Territory of Simeon
Then the second lot fell to Simeon, to the tribe of the sons of Simeon according to their families (clans), and their inheritance was within the inheritance of the sons of Judah. So they had as their inheritance Beersheba or Sheba and Moladah, and Hazar-shual and Balah and Ezem, and Eltolad and Bethul and Hormah, and Ziklag and Beth-marcaboth and Hazar-susah, and Beth-lebaoth and Sharuhen; thirteen cities with their villages; Ain, Rimmon and Ether and Ashan; four cities with their villages; and all the villages which were around these cities as far as Baalath-beer, Ramah of the Negev (South country). This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Simeon according to their families. The inheritance of the sons of Simeon was taken from the portion of the sons of Judah, for the share of the sons of Judah was too large for them; so the sons of Simeon received an inheritance within Judah’s inheritance.
Territory of Zebulun
The third lot came up for [the tribe of] the sons of Zebulun according to their families. The territory of their inheritance extended to Sarid. Then its border went up westward and on to Maralah, and reached to Dabbesheth and reached to the brook east of Jokneam. Then it turned from Sarid east toward the sunrise as far as the border of Chisloth-tabor, and it proceeded to Daberath and on up to Japhia. From there it continued east toward the sunrise to [a]Gath-hepher and to Eth-kazin, and proceeded to Rimmon which turns toward Neah. The border circled it on the north to Hannathon, ending at the Valley of Iphtahel. Included were Kattah and Nahalal and Shimron and Idalah and Bethlehem; twelve cities with their villages. This was the inheritance of the sons of Zebulun according to their families, these cities with their villages.
Territory of Issachar
The fourth lot fell to [the tribe of] Issachar, to the sons of Issachar according to their families. Their territory included: Jezreel and Chesulloth and Shunem, and Hapharaim and Shion and Anaharath, and Rabbith and Kishion and Ebez, and Remeth and En-gannim and En-haddah and Beth-pazzez. The border reached to Tabor and Shahazumah and Beth-shemesh, and their border ended at the Jordan; sixteen cities with their villages. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Issachar according to their families, the cities and their villages.
Territory of Asher
The fifth lot fell to the tribe of the sons of Asher according to their families. Their territory was Helkath and Hali and Beten and Achshaph, and Allammelech and Amad and Mishal; and on the west it reached to Carmel and to Shihor-libnath. Then it turned eastward to Beth-dagon and reached Zebulun and the Valley of Iphtahel northward to Beth-emek and Neiel, and continued in the north to Cabul, and Ebron and Rehob and Hammon and Kanah, as far as Great Sidon. Then the border turned to Ramah, [reaching] to the fortified city of Tyre; and it turned to Hosah, and it ended at the [Mediterranean] sea at the region of Achzib. Included were Ummah, and Aphek and Rehob; twenty-two cities with their villages. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Asher according to their families, these cities with their villages.
Territory of Naphtali
The sixth lot fell to [the tribe of] the sons of Naphtali according to their families. Their border ran from Heleph, from the oak in Zaanannim and Adami-nekeb and Jabneel, as far as Lakkum, and it ended at the Jordan. Then the border turned westward to Aznoth-tabor and went from there to Hukkok; and it reached Zebulun on the south and reached Asher on the west, and to Judah toward the east at the Jordan. The fortified cities were Ziddim, Zer, and Hammath, Rakkath and Chinnereth, and Adamah and Ramah and Hazor, and Kedesh and Edrei and En-hazor, and Yiron and Migdal-el, Horem and Beth-anath and Beth-shemesh; nineteen cities with their villages. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Naphtali according to their families, the cities and their villages.
Territory of Dan
The seventh lot fell to the tribe of the sons of Dan according to their families. The territory of their inheritance included Zorah and Eshtaol and Ir-shemesh, and Shaalabbin and Aijalon and Ithlah, and Elon and Timnah and Ekron, and Eltekeh and Gibbethon and Baalath, and Jehud and Bene-berak and Gath-rimmon, and Me-jarkon and Rakkon, with the territory opposite Joppa. The territory of the sons of Dan [b]went beyond these; so the sons of Dan went up to fight against Leshem (Laish) and captured it. Then they struck it with the edge of the sword and took possession of it and settled there [between the tribes of Naphtali and Manasseh]; they [c]renamed Leshem, Dan, after the name of their father (ancestor) Dan. This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Dan according to their families (clans), these cities with their villages.
When they had finished dividing the land for inheritance by its borders, the Israelites gave an inheritance among them to Joshua the son of Nun. According to the command of the Lord they gave him the city for which he asked—Timnath-serah in the hill country of Ephraim. So he built the city and settled in it.
These are the inheritances which Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel distributed by lot in Shiloh before the Lord at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting. So they finished dividing the land.
- Joshua 19:13 I.e. the birthplace of Jonah.
- Joshua 19:47 The tribe of the sons of Dan were unable to possess and control their original territory whose native inhabitants were the Amorites and the Philistines.
- Joshua 19:47 Lit called.
Six Cities of Refuge
The Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, “Speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘Designate the cities of refuge (asylum), of which I spoke to you through Moses, so that the person (manslayer) who kills any person unintentionally, [a]without premeditation, may flee there, and they shall be your refuge from the [b]blood avenger. He shall flee to one of these cities, and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and [c]explain his case to the elders of that city; and they shall take him into [the protection of] the city and give him a place [to stay], so that he may live among them. If the blood avenger pursues him, they shall not hand the offender (manslayer) over to him, because he killed his neighbor [d]unintentionally and without premeditation and did not hate him beforehand. He shall live in that city until he has stood before the congregation for judgment [and [e]if acquitted of murder he must stay there], until the death of the one who is the high priest in those days. Then the offender (manslayer) shall return to his own city and his own house from which he fled.’”
So they set apart and consecrated Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. Beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they designated Bezer in the wilderness on the plain from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh. These were the appointed cities for all the Israelites and for the stranger sojourning (living temporarily) among them, so that whoever killed any person unintentionally may flee there, and not die by the hand of the blood avenger until he had stood before the congregation [for judgment].
- Joshua 20:3 Lit without knowledge. The Hebrew terminology is not very precise, but adequate nonetheless to distinguish involuntary manslaughter from murder. In modern terms, the person who is guilty only of manslaughter must not have been aware at the time that he was actually killing a human being (like the hunter who mistakes a man for an animal of prey); or if he knew that his actions were affecting another human, he must not have been aware that those actions could result in the death of the other person. In v 5, it is also stated that the perpetrator must not have had hatred for the victim, and it is implied that if hatred was a factor, the killer is automatically ruled a murderer (cf Num 35:20, 21).
- Joshua 20:3 Lit redeemer of blood, the idea being that the one who kills the murderer of a relative redeems the guilt of the crime. The avenger was ordinarily a male next-of-kin, and he had the right, or even the responsibility, to execute the guilty party.
- Joshua 20:4 Lit speak his word in the hearing of.
- Joshua 20:5 Lit without knowledge.
- Joshua 20:6 If judged guilty, the killer would be put to death. Otherwise, the time he was required to spend in the city of refuge represented a less severe punishment for involuntary manslaughter. Afterward, he was entitled to return home and live in safety. If the blood avenger killed him then, the avenger would be guilty of murder.
Forty-eight Cities of the Levites
Then the heads of the [a]households of the Levites came to Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the households of the tribes of the sons of Israel. They spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, “The Lord commanded Moses to give us cities to live in, with their pasture lands for our cattle.” So the sons of Israel gave the Levites from their inheritance these [forty-eight] cities and their pasture lands, in accordance with the command of the Lord. The [first] lot (allotment) came out for the families of the Kohathites. So those [b]Levites who were sons (descendants) of Aaron the priest received thirteen cities by lot from the tribe of Judah and from the tribe of Simeon and from the tribe of Benjamin.
The rest of the sons of Kohath received ten cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Ephraim and from the tribe of Dan and from the half-tribe of Manasseh.
The sons of Gershon received thirteen cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Issachar and from the tribe of Asher and from the tribe of Naphtali and from the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.
The sons of Merari according to their families received twelve cities from the tribe of Reuben and from the tribe of Gad and from the tribe of Zebulun.
The sons of Israel gave by lot to the Levites these cities with their pasture lands, as the Lord had commanded through Moses.
They gave these cities which are mentioned here by name from the tribe of the sons of Judah and from the tribe of the sons of Simeon; and they were for the sons of Aaron, one of the families of the Kohathites, of the sons of Levi, because the lot fell to them first. They gave them [the city of] Kiriath-arba, Arba being the father of Anak (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah, with its surrounding pasture lands. But the fields of the city and its villages they had given to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as his property.
So to the sons of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for anyone who committed manslaughter, with its pasture lands, and Libnah with its pasture lands, and Jattir with its pasture lands and Eshtemoa with its pasture lands, and Holon with its pasture lands and Debir with its pasture lands, and Ain with its pasture lands and Juttah with its pasture lands and Beth-shemesh with its pasture lands; nine cities from these two tribes (Judah and Simeon). From the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with its pasture lands, and Geba with its pasture lands, Anathoth with its pasture lands and Almon with its pasture lands; four cities. All the cities of the sons of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.
- Joshua 21:1 Lit fathers.
- Joshua 21:4 The Levites were divided into three groups, the descendants of Levi’s three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. But only those Israelites who were descendants of Levi through Kohath’s grandson Aaron could be priests. The priesthood was made hereditary in the family of Aaron and restricted to it; however, even some of these were rendered ineligible by physical disabilities (Lev 21:16ff). The other families of Levi’s descendants, the Gershonites and Merarites, and those Kohathites who were not descended from Aaron, were entrusted with the care of the sanctuary. The priests ministered at the altar.