1-40), and depended on tithes paid by the other tribes. The curse became subsequently a blessing to the nation by Levi's separation to divine service. But Jacob does not intimate this, a proof of the genuineness of his blessing as recorded in Genesis.
Moses subsequently speaks in very different language of Levi (De 33:8 ff), as was appropriate after Levi's accession to the priestly honour: "let Thy Right (thummim) and Thy Light (urim) be with Thy holy one (Levi, representing the whole tribe. The Urim and Thummim worn on the high priest's breast-plate were the pledge that Jehovah would always give His people 'light' to defend His 'right'; they should be given to Levi because he had defended Jehovah's right), whom Thou didst prove at Massah (Ex 17:1-7, by the people's murmuring against Moses, Levi's representative, for water at the outset of the 40 years' wanderings) and with whom Thou didst strive at ... Meribah" (Nu 20:1-13, at Kadesh, at the close of 40 years, the two comprehending the whole intermediate period). Jehovah "proved" Levi, and by the people's strivings "strove with" Levi (represented by Moses and Aaron.) Levi proved himself in the main (for Moses' failure, Numbers 20, and the Levite Korah's rebellion, Numbers 16, are graciously ignored) to be Jehovah's holy one.
Moses and Aaron's faithfulness, the Levites' drawing their swords against their Israelite brethren as God's avengers of the idolatry of the golden calf (Ex 32:26-29), "slaying every man his brother ... companion ... neighbour ... son," where God's honour was at stake (Mt 10:37; 19:29; Lu 14:26), and Phinehas' zeal against the idolaters and fornicators with the Moabite women (Nu 25:11), gained God's approval and the choice of Levi as the priestly tribe (De 33:9-11). "Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him, neither did he acknowledge his brethren ... They shall teach Jacob Thy judgments and Israel Thy law (Le 10:11), they shall present incense before Thee (in the holy place) and whole burnt offering upon Thine altar (in the court). Bless, Lord, his substance (rather his power) and accept the work of his hands. Smite through the lions (Ps 69:23, the strength) of them that rise against Him," etc.; i.e., give him power for discharging duty, accept his service, and make his adversaries powerless. Levi died at the age of 137 (Ex 6:16). (See LEVITES.)
2. Ancestors of Christ (Lu 3:24,29).
1. The third son of Jacob by Leah (Ge 29:34 Jahwist). The genealogical story connects the name with the verb l
1. The third son of Jacob and Leah. Ge 29:34. Very little is recorded of Levi: he joined with Simeon in the treacherous and vindictive dealings with Shechem. Ge 34:25-31. When Jacob blessed his sons, a curse was pronounced on their cruelty, and it is added "I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel." The above illustrates the righteous government of God, which is in no way set aside by the reward of after faithful conduct, which caused this tribe to be chosen for the Levitical service and the priesthood: cf. Mal 2:4,6. It was sovereign grace. For the blessings on Levi's descendants by Moses, see De 33:8-11. His three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari were heads of the three branches of the LEVITES, q.v.
2. Another name of MATTHEW the apostle. Mr 2:14; Lu 5:27,29.
3, 4. Son of Melchi, and son of Simeon, in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus. Lu 3:24,29-30.
1. The name of the third son of Jacob by his wife Leah. (B.C. about 1753.) The name, derived from lavah, "to adhere," gave utterance to the hope of the mother that the affections of her husband, which had hitherto rested on the favored Rachel, would at last be drawn to her: "This time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have borne him three sons."
Levi, with his brother Simeon, avenged with a cruel slaughter the outrage of their sister Dinah. [DINAH] Levi, with his three sons, Gershon, Kohath and Merari, went down to Egypt with his father Jacob.
When Jacob's death draws near, and the sons are gathered round him, Levi and Simeon hear the old crime brought up again to receive its sentence. They no less than Reuben, the incestuous firstborn, had forfeited the privileges of their birthright.
2. Two of the ancestors of Jesus.
3. Son of Alphaeus or Matthew; one of the apostles.
Mr 2:14; Lu 5:27,29