Levites, in a general sense, all the descendants of Levi; more particularly those who were employed in the lower services of the temple, as distinguished from the priests, who were of the family of Aaron, a branch of the same tribe. Subordinate to the priests, it was their office in the desert to carry the hangings, the ark, and sacred vessels of the tabernacle, and the materials which composed it. Subsequently part of them attended at the tabernacle, while the others were distributed among 48 cities which were allotted to them in Canaan, and were the ordinary judges of the country. Five of these cities, Hebron, She-chem, Golan, Kedesh, and Ramoth-Gilead, were cities of refuge. Besides other means of subsistence, they had a tenth of the produce of the lands belonging to the other tribes. They were divided into three classes, named, after the three sons of Levi, Gershonites, Ko-hathites, and Merarites. In the time of David they numbered 38,000 men fit for official service, of whom 24,000 were "set over the work of the Lord," 6,000 were officers and judges, 4,000 musicians, and 4,000 porters.