SynopsisThis chapter outlines all of the towns—with their surrounding pastureland—that were given to the Levites. As you may recall, from earlier books, the Levites were not to have land of their own; instead, they were to be given land from the other eleven tribes, because the LORD is their inheritance. (See, for example, Numbers 18:20–21.)
Now the family heads of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the other tribal families of Israel at Shiloh in Canaan and said to them, “The LORD commanded through Moses that you give us towns to live in, with pasturelands for our livestock.” So, as the LORD had commanded, the Israelites gave the Levites the following towns and pasturelands out of their own inheritance: (verses 1–3)This leads me to wonder if Joshua had forgotten to give them their towns, or if they were just being impatient, or if nothing negative was going on, and I’m just reading too much into it.
They gave them Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), with its surrounding pastureland, in the hill country of Judah. (Arba was the forefather of Anak.) But the fields and villages around the city they had given to Caleb son of Jephunneh as his possession. (verses 11–12)It seems they didn’t give the Levites some of the area that they were supposed to, because it had already been allocated to Caleb. (I say “it seems” because the passage that I’m going to quote below seems to disagree. So I might be misinterpreting this.)
The towns of the Levites in the territory held by the Israelites were forty-eight in all, together with their pasturelands. Each of these towns had pasturelands surrounding it; this was true for all these towns.
So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.