Not the “Levi” of the New Testament; the “Levi” of the Old Testament. (By the way… do you know who the “Levi” of the NT was usually called by? Matthew, an apostle of Jesus and writer of the Gospel of Matthew)
Leah gave birth to the first 4 sons of Jacob… and a total of 6 sons altogether. She was the most fruitful of Jacob’s wives/sub-wives, but she was not the one Jacob most loved. Rachel was the wife Jacob really wanted.
“Levi” means ‘joined to, attached to’. When Levi was born, Leah said, “Now my husband will be attached to me.” Levi’s tribe would become the one most “attached” to God!
See Genesis 34:1,2,7-9,13-17,19,25-29,30
The retribution Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s full brothers, handed out to the Shechemites after the rape of their sister, Dinah.
See Genesis 49:1
Jacob/Israel was dying… and, on his death bed, he calls each of his sons. One by one, he announces either blessing or a curse… judgments and promises about their destiny. Concerning Levi, Jacob said; “Simeon and Levi are brothers; their swords are implements of violence. Let my soul not enter into their council; let not my glory be united with their assembly; because, in their anger, they slew men, and, in their self-will, they lamed oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel. I will disperse them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.”
There was no blessing from Moses on the Simeonites when the tribal lands were allotted… and Simeon’s tribe passed away in silence (Deut. 33).
The book of Numbers describes God’s announcement and calling of Aaron to the role of priest… and the tribe of Levi connected with the priesthood.
Famous Levites in the Bible? Aaron (Ex. 4:14) and Barnabas (Acts 4:36). They were descendants of the tribe of Levi, and were assistants to the priests.
3 words come to mind in connection with Levites:
Their work was connected with the tabernacle. The Levites 1) dismantled it, 2) constructed it, 3) guarded it, and 4) carried it.
See Exodus 32:26-28. The Levites left those who were engaged in the golden calf idolatry and joined Moses on the other side.
Their work was practical, more than spiritual; see Numbers 1:50-53; 18:1-4.
It was a sacred duty to the Tabernacle. When the 12 tribes of Israel were at rest… when they were not on the move during the 40yrs of wilderness wandering, and the tabernacle of God was set up… and camp was made… the Levites place in the encampment was representative of the position that Jesus Christ takes between God and mankind.
The Levites stood between the sanctuary and the other tribes to represent the fact Jesus stands between us and God… for us… so God’s judgment on sin falls on Him before it falls on us.
When the tribes were given their inheritance in the Promised Land, Levi was not given land. He was given God. Concerning Levi, God said, “I am his inheritance”.
It seems the Old Testament, Jewish Levites correlate to the New Testament, Christian deacons. Like Levites, deacons are given privileged work concerning the church body… the privilege of serving. Like Levites, deacons are to be principled… principles over preferences. Like Levites, deacons are to be practical… love displayed as ministry, in practical ways.
Thank God for our modern-day Levites… our deacons; they are essential to the work and ministry of the church!
You can read Levi’s story in Genesis 29; 34; 49… and of the Levites throughout the Old Testament.