I have been tormented by a Bible question which may be esoteric... In 1 Chronicles 27:17, where the author enumerates the dudes who were the heads of the tribes of Israel at the time, he identifies one of the tribes as "Aaron." I was thinking maybe he was using this synonymously with "Levi," but Levi is mentioned separately in the passage as well. I realize that not all 12 tribes were represented here, but why would he call one of them "Aaron" (not referring to Levi)? I have searched my commentaries, to no avail. -- Mike Shapiro

Aaron and Levi were sharply distinguished in O.T. times (even though technically all the house of Aaron were from Levi). This was because most Levites compromised their faith. The Zadokites were commended in pre-exilic and postexilic times for their faithfulness, so they got the glory of being the priests. Zadok was a righteous man who served in the time of David. His descendants must have separated themselves from the rest of those descended from Aaron.

At first it sounds like an artificial distinction, but to the ancient Jews it seems a vital one. See, for example, Ezekiel 40:46.