According to the Torah, Gershon (Hebrew: גֵּרְשׁוֹן Gêršōn) was the eldest of the sons of Levi, and the patriarchal founder of the Gershonites, one of the four main divisions among the Levites in biblical times. The Gershonites were charged with the care of the outer tabernacle including components such as the tent and its covering, screens, doors, and hangings. Biblical scholars regard the name as being essentially the same as "Gershom" (Hebrew: גֵּרְשֹׁם, Modern: Geršom, Tiberian: Gēršōm), which appears to mean "a sojourner there" (גר שם), and it is Gershom rather than Gershon who is sometimes listed in the Book of Chronicles as a founder of one of the principal Levite factions. The Torah names Gershon's sons as Libni and Shimei.
Textual scholars attribute the genealogy to the Book of Generations, a document originating from a religiopolitical group similar to that behind the Priestly source, and at a similar date. According to some biblical scholars, the Torah's genealogy for Levi's descendants is actually an aetiological myth reflecting the fact that there were four different groups among the Levites — the Gershonites, the Kohathites, the Merarites, and the Aaronids. In these scholars' view, Levite was originally just a job title, deriving from the Minaean word lawi'u, meaning "priest", rather than the name of a tribe.