According to the Torah, Kohath was one of the sons of Levi, and the patriarchal founder of the Kohathites, one of the four main divisions among the Levites in Biblical times; in some apocryphal texts such as the Testament of Levi, and the Book of Jubilees, Levi's wife, Kohath's mother, is named as Milkah, a daughter of Aram. In the Testament of Levi, Kohath's birth, occurring when Levi was 35 years old, is accompanied by a vision of Kohath being on high in the midst of all the congregation; in the vision, Kohath's name is described as meaning beginning of majesty and instruction, and is portrayed as a prophecy of him being raised above his siblings, but according to biblical scholars, the meaning of Kohath's name is fairly unknown, although it may be related to an Aramaic word meaning obey.
In the Book of Exodus, Kohath is described as having four sons - Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel - with Amram marrying a woman named Jochebed, and becoming the biological father of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam; despite some Greek and Latin manuscripts of the Septuagint version of the Torah stating that Jochebed was Kohath's cousin, the masoretic text states that she was Kohath's sister - Amram's aunt - although Jochebed's relationship to Levi is not explicitly stated. The Book of Numbers states that during the lifetime of his grandson, Kohath ended up with 8,600 descendants
Advocates of Julius Wellhausen's documentary hypothesis believe the Torah was compiled in the fifth century BC from several independent, contradictory, hypothetical (nonextant) documents, including the Jahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomic, and Priestly sources and the book of generations. Advocates[who?] attribute Levi's genealogy to the "book of generations". Scholars[who?] attribute Moses's birth narrative, which also mentions Amram and Jochebed, to the earlier "Elohist source". According to these scholars,[who?] the genealogy is an aetiological myth reflecting there being four different groups among the Levites, the Gershonites, Kohathites, Merarites, and Aaronids, and Aaron, the eponymous ancestor of the Aaronids, could not consistently be portrayed as a brother to Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. Their hypothetical reconstruction of the "Elohist source" mentions only that both parents were Levites (without identifying their names; ). Some scholars[who?] suspect that the "Elohist source" accounts to Moses both matrilineal and patrilineal descent from Levites in order to magnify his religious credentials.
According to the masoretic text, Kohath's family tree would be as follows:
Notes and citations
- ↑ Jubilees 34:20
- ↑ Testament of Levi 11
- ↑ Testament of Levi 3
- ↑ Cheyne and Black, Encyclopedia Biblica
- ↑ Exodus 6:16-20, LXX
- ↑ New American Bible, footnote to Exodus 6:20
- ↑ Richard Elliott Friedman, Who Wrote The Bible?.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Peake's Commentary on the Bible.
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