Cities of the Levites(A)

21 Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of the (B)Levites came near to (C)Eleazar the priest, to Joshua the son of Nun, and to the heads of the fathers’ houses of the tribes of the children of Israel. And they spoke to them at (D)Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, (E)“The Lord commanded through Moses to give us cities to dwell in, with their common-lands for our livestock.” So the children of Israel gave to the Levites from their inheritance, at the commandment of the Lord, these cities and their common-lands:

Now the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites. And (F)the children of Aaron the priest, who were of the Levites, (G)had thirteen cities by lot from the tribe of Judah, from the tribe of Simeon, and from the tribe of Benjamin. (H)The rest of the children of Kohath had ten cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Ephraim, from the tribe of Dan, and from the half-tribe of Manasseh.

And (I)the children of Gershon had thirteen cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Issachar, from the tribe of Asher, from the tribe of Naphtali, and from the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.

(J)The children of Merari according to their families had twelve cities from the tribe of Reuben, from the tribe of Gad, and from the tribe of Zebulun.

(K)And the children of Israel gave these cities with their common-lands by lot to the Levites, (L)as the Lord had commanded by the hand of Moses.

So they gave from the tribe of the children of Judah and from the tribe of the children of Simeon these cities which are [a]designated by name, 10 which were for the children of Aaron, one of the families of the Kohathites, who were of the children of Levi; for the lot was theirs first. 11 (M)And they gave them [b]Kirjath Arba (Arba was the father of (N)Anak), (O)which is Hebron, in the mountains of Judah, with the common-land surrounding it. 12 But (P)the fields of the city and its villages they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as his possession.

13 Thus (Q)to the children of Aaron the priest they gave (R)Hebron with its common-land (a city of refuge for the slayer), (S)Libnah with its common-land, 14 (T)Jattir with its common-land, (U)Eshtemoa with its common-land, 15 (V)Holon with its common-land, (W)Debir with its common-land, 16 (X)Ain with its common-land, (Y)Juttah with its common-land, and (Z)Beth Shemesh with its common-land: nine cities from those two tribes; 17 and from the tribe of Benjamin, (AA)Gibeon with its common-land, (AB)Geba with its common-land, 18 Anathoth with its common-land, and (AC)Almon with its common-land: four cities. 19 All the cities of the children of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their common-lands.

20 (AD)And the families of the children of Kohath, the Levites, the rest of the children of Kohath, even they had the cities of their [c]lot from the tribe of Ephraim. 21 For they gave them (AE)Shechem with its common-land in the mountains of Ephraim (a city of refuge for the slayer), (AF)Gezer with its common-land, 22 Kibzaim with its common-land, and Beth Horon with its common-land: four cities; 23 and from the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh with its common-land, Gibbethon with its common-land, 24 (AG)Aijalon with its common-land, and Gath Rimmon with its common-land: four cities; 25 and from the half-tribe of Manasseh, Tanach with its common-land and Gath Rimmon with its common-land: two cities. 26 All the ten cities with their common-lands were for the rest of the families of the children of Kohath.

27 (AH)Also to the children of Gershon, of the families of the Levites, from the other half-tribe of Manasseh, they gave (AI)Golan in Bashan with its common-land (a city of refuge for the slayer), and Be Eshterah with its common-land: two cities; 28 and from the tribe of Issachar, Kishion with its common-land, Daberath with its common-land, 29 Jarmuth with its common-land, and En Gannim with its common-land: four cities; 30 and from the tribe of Asher, Mishal with its common-land, Abdon with its common-land, 31 Helkath with its common-land, and Rehob with its common-land: four cities; 32 and from the tribe of Naphtali, (AJ)Kedesh in Galilee with its common-land (a city of refuge for the slayer), Hammoth Dor with its common-land, and Kartan with its common-land: three cities. 33 All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their common-lands.

34 (AK)And to the families of the children of Merari, the rest of the Levites, from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with its common-land, Kartah with its common-land, 35 Dimnah with its common-land, and Nahalal with its common-land: four cities; 36 [d]and from the tribe of Reuben, (AL)Bezer with its common-land, Jahaz with its common-land, 37 Kedemoth with its common-land, and Mephaath with its common-land: four cities; 38 and from the tribe of Gad, (AM)Ramoth in Gilead with its common-land (a city of refuge for the slayer), Mahanaim with its common-land, 39 Heshbon with its common-land, and Jazer with its common-land: four cities in all. 40 So all the cities for the children of Merari according to their families, the rest of the families of the Levites, were by their lot twelve cities.

41 (AN)All the cities of the Levites within the possession of the children of Israel were forty-eight cities with their common-lands. 42 Every one of these cities had its common-land surrounding it; thus were all these cities.

The Promise Fulfilled

43 So the Lord gave to Israel (AO)all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they (AP)took possession of it and dwelt in it. 44 (AQ)The Lord gave them (AR)rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And (AS)not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 (AT)Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.

Eastern Tribes Return to Their Lands

22 Then Joshua called the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, and said to them: “You have kept (AU)all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, (AV)and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you. You have not [e]left your brethren these many days, up to this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the Lord your God. And now the Lord your God has given (AW)rest to your brethren, as He promised them; now therefore, return and go to your tents and to the land of your possession, (AX)which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan. But (AY)take[f] careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, (AZ)to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” So Joshua (BA)blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.

Now to half the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, (BB)but to the other half of it Joshua gave a possession among their brethren on this side of the Jordan, westward. And indeed, when Joshua sent them away to their tents, he blessed them, and spoke to them, saying, “Return with much riches to your tents, with very much livestock, with silver, with gold, with bronze, with iron, and with very much clothing. (BC)Divide the [g]spoil of your enemies with your brethren.”

So the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh returned, and departed from the children of Israel at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go to (BD)the country of Gilead, to the land of their possession, which they had obtained according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

An Altar by the Jordan

10 And when they came to the region of the Jordan which is in the land of Canaan, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh built an altar there by the Jordan—a great, impressive altar. 11 Now the children of Israel (BE)heard someone say, “Behold, the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh have built an altar on the [h]frontier of the land of Canaan, in the region of the Jordan—on the children of Israel’s side.” 12 And when the children of Israel heard of it, (BF)the whole congregation of the children of Israel gathered together at Shiloh to go to war against them.

13 Then the children of Israel (BG)sent (BH)Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest to the children of Reuben, to the children of Gad, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, into the land of Gilead, 14 and with him ten rulers, one ruler each from the chief house of every tribe of Israel; and (BI)each one was the head of the house of his father among the [i]divisions of Israel. 15 Then they came to the children of Reuben, to the children of Gad, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, to the land of Gilead, and they spoke with them, saying, 16 “Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord: ‘What (BJ)treachery[j] is this that you have committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day from following the Lord, in that you have built for yourselves an altar, (BK)that you might rebel this day against the Lord? 17 Is the iniquity (BL)of Peor not enough for us, from which we are not cleansed till this day, although there was a plague in the congregation of the Lord, 18 but that you must turn away this day from following the Lord? And it shall be, if you rebel today against the Lord, that tomorrow (BM)He will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel. 19 [k]Nevertheless, if the land of your possession is unclean, then cross over to the land of the possession of the Lord, (BN)where the Lord’s tabernacle stands, and take possession among us; but do not rebel against the Lord, nor rebel against us, by building yourselves an altar besides the altar of the Lord our God. 20 (BO)Did not Achan the son of Zerah [l]commit a trespass in the [m]accursed thing, and wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel? And that man did not perish alone in his iniquity.’ ”

21 Then the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh answered and said to the heads of the [n]divisions of Israel: 22 “The Lord (BP)God of gods, the Lord God of gods, He (BQ)knows, and let Israel itself know—if it is in rebellion, or if in treachery against the Lord, do not save us this day. 23 If we have built ourselves an altar to turn from following the Lord, or if to offer on it burnt offerings or grain offerings, or if to offer peace offerings on it, let the Lord Himself (BR)require an account. 24 But in fact we have done it [o]for fear, for a reason, saying, ‘In time to come your descendants may speak to our descendants, saying, “What have you to do with the Lord God of Israel? 25 For the Lord has made the Jordan a border between you and us, you children of Reuben and children of Gad. You have no part in the Lord.” So your descendants would make our descendants cease fearing the Lord.’ 26 Therefore we said, ‘Let us now prepare to build ourselves an altar, not for burnt offering nor for sacrifice, 27 but that it may be (BS)a [p]witness between you and us and our generations after us, that we may (BT)perform the service of the Lord before Him with our burnt offerings, with our sacrifices, and with our peace offerings; that your descendants may not say to our descendants in time to come, “You have no part in the Lord.” ’ 28 Therefore we said that it will be, when they say this to us or to our generations in time to come, that we may say, ‘Here is the replica of the altar of the Lord which our fathers made, though not for burnt offerings nor for sacrifices; but it is a witness between you and us.’ 29 Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord, and turn from following the Lord this day, (BU)to build an altar for burnt offerings, for grain offerings, or for sacrifices, besides the altar of the Lord our God which is before His tabernacle.”

30 Now when Phinehas the priest and the rulers of the congregation, the heads of the [q]divisions of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the children of Manasseh spoke, it pleased them. 31 Then Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest said to the children of Reuben, the children of Gad, and the children of Manasseh, “This day we perceive that the Lord is (BV)among us, because you have not committed this treachery against the Lord. Now you have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the Lord.”

32 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest, and the rulers, returned from the children of Reuben and the children of Gad, from the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and brought back word to them. 33 So the thing pleased the children of Israel, and the children of Israel (BW)blessed God; they spoke no more of going against them in battle, to destroy the land where the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt.

34 The children of Reuben and the children of [r]Gad called the altar, Witness, “For it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”

Footnotes

  1. Joshua 21:9 Lit. called
  2. Joshua 21:11 Lit. City of Arba
  3. Joshua 21:20 allotment
  4. Joshua 21:36 So with LXX, Vg. (cf. 1 Chr. 6:78, 79); MT, Bg., Tg. omit vv. 36, 37
  5. Joshua 22:3 forsaken
  6. Joshua 22:5 be very careful to do
  7. Joshua 22:8 plunder
  8. Joshua 22:11 Lit. front
  9. Joshua 22:14 Lit. thousands
  10. Joshua 22:16 unfaithful act
  11. Joshua 22:19 However
  12. Joshua 22:20 act unfaithfully
  13. Joshua 22:20 devoted thing
  14. Joshua 22:21 Lit. thousands
  15. Joshua 22:24 Lit. from fear
  16. Joshua 22:27 testimony
  17. Joshua 22:30 Lit. thousands
  18. Joshua 22:34 LXX adds and half the tribe of Manasseh