I understand only Aaron and his sons could offer animal sacrifices. What of the other Levites? Didn’t Moses declare all the Levites to be priests when they slained their fellow countrymen at the golden calf incident? I heard it explained that the other Levites only participated in the administration of the temple and teaching the law, but isn’t the primary function of a priest in any religion to offer sacrifice?
All priests had to be Levites but all Levites were not priests. They performed all kinds of function in the Temple.Read Luke about Zecariah.He is only one example. The Levites were one tribe but each tribe had many clans.These clans were given specific jobs fulfill. Every office was necessary for the correct function of the Temple. There is a listing in one of the Pentateuch.
Part of the Levites, the Kohanim, were the actual priests.
And David organized them in divisions corresponding to the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
2 Chronicles 8:14
According to the ruling of David his father, he appointed the divisions of the priests for their service, and the Levites for their offices of praise and ministry before the priests as the duty of each day required, and the gatekeepers in their divisions at each gate, for so David the man of God had commanded.
1 Chronicles 6:1
The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
And they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their divisions, for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the Book of Moses.
2 Chronicles 29:25
And he stationed the Levites in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the commandment of David and of Gad the king’s seer and of Nathan the prophet, for the commandment was from the Lord through his prophets.
1 Chronicles 6:16
When the service had been prepared for, the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their divisions according to the king’s command.
2 Chronicles 31:2
And Hezekiah appointed the divisions of the priests and of the Levites, division by division, each according to his service, the priests and the Levites, for burnt offerings and peace offerings, to minister in the gates of the camp of the Lord and to give thanks and praise.
1 Chronicles 26:1
As for the divisions of the gatekeepers: of the Korahites, Meshelemiah the son of Kore, of the sons of Asaph.
1 Chronicles 24:1