Towns for the Levites – Joshua 21:1-45
v1 The leaders of the *Levite families came to speak to Joshua. They came with the leaders of all the other *tribes. v2 They met at Shiloh in *Canaan. ‘The *Lord told Moses that you must give towns to us to live in’, the *Levites said. ‘And we must have land where we can feed our animals.’ v3 So the *Israelites did as the *Lord had told them. The *Israelites gave towns to the *Levites. And the *Israelites provided land for the animals of the *Levites. Each *tribe gave land to the *Levites.
Verses 1-3 The *Levites did not have any land of their own. There were two reasons for this.
· Jacob had *cursed Levi. He said that God would scatter the *Levites over *Israel (Genesis 49:5-7). Later, (Exodus 32:26-29) the *Levites came to help Moses. Moses chose the *Levites to serve the *Lord.
· The *Levites were the teachers of the Law. They needed to teach the people. They needed to live near all the people.
Each *tribe of *Israel gave some towns to the *Levites.
It is important that our Christian leaders live among us. They should be near us when we need them.
v4 The *Israelites gave towns first to the family of Kohath.
· They gave 13 towns to them from the *tribes of Judah, Simeon and Benjamin. They gave these to *Levites from the family of Aaron, the priest.
· v5 They gave to the other Kohathites, towns from the *tribes of Ephraim, Dan and half of Manasseh.
· v6 Then they gave 13 towns to the family of Gershon. The *tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali and the half of Manasseh in Bashan gave these towns to them.
· v7 They gave 12 towns to the families of Merari. The *tribes of Reuben, Gad and Zebulun gave these to them.
v8 So the *Israelites gave these towns to the families of Levi’s *tribe. The *Israelites also gave the land and fields near the towns. So, the *Israelites did as the *Lord had told Moses to do.
Verses 4-8 Levi had three sons, Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Their names became the names of the *Levite families. Aaron, Moses’ brother, was a Kohathite. Aaron’s family became the priests. The *Israelites gave to them towns of their own. They were all near Jerusalem. Later, the *Israelites built the *temple in Jerusalem. This was where the priests did their work.
The priests of Aaron’s family
v9 These are the names of the towns that the *tribes of Simeon and Judah gave. v10 They gave them to the Kohathites, of Aaron’s family, because God chose them first. v11 They gave to them:
· Kiriath Arba (or Hebron), with land near to it, in the hills of Judah. (Arba was the father of Anak.) v12 But the fields and villages near Hebron belonged to Caleb, son of Jephunneh.
v13 So they gave the city of Hebron, a *city of *refuge to the family of Aaron. They also gave to them:
· v14 Jattir, Eshtemoa,
· v15 Holon, Debir,
· v16 Ain, Juttah and Beth Shemesh.
These two *tribes gave 9 towns and their land and fields to them.
v17 The *tribe of Benjamin gave 4 towns and their fields to them:
· Gibeon, Geba,
· v18 Anathoth and Almon.
v19 They gave all these 13 towns to the priests (who were from Aaron’s family).
The *Levites of Kohath’s family
v20 The *tribe of Ephraim gave towns to the *Levites of Kohath’s family.
v21 They gave 4 towns and their fields to them:
· Shechem, a *city of *refuge, in the hills of Ephraim, and Gezer,
· v22 Kibzaim and Beth Horon.
v23 The *tribe of Dan gave 4 towns and their fields to them:
· Eltekeh, Gibbethon,
· v24 Aijalon, and Gath Rimmon.
v25 The half *tribe of west Manasseh gave two towns and their fields to them:
· Taanach and Gath Rimmon.
v26 They gave all these 10 cities to the families of Kohath.
The *Levites of Gershon’s family
v27 The half *tribe of east Manasseh gave two cities and their fields to the *Levites. They gave these to Gershon’s family:
· Golan in Bashan, a *city of *refuge,
· Be Eshtarah.
v28 The *tribe of Issachar gave to them 4 cities and their fields. These were:
· Kishion, Daberath,
· v29 Jarmuth and En Gannim.
v30 The *tribe of Asher gave 4 towns and their fields to them. These were:
· Mishal, Abdon,
· v31 Helkath and Rehob.
v32 The *tribe of Naphtali gave three cities and their fields to them:
· Kedesh in Galilee, a *city of *refuge,
· Hammoth Dor,
v33 They gave all these 13 cities to the families of Gershon.
The *Levites of Merari’s family
v34 The other *Levites that did not have any towns were the Merarite family. The *tribe of Zebulun gave 4 towns and their fields to them:
· Jokneam, Kartah,
· v35 Dimnah and Nahalal.
v36 The *tribe of Reuben gave four towns and their fields to them. These were:
· Bezer, Jahaz,
· v37 Kedemoth and Mephaath.
v38 The *tribe of Gad gave four towns and their fields to them. These were:
· Ramoth in Gilead, a *city of *refuge, Mahanaim,
· v39 Heshbon and Jazer.
v40 So they gave 12 towns to these *Levites, the family of Merari.
v41 The *Levites had 48 towns in the land of *Israel. v42 Each of these towns had its own fields round it.
Verses 9-41 This is a list of all the towns that the *Israelites gave to the *Levites.
The list includes:
· Verses 27-33 – a list of the towns that the *Israelites gave to the family of Gershon.
· Verses 34-40 – a list of the towns that the *Israelites gave to the family of Merari.
v43 So the *Lord gave all the land to the *Israelites. He had promised it to their fathers. They took it and they lived there. v44 The *Lord gave rest to them, as he had promised. None of the people round *Israel attacked them. Not one of their enemies could defeat the *Israelites. The *Lord helped the *Israelites to win all their battles. v45 He kept all his good promises to the *Israelites. He did not forget one of his promises.
Verses 43-45 These verses are what the Book of Joshua is all about. God had given the *promised land to the *Israelites. They had taken possession of it. God had kept all his promises.
God has kept all his promises to us.