When we think of a noble calling, it is unlikely that we think of jobs such as janitors, maintenance workers, and security guards.
But in Bible times, these were the very jobs that were specifically set aside for the descendants of Gershon, who helped to maintain the tabernacle and temple and assist the priests with their duties.
The tabernacle, and later the temple, was the place where God’s presence was most visibly represented among His people, Israel. There the people would bring their sacrifices and offerings, and the priests would come before God on behalf of the people. It was arguably the most holiest on earth at that time.
But this structure required a great deal of work to maintain, and not just anyone was allowed to do it. Only descendants of Levi were allowed to help with this—and even this large group was separated into different clans that were assigned specific tasks for the tabernacle.
The Gershonites, the descendants of Levi’s son Gershon, were responsible for carrying many of the items when they were being transferred, and they also guarded the entrances to the tabernacle once it was set up and functioning (Numbers 3:23–26; 4:22–28). If they didn’t do their jobs properly, the tabernacle would not be set up correctly—or the whole structure might become defiled by a ceremonially unclean person entering the area.
The Gershonites were under the supervision of the priests, who were also descendants of Levi, but more specifically they were descendants of Aaron, Moses’ brother (Exodus 28:1).