(Leʹvi) [Adherence; Joined].
1. Jacob’s third son by his wife Leah, born in Paddan-aram. (Ge 35:23, 26) At his birth Leah said: “Now this time my husband will join himself to me, because I have borne him three sons.” The boy was therefore called Levi, the meaning of this name evidently being linked with Leah’s hope for a new bond of affection between her and Jacob. (Ge 29:34) Levi became the father of Gershon (Gershom), Kohath, and Merari, founders of the three principal divisions of the Levites.—Ge 46:11; 1Ch 6:1, 16.
Levi, along with his brother Simeon, took drastic action against the defilers of their sister Dinah. (Ge 34:25, 26, 31) This expression of violent anger was cursed by Jacob, who foretold that Levi’s descendants would be scattered in Israel, a prophecy that was fulfilled when the Levites were indeed scattered throughout 48 Levite cities in the territories of Israel’s various tribes in the land of Canaan. (Ge 49:7; Jos 21:41) Levi accompanied Jacob into Egypt and died there at 137 years of age.—Ex 1:1, 2; 6:16; see LEVITES.
2. An ancestor of Jesus Christ who is referred to as the “son of Symeon” in the genealogy of Jesus recorded by Luke. He is listed in the line between David and Zerubbabel.—Lu 3:27-31.
3. The “son of Melchi,” who is the second person preceding Heli (Mary’s father) in Luke’s genealogy of Jesus.—Lu 3:23, 24.
4. A tax collector (Mr 2:14; Lu 5:27, 29) who became an apostle of Jesus Christ and was otherwise known as Matthew.—Mt 9:9; 10:2-4; see MATTHEW.