oa Journal for Semitics - Die Levitiese stede: kultiese sentra of staatsadministratiewe setels?

Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1013-8471



The premise of this paper is that the Levitical cities should not be regarded as cultic centres, but they should rather be looked upon as legislative and judiciary centres/seats manned by non-priestly Levitical civil servants. These Levites also provided for the cultic needs of the surrounding Israelite tribes. Most of the problems regarding the Levitical cities can be accounted for should this hypothesis be accepted. The Josian reform is then no longer a religious reform only, but it forms in fact a crucial element in the abolition of the power of the non-priestly Levites in the state organisation. Ezechiel's denunciation of these Levites is not due to their maladministration of the cult, but rather to their mismanagement of state affairs. Because the Josian reform caused large-scale unemployment in the ranks of the non-priestly Levites, it became one of the prime reasons for their unwillingness to return from exile.

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