Aaron was made high priest by Moses, and all his sons were to follow in his footsteps. His DNA has been found to be called J1 or the Cohen gene. Supposedly, all the Levites should have carried the same Y haplogroup of Jacob, and Jacob would have been carrying the same as his father, etc.Scientists have found that this is true of the Cohens who lived under special conditions like not marrying a divorced woman, other conditions, but is not proving to be true for the group designated as the Levites. Daniel Eskow, Levite, Russian Jewish, painting by me
Levites: In very ancient times, all the male descendants of the tribe of Levi were consecrated by Moses to serve in the the Temple and to instruct the people.
In those days, the 1st-born of each family served as priest, but because of the loyalty of the Levites during the incident of the Golden Calf, they replaced the first born of everyone.
Each family of Levites was assigned specific duties connected with the transport and assembly of the parts of the future Temple in the wilderness. The family of Aaron was singled out for service as priests within the Temple-to-be (as a temporary site, referred to as the Tabernacle.)Bon Voyage party before moving to Israel to teach
After the conquest of Canaan, the Levites were enjoined to teach the Torah to the people, being therefore excluded from any territorial inheritance but receiving 48 towns with their environs throughout the country, as well as a tithe of the agricultural produce. This arrangement worked somewhat differently to practice. Daniel, above, finally became a high school history teacher, and he was amazing at it in Oregon.
Certain towns assigned to the Levites were only captured a long time after the conquest, or not at all, and there is no evidence to show how effective was the collection of tithes. Consequently, some of the Levites served at High Places, especially in the Northern Kingdom after Jeroboam had instituted independent worship.
According to Chronicles at the very end of the Tanakh, when the Temple service was organized, traditionally by David, the Levites were divided into groups, each engaging in different work (singers, instramentalists, gatekeepers, assistants to the priests during the sacrifice, etc. Like the priests, every group was divided into 24 sections, each serving for a week at a time.
Out of the tribe of Levi, with the Cohens being the direct line of Aaron, the Levites outnumbered the Cohens.They had become a 2nd-class priesthood. They got to read from the Torah after the Cohens. Temple-sacrifice privileges--at the very core of Jewish sacred ritual--were limited to the sons of the high priest Zadok (Cohens), whereas Levites became responsible for more mundane tasks such as day to day upkeep of the Temple, guarding the door, and transporting the Ark of the Covenant.
In 2nd Temple times, the Priests outnumbered the Levites, and apparently shared their tithes. In halakhah, or the law, the Levite is regarded as 2nd to the Priest, and has the privilege of having the Priest's hands before the latter blesses the people. They had less influence and prestige than the Cohanim. The Levite position was therefore ambiguous: of high status but impoverished, "priestly" but not high priests. Dan never felt impoverished in the status of a Levite but very proud to be one and took it seriously. Sadly, he died without being DNA tested.
However, their responsibilities grew to include composition and performance of liturgical music, as well as teaching, administration and interpretation of Jewish law and ritual. These functions became especially important during the Hellenistic period and, long before the destruction of the 2nd Temple, helped steer Jewish worship away from the Temple and into the homes and new synagogues.
Updated with title: 12/29/2021, 10pm Pacific Time
Book: Jacob's Legacy : A Genetic View of Jewish History