New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition
Cities Allotted to the Levites
21 Then the heads of the families of the Levites came to the priest Eleazar and to Joshua son of Nun and to the heads of the families of the tribes of the Israelites;(A) 2 they said to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, “The Lord commanded through Moses that we be given towns to live in, along with their pasturelands for our livestock.”(B) 3 So by command of the Lord the Israelites gave to the Levites the following towns and pasturelands out of their inheritance.
4 The lot came out for the families of the Kohathites. So those Levites who were descendants of Aaron the priest received by lot thirteen towns from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin.(C)
5 The rest of the Kohathites received by lot ten towns from the families of the tribe of Ephraim, from the tribe of Dan, and from the half-tribe of Manasseh.(D)
6 The Gershonites received by lot thirteen towns 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.(E)
7 The Merarites according to their families received twelve towns from the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad, and the tribe of Zebulun.(F)
8 These towns and their pasturelands the Israelites gave by lot to the Levites, as the Lord had commanded through Moses.(G)
9 Out of the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Simeon they gave the following towns mentioned by name, 10 which went to the descendants of Aaron, one of the families of the Kohathites who belonged to the Levites, since the lot fell to them first. 11 They gave them Kiriath-arba (Arba being the father of Anak), that is, Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, along with the pasturelands around it.(H) 12 But the fields of the town and its villages had been given to Caleb son of Jephunneh as his holding.
13 To the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for the slayer, with its pasturelands, Libnah with its pasturelands,(I) 14 Jattir with its pasturelands, Eshtemoa with its pasturelands, 15 Holon with its pasturelands, Debir with its pasturelands,(J) 16 Ain with its pasturelands, Juttah with its pasturelands, and Beth-shemesh with its pasturelands—nine towns out of these two tribes.(K) 17 Out of the tribe of Benjamin: Gibeon with its pasturelands, Geba with its pasturelands, 18 Anathoth with its pasturelands, and Almon with its pasturelands—four towns.(L) 19 The towns of the descendants of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen in all, with their pasturelands.
20 As to the rest of the Kohathites belonging to the Kohathite families of the Levites, the towns allotted to them were out of the tribe of Ephraim. 21 To them were given Shechem, the city of refuge for the slayer, with its pasturelands in the hill country of Ephraim, Gezer with its pasturelands,(M) 22 Kibzaim with its pasturelands, and Beth-horon with its pasturelands—four towns. 23 Out of the tribe of Dan: Elteke with its pasturelands, Gibbethon with its pasturelands, 24 Aijalon with its pasturelands, Gath-rimmon with its pasturelands—four towns. 25 Out of the half-tribe of Manasseh: Taanach with its pasturelands, and Gath-rimmon with its pasturelands—two towns. 26 The towns of the families of the rest of the Kohathites were ten in all, with their pasturelands.
27 To the Gershonites, one of the families of the Levites, were given out of the half-tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan with its pasturelands, the city of refuge for the slayer, and Beeshterah with its pasturelands—two towns.(N) 28 Out of the tribe of Issachar: Kishion with its pasturelands, Daberath with its pasturelands, 29 Jarmuth with its pasturelands, En-gannim with its pasturelands—four towns. 30 Out of the tribe of Asher: Mishal with its pasturelands, Abdon with its pasturelands, 31 Helkath with its pasturelands, and Rehob with its pasturelands—four towns. 32 Out of the tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in Galilee with its pasturelands, the city of refuge for the slayer, Hammoth-dor with its pasturelands, and Kartan with its pasturelands—three towns.(O) 33 The towns of the several families of the Gershonites were in all thirteen, with their pasturelands.
34 To the rest of the Levites—the Merarite families—were given out of the tribe of Zebulun: Jokneam with its pasturelands, Kartah with its pasturelands,(P) 35 Dimnah with its pasturelands, Nahalal with its pasturelands—four towns. 36 Out of the tribe of Reuben: Bezer with its pasturelands, Jahzah with its pasturelands,(Q) 37 Kedemoth with its pasturelands, and Mephaath with its pasturelands—four towns. 38 Out of the tribe of Gad: Ramoth in Gilead with its pasturelands, the city of refuge for the slayer, Mahanaim with its pasturelands, 39 Heshbon with its pasturelands, Jazer with its pasturelands—four towns in all. 40 As for the towns of the several Merarite families, that is, the remainder of the families of the Levites, those allotted to them were twelve in all.
41 The towns of the Levites within the holdings of the Israelites were in all forty-eight towns with their pasturelands.(R) 42 Each of these towns had its pasturelands around it; so it was with all these towns.
43 Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to their ancestors that he would give them, and having taken possession of it, they settled there.(S) 44 And the Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors; not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands.(T) 45 Not one of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.(U)
The Eastern Tribes Return to Their Territory
22 Then Joshua summoned the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh 2 and said to them, “You have observed all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you and have obeyed me in all that I have commanded you;(V) 3 you have not forsaken your kindred these many days, down to this day, but have been careful to keep the charge of the Lord your God. 4 And now the Lord your God has given rest to your kindred, as he promised them; therefore turn and go to your tents in the land where your possession lies, which Moses the servant of the Lord gave you on the other side of the Jordan.(W) 5 Take good care to observe the commandment and instruction that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to keep his commandments, and to hold fast to him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”(X) 6 So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went to their tents.
7 Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, but to the other half Joshua had given a possession beside their fellow Israelites in the land west of the Jordan. And when Joshua sent them away to their tents and blessed them,(Y) 8 he said to them, “Go back to your tents with much wealth and with very much livestock, with silver, gold, bronze, and iron, and with a great quantity of clothing; divide the spoil of your enemies with your kindred.” 9 So the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh returned home, parting from the Israelites at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan, to go to the land of Gilead, their own land of which they had taken possession by command of the Lord through Moses.(Z)
A Memorial Altar East of the Jordan
10 When they came to the region[a] near the Jordan that lies in the land of Canaan, the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of great size. 11 The Israelites heard that the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh had built an altar opposite the land of Canaan, in the region[b] near the Jordan, across from the Israelites.(AA) 12 And when the people of Israel heard of it, the whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh to make war against them.(AB)
13 Then the Israelites sent the priest Phinehas son of Eleazar to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead,(AC) 14 and with him ten chiefs, one from each of the tribal families of Israel, every one of them the head of a family among the clans of Israel. 15 They came to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, in the land of Gilead, and they said to them, 16 “Thus says the whole congregation of the Lord: What is this treachery that you have committed against the God of Israel in turning away today from following the Lord, by building yourselves an altar today in rebellion against the Lord?(AD) 17 Have we not had enough of the sin at Peor, from which even yet we have not cleansed ourselves and for which a plague came upon the congregation of the Lord,(AE) 18 that you must turn away today from following the Lord? If you rebel against the Lord today, he will be angry with the whole congregation of Israel tomorrow. 19 But now, if your land is unclean, cross over into the Lord’s land, where the Lord’s tabernacle now stands, and take for yourselves a possession among us; only do not rebel against the Lord or rebel against us[c] by building yourselves an altar other than the altar of the Lord our God.(AF) 20 Did not Achan son of Zerah break faith in the matter of the devoted things, and wrath fell upon all the congregation of Israel? And he did not perish alone for his iniquity!”(AG)
21 Then the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh said in answer to the heads of the families of Israel, 22 “The Lord, God of gods! The Lord, God of gods! He knows, and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith toward the Lord, do not spare us today(AH) 23 for building an altar to turn away from following the Lord, or if we did so to offer burnt offerings or grain offerings or offerings of well-being on it, may the Lord himself take vengeance.(AI) 24 No! We did it from fear that in time to come your children might say to our children, ‘What have you to do with the Lord, the God of Israel? 25 For the Lord has made the Jordan a boundary between us and you, you Reubenites and Gadites; you have no portion in the Lord.’ So your children might make our children cease to worship the Lord. 26 Therefore we said, ‘Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be a witness between us and you and between the generations after us, that we do perform the service of the Lord in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and offerings of well-being, so that your children may never say to our children in time to come, “You have no portion in the Lord.” ’(AJ) 28 And we thought, ‘If this should be said to us or to our descendants in time to come, we could say, “Look at this copy of the altar of the Lord that our ancestors made, not for burnt offerings nor for sacrifice, but to be a witness between us and you.” 29 Far be it from us that we should rebel against the Lord and turn away this day from following the Lord by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice other than the altar of the Lord our God that stands before his tabernacle!’ ”(AK)
30 When the priest Phinehas and the chiefs of the congregation, the heads of the families of Israel who were with him, heard the words that the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manassites spoke, they were satisfied. 31 The priest Phinehas son of Eleazar said to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the Manassites, “Today we know that the Lord is among us, because you have not committed this treachery against the Lord; now you have saved the Israelites from the hand of the Lord.”(AL)
32 Then the priest Phinehas son of Eleazar and the chiefs returned from the Reubenites and the Gadites in the land of Gilead to the land of Canaan, to the Israelites, and brought back word to them. 33 The report pleased the Israelites, and the Israelites blessed God and spoke no more of making war against them, to destroy the land where the Reubenites and the Gadites were settled.(AM) 34 The Reubenites and the Gadites called the altar Witness,[d] “for,” they said, “it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.”(AN)