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Levi (Son of Jacob)

Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception

Volume 16
Editor(s): Christine Helmer, Steven L. McKenzie, Thomas Römer, Jens Schröter, Barry Dov Walfish, Eric J. Ziolkowski
De Gruyter (Berlin, Boston) 2018

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

Harald Samuel

The biblical Levi, born to Leah as Jacob’s third son, is a rather inconspicuous character. As customary in the book of Genesis, the mother names the boy and explains the name within the larger framework of the story. In view of the intricate web of relationships with her husband and her younger sister, Rachel, Leah states “now my husband will become attached (yillāweh) to me” (Gen 29:34) – a not-too-subtle wordplay with the given name (cf. also Jub. 31:16, Jos. Asen. 22:13, and Num 18:2, 4).…

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