(Gerʹshon·ites) [Of (Belonging to) Gershon].
The descendants of Gershon, or Gershom—the first named of the three sons of Levi—through his two sons Libni and Shimei. (1Ch 6:1, 16, 17) The Gershonites constituted one of the three great divisions of the Levites. At the first census in the wilderness, they numbered 7,500 males from a month old and upward. Those from 30 to 50 years of age who served at the tabernacle numbered 2,630 males. (Nu 3:21, 22; 4:38-41) The service of the Gershonites in the wilderness included caring for the tabernacle (the tent of meeting), its various coverings, the screen of the entrance of the tabernacle, the hangings of the courtyard, the screen of the courtyard entrance, and the tent cords. (Nu 3:23-26; 4:21-28; Ex 26:1, 7, 14, 36; 27:9, 16) In the camp in the wilderness, their place was on the W side of the tabernacle. Behind them, at a distance from the tabernacle, camped the three-tribe division of Ephraim. (Nu 3:23; 2:18) When the chieftains of Israel presented 6 covered wagons and 12 bulls for tabernacle service, Moses gave 2 wagons and 4 bulls to the sons of Gershon. (Nu 7:1-7) When moving camp, the Gershonites marched with the Merarites between the leading three-tribe division of Judah and the three-tribe division of Reuben.—Nu 10:14-20.
The Gershonites were allotted 13 cities with pasture grounds in the territories of Manasseh, Issachar, Asher, and Naphtali. Kedesh, in Galilee, and Golan, in Bashan, allotted to them, were two of the nation’s six cities of refuge. (Jos 21:27-33) When David reorganized the Levites, responsibility in connection with singing and the treasury were duties given to some of the Gershonites. (1Ch 6:31, 32, 39-43; 23:4-11; 26:21, 22) Gershonites were among the Levites who engaged in the work of cleansing the temple in the days of King Hezekiah.—2Ch 29:12-17.