Joshua Chapter 21  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Joshua 21
Jos 21:1(top)
Jos 21:2

“by Moses.” Literally, “by the hand of Moses.” God commanded by way of telling Moses.

Jos 21:3(top)
Jos 21:4

“The lot came out.” The tribes were assigned areas by “lot,” that is, by the stones—the Urim and Thummim—that were in the breastplate of the High Priest. The High Priest would draw out a stone which would indicate the decision of Yahweh. The exact process, which was well known at the time and thus was not described in any detail, is not well understood today (cp. Exod. 28:30; Lev. 8:8; Num. 27:21; Deut. 33:8; 1 Sam. 28:6; Ezra 2:63; Neh. 7:65). In this case, the “lot,” i.e., the stone, “came out,” that is, came out of the pocket on the front of the breastplate of the High Priest and indicated that the Kohathites were to be the first to be assigned cities in the Promised Land.

[For more on the “lot” and the Urim and Thummim, see commentary on Exod. 28:30.]

Jos 21:5(top)
Jos 21:6(top)
Jos 21:7(top)
Jos 21:8

“by Moses.” Literally, “by the hand of Moses.”

Jos 21:9

“he called.” The Hebrew text is a singular active verb, “he called.” It is quite possible, and even likely, here that the “he” is Yahweh, who commanded that cities be given (Josh. 21:8). The parallel in 1 Chronicles 6:65 does read the plural “they,” “they gave,” but here the verb is singular.

Jos 21:10

“for the descendants of Aaron, of the families of the Kohathites who were of the children of Levi.” One of Jacob’s 12 sons was Levi, who became the ancestor of the Levites and priests. One of Levi’s sons was Kohath, who fathered Amram, who fathered Aaron (and Moses), and Aaron became the first High Priest and all his descendants were the priests of Israel.

“theirs was the first lot.” The priests got the first lot because of their elevated status.

Jos 21:11

“Kiriath-arba, (Arba was the father of Anak), which is Hebron.” “Kiriath-arba” means, “The City of Arba,” and Arba was the father of Anak (cp. Josh. 14:15; 15:13). “The City of Arba” was renamed “Hebron,” and it and the pasturelands around it were given to some of the priests.

Jos 21:12

“and its villages.” The little towns around Hebron. Caleb was given Hebron (Josh. 14:6-13; Judg. 1:10), but when it came up as a Levitical city, Caleb gave it up to the Levites, but still had the smaller towns around Hebron.

Jos 21:13(top)
Jos 21:14(top)
Jos 21:15(top)
Jos 21:16(top)
Jos 21:17(top)
Jos 21:18

“Anathoth.” The home of Jeremiah, who was a Levite.

Jos 21:19(top)
Jos 21:20(top)
Jos 21:21(top)
Jos 21:22(top)
Jos 21:23(top)
Jos 21:24(top)
Jos 21:25

“Gath-rimmon.” The Hebrew of Joshua 21:25 says Gath-rimmon, but Joshua 21:24 also had Gath-rimmon. Some scholars simply say there were two towns named Gath-rimmon, while others take the reading of the Septuagint, “Ibleam,” and say the doubling of Gath-rimmon was a copyist’s error.

Jos 21:26(top)
Jos 21:27

“Ashtaroth.” This town occurs in 1 Chronicles 6:71. This is likely a center of worship of the Ashtaroth. This was also one of the main towns of Og, king of Bashan.

Jos 21:28(top)
Jos 21:29(top)
Jos 21:30(top)
Jos 21:31(top)
Jos 21:32(top)
Jos 21:33(top)
Jos 21:34(top)
Jos 21:35

“Dimnah.” 1 Chronicles 6:77 reads “Rimmon,” which is likely the name here too, but the “D” and “R” in Hebrew got confused.

Jos 21:36(top)
Jos 21:37(top)
Jos 21:38(top)
Jos 21:39(top)
Jos 21:40(top)
Jos 21:41(top)
Jos 21:42(top)
Jos 21:43(top)
Jos 21:44(top)
Jos 21:45

“of all the good things.” The Hebrew is more literally, “of all the good word,” but it is using “word” as a collective singular to refer to the “things,” “matters” that Yahweh had spoken about.


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