1Then came near the heads of the fathers of the Levites unto Eleazar the priest, and unto Joshua the son of Nun, and unto the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel; 2And they spake unto them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, The LORD commanded by the hand of Moses to give us cities to dwell in, with the suburbs thereof for our cattle. 3And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the LORD, these cities and their suburbs. 4And the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites: and the children of Aaron the priest, which were of the Levites, had by lot out of the tribe of Judah, and out of the tribe of Simeon, and out of the tribe of Benjamin, thirteen cities. 5And the rest of the children of Kohath had by lot out of the families of the tribe of Ephraim, and out of the tribe of Dan, and out of the half tribe of Manasseh, ten cities. 6And the children of Gershon had by lot out of the families of the tribe of Issachar, and out of the tribe of Asher, and out of the tribe of Naphtali, and out of the half tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, thirteen cities. 7The children of Merari by their families had out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities. 8And the children of Israel gave by lot unto the Levites these cities with their suburbs, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses. 9And they gave out of the tribe of the children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the children of Simeon, these cities which are here mentioned by name. 10Which the children of Aaron, being of the families of the Kohathites, who were of the children of Levi, had: for theirs was the first lot. 11And they gave them the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, with the suburbs thereof round about it. 12But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, gave they to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for his possession. 13Thus they gave to the children of Aaron the priest Hebron with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Libnah with her suburbs, 14And Jattir with her suburbs, and Eshtemoa with her suburbs, 15And Holon with her suburbs, and Debir with her suburbs, 16And Ain with her suburbs, and Juttah with her suburbs, and Bethshemesh with her suburbs; nine cities out of those two tribes. 17And out of the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with her suburbs, Geba with her suburbs, 18Anathoth with her suburbs, and Almon with her suburbs; four cities. 19All the cities of the children of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their suburbs. 20And the families of the children of Kohath, the Levites which remained of the children of Kohath, even they had the cities of their lot out of the tribe of Ephraim. 21For they gave them Shechem with her suburbs in mount Ephraim, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Gezer with her suburbs, 22And Kibzaim with her suburbs, and Bethhoron with her suburbs; four cities. 23And out of the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh with her suburbs, Gibbethon with her suburbs, 24Aijalon with her suburbs, Gathrimmon with her suburbs; four cities. 25And out of the half tribe of Manasseh, Tanach with her suburbs, and Gathrimmon with her suburbs; two cities. 26All the cities were ten with their suburbs for the families of the children of Kohath that remained. 27And unto the children of Gershon, of the families of the Levites, out of the other half tribe of Manasseh they gave Golan in Bashan with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Beeshterah with her suburbs; two cities. 28And out of the tribe of Issachar, Kishon with her suburbs, Dabareh with her suburbs, 29Jarmuth with her suburbs, Engannim with her suburbs; four cities. 30And out of the tribe of Asher, Mishal with her suburbs, Abdon with her suburbs, 31Helkath with her suburbs, and Rehob with her suburbs; four cities. 32And out of the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Hammothdor with her suburbs, and Kartan with her suburbs; three cities. 33All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their suburbs. 34And unto the families of the children of Merari, the rest of the Levites, out of the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with her suburbs, and Kartah with her suburbs, 35Dimnah with her suburbs, Nahalal with her suburbs; four cities. 36And out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer with her suburbs, and Jahazah with her suburbs, 37Kedemoth with her suburbs, and Mephaath with her suburbs; four cities. 38And out of the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Mahanaim with her suburbs, 39Heshbon with her suburbs, Jazer with her suburbs; four cities in all. 40So all the cities for the children of Merari by their families, which were remaining of the families of the Levites, were by their lot twelve cities. 41All the cities of the Levites within the possession of the children of Israel were forty and eight cities with their suburbs. 42These cities were every one with their suburbs round about them: thus were all these cities. 43And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. 44And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.
Today's Scripture Meaning
Cities for the Levites. (1-8) The cities allotted to the Levites. (9-42) God gave the land and rest to the Israelites, according to his promise. (43-45) Verses 1-8: The Levites waited till the other tribes were provided for, before they preferred their claim to Joshua. They build their claim upon a very good foundation; not their own merits or services, but the Divine precept. The maintenance of ministers is not a thing left merely to the will of the people, that they may let them starve if they please; they which preach the gospel should live by the gospel, and should live comfortably. Verses 9-42: By mixing the Levites with the other tribes, they were made to see that the eyes of all Israel were upon them, and therefore it was their concern to walk so that their ministry might not be blamed. Every tribe had its share of Levites' cities. Thus did God graciously provide for keeping up religion among them, and that they might have the word in all parts of the land. Yet, blessed be God, we have the gospel more diffused amongst us. Verses 43-45: God promised to give to the seed of Abraham the land of Canaan for a possession, and now they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the promise of the heavenly Canaan is as sure to all God's spiritual Israel; for it is the promise of Him that cannot lie. There stood not a man before them. The after-prevalence of the Canaanites was the effect of Israel's slothfulness, and the punishment of their sinful inclination to the idolatries and abominations of the heathen whom they harboured and indulged. There failed not aught of any good thing, which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. In due season all his promises will be accomplished; then will his people acknowledge that the Lord has exceeded their largest expectations, and made them more than conquerors, and brought them to their desired rest.
Today's Scripture Application
Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Joshua with Chapter 21 and we see the cities given to the Levites and the Lord giving Israel peace. What catches my eye is the detail given in the book to fulfill the Will of God. Some of the promises took years to fulfill but it "all came to pass" in the Lord's timing. In making application we see that His Will is on His Timing. We tend to stress on getting things done for the Lord but we need to be reminded that it is the Lord's Will, the Lord's Ministry, and the Lord's Timetable. Our ways are not His ways so we must be patient and simply trust the Lord and wait for Him to Move. It reminds me of our second home. We found the home we thought the Lord wanted us to buy. We prayed and went to put the contract on the house to find our that someone else put a contract on it just hours before we did. We were confused, trusted the Lord, and went on a family vacation. When we returned we stopped by the subdivision to find the same style house being built with a basement in a better location. We bought the house and shortly there after we started this Ministry. We needed the basement area for a print shop to print Bibles. We learned this principle in todays text to wait on the Lord. How about you? Are you waiting on the Lord to answer a prayer or do a work in your Life? Let us learn form our text and Wait on the Lord for His timing is Perfect.
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Sincerely, Dr. David Burnette
Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.