Amplified Bible

Joshua 21

Forty-eight Cities of the Levites

1Then 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; 10 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. 11 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. 12 But the fields of the city and its villages they had given to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as his property.

13 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, 14 and Jattir with its pasture lands and Eshtemoa with its pasture lands, 15 and Holon with its pasture lands and Debir with its pasture lands, 16 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). 17 From the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with its pasture lands, and Geba with its pasture lands, 18 Anathoth with its pasture lands and Almon with its pasture lands; four cities. 19 All the cities of the sons of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

20 Then the cities from the tribe of Ephraim were allotted to the families of the sons of Kohath, the Levites, even to the rest of the sons of Kohath. 21 They gave them Shechem, the city of refuge for anyone who committed manslaughter, with its pasture lands, in the hill country of Ephraim, and Gezer with its pasture lands, 22 and Kibzaim with its pasture lands and Beth-horon with its pasture lands; four cities. 23 From the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh with its pasture lands, Gibbethon with its pasture lands, 24 Aijalon with its pasture lands, Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; four cities. 25 From the half-tribe of Manasseh, they allotted Taanach with its pasture lands and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; two cities. 26 All the cities with their pasture lands for the families of the rest of the sons of Kohath totaled ten.

27 To the sons of Gershon, one of the families of the Levites, they gave from the other half-tribe of Manasseh, [the city of] Golan in Bashan, the city of refuge for anyone who committed manslaughter, with its pasture lands, and Be-eshterah with its pasture lands; two cities. 28 From the tribe of Issachar, they gave Kishion with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands, 29 Jarmuth with its pasture lands, and En-gannim with its pasture lands; four cities. 30 From the tribe of Asher, they gave Mishal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands, 31 Helkath with its pasture lands and Rehob with its pasture lands; four cities. 32 From the tribe of Naphtali, they gave Kedesh in Galilee, the city of refuge for anyone who committed manslaughter, with its pasture lands and Hammoth-dor with its pasture lands and Kartan with its pasture lands; three cities. 33 All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

34 To the families of the sons of Merari, the rest of the Levites, they gave from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with its pasture lands and Kartah with its pasture lands, 35 Dimnah with its pasture lands and Nahalal with its pasture lands; four cities. 36 From the tribe of Reuben, they gave Bezer with its pasture lands and Jahaz with its pasture lands, 37 Kedemoth with its pasture lands and Mephaath with its pasture lands; four cities. 38 From the tribe of Gad, they gave Ramoth in Gilead, the city of refuge for anyone who committed manslaughter, with its pasture lands and Mahanaim with its pasture lands, 39 Heshbon with its pasture lands and Jazer with its pasture lands; four cities in all. 40 All [these were] the cities of the sons of Merari according to their families, the rest of the families of the Levites; and their lot was twelve cities.

41 All the cities of the Levites in the midst of the property of the sons of Israel were forty-eight cities with their pasture lands. 42 These cities each had its surrounding pasture lands; so it was with all these cities.

43 So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers (ancestors), and they took possession of it and lived in it. 44 The Lord gave them rest [from conflict] on every side, in accordance with everything that He had sworn to their fathers, and not one of all their enemies stood before them [in battle]; the Lord handed over all their enemies to them. 45 Not one of the good promises which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel failed; all had come to pass.

Footnotes

  1. Joshua 21:1 Lit fathers.
  2. 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.