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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Gershon, Gershonites

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GERSHON, GERSHONITES . The name Gershon is given to the eldest 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 ; 1 Chronicles 6:16 [Gershom] 1 Chronicles 23:6 ). The title ‘Gershonites’ is found in Numbers 3:21 ; Numbers 3:23 f., Numbers 4:24 ; Numbers 4:27 f., Numbers 26:57 , Jos 21:33 , 1 Chronicles 23:7 ; 1 Chronicles 26:21 , 2 Chronicles 29:12 ; and of an individual, 1 Chronicles 26:21 ; 1 Chronicles 29:8 ; the ‘sons of Gershon’ ( Exodus 6:17 , Numbers 3:18 ; Numbers 3:25 ; Numbers 4:22 ; Numbers 4:36 ; Numbers 4:41 ; Numbers 7:7 ; Numbers 10:17 , Joshua 21:6 ; Joshua 21:27 ), or ‘of Gershom’ ( 1 Chronicles 6:17 ; 1Ch 6:62 ; 1 Chronicles 6:71 ; 1 Chronicles 15:7 ). They were subdivided into two groups, the Libnites and the Shimeites ( Numbers 3:21 ; Numbers 26:58 ), each being traced to a ‘son’ of Gershon ( Exodus 6:17 , Numbers 3:18 , 1Ch 6:17 ; 1 Chronicles 6:20 [42, Shimei is omitted from the genealogy]). ‘Ladan’ stands for Libni in 1 Chronicles 23:7 ff; 1 Chronicles 26:21 . From these families fragments of genealogies remain (see 1 Chronicles 23:8-11 ). Comparatively little is related of the Gershonites after the Exile. Certain of them are mentioned in 1 Chronicles 9:15 and Nehemiah 11:17 a, Nehemiah 11:22 as dwelling in Jerusalem immediately after the Return. Of the ‘sons of Asaph’ (Gershonites), 128 ( Ezra 2:41 ) or 148 ( Nehemiah 7:44 ) returned with Ezra to the city in b.c. 454. Asaphites led the music at the foundation of the Temple ( Ezra 3:10 ); and certain of them blew trumpets in the procession at the dedication of the city walls ( Nehemiah 12:25 ).

P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] and the Chronicler introduce the family into the earlier history. (1) During the desert wanderings the Gershonites were on the west side of the Tent (Numbers 3:23 ); their duty was to carry all the hangings which composed the Tent proper, and the outer coverings and the hangings of the court, with their cords ( Numbers 3:25 f., Numbers 4:24 ff., Numbers 10:17 ), for which they were given two wagons and four oxen ( Numbers 7:7 ); and they were superintended by Ithamar, the youngest son of Aaron ( Numbers 4:33 , Numbers 7:8 ). (2) After the settlement in Palestine, thirteen cities were assigned to them ( Joshua 21:6 ; Joshua 21:27-33 = 1 Chronicles 6:62 ; 1 Chronicles 6:71-76 ). (3) In David’s reign the Chronicler relates that the Temple music was managed partly by Asaph, a Gershonite, and his family ( 1 Chronicles 6:39-43 ; 1 Chronicles 25:1 f., 1Ch 25:6 , 1 Chronicles 25:8 a, 1 Chronicles 25:14 1 Chronicles 25:14 ; and see 1 Chronicles 15:7 ; 1 Chronicles 15:17-19 ). David divided the Levites into courses ‘according to the sons of Levi’ ( 1 Chronicles 23:6 ; Gershonites, 1 Chronicles 23:7-11 ); and particular offices of Gershonites are stated in 1 Chronicles 26:21 f. (4) Jahaziel, an Asaphite, prophesied to Jehoshaphat before the battle of En-gedi ( 2 Chronicles 20:14-17 ). (5) They took part in the cleansing of the Temple under Hezekiah ( 2 Chronicles 29:12 f.). Cf. also Kohath.

A. H. M‘Neile.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Gershon, Gershonites'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdb/g/gershon-gershonites.html. 1909.

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