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scripture

 

CHAPTER 21

Levitical Cities. 1The heads of the Levite families* approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua, son of Nun, and the heads of families of the other tribes of the Israelitesa 2at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, and said to them, “The LORD commanded, through Moses, that cities be given us to dwell in, with pasture lands for our livestock.”b 3Out of their own heritage, according to the command of the LORD, the Israelites gave the Levites the following cities with their pasture lands.

4When the first lot among the Levites fell to the clans of the Kohathites, the descendants of Aaron the priest obtained by lot from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, thirteen cities. 5From the clans of the tribe of Ephraim, from the tribe of Dan, and from the half-tribe of Manasseh, the rest of the Kohathites obtained by lot ten cities.c 6From the clans of the tribe of Issachar, from the tribe of Asher, from the tribe of Naphtali, and from the half-tribe of Manasseh, the Gershonites obtained by lot thirteen cities. 7From the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun, the clans of the Merarites obtained twelve cities. 8These cities with their pasture lands the Israelites gave by lot to the Levites, as the LORD had commanded through Moses.

Cities of the Priests. 9d From the tribes of the Judahites and Simeonites they gave the following cities 10and assigned them to the descendants of Aaron in the Kohathite clan of the Levites, since the first lot fell to them: 11first, Kiriath-arba (Arba was the father of Anak), that is, Hebron, in the mountain region of Judah, with the adjacent pasture lands, 12although the open country and villages belonging to the city had been given to Caleb, son of Jephunneh, as his holding.e 13Thus to the descendants of Aaron the priest were given the city of refuge for homicides at Hebron, with its pasture lands; also, Libnah with its pasture lands, 14Jattir with its pasture lands, Eshtemoa with its pasture lands, 15Holon with its pasture lands, Debir with its pasture lands, 16Ain with its pasture lands, Juttah with its pasture lands, and Beth-shemesh with its pasture lands: nine cities from these two tribes. 17From the tribe of Benjamin they obtained Gibeon with its pasture lands, Geba with its pasture lands, 18Anathothf with its pasture lands, and Almon with its pasture lands: four cities. 19These cities which with their pasture lands belonged to the priestly descendants of Aaron, were thirteen in all.

Cities of the Other Kohathites. 20g The rest of the Kohathite clans among the Levites obtained by lot, from the tribe of Ephraim, four cities. 21They were assigned, with its pasture lands, the city of refuge for homicides at Shechem in the mountain region of Ephraim; also Gezer with its pasture lands, 22Kibzaim with its pasture lands, and Beth-horon with its pasture lands. 23From the tribe of Dan they obtained Elteke with its pasture lands, Gibbethon with its pasture lands, 24Aijalon with its pasture lands, and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands: four cities. 25From the half-tribe of Manasseh, Taanach with its pasture lands, and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands: two cities. 26These cities which with their pasture lands belonged to the rest of the Kohathite clans were ten in all.

Cities of the Gershonites. 27h The Gershonite clan of the Levites received from the half-tribe of Manasseh the city of refuge for homicides at Golan in Bashan, with its pasture lands; and also Beth-Astharoth with its pasture lands: two cities. 28From the tribe of Issachar they obtained Kishion with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands, 29Jarmuth with its pasture lands, and En-gannim with its pasture lands: four cities. 30From the tribe of Asher, Mishal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands, 31Helkath with its pasture lands, and Rehob with its pasture lands: four cities. 32From the tribe of Naphtali, the city of refuge for homicides at Kedesh in Galilee, with its pasture lands; also Hammath with its pasture lands, and Kartan with its pasture lands: three cities. 33The cities which belonged to the Gershonite clans, with their pasture lands, were thirteen in all.

Cities of the Merarites. 34i The Merarite clans, the last of the Levites, received, from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with its pasture lands, Kartah with its pasture lands, 35Dimnah with its pasture lands, and Nahalal with its pasture lands: four cities. 36Also, across the Jordan, from the tribe of Reuben, the city of refuge for homicides at Bezer with its pasture lands, Jahaz with its pasture lands, 37Kedemoth with its pasture lands, and Mephaath with its pasture lands: four cities. 38From the tribe of Gad, the city of refuge for homicides at Ramoth in Gilead with its pasture lands, Mahanaim with its pasture lands, 39Heshbon with its pasture lands, and Jazer with its pasture lands: four cities in all. 40The cities allotted to the Merarite clans, the last of the Levites, were therefore twelve in all.

41Thus the total number of citiesj within the territory of the Israelites which, with their pasture lands, belonged to the Levites, was forty-eight. 42With each and every one of these cities went the pasture lands round about it.

43And so the LORD gave Israel the entire land he had sworn to their ancestors he would give them.k Once they had taken possession of it, and dwelt in it, 44the LORD gave them peace on every side, just as he had promised their ancestors. Not one of their enemies could withstand them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their power. 45Not a single word of the blessingl that the LORD had promised to the house of Israel failed; it all came true.

* [21:1] The order to establish special cities for the Levites is given in Nm 35:18. The forty-eight cities listed here were hardly the exclusive possession of the Levites; at least the more important of them, such as Hebron, Shechem, and Ramoth in Gilead, were certainly peopled for the most part by the tribe in whose territory they were situated. But in all these cities the Levites had special property rights which they did not possess in other cities; cf. Lv 25:3234.

a. [21:1] Ex 6:1619; Nm 3:1720.

b. [21:23, 8] Nm 35:18.

c. [21:5] Gn 46:11.

d. [21:919] 1 Chr 6:3966.

e. [21:12] Jos 14:14; 15:13.

f. [21:18] Jer 1:1.

g. [21:2026] 1 Chr 6:5155.

h. [21:2733] 1 Chr 6:5661.

i. [21:3438] 1 Chr 6:6266.

j. [21:41] Nm 35:7.

k. [21:43] Gn 12:7; 13:15; 15:18; 26:3; 28:4, 13.

l. [21:45] Jos 23:1415.

III. RETURN OF THE TRANSJORDAN TRIBES AND JOSHUA’S FAREWELL






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