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the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Merari, Merarites

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

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MERARI, MERARITES. 1 . The third son of Levi, to whom a division of the Levites traced their descent ( Genesis 46:11 , Exodus 6:16 , Numbers 3:17 , 1 Chronicles 6:1; 1Ch 6:16; 1 Chronicles 23:6 . The title ‘Merarites’ is found only in Numbers 26:57; elsewhere they are called ‘sons of Merari’ ( Exodus 6:19 , Numbers 3:20; Numbers 4:29; Numbers 4:33; Numbers 4:42; Numbers 4:46; Numbers 7:8; Numbers 10:17 , Joshua 21:7; Joshua 21:34; Joshua 21:39 , 1 Chronicles 6:19; 1Ch 6:29; 1 Chronicles 6:44; 1 Chronicles 6:63; 1Ch 6:77; 1 Chronicles 9:14; 1 Chronicles 15:6; 1Ch 15:17; 1 Chronicles 23:21; 1 Chronicles 24:27; 1 Chronicles 26:19 , 2 Chronicles 29:12 , Ezra 8:19 ). They were subdivided into two groups, the Mahlites and the Mushites ( Numbers 3:33; Numbers 26:58 ), each being traced to a ‘son’ of Merari ( Exodus 6:19 , Numbers 3:20 , 1Ch 6:19; 1 Chronicles 6:29; 1 Chronicles 6:17; 1 Chronicles 23:21 ). From these families fragments of genealogies remain, some branches being traced through the daughters of Mahli (see 1 Chronicles 23:2 ).

Very little is related of the Merarites after the Exile. Certain Merarites are mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:14; 1 Chronicles 9:16-18 = Nehemiah 11:15; Nehemiah 11:17-19 as dwelling in Jerusalem immediately after the Return, and certain others as accompanying Ezra to the city in 454 b.c. ( Ezra 8:18 f.). But P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] and the Chronicler introduce the family into the earlier history. (1) During the desert wanderings the Merarites were on the north side of the Tent ( Numbers 3:35 ); their duty was to carry the less sacred parts of it, the ‘boards’ (or rather frames), pegs, cords, etc. ( Numbers 3:38 f., Numbers 4:31 f., Numbers 10:17 ), for which they were given four waggons and eight oxen ( Numbers 7:8 ); and they were superintended by Ithamar, the youngest son of Aaron ( Numbers 4:33 ). (2) After the settlement in Palestine, twelve cities were assigned to them ( Joshua 21:7; Joshua 21:34-40 = 1 Chronicles 6:63; 1 Chronicles 6:77-81 ). (3) In David’s reign the Chronicler relates that the Temple music was superintended partly by Ethan, or Jeduthun, a Merarite, and his family ( 1 Chronicles 6:44-47; 1Ch 16:41 f., 1 Chronicles 25:1; 1 Chronicles 25:3; 1Ch 25:6; 1 Chronicles 25:11; 1 Chronicles 25:16; 1 Chronicles 25:18; 1 Chronicles 25:21 f.; and see 1 Chronicles 15:6; 1 Chronicles 15:17-19 ). David divided the Levites into courses ‘according to the sons of Levi’ ( 1 Chronicles 23:8; Merarites, 1 Chronicles 23:21-24; 1 Chronicles 23:26-30 ), and particular offices of certain Merarites are detailed in 1 Chronicles 26:10-13; 1 Chronicles 26:16-18 . (4) They took part in the cleansing of the Temple under Hezekiah ( 2 Chronicles 29:12; 2 Chronicles 29:14 ). Cf. also art. Kohath.

2. The father of Judith ( Jdt 8:1; Jdt 16:7 ).

A. H. M’Neile.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Merari, Merarites'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​hdb/​m/merari-merarites.html. 1909.
 
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