In Luke 18:18 in the New Testament, a 'certain ruler' is quoted.

Can one generalize that all rulers were necessarily Levites? Or at least be certain that this one was a Levite?

I know that many commentators seem to (reasonably) assume that this is the same individual as in Matthew 19 and Mark 10, so clues from either of these passages might also be useful here.

  • Wikipedia seems to say no, by arguing that Hillel the Elder, Nasi of the Sanhedrin, with his descendants, was a Benjamite by his father and of Judah by his mother, and that the Nasi position was created about 200 years before the the events recorded in Luke, and maintained past that time. If this is true, it would seem that at least the ruler of the rulers wasn't a Levite. Can this be confirmed with reliable sources? And if so, what was the role of the Levite in the Sanhedrin? – CWilson Jan 21 '17 at 19:12

The "ruler" in Luke could have been a Levite but not necessarily. There were numerous leaders who were not Levites such as:

  • Othniel was of the tribe of Judah (Judges 3:7-10)
  • Ehud was of the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 3:15)
  • Joshua was of the tribe of Ephraim (Num 13:16)
  • Deborah was of the tribe of Ephraim and Barak was from Naphtali (Judges 4:4, 5)
  • Tola was of the tribe of Issachar (Judges 10:1, 2)
  • Ibzan was from Judah (Judges 12:8)
  • Kind Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin
  • King David was of the tribe of Judah

Etc etc.


I can't recall the source, but from a general on line search of the history of the Sanhedrin, the site being Jewish produced, I read the other day that as for the Sanhedrin,( and according to the site ) several lessor ones throughout Palestine, that though the original Sanhedrin starting around Malachi's time which was comprised of the high priestly family and heads of families with daughters eligible to marry priests, that for a reason not known, Pharisees began to be included in the Sanhedrin. From Paul we know a Pharisee needn't be a Levite though that doesn't mean a non Levite Pharisee would per se be considered a leader.Besides this, the concept of elders of the various tribes goes back to Moses and Joshua.

  • Please locate the source as sources are required for this site. Thanks Dennis. – Ruminator Nov 23 '18 at 12:53

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