Contemporary English Version
19 Simeon was the second tribe chosen to receive land, and the region for its clans was inside Judah’s borders. 2-6 In one region of Simeon’s tribal land there were the following thirteen towns with their surrounding villages:
Beersheba, Shema,[a] Moladah, Hazar-Shual, Balah, Ezem, Eltolad, Bethul, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth-Marcaboth, Hazar-Susah, Beth-Lebaoth, and Sharuhen.
7 In another region, Simeon had the following four towns with their surrounding villages:
8 Simeon’s land also included all the other towns and villages as far south as Baalath-Beer, which is also called Ramah of the South.
9 Simeon’s tribal land was actually inside Judah’s territory. Judah had received too much land for the number of people in its tribe, so part of Judah’s land was given to Simeon.
10-12 Zebulun was the third tribe chosen to receive land. The southern border for its clans started in the west at the edge of the gorge near Jokneam. It went east to the edge of the land that belongs to the town of Dabbesheth, and continued on to Maralah and Sarid. It took in the land that belongs to Chislothtabor, then ended at Daberath.
The eastern border went up to Japhia 13 and continued north to Gath-Hepher, Ethkazin, and Rimmonah,[d] where it curved[e] toward Neah 14 and became the northern border. Then it curved south around Hannathon and went as far west as Iphtahel Valley.
16 This is the tribal land, and these are the towns and villages of the Zebulun clans.
17-23 Issachar was the fourth tribe chosen to receive land. The northern border for its clans went from Mount Tabor east to the Jordan River. Their land included the following sixteen towns with their surrounding villages:
24-26 Asher was the fifth tribe chosen to receive land, and the region for its clans included the following towns:
Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, Allammelech, Amad, and Mishal.
Asher’s southern border ran from the Mediterranean Sea southeast along the Shihor-Libnath River at the foot of Mount Carmel, 27 then east to Beth-Dagon. On the southeast, Asher shared a border with Zebulun along the Iphtahel Valley. On the eastern side their border ran north to Beth-Emek, went east of Cabul, and then on to Neiel, 28 Abdon,[k] Rehob, Hammon, Kanah, and as far north as the city of Sidon. 29-31 Then it turned west to become the northern border and went to Ramah[l] and the fortress-city of Tyre.[m] Near Tyre it turned toward Hosah and ended at the Mediterranean Sea.
32-34 Naphtali was the sixth tribe chosen to receive land. The southern border for its clans started in the west, where the tribal lands of Asher and Zebulun meet near Hukkok. From that point it ran east and southeast along the border with Zebulun as far as Aznoth-Tabor. From there the border went east to Heleph, Adami-Nekeb, Jabneel,[p] then to the town called Oak in Zaanannim,[q] and Lakkum. The southern border ended at the Jordan River, at the edge of the town named Jehudah.[r] Naphtali shared a border with Asher on the west.
35-39 The Naphtali clans received this region as their tribal land, and it included nineteen towns with their surrounding villages. The following towns had walls around them:
40-46 Dan was the seventh tribe chosen to receive land, and the region for its clans included the following towns:
Dan’s tribal land[x] went almost as far as Joppa. 47-48 Its clans received this land and these towns with their surrounding villages.
Later, when enemies[y] forced them to leave their tribal land, they went to the town of Leshem. They attacked the town, captured it, and killed the people who lived there. Then they settled there themselves and renamed the town Dan after their ancestor.
49-51 The Israelites were still gathered in Shiloh in front of the sacred tent,[z] when Eleazar the priest, Joshua, and the family leaders of Israel finished giving out the land to the tribes. The Lord had told the people to give Joshua whatever town he wanted. So Joshua chose Timnath-Serah in the hill country of Ephraim, and the people gave it to him. Joshua went to Timnath-Serah, rebuilt it, and lived there.
The Safe Towns
20 One day the Lord told Joshua:
2 When Moses was still alive, I had him tell the Israelites about the Safe Towns. Now you tell them that it is time to set up these towns. 3-4 If a person accidentally kills someone and the victim’s relatives say it was murder, they might try to take revenge.[aa] Anyone accused of murder can run to one of the Safe Towns and be safe from the victim’s relatives. The one needing protection will stand at the entrance to the town gate and explain to the town leaders what happened. Then the leaders will bring that person in and provide a place to live in their town.
5 One of the victim’s relatives might come to the town, looking for revenge. But the town leaders must not simply hand over the person accused of murder. After all, the accused and the victim had been neighbors, not enemies. 6 The citizens of that Safe Town must come together and hold a trial. They may decide that the victim was killed accidentally and that the accused is not guilty of murder.
Everyone found not guilty[ab] must still live in the Safe Town until the high priest dies. Then they can go back to their own towns and their homes that they had to leave behind.
7 The Israelites decided that the following three towns west of the Jordan River would be Safe Towns:
Kedesh in Galilee in Naphtali’s hill country, Shechem in Ephraim’s hill country, and Kiriath-Arba in Judah’s hill country. Kiriath-Arba is now called Hebron.
8 The Israelites had already decided on the following three towns east of the Jordan River:
Bezer in the desert flatlands of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead, which was a town that belonged to Gad, and Golan in Bashan, which belonged to Manasseh.
9 These Safe Towns were set up, so that if Israelites or even foreigners who lived in Israel accidentally killed someone, they could run to one of these towns. There they would be safe until a trial could be held, even if one of the victim’s relatives came looking for revenge.
21 1-2 While the Israelites were still camped at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, the family leaders of the Levi tribe went to speak to the priest Eleazar, Joshua, and the family leaders of the other Israelite tribes. The leaders of Levi said, “The Lord told Moses that you have to give us towns and provide pastures for our animals.”[ac]
3 Since the Lord had said this, the leaders of the other Israelite tribes agreed to give some of the towns and pastures from their tribal lands to Levi. 4 The leaders asked the Lord to show them[ad] in what order the clans of Levi would be given towns, and which towns each clan would receive.
The Kohath clans were first. The descendants of Aaron, Israel’s first priest,[ae] were given thirteen towns from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. 5 The other members of the Kohath clans received ten towns from the tribes of Ephraim, Dan, and West Manasseh. 6 The clans that were descendants of Gershon were given thirteen towns from the tribes of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and East Manasseh. 7 The clans that were descendants of Merari[af] received twelve towns from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.
8 The Lord had told Moses that he would show the Israelites which towns and pastures to give to the clans of Levi, and he did.
Towns from Judah, Simeon, Benjamin
9-19 The descendants of Aaron from the Kohath clans of Levi were priests, and they were chosen to receive towns first. They were given thirteen towns and the pastureland around them. Nine of these towns were from the tribes of Judah and Simeon and four from Benjamin.
Hebron, Libnah, Jattir, Eshtemoa, Holon, Debir, Ashan,[ag] Juttah, and Beth-Shemesh were from Judah and Simeon. Hebron, located in the hill country of Judah, was earlier called Arba’s Town.[ah] It had been named after Arba, the ancestor of the Anakim.[ai] Hebron’s pasturelands went along with the town, but its farmlands and the villages around it had been given to Caleb.[aj] Hebron was also one of the Safe Towns for people who had accidentally killed someone.
Gibeon, Geba, Anathoth, and Almon were from Benjamin.
Towns from Ephraim, Dan, West Manasseh
20-26 The rest of the Kohath clans of the Levi tribe received ten towns and the pastureland around them. Four of these towns were from the tribe of Ephraim, four from Dan, and two from West Manasseh.
Shechem, Gezer, Kibzaim, and Beth-Horon were from Ephraim. Shechem was located in the hill country, and it was also one of the Safe Towns for people who had accidentally killed someone.
Elteke, Gibbethon, Aijalon, and Gath-Rimmon were from Dan.
Taanach and Jibleam[ak] were from West Manasseh.
Towns from East Manasseh, Issachar, Asher, Naphtali
27-33 The clans of Levi that were descendants of Gershon received thirteen towns and the pastureland around them. Two of these towns were from the tribe of East Manasseh, four from Issachar, four from Asher, and three from Naphtali.
Golan in Bashan and Beeshterah were from East Manasseh.
Kishion, Daberath, Jarmuth, and En-Gannim were from Issachar.
Mishal, Abdon, Helkath, and Rehob were from Asher.
Kedesh in Galilee, Hammothdor, and Kartan were from Naphtali. Golan in Bashan and Kedesh in Galilee were also Safe Towns for people who had accidentally killed someone.
Towns from Zebulun, Reuben, Gad
34-40 The rest of the Levi clans were descendants of Merari, and they received twelve towns with the pastureland around them. Four towns were from the tribe of Zebulun, four from Reuben, and four from Gad.
Jokneam, Kartah, Rimmonah,[al] and Nahalal were from Zebulun.
Bezer, Jazah, Kedemoth, and Mephaath were from Reuben. Bezer was located in the desert flatlands east of the Jordan River across from Jericho.[am]
Ramoth in Gilead, Mahanaim, Heshbon, and Jazer were from Gad.
Bezer and Ramoth in Gilead were Safe Towns[an] for people who had accidentally killed someone.
41-42 The people of the Levi tribe had a total of forty-eight towns within Israel, and they had pastures around each one of their towns.
Israel Settles in the Land
43 The Lord gave the Israelites the land he had promised their ancestors, and they captured it and settled in it. 44 There still were enemies around Israel, but the Lord kept his promise to let his people live in peace. And whenever the Israelites did have to go to war, no enemy could defeat them. The Lord always helped Israel win. 45 The Lord promised to do many good things for Israel, and he kept his promise every time.
- 19.2-6 Shema: One ancient translation and some manuscripts of another ancient translation (see also the list at 15.21-32); Hebrew and some manuscripts of one ancient translation “Sheba.” The list in 1 Chronicles 4.28 does not have either “Shema” or “Sheba.”
- 19.7 Enrimmon: Some Hebrew manuscripts and one ancient translation; most Hebrew manuscripts “Ain, Rimmon.”
- 19.7 Tachan: Some manuscripts of one ancient translation; the Hebrew text does not have this word.
- 19.13 Rimmonah: Or “Rimmon.”
- 19.13 Rimmonah. . . curved: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 19.15 Jiralah: Some Hebrew manuscripts and two ancient translations; most Hebrew manuscripts “Idalah.”
- 19.15 Bethlehem: This town is different from the Bethlehem in 15.58,59.
- 19.17-23 Debirath: One ancient translation; Hebrew “Rabbith.” Debirath is probably the same place as Daberath in verse 12.
- 19.17-23 Mount Tabor. . . Tabor: In Hebrew the name “Tabor” is used only once. It was probably intended as the name of a town located at the foot of Mount Tabor and which formed one point on the northern border of Issachar.
- 19.17-23 Beth-Shemesh: Not the same Beth-Shemesh as in 15.10 or 19.35-39.
- 19.28 Abdon: A few Hebrew manuscripts and one ancient translation; most Hebrew manuscripts “Ebron.”
- 19.29-31 Ramah: Not the same “Ramah” as in 18.25-28 or 19.35-39.
- 19.29-31 fortress-city of Tyre: Tyre was a walled city built on an island about half a mile from shore.
- 19.29-31 Mahalab: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 19.29-31 Acco: One ancient translation; Hebrew “Ummah.”
- 19.32-34 Jabneel: This town is not the same Jabneel as in 15.11.
- 19.32-34 the town. . . Zaanannim: Or “the oak tree in the town of Zaanannim.”
- 19.32-34 at. . . Jehudah: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 19.35-39 Ramah: Not the same “Ramah” as in 18.25-28 or 19.29-31.
- 19.35-39 Edrei: Not the same Edrei as the town in Bashan east of the Jordan River where King Og had lived (see 12.4; 13.11,12,30,31).
- 19.35-39 Beth-Shemesh: Not the same Beth-Shemesh as in 15.10 or 19.17-23.
- 19.40-46 Ir-Shemesh: Possibly the same town as the Beth-Shemesh of 15.10.
- 19.40-46 Azor: Some manuscripts of one ancient translation; the Hebrew text does not have this word.
- 19.40-46 Gath-Rimmon, Mejarkon, and Rakkon. Dan’s tribal land: Or “Gath-Rimmon, and Rakkon. Dan’s tribal land also included the Yarkon River and.”
- 19.47,48 enemies: Probably the Philistines.
- 19.49-51 sacred tent: Or “meeting tent.”
- 20.3,4 revenge: At this time in Israel’s history, the clan could appoint a close male relative to find and kill a person who had killed a member of their clan.
- 20.6 not guilty: If the person was found to be guilty of murder, the citizens of the Safe Town were to let the victim’s relatives kill the murderer (see Deuteronomy 19.11-13).
- 21.1,2 The Lord told Moses. . . animals: See Numbers 35.1-8.
- 21.4 asked the Lord to show them: Hebrew “cast lots to find out.” See the note at 14.1-5.
- 21.4 The descendants. . . priest: Hebrew text; three ancient translations “The priests, the descendants of Aaron.” The male descendants of Aaron would also be priests.
- 21.4-7 Kohath. . . Gershon. . . Merari: Sons of Levi, the ancestor of the tribe of Levi.
- 21.9-19 Ashan: One ancient translation and the parallel in 1 Chronicles 6.59; Hebrew “Ain.”
- 21.9-19 Arba’s Town: See the note at 14.15.
- 21.9-19 Anakim: See the note at 11.21.
- 21.9-19 Caleb: See 14.6-14.
- 21.20-26 Jibleam: One ancient translation and the parallel in 1 Chronicles 6.70; Hebrew “”Gath-Rimmon.”“
- 21.34-40 Rimmonah: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 21.34-40 Bezer. . . Jericho: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 21.34-40 Bezer and Ramoth in Gilead were Safe Towns: One ancient translation; Hebrew “Ramoth in Gilead was a Safe Town.”