Six Cities of Refuge

20 Then the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘[a]Designate (A)the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you [b]through Moses, so that one who commits manslaughter by [c]killing a person unintentionally, without premeditation, may flee there, and they shall become your refuge from the avenger of blood. Then he shall flee to one of these cities, and shall stand at the entrance of the (B)gate of the city, and state his case in the [d]presence of the elders of that city; and they shall [e]receive him into the city to them and give him a place, so that he may remain among them. Now (C)if the avenger of blood pursues him, then they are not to hand the one who committed manslaughter over to him, since he struck his neighbor without premeditation and did not hate him previously. And he shall remain in that city (D)until he stands before the congregation for judgment, until the death of the one who is high priest in those days. Then [f]he shall [g]return to his own city and to his own house, to the city from which he fled.’”

So they [h]set apart (E)Kedesh in [i]Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in (F)the hill country of Judah. And beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they [j]designated Bezer in the wilderness on the plain from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh. (G)These were the designated cities for all the sons of Israel and for the stranger who resides among them, so that whoever [k]kills a person unintentionally may flee there, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood until he stands before the congregation.

Forty-eight Cities of the Levites

21 Then the heads of fathers’ households of (H)the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of fathers’ households of the tribes of the sons of Israel. And they spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, “(I)The Lord commanded [l]through 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 cities with their pasture lands, in accordance with the [m]command of the Lord. Then the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites. And to the sons of Aaron the priest, who were of the Levites, thirteen cities were given by lot from the tribe of Judah, from the tribe of the Simeonites, and from the tribe of Benjamin.

And to the rest of the sons of Kohath ten cities were given by lot from the families of the tribe of Ephraim, from the tribe of Dan, and from the half-tribe of Manasseh.

And to the sons of Gershon thirteen cities were given 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.

To the sons of Merari according to their families twelve cities were given from the tribe of Reuben, from the tribe of Gad, and from the tribe of Zebulun.

Now the (J)sons of Israel gave by lot to the Levites these cities with their pasture lands, as the Lord had commanded [n]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 was theirs first. 11 So (K)they gave them Kiriath-arba (Arba being the (L)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 gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as his possession.

13 So (M)to the sons of Aaron the priest they gave (N)Hebron, the city of refuge for the one who commits manslaughter, with its pasture lands, (O)Libnah with its pasture lands, 14 (P)Jattir with its pasture lands, (Q)Eshtemoa with its pasture lands, 15 [o]Holon with its pasture lands, (R)Debir with its pasture lands, 16 [p]Ain with its pasture lands, (S)Juttah with its pasture lands, and (T)Beth-shemesh with its pasture lands; nine cities from these two tribes. 17 From the tribe of Benjamin, (U)Gibeon with its pasture lands, (V)Geba with its pasture lands, 18 Anathoth with its pasture lands, and [q]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 (W)families of the sons of Kohath, the Levites, that is, to the rest of the sons of Kohath. 21 They gave them (X)Shechem, the city of refuge for the one who commits 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 And from the tribe of Dan, Elteke 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 were ten.

27 And (Y)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 one who commits manslaughter, with its pasture lands, and Be-eshterah with its pasture lands; two cities. 28 And 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 And from the tribe of Naphtali, they gave (Z)Kedesh in Galilee, the city of refuge for the one who commits manslaughter, with its pasture lands, 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 And to the families of (AA)the sons of Merari, the rest of the Levites, they gave from the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with its pasture lands, 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 (AB)Bezer with its pasture lands, Jahaz with its pasture lands, 37 Kedemoth with its pasture lands, and Mephaath with its pasture lands; four cities. 38 And from the tribe of Gad, they gave (AC)Ramoth in Gilead, the city of refuge for the one who commits manslaughter, with its pasture lands, (AD)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 (AE)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. 42 These cities individually had [r]their surrounding pasture lands; this is how it was with all these cities.

43 (AF)So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and (AG)they took possession of it and lived in it. 44 And the Lord (AH)gave them rest on every side, in accordance with everything that He had sworn to their fathers, and (AI)no one of all their enemies stood before them; (AJ)the Lord handed all their enemies over to them. 45 (AK)Not [s]one of the good promises which the Lord had [t]made to the house of Israel failed; everything came to pass.

Footnotes

  1. Joshua 20:2 Lit Give for yourselves
  2. Joshua 20:2 Lit by the hand of
  3. Joshua 20:3 Lit striking
  4. Joshua 20:4 Lit ears of
  5. Joshua 20:4 Lit gather
  6. Joshua 20:6 Lit the one who committed manslaughter
  7. Joshua 20:6 Lit return and come
  8. Joshua 20:7 Lit sanctified
  9. Joshua 20:7 Heb Galil
  10. Joshua 20:8 Lit gave
  11. Joshua 20:9 Lit strikes
  12. Joshua 21:2 Lit by the hand of
  13. Joshua 21:3 Lit mouth
  14. Joshua 21:8 Lit by the hand of
  15. Joshua 21:15 In 1 Chr 6:58, Hilen
  16. Joshua 21:16 In 1 Chr 6:59, Ashan
  17. Joshua 21:18 In 1 Chr 6:60, Allemeth
  18. Joshua 21:42 Lit its
  19. Joshua 21:45 Lit a word from every good word
  20. Joshua 21:45 Lit spoken