Joshua 21:1-22:20 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
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.”[a]
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[b] 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,[c] 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[d] 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,[e] Juttah, and Beth-Shemesh were from Judah and Simeon. Hebron, located in the hill country of Judah, was earlier called Arba’s Town.[f] It had been named after Arba, the ancestor of the Anakim.[g] Hebron’s pasturelands went along with the town, but its farmlands and the villages around it had been given to Caleb.[h] 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[i] 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,[j] 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.[k]
Ramoth in Gilead, Mahanaim, Heshbon, and Jazer were from Gad.
Bezer and Ramoth in Gilead were Safe Towns[l] 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.
The Two and a Half Tribes Return Home
22 Joshua had the men of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh come for a meeting, and he told them:
2-3 You have obeyed every command of the Lord your God and of his servant Moses. And you have done everything I’ve told you to do. It’s taken a long time, but you have stayed and helped your relatives. 4 The Lord promised to give peace to your relatives, and that’s what he has done. Now it’s time for you to go back to your own homes in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan River.
5 Moses taught you to love the Lord your God, to be faithful to him, and to worship and obey him with your whole heart and with all your strength. So be very careful to do everything Moses commanded.
6-9 You’ve become rich from what you’ve taken from your enemies. You have big herds of cattle, lots of silver, gold, bronze, and iron, and plenty of clothes. Take everything home with you and share with the people of your tribe.
I pray that God will be kind to you. You are now free to go home.
The tribes of Reuben and Gad started back to Gilead, their own land. Moses had given the land of Bashan to the East Manasseh tribe, so they started back along with Reuben and Gad. God had told Moses that these two and a half tribes should conquer Gilead and Bashan, and they had done so.
Joshua had given land west of the Jordan River to the other half of the Manasseh tribe, so they stayed at Shiloh in the land of Canaan with the rest of the Israelites.
10-11 The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh reached the western side of the Jordan River valley[m] and built a huge altar there beside the river.
When the rest of the Israelites heard what these tribes had done,[n] 12 the Israelite men met at Shiloh to get ready to attack the two and a half tribes. 13 But first they sent a priest, Phinehas the son of Eleazar, to talk with the two and a half tribes. 14 Each of the tribes at Shiloh sent the leader of one of its families along with Phinehas.
15 Phinehas and these leaders went to Gilead and met with the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh. They said:
16 All of the Lord’s people have gathered together and have sent us to find out why you are unfaithful to our God. You have turned your backs on the Lord by building that altar. Why are you rebelling against him? 17 Wasn’t our people’s sin at Peor[o] terrible enough for you? The Lord punished us by sending a horrible sickness that killed many of us, and we still suffer because of that sin.[p] 18 Now you are turning your backs on the Lord again.
If you don’t stop rebelling against the Lord right now, he will be angry at the whole nation. 19 If you don’t think your land is a fit place to serve God, then move across the Jordan and live with us in the Lord’s own land, where his sacred tent is located. But don’t rebel against the Lord our God or against us by building another altar besides the Lord’s own altar.[q] 20 Don’t you remember what happened when Achan was unfaithful[r] and took some of the things that belonged to God? This made God angry with the entire nation. Achan died because he sinned, but he also caused the death of many others.
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