Levi, the third son of Jacob, had a ruthless zeal in fighting against what he thought was wrong, and this characteristic passed on to his descendants (Gen 29:31-34; 34:25-26; Exod 32:26-28). Jacob announced that because of his son’s violence, the descendants of Levi would be scattered in Israel (Gen 49:5-7); but because of their zeal against idolatry in the time of Moses, God made their scattering honourable. The people of Levi’s tribe became God’s special servants throughout the nation. Although they had no tribal territory of their own, they were given cities in all the tribal territories (Exod 32:28-29; Num 35:2,8; Deut 33:8-10; see LEVITE). One of Jesus’ chosen twelve apostles had the name Levi, though he had an alternative name, Matthew (Matt 9:9; 10:3; Mark 2:14; Luke 6:15; see MATTHEW).

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