Third son of Jacob and Leah and father of the tribe of Levi, from whom the Levites are descended. The tribe of Levi is one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Since Leah had already given Jacob two sons, she said "Now my husband will be joined with me" (Genesis 30:34). The Levites were distinguished as servants to God because of their refusal to worship to Golden Calf (Exodus 32: 26-29). Levi's own three sons, Gerhson, Kahath and Merari, become Temple servants. After Levi's sister Dinah was raped by Shechem, he and his brother Simeon destroyed the entire town. Levi was later involved in the plot to sell his brother Joseph into slavery.
Sources: Bridger, David. Ed. The New Jewish Encyclopedia, NY: Behrman House, 1976; Navigating the Bible II