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Encyclopedia > Lewi
This article discusses the Biblical patriarch. For Levi Strauss, the inventor of jeans, see Levi Strauss. For Levites, see Levite.

Levi or Levy (לֵוִי "Attached", Standard Hebrew Levi, Tiberian Hebrew Lēwî) was the founder of the Levite tribe of ancient Israel. He was a son of Leah and Jacob, also known as Israel, who was in turn a son of Isaac, the son of Abraham.


The Bible descibes Levi as a clever but ferocious politician and soldier, prone to fits of anger. The Bible tells of when Shechem (a Hivite) had raped Levi's sister, Dinah. When Shechem came to request to be given Dinah as a wife, Levi with his brother Simeon agreed to the marriage on the condition that the Hivites be circumcised. Shechem agreed to this, but on the third day after the mass circumcision, while the Hivites were still sore, Levi and Simeon led an attack on the Hivite city and killed all the Hivite men and appropriated their wealth (Gen 34). He was also involved in the plot to kill his half brother Joseph. Jacob refused to make Levi his heir on account of his anger (Gen 49:5).


Levi had three sons; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. According to the bible Levi lived to be 137 years old (Ex 6:16).


The most famous descendant of Levi was Moses, who received the law from God on Mt. Sinai in the Book of Exodus. His brother, Aaron became the first Levite High-priest of Israel, known as a Kohen - Gadol.


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Lewis was to become a key figure of the English intellectual, artistic and literary avant-garde of the first half of the twentieth century, and few of this talented circle were English.
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