Joshua 21 Commentary

 


Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Paul J Bucknell - Biblical Foundations for Freedom

LAND ALLOTMENTS
(Joshua 13-21)
Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Click charts to enlarge Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

JOSHUA
A BOOK ON SPIRITUAL WARFARE and REST
HOW TO POSSESS YOUR POSSESSIONS

CONQUEST
OF THE PROMISED LAND

DIVISION
OF THE PROMISED LAND

CLOSE OF JOSHUA'S LIFE

ACTION ALLOCATION APPEAL
Josh 1:1-5:15 Josh 6:1-12:24 Joshua 13:1-21:45 Josh 22:1-24:33

WARLORDS IN
CANAAN

LANDLORDS IN
CANAAN

ENTERING
CANAAN

CONQUERING
CANAAN

DIVIDING
CANAAN

SECURING THE
LAND

SETTLING THE
LAND

Preparation

Conquest

Possession

Consecration

ca. 1 Month ca 7 Years ca. 18 Years

See also more detailed Chart by Charles R Swindoll

Joshua 21:1  Then the heads of households of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of households of the tribes of the sons of Israel.

  • the heads: Jos 19:51 Ex 6:14,25 
  • Eleazar: Jos 14:1 17:4 Nu 34:17-29 
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Ryrie - (vv. 1-3) Forty-eight cities and their suburbs were given to the Levites as Moses had commanded (vv. 4-7; Num. 35:1-5). Since the Levites were to teach Israel the Law (Deut. 33:10), it was necessary that these cities be scattered throughout the land.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 1-8. The Levites waited till the other tribes were provided for, before they preferred their claim to Joshua. They build their claim upon a very good foundation; not their own merits or services, but the Divine precept. The maintenance of ministers is not a thing left merely to the will of the people, that they may let them starve if they please; they which preach the gospel should live by the gospel, and should live comfortably. 


GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 21

The heads of the fathers of the Levites. The most distinguished persons among the fathers, chiefs, or elders of the three families of Kohath, Gershom, and Merari, which constituted the body of the tribe of Levi. They here make their petition precisely at the time when it could be most conveniently granted, viz. just after the allotments had been made to the other tribes. Whether this was prior or subsequent to the designation of the cities of refuge, mentioned in the foregoing chapter, it is not possible to determine.

Joshua 21:2  They spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, "The LORD commanded through Moses to give us cities to live in, with their pasture lands for our cattle."

Related Passages: 

Numbers 35:2+ “Command the sons of Israel that they give to the Levites from the inheritance of their possession cities to live in; and you shall give to the Levites pasture lands around the cities.

Numbers 35:4-5+  “The pasture lands of the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall extend from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits around. 5 You shall also measure outside the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits, with the city in the center. This shall become theirs as pasture lands for the cities.

They spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, "The LORD commanded through Moses to give us cities to live in, with their pasture lands for our cattle.

See notes on Num. 35:2 and Nu 35:4-5. The Levites were given 48 cities with their pasture lands. This distribution provided a spiritual influence over all the people, since no one lived more than 10 mi (16 km) from a city in which Levites lived. 

Joshua 21:3  So the sons of Israel gave the Levites from their inheritance these cities with their pasture lands, according to the command of the LORD.

  • the Levites: Ge 49:7 De 33:8-10 1Ch 6:54-81 
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So the sons of Israel gave the Levites from their inheritance these cities with their pasture lands, according to the command of the LORD.


GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 21

The children of Israel gave unto the Levites. They cheerfully obeyed the divine command. They gave them cities out of their several inheritances, without any fear of being impoverished by the appropriation. Nor will men ever find themselves sufferers in their temporal interests, in consequence of a liberal allowance to the ministers of the sanctuary. These cities were assigned by lot, that it might fully appear that God designed the Levites their habitations, as he designed the others their inheritances The result of this arrangement would naturally be, that the Levites would be dispersed in every part of the land, to instruct the people in the knowledge of the divine law, to edify them by their example, to restrain them from idolatry, and prompt them to a constant adherence to the worship of Jehovah, the only true God. Thus the prophetic sentence of the patriarch, Gen. 49:7, that they should be ‘divided in Jacob, and scattered in Israel,’ though originally carrying with it a punitive import, was through the special mercy of heaven converted to a blessing to themselves and to the nation.

These cities. Referring to those which are enumerated in the sequel of this chapter.

Joshua 21:4  Then the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites. And the sons of Aaron the priest, who were of the Levites, received thirteen cities by lot from the tribe of Judah and from the tribe of the Simeonites and from the tribe of Benjamin.

  • the children: Jos 21:8-19 24:33 1Ch 6:54-60 
  • the tribe: These tribes furnished more habitation to the Levites, in proportion, than any of the other tribes, because they possessed a more extensive inheritance, agreeably to what Moses had commanded (Nu 35:8.)  It is worthy of remark, that the principal part of this tribe, whose business was to minister at the sanctuary, which sanctuary was afterwards established at Jerusalem, had their appointment nearest to that city; so that they were always within reach of the sacred work which God had appointed them.
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Then the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites -  The Kohathites had special responsibilities related to the Tabernacle. Some were responsible for moving the vessels of the Tabernacle (Nu 4:1-20), some were designated by David to bring the ark to Jerusalem (Nu 15:4-5), and some (1Chr 6:33) were assigned to a ministry of praise. The cities given to the Gershonites and Merarites, the other sons of Levi, are listed in Josh 21:27-40. 

And the sons of Aaron the priest, who were of the Levites, received thirteen cities by lot from the tribe of Judah and from the tribe of the Simeonites and from the tribe of Benjamin.


GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 21

And the lot came out. It would seem that a certain number of cities were previously designated and set apart en masse, as the habitations of the Levites, and that the particular appropriation of them to the several families and their branches was then determined by lot.

The children of Aaron the priest. All the Kohathies were children of Aaron, in being lineally descended from him, but they were not all priests; whereas the phrase ‘children of Aaron’ here is but another name for the priests, his successors in office; and these had their allotment of cities in the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin; the rest, who were merely Levites and not priests, had their lot, as appears from v. 5, in the tribes of Ephraim, Dan, and the half-tribe of Manasseh. The providence of God in this assignment is very remarkable, as in consequence of it the priestly part of Aaron’s posterity, who were the stated ministers of the sanctuary, the seat of which was afterwards to be fixed at Jerusalem, had their location nearest to that city, so that they were always conveniently situated with reference to the work to which they were appointed.

Thirteen cities. This was a large proportion for the present number of priests, which was small, but in view of the prospective increase of this body, and their future wants, it was no more than was requisite. As to the nature of the tenure by which the Levites held these appropriated cities, the probability is that they had no other property in them than merely the right to certain places of habitation, which they might let or sell, but always with the right of perpetual redemption; and with the understanding that they were to return to them in the year of jubilee. But on this head see Notes on Lev. 25:32, 33.

Joshua 21:5  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.

  • Jos 21:20-26 Ge 46:11 Ex 6:16-25 Nu 3:27 1Ch 6:18,19,61,66-70 
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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


GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 21

Out of the tribe of Dan, &c., ten cities. A less number than was given out of the tribes above-mentioned, because their inheritance was less. The law by which the appropriation was to be regulated is contained Num. 35:8, ‘And the cities which ye shall give shall be the possession of Israel; from them that have many (cities), ye shall give many; but from them that have few, ye shall give few; every one shall give of his cities unto the Levites, according to his inheritance which he inheriteth.’ It may be remarked, that there is no evidence that the priests were bound to live in these and in no other cities. When the tabernacle was at Nob, both the priests and Levites dwelt there, 1 Sam. 21:1–7; and when the worship of God was established at Jerusalem, multitudes both of priests and Levites resided there, though it was no Levitical city; as did the courses of the priests afterwards at Jericho. This was a circumstance which Moses had foreseen, and for which he had provided, Deut. 18:6, &c. So, on the other hand, persons belonging to the other tribes were not precluded from living in the Levitical cities; as for instance Gibeah of Benjamin, which is. here made a Levitical city, v. 17, was always peopled by the Benjamites, as appears from Judg. 19.

Joshua 21:6  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.

  • Jos 21:27-33 Ex 6:16,17 Nu 3:21,22 1Ch 6:62,71-76 
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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

Joshua 21:7  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.

  • Jos 21:34-40 Ex 6:19 Nu 3:20 1Ch 6:63,77-81 
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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.

Joshua 21:8  Now the sons of Israel gave by lot to the Levites these cities with their pasture lands, as the LORD had commanded through Moses.

  • by lot: Jos 21:3 18:6 Nu 33:54 35:3 Pr 16:33 18:18 
  • as the Lord: Nu 32:2 
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Now the sons of Israel gave by lot to the Levites these cities with their pasture lands, as the LORD had commanded through Moses.

Joshua 21:9  They gave these cities which are here mentioned by name from the tribe of the sons of Judah and from the tribe of the sons of Simeon;

  • these cities: Jos 21:13-18 1Ch 6:65 
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They gave these cities which are here mentioned by name from the tribe of the sons of Judah and from the tribe of the sons of Simeon;

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 9-42. By mixing the Levites with the other tribes, they were made to see that the eyes of all Israel were upon them, and therefore it was their concern to walk so that their ministry might not be blamed. Every tribe had its share of Levites' cities. Thus did God graciously provide for keeping up religion among them, and that they might have the word in all parts of the land. Yet, blessed be God, we have the gospel more diffused amongst us. 

Joshua 21:10  and they were for the sons of Aaron, one of the families of the Kohathites, of the sons of Levi, for the lot was theirs first.

  • Jos 21:4 Ex 6:18,20-26 Nu 3:2-4,19,27 4:2 
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and they were for the sons of Aaron, one of the families of the Kohathites, of the sons of Levi, for the lot was theirs first.

Joshua 21:11  Thus they gave them Kiriath-arba, Arba being the father of Anak (that is, Hebron), in the hill country of Judah, with its surrounding pasture lands.

  • And they: 1Ch 6:55 
  • the city of Arba: or, Kirjath-arba, Jos 15:13,14,54 Ge 23:2 35:27 Jdg 1:10 
  • is Hebron: 2Sa 2:1-3 5:1-5 15:7 
  • in the hill: Jos 20:7-9 Lu 1:39 
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Thus they gave them Kiriath-arba, Arba being the father of Anak (that is, Hebron), in the hill country of Judah, with its surrounding pasture lands.

Joshua 21:12  But the fields of the city and its villages they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as his possession.

But the fields of the city and its villages they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as his possession


GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 21

The fields of the city—gave they to Caleb. As it would not necessarily involve the exclusion of himself or his family from a residence in the city, he probably gave it to the priests in order to set an example to his brethren of cheerfully contributing to the maintenance of religion. See on ch. 14:6–15.
25. Tanach with her suburbs, and Gath-rimmon. In the parallel passage, 1 Chron. 6:70, Aner and Bileam are mentioned instead of the above. A careful examination of the two catalogues will discover several other discrepancies of the same kind, which are probably owing to the fact, either that some of the cities were called by different names, or that their names in process of time were changed. Others conjecture that some of the cities here enumerated being at this time in possession of the Canaanites, and not easily to be taken out of their hands, others were given them in their stead.

Joshua 21:13  So to the sons of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Libnah with its pasture lands,

  • they gave: 1Ch 6:56 
  • Hebron: Jos 15:54 
  • a city: Jos 20:7 Nu 35:6 
  • Libnah: Jos 10:29 15:42 1Ch 6:57 Isa 37:8 
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So to the sons of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Libnah with its pasture lands

Joshua 21:14  and Jattir with its pasture lands and Eshtemoa with its pasture lands,

  • Jattir: Jattir or Jether, according to Eusebius, was situated in the district of Daroma, or the southern part of Judah, 20 miles (south) from Eleutheropolis, towards the city of Malatha. Jos 15:48 1Sa 30:27,28 
  • Eshtemoa: Eusebius says Eshtemoa, or Esthema, was a great city in the south of Judah, and in the district of Eleutheropolis, north of that city. Jos 15:50, Eshtemoh
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and Jattir with its pasture lands and Eshtemoa with its pasture lands,

Joshua 21:15  and Holon with its pasture lands and Debir with its pasture lands,

  • Holon: Jos 15:51 1Ch 6:58, Hilen
  • Debir: Jos 12:13 15:49 
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and Holon with its pasture lands and Debir with its pasture lands,

Joshua 21:16  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.

  • Ain: Jos 15:42 1Ch 6:59, Ashan
  • Juttah: Eusebius says Juttah was a great town 18 miles south from Eleutheropolis. Jos 15:55 
  • Bethshemesh: Jos 15:10 1Sa 6:9,12 1Ch 6:59 
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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.

Joshua 21:17  From the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with its pasture lands, Geba with its pasture lands,

  • Gibeon: Jos 9:3 18:25 1Ch 6:60 
  • Geba: Jos 18:24
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 From the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with its pasture lands, Geba with its pasture lands,

Joshua 21:18  Anathoth with its pasture lands and Almon with its pasture lands; four cities.

  • Anathoth: Anathoth was situated about three miles northward from Jerusalem according to Eusebius and Jerome (in Jer ch. 1:20;) or twenty furlongs, according to Josephus. Ant. I. viii. c. 10. 1Ki 2:26 Isa 10:30 Jer 1:1 
  • Almon: 1Ch 6:60, Alemeth
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Anathoth with its pasture lands and Almon with its pasture lands; four cities.

Joshua 21:19  All the cities of the sons of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

All the cities of the sons of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

Joshua 21:20  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.

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.

Joshua 21:21  They gave them Shechem, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, in the hill country of Ephraim, and Gezer with its pasture lands,

  • Shechem: Jos 20:7 Ge 33:19 Jdg 9:1 1Ki 12:1 
  • Gezer: Jos 16:10 1Ki 9:15-17 1Ch 6:67 
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They gave them Shechem, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, in the hill country of Ephraim, and Gezer with its pasture lands

Joshua 21:22  and Kibzaim with its pasture lands and Beth-horon with its pasture lands; four cities.

  • Bethhoron: Jos 16:3,5 18:13,14 1Ch 6:68 
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and Kibzaim with its pasture lands and Beth-horon with its pasture lands; four cities.

Joshua 21:23  From the tribe of Dan, Elteke with its pasture lands, Gibbethon with its pasture lands,

  • Eltekeh: Jos 19:44,45 
  • Gibbethon: Probably the Gabatha mentioned by Eusebius and Jerome, as situated in the south of Judah, 12 miles from Eleutheropolis, where the prophet Habakkuk's sepulchre was shown.
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From the tribe of Dan, Elteke with its pasture lands, Gibbethon with its pasture lands,

Joshua 21:24  Aijalon with its pasture lands, Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; four cities.

  • Aijalon: Jos 10:12 19:42, Ajalon, 1Ch 6:69 
  • Gathrimmon: Gathrimmon is said by Jerome to be a great town 10 miles from Diospolis, or Lydda, towards Eleutheropolis.
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Aijalon with its pasture lands, Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; four cities.

Joshua 21:25  From the half-tribe of Manasseh, they allotted Taanach with its pasture lands and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; two cities.

  • Aner and Bileam are mentioned in Chronicles, instead of Tanach and Gath-rimmon.  (1 Ch 6:70.)  Either the cities had at this time different names, or afterwards their names were changed; or the Levites, being by some means dispossessed of the cities first assigned them, received others from their brethren.  A careful examination of the marginal references will discover other variations of this kind, which may be accounted for in the same manner.
  • Tanach: Jos 17:11 Jdg 5:19 
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From the half-tribe of Manasseh, they allotted Taanach with its pasture lands and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands; two cities.


GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 21

Tanach with her suburbs, and Gath-rimmon. In the parallel passage, 1 Chron. 6:70, Aner and Bileam are mentioned instead of the above. A careful examination of the two catalogues will discover several other discrepancies of the same kind, which are probably owing to the fact, either that some of the cities were called by different names, or that their names in process of time were changed. Others conjecture that some of the cities here enumerated being at this time in possession of the Canaanites, and not easily to be taken out of their hands, others were given them in their stead.

Joshua 21:26  All the cities with their pasture lands for the families of the rest of the sons of Kohath were ten.

All the cities with their pasture lands for the families of the rest of the sons of Kohath were ten.

Joshua 21:27  To the sons of Gershon, one of the families of the Levites, from the half-tribe of Manasseh, they gave Golan in Bashan, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Be-eshterah with its pasture lands; two cities.

  • And unto: Jos 21:6 
  • Golan: Jos 20:8 De 1:4 4:43 1Ch 6:71 
  • Beeshterah: It is very probable that Beesh-terah is a contraction of {baith ashtaroth,} "the house of Ashtaroth," and the same as Ashtaroth, which is the reading in 1 Ch 6:71.
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To the sons of Gershon, one of the families of the Levites, from the half-tribe of Manasseh, they gave Golan in Bashan, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Be-eshterah with its pasture lands; two cities

Joshua 21:28  From the tribe of Issachar, they gave Kishion with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands,

From the tribe of Issachar, they gave Kishion with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands

Joshua 21:29  Jarmuth with its pasture lands, En-gannim with its pasture lands; four cities.

  • Jarmuth: This seems to be the same city with Remeth, Jos 10:19, 21, and Ramoth, 1 Ch 6:73, mentioned with Engannim. Jos 10:3,23 12:11 
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Jarmuth with its pasture lands, En-gannim with its pasture lands; four cities

Joshua 21:30  From the tribe of Asher, they gave Mishal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands,

  • Mishal: Jos 19:25-28, Misheal, 1Ch 6:74,75, Mashal
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 From the tribe of Asher, they gave Mishal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands,

Joshua 21:31  Helkath with its pasture lands and Rehob with its pasture lands; four cities.

  • Rehob: See the note on Nu 13:21. Jdg 1:31 18:21 1Ch 6:75 
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Helkath with its pasture lands and Rehob with its pasture lands; four cities.

Joshua 21:32  From the tribe of Naphtali, they gave Kedesh in Galilee, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Hammoth-dor with its pasture lands and Kartan with its pasture lands; three cities.

  • Kedesh: Jos 19:37 20:7 1Ch 6:76 
  • Hammothdor: Supposed by many to be the same as Tiberias; so called from the hot-baths, as the word {Chammoth} may denote, in its vicinity. Jos 19:35, Hammath
  • Kartan: Supposed to be the same as Kirjathaim. 1Ch 6:76 
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From the tribe of Naphtali, they gave Kedesh in Galilee, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Hammoth-dor with its pasture lands and Kartan with its pasture lands; three cities

Joshua 21:33  All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their pasture lands

Joshua 21:34  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.

  • And unto: Jos 21:7 1Ch 6:77 
  • Jokneam: Jos 12:22 19:11,15 
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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

Joshua 21:35  Dimnah with its pasture lands, Nahalal with its pasture lands; four cities.

  • Dimnah: This and the following verse are wholly omitted by the Masora, and many Hebrew Bibles which are esteemed very highly; though, without them, neither the twelve cities of the Merarites in particular (ver. 40,) nor the forty-eight Levitical cities in general (ver. 41), nor the six cities of refuge, can be made up.  But these two verses, are thus absolutely necessary for the truth and consistency of this chapter, are happily preserved in no less than 149 MSS. collated by Dr. Kennicott, and upwards of 40 collated by De Rossi. Jos 21:35 
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 Dimnah with its pasture lands, Nahalal with its pasture lands; four cities.

Joshua 21:36  From the tribe of Reuben, they gave Bezer with its pasture lands and Jahaz with its pasture lands,

  • Bezer: Jos 20:8 De 4:43 1Ch 6:78,79 
  • Jahazah: Jos 13:18 Nu 21:23 1Ch 6:78, Jahzah
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From the tribe of Reuben, they gave Bezer with its pasture lands and Jahaz with its pasture lands,

Joshua 21:37  Kedemoth with its pasture lands and Mephaath with its pasture lands; four cities.

Kedemoth with its pasture lands and Mephaath with its pasture lands; four cities

Joshua 21:38  From the tribe of Gad, they gave Ramoth in Gilead, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Mahanaim with its pasture lands,

  • Ramoth: Jos 20:8 1Ki 22:3 1Ch 6:80 
  • Mahanaim: Ge 32:2 2Sa 17:24 19:32 
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From the tribe of Gad, they gave Ramoth in Gilead, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands and Mahanaim with its pasture lands

Joshua 21:39  Heshbon with its pasture lands, Jazer with its pasture lands; four cities in all.

  • Heshbon: Jos 13:17,21 Nu 21:26-30 32:37 1Ch 6:81 
  • Jazer: Nu 32:1,3,35, Jaazer, Isa 16:8,9 Jer 48:32 
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Heshbon with its pasture lands, Jazer with its pasture lands; four cities in all.

Joshua 21:40  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.

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

Joshua 21:41  All the cities of the Levites in the midst of the possession of the sons of Israel were forty-eight cities with their pasture lands.

  • within: Ge 49:7 Nu 35:1-8 De 33:10 
  • forty: At the last census, the tribe of Levi amounted only to 23,000 (Nu 36:62); and it is thought by some that forty-eight cities was too great a proportion for this tribe.  But it should be considered, that cities in ancient times were little more than villages.
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All the cities of the Levites in the midst of the possession of the sons of Israel were forty-eight cities with their pasture lands

Henry Morris - forty and eight cities.  The Levites had no single province assigned to them, as the other tribes did, for they were to be spiritual teachers and counselors to all the people. They were accordingly given forty-eight strategically located cities, including the six cities of refuge (Numbers 35:1-8), and a goodly portion of their support was to come from the tithes and offerings of the other tribes (Numbers 18:21).


GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 21

All the cities—were forty and eight cities, with their suburbs. This was in exact accordance with the direction given by Moses several years before, as we learn from Num 35:7. This order of Moses is a direct demonstration that it was given under divine inspiration, as otherwise, how could he possibly have known that so many cities could be assigned to the Levites, without un duly encroaching on the limits of the other tribes?

Joshua 21:42  These cities each had its surrounding pasture lands; thus it was with all these cities.

These cities each had its surrounding pasture lands; thus it was with all these cities.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary - Verses 43-45. God promised to give to the seed of Abraham the land of Canaan for a possession, and now they possessed it, and dwelt therein. The after-prevalence of the Canaanites was the effect of Israel's slothfulness, and the punishment of their sinful inclination to the idolatries and abominations of the heathen whom they harboured and indulged. There failed not aught of any good thing, which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. In due season all his promises will be accomplished; then will his people acknowledge that the Lord has exceeded their largest expectations, and made them more than conquerors, and brought them to their desired rest. 

Joshua 21:43  So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.

  • Ge 12:7 13:15 15:13-21 26:3,4 28:4,13,14 Ex 3:8 23:27-31 Ps 44:3 106:42-45 
  • Joshua 21 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it.

Believer's Study Bible - vv. 43-45) This doxology forms a fitting conclusion to the second main division of the book (chs. 13-21), reminding Israel of the faithfulness of their God. This passage has been called "the theological heart of the Book of Joshua." In a sense, v. 43 summarizes chs. 13-21, v. 44 summarizes chs. 1-12, and 21:45 states the main theme of the entire book. In every situation God had demonstrated Himself faithful and sufficient. In spite of the power of the Egyptians, the size, number, and technology of the Canaanites, and the stubbornness and foolishness of His people, God was fulfilling His promises. He continues to do so for the Christian as well, for whom there will be a final, complete, and eternal victory and rest (cf. Phil. 4:13; 2 Thess. 1:6-10).

Ryrie adds that "God had kept His promise to give Israel the land of Canaan as recorded in Gen. 17:8. It is true that the Israelites had not yet fully conquered it, but God had told them they would do so gradually. See note on Deut. 7:22. The promise of Gen. 15:18-20 involving a larger territory will be fulfilled in the Millennium. 


GEORGE BUSH  Notes Critical and Practical on the Book of Joshua - Chapter 21

And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land, &c. The foregoing history is here wound up by a suitable acknowledgment of the faithfulness of God, in the performance of all his promises. The Canaanites, it is true, were yet in possession of some parts of the country, but they were so far subdued, that they gave them no serious molestation, and they were enabled to sit down in their possessions in the enjoyment of comparative rest and quiet. They had as much of the land in actual possession as they could occupy; and as they increased God enabled them, according to his promise, Ex. 23:30, to carry forward the work of extermination, and obtain further room for their settlement. All the assurances given to Joshua, ch. 1:5, of a successful tide of victories during his life, were accomplished, and as to the subsequent annoyance and occasional prevalence of their enemies, it was owing solely to the supineness and infidelity of Israel. So long as they were obedient, they, were uniformly triumphant and prosperous. See notes on ch. 1:5. ‘The inviolable truth of God’s promise, and the performance of it to the utmost, is what all the saints have been ready to bear their testimony to; and if in any thing it has seemed to come short, they have been as ready to own that they themselves must bear all the blame.’ Henry. ‘In due season all the promises of God will be accomplished to his true people; and their believing hope, and patient waiting and self-denying obedience, will terminate in joyful songs of triumph, and thankful celebrations of his faithfulness, love, and power. Then it will be universally acknowledged that there hath not failed ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken: nay, that he has exceeded their largest expectations, and made them more than conquerors, and brought them to their delightful rest and inheritance. May none of us at that season be found among his enemies, “who shall be destroyed for ever.” ’ Scott.

Joshua 21:44  And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand.

  • Jos 1:15 11:23 22:4,9 De 7:22-24 31:3-5 Heb 4:9 
  • Joshua 21 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand

Joshua 21:45  Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

  • Jos 23:14,15 Nu 23:19 1Ki 8:56 1Co 1:9 1Th 5:24 Tit 1:2 Heb 6:18 
  • Joshua 21 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass

 

 

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