The descendants of Levi, the third son of Jacob by Lia. The whole tribe of Levi by the command of God was set apart for the service of the sanctuary. Therefore in the apportionment of the land of Chanaan, the tribe of Levi received no tribal territory (Jos., 13). In lieu of land they received the tithes and also four cities with suburban pasture lands from each of the other tribes of Israel. As most of their duties required a man's full strength, the Levites usually entered active service at 30. At the exodus from Egypt the male descendants of Levi from a month old and upward numbered 22,000. In the journey through the wilderness the number of the Levites from 30 years up to 50 years, the year of superannuation, was 8580 (Numbers 4). Aaron and his sons were chosen for the priesthood (Exodus 8); the subordinate offices of the Temple and many other public services were assigned to the rest of the tribe.

New Catholic Dictionary

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