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Joshua 21:1-22:20; Luke 20:1-26; Psalms 89:1-13; Proverbs 13:15-16 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
Cities for the Tribe of Levi
21 Then the leaders of the families of Levi came to the priest Eleazar, to Joshua (son of Nun), and to the leaders of the families of the other Israelite tribes 2 at Shiloh in Canaan. They said to them, “The Lord commanded through Moses that we should receive cities to live in and pasturelands for our livestock.” 3 So, as the Lord had instructed, Levi’s descendants were given the following cities with pasturelands from the Israelites’ inheritance.
4 These are the cities for the families of Kohath that were chosen by drawing lots. These descendants of the priest Aaron the Levite received 13 cities from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. 5 The rest of Kohath’s descendants received 10 cities from the families of the tribes of Ephraim and Dan and half of the tribe of Manasseh.
6 Gershon’s descendants received 13 cities from the families of the tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and half of the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.
7 Merari’s descendants received 12 cities for their families from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun. 8 The Israelites gave these cities with pasturelands to Levi’s descendants by drawing lots, as the Lord had commanded through Moses.
Cities for Kohath’s Descendants
9 These are the names of the cities from the tribes of Judah and Simeon 10 that they gave Aaron’s descendants who were from the families of Kohath in the tribe of Levi. Their lot was the first one drawn. 11 They gave them Kiriath Arba (Arba was Anak’s father) and the pastureland around it. This is the city of Hebron located in the mountains of Judah. 12 But they gave its fields and villages to Caleb, son of Jephunneh, as his possession. 13 So they gave the following cities with pasturelands to the descendants of Aaron, the priest. The nine cities from those two tribes were Hebron (a city of refuge for murderers), Libnah, 14 Jattir, Eshtemoa, 15 Holon, Debir, 16 Ain, Juttah, and Beth Shemesh. 17 The tribe of Benjamin also gave them four cities: Gibeon, Geba, 18 Anathoth, and Almon. 19 In all, 13 cities with pasturelands were given to the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
20 Cities were chosen by lot from the tribe of Ephraim to give to the rest of Levi’s descendants who were from the families of Kohath. 21 These four cities with pasturelands were Shechem (a city of refuge for murderers) in the mountains of Ephraim, Gezer, 22 Kibzaim, and Beth Horon. 23 The tribe of Dan gave them four cities: Eltekeh, Gibbethon, 24 Aijalon, and Gath Rimmon. 25 Half of the tribe of Manasseh gave them two cities with pasturelands: Taanach and Gath Rimmon. 26 In all, ten cities with pasturelands were given to the rest of the families of Kohath.
Cities for Gershon’s Descendants
27 They gave the families of Gershon’s descendants, who were in the tribe of Levi, two cities with pasturelands from half of the tribe of Manasseh: Golan in Bashan (a city of refuge for murderers) and Ashtaroth. 28 Four cities with pasturelands were also given to them from the tribe of Issachar: Kishion, Daberath, 29 Jarmuth, and En Gannim. 30 Another four cities with pasturelands were given to them from the tribe of Asher: Mishal, Abdon, 31 Helkath, and Rehob. 32 Also three cities with pasturelands were given to them from the tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in Galilee (a city of refuge for murderers), Hammoth Dor, and Kartan. 33 In all, 13 cities with pasturelands were given to Gershon’s families.
Cities for Merari’s Descendants
34 To the families of Merari, who were from the tribe of Levi, the tribe of Zebulun gave four cities with pasturelands: Jokneam, Kartah, 35 Dimnah, and Nahalal. 36 The tribe of Reuben also gave them four cities with pasturelands: Bezer, Jahaz, 37 Kedemoth, and Mephaath. 38 The tribe of Gad also gave them four cities with pasturelands: Ramoth in Gilead (a city of refuge for murderers), Mahanaim, 39 Heshbon, and Jazer. 40 All these cities belonged to the families of Merari. They were the last of the families of Levi. These 12 cities were chosen by lot.
41 Within the territory owned by the Israelites there were 48 cities in all for Levi’s descendants. 42 Each of these cities had its own pastureland around it.
43 So the Lord gave Israel the whole land he had sworn to give their ancestors. They took possession of it and settled there. 44 The Lord allowed them to have peace on every side, as he had sworn with an oath to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies stood up to them. The Lord handed all their enemies over to them. 45 Every single good promise that the Lord had given the nation of Israel came true.
Joshua Blesses the Tribes That Live East of the Jordan River
22 Joshua summoned the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh. 2 He said to them, “You have done everything the Lord’s servant Moses commanded you. You have also obeyed me in everything I commanded you. 3 All this time, to this day, you have never deserted your relatives. You have carefully kept the commands of the Lord your God.
4 “Now the Lord your God has given your relatives peace, as he promised them. So return home, to the land that is your own possession. It is the land that the Lord’s servant Moses gave you east of the Jordan River. 5 Carefully follow the commands and teachings that the Lord’s servant Moses gave you. Love the Lord your God, follow his directions, and keep his commands. Be loyal to him, and serve him with all your heart and soul.” 6 Then Joshua blessed them. He sent them on their way, and they went to their homes.
7 Moses had given land in Bashan as an inheritance to half of Manasseh, and Joshua had given the other half of the tribe their land with their relatives west of the Jordan. When Joshua sent them home, he blessed them. 8 He also said to them, “Return to your homes with your vast wealth, large herds of livestock, silver, gold, bronze, iron, and loads of clothing. Divide the loot from your enemies with your relatives.”
An Altar for the Lord Is Built East of the Jordan River
9 So the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh left the rest of the Israelites at Shiloh in Canaan. They returned to Gilead. This was their own possession which they had captured as the Lord had instructed them through Moses. 10 Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh came to the region of the Jordan that was still in Canaan. They built an altar by the Jordan River. The altar was very large and highly visible. 11 The rest of the Israelites heard about it and said, “See there! Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh have built an altar at the border of Canaan. It’s in the region near the Jordan River on Israel’s side.” 12 When the people of Israel heard about it, the whole congregation of Israel gathered at Shiloh. They intended to wage war against them.
13 The Israelites sent Phinehas, son of the priest Eleazar, to the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh in Gilead. 14 Ten leaders, one from each tribe in Israel, went with him. Each man was a leader of a household and head of a family division in Israel. 15 When they arrived these leaders said to the people of Gilead, 16 “All of the Lord’s congregation is asking, ‘What is this faithless act you have committed against the God of Israel?’ Today you have turned away from following the Lord by building an altar for yourselves. Today you have rebelled against the Lord! 17 Does the sin we committed at Peor mean nothing to us anymore? Didn’t we cleanse ourselves from it? Because of that sin there was a plague on the Lord’s congregation! 18 You have turned away from following the Lord! Today you rebel against the Lord, and tomorrow he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel. 19 If your land is unclean,[a] come over here to the Lord’s land. The Lord’s tent is standing here. Take some property for yourselves among us. Don’t rebel against the Lord or against us by building an altar for yourselves in addition to the altar of the Lord our God. 20 Didn’t Achan, son of Zerah, act faithlessly with the things claimed by the Lord? Didn’t the Lord become angry with the whole congregation of Israel? Achan wasn’t the only one who died because of his sin.”
- Joshua 22:19 “Unclean” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is not presentable to God.
Jesus’ Authority Challenged
20 One day Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courtyard and telling them the Good News. The chief priests, the experts in Moses’ Teachings, and the leaders came up to him. 2 They asked him, “Tell us, what gives you the right to do these things? Who told you that you could do this?”
3 Jesus answered them, “I, too, have a question for you. Tell me, 4 did John’s right to baptize come from heaven or from humans?”
5 They talked about this among themselves. They said, “If we say, ‘from heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ 6 But if we say, ‘from humans,’ everyone will stone us to death. They’re convinced that John was a prophet.” 7 So they answered that they didn’t know who gave John the right to baptize.
8 Jesus told them, “Then I won’t tell you why I have the right to do these things.”
A Story about a Vineyard
9 Then, using this illustration, Jesus spoke to the people: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to vineyard workers, and went on a long trip.
10 “At the right time he sent a servant to the workers to obtain from them a share of the grapes from the vineyard. But the workers beat the servant and sent him back with nothing. 11 So he sent a different servant. The workers beat him, treated him shamefully, and sent him back with nothing. 12 Then he sent a third servant. But they injured this one and threw him out of the vineyard.
13 “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I’ll send my son, whom I love. They’ll probably respect him.’
14 “When the workers saw him, they talked it over among themselves. They said, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.’ 15 So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
“What will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will destroy these workers and give the vineyard to others.”
Those who heard him said, “That’s unthinkable!”
17 Then Jesus looked straight at them and asked, “What, then, does this Scripture verse mean:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken. If that stone falls on anyone, it will crush that person.”
19 The experts in Moses’ Teachings and the chief priests wanted to arrest him right there, but they were afraid of the people. They knew that he had directed this illustration at them.
A Question about Taxes
20 So they watched for an opportunity to send out some spies. The spies were to act like sincere religious people. They wanted to catch him saying the wrong thing so that they could hand him over to the governor. 21 They asked him, “Teacher, we know that you’re right in what you say and teach. Besides, you don’t play favorites. Rather, you teach the way of God truthfully. 22 Is it right for us to pay taxes to the emperor or not?”
23 He saw through their scheme, so he said to them, 24 “Show me a coin. Whose face and name is this?”
They answered, “The emperor’s.”
25 He said to them, “Well, then give the emperor what belongs to the emperor, and give God what belongs to God.”
26 They couldn’t make him say anything wrong in front of the people. His answer surprised them, so they said no more.
A maskil by Ethan the Ezrahite.
1 I will sing forever about the evidence of your mercy, O Lord.
I will tell about your faithfulness to every generation.
2 I said, “Your mercy will last forever.
Your faithfulness stands firm in the heavens.”
3 You said, “I have made a promise[a] to my chosen one.
I swore this oath to my servant David:
4 ‘I will make your dynasty continue forever.
I built your throne to last throughout every generation.’” Selah
5 O Lord, the heavens praise your miracles
and your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 Who in the skies can compare with the Lord?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord?
7 God is terrifying in the council of the holy ones.
He is greater and more awe-inspiring than those who surround him.
8 O Lord God of Armies, who is like you?
Mighty Lord, even your faithfulness surrounds you.
9 You rule the raging sea.
When its waves rise, you quiet them.
10 You crushed Rahab;[b] it was like a corpse.
With your strong arm you scattered your enemies.
11 The heavens are yours.
The earth is also yours.
You made the world and everything in it.
12 You created north and south.
Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon sing your name joyfully.
13 Your arm is mighty.
Your hand is strong.
Your right hand is lifted high.