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Sunday, December 11 2011

The Gershonites

Among the many children of Abraham (see The Journey From Ur Of The Chaldees and What Does The Bible Say About Arabs?) was the son that he had with Sarah (see Sarah's Promise), named Isaac.

"21:1 And the LORD [see Abraham The Christian] visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken [see The LORD And The Two Angels]. 21:2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 21:3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac." (Genesis 21:1-3 KJV)

One of the twin (fraternal, not identical) sons of Isaac and Rebekah (see Who Chose Rebekah?) was a son named Jacob.

Abraham's Journey

"25:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. 25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.

25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. 25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob [see Pottage]." (Genesis 25:24-28 KJV)

The LORD later renamed Jacob as "Israel." Jacob's children were thereafter to be known as Israelites (if the name change hadn't happened, they would have been known as Jacobites).

"32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." (Genesis 32:28 KJV)

Jacob / Israel had twelve sons and a daughter (Dinah), from two wives and two concubines. Among them was a son named Levi.

"35:23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun:

35:24 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin:

35:25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali:

35:26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram." (Genesis 35:23-26 KJV)

By the time that Jacob and his family (the "Israelites" or "Israel") entered Egypt (see Why Did They Go To Goshen?), Levi had married and had three sons. Among them was Gershon.

"46:5 And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 46:6 And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him." (Genesis 46:5-6 KJV)

"46:11 And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari." (Genesis 46:11 KJV)

"The families of the Gershonites"

During the four centuries that the Israelites were in Egypt (see also The Flight Into Egypt), the Levites were not regarded as any different than the other tribes. At the time of the birth of Moses, who was a descendant of Levi, there was no priesthood. Prior to that time, the more-ancient custom of worship was observed in which the firstborn of each family served as the worship leader (the primary reason that Jesus Christ was not a Levite is because as the Son of God, He was much more than a representative of Himself - i.e. see Why Wasn't Christ A Levite?).

The Tabernacle

"2:1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. 2:2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. 2:3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink [see The River Of Moses]." (Exodus 2:1-3 KJV)

The Levite priesthood (see also 'Raghead' Racism) was formally established at Mount Sinai, at the time when the Levites stood with Moses and the Law of God (see The Mount Sinai Riot).

"32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD's side? let him come unto me.

And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

32:27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.

32:28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men. 32:29 For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves to day to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day." (Exodus 32:26-29 KJV)

From the descendants of Levi's three sons (Gershon, Kohath and Merari), the LORD organized the Levites into three areas of service:

  • The first level was composed of Aaron, who was descended from Levi's son Kohath (as was Moses - but the priesthood was establish at and from Aaron, not Moses), and Aaron's descendants. They formed the priesthood.

  • The second level was made up of all of the other descendants of Kohath who were not descendants of Aaron. They were in charge of the most sacred parts of the Tabernacle (Numbers 3:27-32, 4:4-15, 7:9).

  • The third level consisted of all of the descendants of Gershon and Merari, who were given other duties (Numbers 3:21-26,33-37).

The Gershonites (not to be confused with a son of Moses who was given the same name, both variously rendered as Gershon or Gershom) were specified through their lineage.

The Camp Around The Tabernacle

"3:21 Of Gershon was the family of the Libnites, and the family of the Shimites: these are the families of the Gershonites. 3:22 Those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, even those that were numbered of them were seven thousand and five hundred. 3:23 The families of the Gershonites shall pitch behind the tabernacle westward. 3:24 And the chief of the house of the father of the Gershonites shall be Eliasaph the son of Lael. 3:25 And the charge of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation shall be the tabernacle, and the tent, the covering thereof, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 3:26 And the hangings of the court, and the curtain for the door of the court, which is by the tabernacle, and by the altar round about, and the cords of it for all the service thereof." (Numbers 3:21-26 KJV)

The Gershonites, along with the other Levites, were then assigned specific tasks of service. Even their location of encampment ("the Gershonites shall pitch behind the tabernacle westward") served the "position" of their service.

"4:21 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 4:22 Take also the sum of the sons of Gershon, throughout the houses of their fathers, by their families; 4:23 From thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; all that enter in to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.

4:24 This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, to serve, and for burdens: 4:25 And they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congregation, his covering, and the covering of the badgers' skins that is above upon it, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, 4:26 And the hangings of the court, and the hanging for the door of the gate of the court, which is by the tabernacle and by the altar round about, and their cords, and all the instruments of their service, and all that is made for them: so shall they serve. 4:27 At the appointment of Aaron and his sons shall be all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, in all their burdens, and in all their service: and ye shall appoint unto them in charge all their burdens. 4:28 This is the service of the families of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation: and their charge shall be under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest." (Numbers 4:21-28 KJV)

By the time of the entry into the Promised Land, as the priesthood, the Levites were assigned territory within the territory of each of the other tribes.

"21:27 And unto the children of Gershon, of the families of the Levites, out of the other half tribe of Manasseh they gave Golan in Bashan with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Beeshterah with her suburbs; two cities. 21:28 And out of the tribe of Issachar, Kishon with her suburbs, Dabareh with her suburbs, 21:29 Jarmuth with her suburbs, Engannim with her suburbs; four cities. 21:30 And out of the tribe of Asher, Mishal with her suburbs, Abdon with her suburbs, 21:31 Helkath with her suburbs, and Rehob with her suburbs; four cities. 21:32 And out of the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Hammothdor with her suburbs, and Kartan with her suburbs; three cities.

21:33 All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their suburbs." (Joshua 21:27-33 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why did "Israel" (the northern kingdom, who became "the lost ten tribes") lose their Levites?
See No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?


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This Day In History, December 11

1205: John Grey, Bishop of Norwich, was elected Archbishop of Canterbury. He was later rejected by Pope Innocent III.

1640: English Puritans introduced the "Root and Branch" petition to the Long Parliament in London.

1688: King James II abdicated the British throne.

1792: King Louis XVI of France was put on trial for treason.

1845: The Sonderbund was established by the 7 Catholic Swiss cantons to oppose anti-Catholic measures by Protestant cantons.

1845: In India, Sikhs crossed Sutlej and made a surprise attack on the British, starting the Anglo-Sikh War.

1899: During the second British-Boer War, the British under Methuen attempted to advance and were defeated with the loss of over 1,000 men by 9,000 Boers under Cronje at the Battle of Magersfontein.

1901: Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi flew a kite fitted with an aerial from the Cabot Memorial Tower on Signal Hill in Newfoundland which enabled him to receive the world's first transatlantic radio message. Sent from Cornwall, England, it consisted of 3 dots, the Morse Code signal for the letter "s".

1930: The Bank of The United States in New York failed and closed all of its 60 branches. The bank had over 400,000 depositors.

1931: Britain's Statute of Westminster gave complete legislative independence to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and Newfoundland.

1936: Britain's King Edward VIII told a radio audience that he was abdicating the throne to marry U.S. divorcee Wallis Simpson. Edward had reigned for only 11 months, the shortest reign since that of Edward V in the 15th century. George VI, father of Elizabeth II, became king.

1937: Italy withdrew from the League of Nations.

1941: Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. then declared war on them. Poland declared war on Japan. Cuba, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Guatemala all declared war on Germany and Italy.

1941: Japanese forces occupied Guam.

1948: Newfoundland signed an agreement to become Canada's 10th province.

1955: Israeli forces attacked Syrian positions on the Sea of Galilee.

1961: Captured Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann was found guilty and sentenced to death by a court in Israel. He was hung in May of the next year.

1962: Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin were hung at Toronto's Don Jail (Turpin murdered a Toronto police officer while fleeing an armed robbery; Lucas, who was a U.S. citizen from Georgia, murdered an undercover U.S. narcotics officer from Detroit while he was visiting Toronto). There were 710 executions in Canada between 1867 (when Canada became independent of Britain) and 1962 when the death penalty was abolished.

1967: The Concorde, a joint British-French development and the world's first supersonic airliner, was formally introduced in France.

1973: West Germany and Czechoslovakia signed a treaty nullifying the 1938 Munich Pact which sanctioned Hitler's seizure of the Sudetenland.

1983: The first visit to Lutheran church by a pope was made by Pope John Paul II in Rome.

1991: European Community leaders signed the "Maastricht Treaty" which aimed for a common foreign policy and a single currency by 1999.





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