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Joshua 21:1-42

Context
Levitical Cities

21:1 The tribal leaders of the Levites went before Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun and the Israelite tribal leaders 21:2 in Shiloh in the land of Canaan and said, “The Lord told Moses to assign us cities in which to live along with the grazing areas for our cattle.” 21:3 So the Israelites assigned these cities and their grazing areas to the Levites from their own holdings, as the Lord had instructed.

21:4 The first lot belonged to 1  the Kohathite clans. The Levites who were descendants of Aaron the priest were allotted thirteen cities from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. 21:5 The rest of Kohath’s descendants were allotted ten cities from the clans of the tribe of Ephraim, and from the tribe of Dan and the half-tribe of Manasseh. 21:6 Gershon’s descendants were allotted thirteen cities from the clans of the tribe of Issachar, and from the tribes of Asher and Naphtali and the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan. 21:7 Merari’s descendants by their clans were allotted twelve cities from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun. 21:8 So the Israelites assigned to the Levites by lot these cities and their grazing areas, as the Lord had instructed Moses.

21:9 They assigned from the tribes of Judah and Simeon the cities listed below. 21:10 They were assigned to the Kohathite clans of the Levites who were descendants of Aaron, 2  for the first lot belonged to them. 21:11 They assigned them Kiriath Arba (Arba was the father of Anak), that is, Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, along with its surrounding grazing areas. 21:12 (Now the city’s fields and surrounding towns they had assigned to Caleb son of Jephunneh as his property.) 21:13 So to the descendants of Aaron the priest they assigned Hebron (a city of refuge for one who committed manslaughter), Libnah, 21:14 Jattir, Eshtemoa, 21:15 Holon, Debir, 21:16 Ain, Juttah, and Beth Shemesh, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of nine cities taken from these two tribes. 21:17 From the tribe of Benjamin they assigned 3  Gibeon, Geba, 21:18 Anathoth, and Almon, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities. 21:19 The priests descended from Aaron received thirteen cities and their grazing areas.

21:20 The rest of the Kohathite clans of the Levites were allotted cities from the tribe of Ephraim. 21:21 They assigned them Shechem (a city of refuge for one who committed manslaughter) in the hill country of Ephraim, Gezer, 21:22 Kibzaim, and Beth Horon, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities. 21:23 From the tribe of Dan they assigned Eltekeh, Gibbethon, 21:24 Aijalon, and Gath Rimmon, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities. 21:25 From the half-tribe of Manasseh they assigned Taanach and Gath Rimmon, 4  along with the grazing areas of each – a total of two cities. 21:26 The rest of the Kohathite clans received ten cities and their grazing areas.

21:27 They assigned to the Gershonite clans of the Levites the following cities: 5  from the half-tribe of Manasseh: Golan in Bashan (a city of refuge for one who committed manslaughter) and Beeshtarah, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of two cities; 21:28 from the tribe of Issachar: Kishon, Daberath, 21:29 Jarmuth, and En Gannim, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities; 21:30 from the tribe of Asher: Mishal, Abdon, 21:31 Helkath, and Rehob, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities; 21:32 from the tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in Galilee (a city of refuge for one who committed manslaughter), Hammoth Dor, and Kartan, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of three cities. 21:33 The Gershonite clans received thirteen cities and their grazing areas.

21:34 They assigned to the Merarite clans (the remaining Levites) the following cities: from the tribe of Zebulun: Jokneam, Kartah, 21:35 Dimnah, and Nahalal, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities; 21:36 6  from the tribe of Reuben: Bezer, Jahaz, 21:37 Kedemoth, and Mephaath, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities; 21:38 from the tribe of Gad: Ramoth in Gilead (a city of refuge for one who committed manslaughter), Mahanaim, 21:39 Heshbon, and Jazer, along with the grazing areas of each – a total of four cities. 21:40 The Merarite clans (the remaining Levites) were allotted twelve cities.

21:41 The Levites received within the land owned by the Israelites 7  forty-eight cities in all and their grazing areas. 21:42 Each of these cities had grazing areas around it; they were alike in this regard. 8 

1 tn Heb “came out for.”

2 tn Heb “and it belonged to the sons of Aaron, from the Kohathite clans, from the sons of Levi.”

3 tn The words “they assigned” are supplied for clarification (also in vv. 23, 25).

4 tn The name “Gath Rimmon” is problematic here, for it appears in the preceding list of Danite cities. The LXX reads “Iebatha”; 1 Chr 6:55 HT (6:70 ET) reads “Bileam.” Most modern translations retain the name “Gath Rimmon,” however.

5 tn The words “they assigned” and “the following cities” are supplied for clarification (also in v. 34).

6 tc 21:36-37 are accidentally omitted from a number of significant Hebrew mss. They are, however, found in some Hebrew mss, the LXX and Vulgate.

7 tn Heb “in the midst of the possession of the sons of Israel.”

8 tn Heb “these cities were city [by] city, and its grazing areas [were] around it; so [it was] for all these cities.”



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