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Kohathite [1]

(collective קַהָתי , Kohathi',  Numbers 3:27;  Numbers 3:30;  Numbers 4:18;  Numbers 4:34;  Numbers 4:37;  Numbers 10:21;  Numbers 26:57;  2 Chronicles 34:12; or קְהָתַי , Kehathi',  Joshua 21:4;  Joshua 21:10;  1 Chronicles 6:33;  1 Chronicles 6:54;  1 Chronicles 9:32;  2 Chronicles 20:19;  2 Chronicles 29:12; Sept. Καάθ ; Auth. Vers. " Kohathites"), the descendants of KOHATH, the second of the three sons of Levi (Gershon, Kohath, Merari), from whom the three principal divisions of the Levites derived their origin and their name ( Genesis 46:11;  Exodus 6:16;  Exodus 6:18;  Numbers 3:17;  2 Chronicles 34:12, etc.). Kohath was the father of Amram, and he of Moses and Aaron. From him, therefore, were descended all the priests; and hence those of the Kohathites who were not priests were of the highest rank of the Levites, though not the sons of Levi's first-born. Korah, the son of Izhar, was a Kohathite, and hence, perhaps, his impatience of the superiority of his relatives, Moses and Aaron. In the journeyings of the tabernacle the sons of Kohath had charge of the most holy portions of the vessels, to carry them by staves, as the vail, the ark, the tables of show-bread, the golden altar, etc. (Numbers 4); but they were not to touch them or look upon them "lest they die." These were all previously covered by the priests, the sons of Aaron. In the reign of Hezekiah the Kohathites are mentioned first ( 2 Chronicles 29:12), as they are also  1 Chronicles 15:5-7;  1 Chronicles 15:11, when Uriel their chief assisted, with 120 of his brethren, in bringing up the ark to Jerusalem in the time of David. It is also remarkable that in this last list of those whom David calls " chief of the fathers of the Levites," and couples with " Zadok and Abiathar the priests," of six who are mentioned by name four are descendants of Kohath, viz., besides Uriel, Shemaiah, the son of Elzaphan, with 200 of his brethren; Eliel, the son of Hebron, with 80 of his brethren; and Amminadab, the son of Uzziel, with 112 of his brethren. For it appears from  Exodus 6:18-22, comp. with  1 Chronicles 23:12;  1 Chronicles 26:23-32, that there were four families of sons of Kohath Amramites, Izharites, Hebronites, and Uzzielites; and of the above names Elzaphan and Amminadab were both Uzzielites ( Exodus 6:22), and Eliel a Hebronite. The verses already cited from 1 Chronicles 26;  Numbers 3:19;  Numbers 3:27;  1 Chronicles 23:12, also disclose the wealth and importance of the Kohathites, and the important offices filled by them as keepers of' the dedicated treasures, as judges, officers, and rulers, both secular and sacred. In  2 Chronicles 20:19 they appear as singers, with the Korhites.

The number of the sons of Kohath between the ages of thirty and fifty, at the first census in the wilderness, was 2750, and the whole number of males from a month old was 8600 ( Numbers 3:28;  Numbers 4:36). Their number is not given at the second numbering ( Numbers 26:57), but the whole number of Levites had increased by 1300, viz. from 22,000 to 23,300 ( Numbers 3:39;  Numbers 26:62). The place of the sons of Kohath in marching and encampment was south of the tabernacle ( Numbers 3:29), which was also the situation of the Reubenites. Samuel was a Kohathite, and so of course were his descendants, Heman the singer and the third division of the singers which was under him. (See Heman); (See Asaph); (See Jeduthun). The inheritance of those sons of Kohath who were not priests lay in the half tribe of Manasseh, in Ephraim ( 1 Chronicles 6:61-70), and in Dan ( Joshua 21:5;  Joshua 21:20-26). Of the personal history of Kohath we know nothing, except that he came down to Egypt with Levi and Jacob ( Genesis 46:11), that his sister was Jochebed ( Exodus 6:20), and that he lived to the age of 133 years ( Exodus 6:18). He lived about eighty or ninety years in Egypt during Joseph's lifetime, and about thirty more after his death. He may have been some twenty years younger than Joseph his uncle. A full table of the descendants of Kohath may be seen in Burrington's Genealogies, Tab. X, No. 1. (See Levite).