(lee' vi) Personal name meaning “a joining.” 1. Third son of Jacob and Leah (Genesis 29:34) and original ancestor of Israel's priests. He is characterized in Scripture as savage and merciless, avenging the rape of his sister, Dinah, by annihilating the male population of an entire city (Genesis 34:25-31). Later, Jacob spoke harshly of Levi rather than blessing him (Genesis 49:5-7). The tribe which bears his name also is characterized as instruments of wrath. After the people of Israel sinned in the wilderness by making the molten calf, Moses commanded the people of Levi to slaughter those who had participated in the debacle (Exodus 32:28). Levi's descendants became a tribe of priests. See Levites. 2. Name of two of Jesus' ancestors (Luke 3:24,Luke 3:29). 3. A tax collector in Capernaum who became a follower of Jesus (Mark 2:14). In the parallel account in the Gospel of Matthew the man's name is given as “Matthew” instead of “Levi” (Mark 9:9). The name of Levi appears in none of the lists of apostles.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'LEVI'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".