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The Gershonites were one of the four main divisions among the Levites in Biblical times. The Bible claims that the Gershonites were all descended from the eponymous Gershon, a son of Levi,[1] although biblical scholars regard this as a postdictional metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the clan to others in the Israelite confederation;[2][3] according to biblical scholars, Levite was originally just a job title, deriving from the Minaean word lawi'u meaning priest, rather than the name of a tribe.[4]

The Bible ascribes a specific religious function to the Gershonites, namely care of the curtains, hangings, and ropes of the sanctuary.[5] This differentiation of religious activity between the Gershonites and other Levites, in particular the Aaronids, is found only in the Priestly Code, and not in passages that textual scholars attribute to other authors.[2][6]

According to the Book of Joshua, rather than possessing a continuous territory, the Gershonites possessed several cities scattered throughout the geographic regions of Galilee and Bashan:[7]

See also[edit]

Notes and citations[edit]

  1. ^ Numbers 3:21
  2. ^ a b Peake's Commentary on the Bible
  3. ^ Jewish Encyclopedia
  4. ^  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainJewish Encyclopedia. 1901–1906. 
  5. ^ Numbers 3:25-26
  6. ^ Cheyne and Black, Encyclopedia Biblica
  7. ^ Joshua 21:27-33