Joshua 22:4-6: Joshua Blesses and Dismisses the Transjordanian Tribes

Verse 4:[1] And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, (Num. 32:33; Deut. 29:8; Josh. 13:8) which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.

[Return, פְּנוּ֩ וּלְכ֙וּ לָכֶ֜ם] Look back, and go for yourselves (Montanus); turn again and depart (Munster, Pagnine, Dutch); having turned around, depart (Junius and Tremellius).

[Unto your tabernacles (similarly Malvenda, Junius and Tremellius)] Houses (Septuagint); cities (Jonathan, Syriac). He certainly understands their cities; for they had not left their property in tents, but in cities, Numbers 32:17. But he makes use of a military term among soldiers (Masius, Malvenda). Or, he alludes to their property of cattle, which they were especially cultivating, Numbers 32:1, 4, 16 (Malvenda). Tents are taken broadly for whatever dwelling; as in Judges 19:9;[2] Hosea 9:6. The reason for which is that the former use was of tents rather than of houses: afterward, when houses were built, the same name remained. Just as we use the term libros/books,[3] for those things that are not libri/books, with the term enduring, since initially it was wont to be written in libro, that is, on the bark of trees. Thus in Malachi 2:12, from the tabernacles of Jacob. To this refer that out of 2 Samuel 18:17, they fled unto their tents, that is, unto their houses, or cities (Drusius). In the land of Canaan many were preferring tents to houses. We have the tent of Jael, Judges 4:17; of David, 1 Samuel 17:54; of the Reubenites, 1 Chronicles 5:10; and of the Rechabites, Jeremiah 35:7. Hence also the villages of Jair, Numbers 32:41;[4] Deuteronomy 3:14[5] [concerning which see on those passages]. Moreover, this use of tents, as it had its beginning among shepherds, so it lasted long among those peoples that cultivated cattle (Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:45:465).

Unto your tents, that is, to your settled habitations, as appears from Joshua 22:8, which are oft called tents, as Judges 19:9; 2 Samuel 18:17; Hosea 9:6; Malachi 2:12.


Verse 5:[6] But (Deut. 6:6, 17; 11:22) take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, (Deut. 10:12) to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Take diligent heed; watch over yourselves and all your actions.

[The commandment and the law] The former signifies morals, the latter judgments and ceremonies (Lyra). But that subtlety is overly contrived, and not well-founded enough: both signify the entire teaching of Moses (Masius).

The commandment and the law; two words expressing the same thing, the law of commandments delivered by Moses.

[That ye love] Now, because the whole law was posited in this great commandment, according to Matthew 22:36-38, he inculcates this one in them (Masius).

[In His ways] The precepts of God are called ways, because, just like a way, they direct men in their actions, and show in which route one is to walk (Bonfrerius).

[In all your heart and…soul] Heart here is the mind and intelligence, or will, of man; soul is that part of the inner man that is wont to be agitated by the perturbations of the body, which the Greeks call the ἐπιθυμητικὸν/ epithymeticon, the seat of desire and the affections, and Theologians the ψυχικὸν/ natural. Question: But does Moses or Joshua so emphasize these things, since no one after the spoiling of nature is able to fulfill them? I respond with Augustine, Retractions 1:19, that God set forth that forcible expression of perfection, not because mortals, while they are enclosed in flesh, are able to attain to it, but so that all might strive after it, to which with immortal life they are going at last to come: and to what extent they feel that they are not strong enough to fulfill that, to that extent they more ardently implore the help of Divine grace. God, when He commands, instructs that we should do what we are able; but that we should ask help from Him to do those things that we ourselves are not able; He also by His grace is going to make us able: and in addition this medicine for duty not fully accomplished He prescribes for us, commanding that we should ask Him, Forgive us our debts[7] (Masius).

With all your heart and with all your soul; with the whole strength of your minds, and wills, and affections.


Verse 6:[8] So Joshua (Gen. 47:7; Ex. 39:43; Josh. 14:13; 2 Sam. 6:18; Luke 24:50) blessed them, and sent them away: and they went unto their tents.

[And he blessed them] He wished them well (Masius, Bonfrerius). This is said by way of anticipation (Vatablus). Rather, he gave to them gifts, on account eminent support in the wars. To bless often signifies this (Drusius, Junius).

[1] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֗ה הֵנִ֙יחַ יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶם֙ לַֽאֲחֵיכֶ֔ם כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר דִּבֶּ֣ר לָהֶ֑ם וְעַתָּ֡ה פְּנוּ֩ וּלְכ֙וּ לָכֶ֜ם לְאָהֳלֵיכֶ֗ם אֶל־אֶ֙רֶץ֙ אֲחֻזַּתְכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר׀ נָתַ֣ן לָכֶ֗ם מֹשֶׁה֙ עֶ֣בֶד יְהוָ֔ה בְּעֵ֖בֶר הַיַּרְדֵּֽן׃

[2] Judges 19:9:  “And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father in law, the damsel’s father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry all night:  behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home (לְאֹהָלֶךָ, to thy tent).”

[3] Liber can signify the inner bark of a tree, or a book.

[4] Numbers 32:41:  “And Jair the son of Manasseh went and took the small towns thereof (חַוֹּתֵיהֶם, the tent-villages thereof), and called them Havoth-jair (חַוֹּ֥ת יָאִֽיר׃, the Tent-villages of Jair).”

[5] Deuteronomy 3:14:  “Jair the son of Manasseh took all the country of Argob unto the coasts of Geshuri and Maachathi; and called them after his own name, Bashan-havoth-jair (הַבָּשָׁן֙ חַוֹּ֣ת יָאִ֔יר, Bashan of the Tent-villages of Jair), unto this day.”

[6] Hebrew: רַ֣ק׀ שִׁמְר֣וּ מְאֹ֗ד לַעֲשׂ֙וֹת אֶת־הַמִּצְוָ֣ה וְאֶת־הַתּוֹרָה֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה אֶתְכֶם֮ מֹשֶׁ֣ה עֶֽבֶד־יְהוָה֒ לְ֠אַהֲבָה אֶת־יְהוָ֙ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֜ם וְלָלֶ֧כֶת בְּכָל־דְּרָכָ֛יו וְלִשְׁמֹ֥ר מִצְוֹתָ֖יו וּלְדָבְקָה־ב֑וֹ וּלְעָבְד֕וֹ בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶ֖ם וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁכֶֽם׃

[7] Matthew 6:12.

[8] Hebrew: וַֽיְבָרְכֵ֖ם יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ וַֽיְשַׁלְּחֵ֔ם וַיֵּלְכ֖וּ אֶל־אָהֳלֵיהֶֽם׃

Joshua 22:1-3: The Transjordanian Tribes Commended for Faithfulness in the Conquest

Verse 1:[1] Then Joshua called the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh…


Verse 2:[2] And said unto them, Ye have kept (Num. 32:20; Deut. 3:18) all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, (Josh. 1:16, 17) and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you…

[Ye have done] He commends these soldiers, 1. for their obedience; which deservedly obtains the first place: for this uniquely upholds the entire military discipline. 2. For their faithfulness; ye have not left your brethren. 3. He amplifies this commendation with their longsuffering and constancy; through many days. Which constancy and patience was all the greater because they had left their wives, children, and all their property on the other side of the river in places not yet quite safe. 4. He commends their piety, rare in those that lead a military life (Masius).


Verse 3:[3] Ye have not left your brethren these many days unto this day, but have kept the charge of the commandment of the LORD your God.

[For a long time] That time was thirteen or fourteen years (Masius, Serarius, Junius, Drusius), in which the war against the Canaanites lasted. See on the end of chapter 10 (Junius). Joshua lived one hundred and ten years. Now, that he was in command for twenty-seven or twenty-eight years, many have written. But, that he died before the second שְׁמִיטָה/shemitah, that is, seventh year given for the rest of the land, returned again, was published in a book, which is inscribed The Series of the World [vulgarly, Seder Olam]. Thus fourteen years were spent in subduing the land, and he lived thirteen years after the acquired peace (Masius). [Others otherwise:] The war was waged in only seven years (Lapide, Bonfrerius). See what things we said on Joshua 11:18 (Bonfrerius); 18:1 (Lapide).

These many days, that is, for divers years together, so long as the war lasted. See Joshua 11:18; 14:10.

[Keeping the command of the Lord, וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֕ם אֶת־מִשְׁמֶ֕רֶת מִצְוַ֖ת יְהוָ֥ה] And ye have kept the charge of the precept of the Lord (Montanus, Pagnine, Munster); ye have observed the observation and precept of the Lord (Junius and Tremellius); and circumspectly (diligently [Tigurinus]) ye have kept the precept of the Lord (Arabic, Tigurinus) [which is to say, ye have watched with a watch, etc.].

[1] Hebrew: אָ֚ז יִקְרָ֣א יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ לָרֽאוּבֵנִ֖י וְלַגָּדִ֑י וְלַחֲצִ֖י מַטֵּ֥ה מְנַשֶּֽׁה׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם אַתֶּ֣ם שְׁמַרְתֶּ֔ם אֵ֚ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה אֶתְכֶ֔ם מֹשֶׁ֖ה עֶ֣בֶד יְהוָ֑ה וַתִּשְׁמְע֣וּ בְקוֹלִ֔י לְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוִּ֖יתִי אֶתְכֶֽם׃

[3] Hebrew: לֹֽא־עֲזַבְתֶּ֣ם אֶת־אֲחֵיכֶ֗ם זֶ֚ה יָמִ֣ים רַבִּ֔ים עַ֖ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֕ם אֶת־מִשְׁמֶ֕רֶת מִצְוַ֖ת יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃

Joshua 22 Outline

The two tribes and half are sent home with a blessing, strict charge to fear the Lord, and great booty, 1-9. They build an altar of testimony at the brink of Jordan, 10. The Israelites are offended, and assemble to wage war against them, 11, 12. They first send Phinehas and ten princes ambassadors to reprove them, 13-20. They clear themselves; their brethren rest satisfied, 21-34

Joshua 21:43-45: Israel’s Quiet Enjoyment of the Promised Land

Verse 43:[1] And the LORD gave unto Israel (Gen. 13:15; 15:18; 26:3; 28:4, 13) all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.

[And He gave…all the land] Question: How is this true, since the Canaanites were holding a great part of the land? Responses: 1. He gave with respect to right and dominion in the very distribution of the lots (Lapide, Bonfrerius). 2. And He gave a far greater part with respect to actual use and possession. 3. He gave all as He decreed and decided that He was going to give (Bonfrerius); not indeed at one and the same time, but successively, lest wild beasts multiply (Lyra, Lapide, Masius, Bonfrerius). See Joshua 13 (Lyra), and Exodus 23:29, 30 (Bonfrerius). Now, this condition, which He had added to His promise, was not burdensome, but advantageous, to the Israelites (Lapide out of Tostatus). He gave the land, as much as they were able to occupy to this point; and what parts the Canaanites hold, those they as tenants merely maintain and cultivate for the Israelites, as masters/owners, lest they run wild; and then the Canaanites were going to yield, when the Israelites, enlarged with offspring, were able themselves to come to occupy their estates. 4. The promises of God were according to the covenant, and under the condition that they fulfill their duty (Masius).

The LORD gave all the land, etc.: He gave them the right to all, and the actual possession of the greatest part of it, and power to possess the rest as soon as it was needful and convenient for them, which was by degrees, when their numbers were increased, etc., Exodus 23:29, 30, and the absolute dominion of all the people remaining in it.


Verse 44:[2] (Josh. 11:23; 22:4) And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and (Deut. 7:24) there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand.

[And peace was given by Him, וַיָּ֙נַח יְהוָ֤ה לָהֶם֙] And He gave rest to them (Septuagint, Arabic, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius). Question: How is this true, since the Danites, driven into the mountains, were compelled to relinquish the valleys to the Canaanites? Response: It is true κατὰ συνεκδοχὴν, synecdochically, for most of the other Tribes were superior to their enemies. Just as in 1 Corinthians 15:5, He appeared to the twelve, although Judas, having been hanged, had burst asunder. But I, nothing doubting, would say that neither the Danites nor others fought with their enemies unsuccessfully, except after the death of Joshua and the elders, when with piety decaying the affairs of the Israelites also began to grow worse (Masius).

[And no one dared to resist] Hebrew: not a man stood…of all their enemies,[3] namely, whom the Israelites attacked, and were hostilely provoked by them (Junius, Malvenda).

There stood not a man of all their enemies before them: To wit, all the days of Joshua, by comparing Joshua 1:5, for afterwards it was otherwise with them.


Verse 45:[4] (Josh. 23:14) There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

[Not even one word…was void, לֹֽא־נָפַ֣ל דָּבָ֔ר] Not a word of every good word has fallen (Montanus, similarly the Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac). No matter has perished (or, been omitted [Masius]) of all the good promises, etc. (Arabic, similarly Junius and Tremellius, Masius). The execution of that Divine benediction promised to the obedient, Deuteronomy 11:27, is here called a good matter (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּתֵּ֤ן יְהוָה֙ לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶת־כָּל־הָאָ֔רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּ֖ע לָתֵ֣ת לַאֲבוֹתָ֑ם וַיִּרָשׁ֖וּהָ וַיֵּ֥שְׁבוּ בָֽהּ׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיָּ֙נַח יְהוָ֤ה לָהֶם֙ מִסָּבִ֔יב כְּכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־נִשְׁבַּ֖ע לַאֲבוֹתָ֑ם וְלֹא־עָ֙מַד אִ֤ישׁ בִּפְנֵיהֶם֙ מִכָּל־אֹ֣יְבֵיהֶ֔ם אֵ֚ת כָּל־אֹ֣יְבֵיהֶ֔ם נָתַ֥ן יְהוָ֖ה בְּיָדָֽם׃

[3] Hebrew: וְלֹא־עָ֙מַד אִ֤ישׁ בִּפְנֵיהֶם֙ מִכָּל־אֹ֣יְבֵיהֶ֔ם.

[4] Hebrew: לֹֽא־נָפַ֣ל דָּבָ֔ר מִכֹּל֙ הַדָּבָ֣ר הַטּ֔וֹב אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־בֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל הַכֹּ֖ל בָּֽא׃

Revelation 1:3: The Blessedness of Bible Study

Verse 3:[1] (Luke 11:28; Rev. 22:7) Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for (Rom. 13:11; Jam. 5:8; 1 Pet. 4:7; Rev. 22:10) the time is at hand.

[Blessed is he who, etc., μακάριος ὁ ἀναγινώσκων, καὶ οἱ ἀκούοντες τοὺς λόγους τῆς, etc.] Thus Daniel 12:12, μακάριος ὁ ὑπομένων, blessed is he that waits.[2] The foresignified retributions of God against the Jews and Romans were able to convey solace to Christians everywhere vexed. See Revelation 13:10 (Grotius). He commends the book, which he foresaw would come to seem useless to many (Durham). The sense: It is exceedingly profitable to read, to learn, and to keep those things that are found here (Menochius). For all these are to be joined (Ribera). [Thus they translate:] He that reads, and (understand, blessed are they [Piscator, Beza]) that hear (a Hebraic change of number [Beza]: he reads, they hear: for we read alone, we hear joined together [Cotterius, similarly Cluverus]: He adds this, that this book was not going to reach unto all immediately; but those that had obtained it were going to read aloud in good faith to others those things that they had read [Grotius]: Or, he changes the number, lest the unlearned, ignorant of reading, should appear to be excluded from this fruit [Pareus, similarly Durham]; and so that the public reading, hearing, and interpretation, of this book might be commended before all [Durham]: But with what fruit will we read and hear what we do not grasp? Response: God will be near and influence those piously reading these mysteries [Cotterius], and the seals of this book have already been opened [Durham]) the words (the word, verse 2: The word is one, as true, manifold, as it truly contains many things [Cotterius]) of this prophecy (τῆς, of the, in the place of ταύτης, of this:[3] See Romans 11:29 [Grotius]: Even if past and present things are described, verse 19 [Cotterius], yet future things principally, with respect to which it is called a Prophecy [Cotterius, similarly Durham]), and keep (that is, retain in memory [Grotius, similarly Lapide, Piscator], in such a way that they often consider them, and have confidence in them, and establish their lives according to those things [Piscator]: Or, observe [Beza, Gomar] through faith of the truth and love of the precepts [Gomar]) those things which are written in it (Piscator, Beza, etc.), namely, so that they might compare them with events, whence they might be further reinforced in faith (Grotius); so that they might be stirred by them unto obedience to God, and a holy life, and suffering for Christ (Lapide). Question: But how are we hence rendered blessed? Response: Because the Apocalypse discusses everywhere the ends especially of good men and of evil men, and the means unto those: the very calamities also, which are here predicted, cry out that there must be repentance (Cotterius). Blessed are they, because they know such things to be guided, not by chance, but by divine providence; because they are not offended by the cross of the Church, but persevere in it; because they know that the insolence of enemies is only going to endure for a brief time, and that they are in the end going to reign with Christ eternally (Apocalyptic Harmony). Τηρεῖν, to keep, here is the same as συντηρεῖν in Luke 2:19,[4] and διατηρεῖν in Luke 2:51[5] (Grotius).

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy: from hence is well concluded, that this is a portion of holy writ to be read publicly and privately, otherwise no blessing would have been pronounced to the readers or the hearers of it. It is also well from hence concluded, that this book is no history of things done, but a prediction of things to come to pass; for though prophecy in some scriptures signifieth more largely the revelation of the Divine will, yet here it must signify strictly. And keep those things which are written therein; that keep it in memory, and live in view of it, and as persons that believe it; they are blessed, as they will from it be comforted, concerning all the sufferings of the church, and people of God.

[The time, etc., καιρὸς, etc.] For the time (either, 1. in which those things will begin to be accomplished [Piscator]: or, 2. of certain things; as concerning the civil wars of the Romans, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem [Grotius]: or, 3. of judgment, or of blessedness [Menochius]; or, of seizing thence the most abundant fruit [Lapide, similarly Menochius, Tirinus], that is, for him that reads the words, hears in faith, and keeps in deed [Gagnæus]: Concerning the word καιρὸς, see Acts 1:7[6] [Grotius]: It is a moment of time [Camerarius]; or, an occasion, or opportuneness of time: In which he tacitly admonishes that present persecutions are not so much calamities as opportunities for rewards and crowns [Ribera, similarly Lapide]) is at hand (Piscator, Beza), or, is near (Camerarius), so that it is possible that some now living might attain to it (Piscator). Thus he renders them more attentive and vigilant, and excites them by the hope of near reward (Ribera). In the writings of the Prophets, קָרֺב יוֹם, near is the day, is common, as in Deuteronomy 32:35;[7] Isaiah 13:6;[8] Jeremiah 48:16;[9] Joel 1:15;[10] Obadiah 15;[11] Zephaniah 1:7,[12] 14.[13] John does not wish to be objected to himself what had been objected to Ezekiel, Ezekiel 12:27 (Grotius).

For the time is at hand; the season for the accomplishment of these things is nigh, not past, but the time when they shall begin to happen is not very far off.

[1] Greek: μακάριος ὁ ἀναγινώσκων, καὶ οἱ ἀκούοντες τοὺς λόγους τῆς προφητείας καὶ τηροῦντες τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ γεγραμμένα· ὁ γὰρ καιρὸς ἐγγύς.

[2] Thus Theodotion.

[3] The demonstrative use of the definite article.

[4] Luke 2:19:  “But Mary kept (συνετήρει) all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

[5] Luke 2:51b:  “…but his mother kept (διετήρει) all these sayings in her heart.”

[6] Acts 1:7b:  “…It is not for you to know the times or the seasons (χρόνους ἢ καιροὺς), which the Father hath put in his own power.”

[7] Deuteronomy 32:35:  “To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time:  for near is the day (קָרוֹב֙ י֣וֹם) of their calamity, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.”

[8] Isaiah 13:6:  “Howl ye; for near is the day (קָר֖וֹב י֣וֹם) of the Lord; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.”

[9] Jeremiah 48:16:  “The calamity of Moab is near (קָרוֹב) to come, and his affliction hasteth fast.”

[10] Joel 1:15:  “Alas for the day! for near is the day (קָרוֹב֙ י֣וֹם) of the Lord, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.”

[11] Obadiah 15a:  “For near is the day of the Lord (קָר֥וֹב יוֹם־יְהוָ֖ה) upon all the heathen…”

[12] Zephaniah 1:7:  “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for near is the day (קָרוֹב֙ י֣וֹם) of the Lord: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.”

[13] Zephaniah 1:14a:  “Near is the day of the Lord (קָר֤וֹב יוֹם־יְהוָה֙), the great day; it is near (קָרוֹב), and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord…”

Joshua 21:41, 42: The Sum of the Levitical Cities

Verse 41:[1] (Num. 35:7) All the cities of the Levites within the possession of the children of Israel were forty and eight cities with their suburbs.

[Forty-eight cities] Yest this Tribe was the least of all, having only twenty-three thousand, Numbers 26:62. Why then are so many cities given to the Levites, while to the other tribes, in which there are nearly twice as many tribesmen, are attributed only twelve, sixteen, or twenty towns? Responses: 1. Not all the cities of the remaining tribes are enumerated in those lists of cities obtained by lot; but all those of the Levites are mentioned by name. 2. It was not permitted to the Levities to dwell in the country, nor in the municipalities of their cities (Masius). 3. This was done for the honor of the priesthood, and so that they might give themselves completely to the worship of God, says Philo (Lapide). Moreover, it is to be noted that in the cities of the Levites others also dwelt. 1. Visitors and strangers. What city would be so barbarous as to refuse these? 2. Unintentional manslayers in some of them. 3. Various workmen for necessary uses (Serarius). Now, the Levites were dispersed throughout the individual cities: 1. lest the worship of God should appear to pertain to one tribe only (Lyra); 2. so that they might be sustained by all the people, and lest one Tribe be excessively burdened; 3. So that they might teach all more conveniently (Estius out of Lyra).

Forty and eight cities: Question. Why hath this tribe, which was the least of all, more cities than any of them? Answer. First, It doth not appear that they had more; for though all the cities of the Levites be expressed, it is not so with the other tribes, but divers of their cities are omitted, as is evident. Secondly, The Levites were confined to their cities and suburbs; the rest had large territories belonging to their cities, which also they were in a capacity of improving, which the Levites were not; so that one of their cities might be more considerable than divers of the Levites. Thirdly, God was pleased to deal liberally with his ministers, partly to put honour upon those whom he foresaw many would be prone to despise; and partly, that being free from all outward distractions, they might more entirely and fervently devote themselves to the service of God, and the instruction of souls.


Verse 42:[2] These cities were every one with their suburbs round about them: thus were all these cities.

[With their suburbs, etc.,תִּֽהְיֶ֙ינָה֙ הֶעָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה עִ֣יר עִ֔יר וּמִגְרָשֶׁ֖יהָ סְבִיבֹתֶ֑יהָ כֵּ֖ן לְכָל־הֶעָרִ֥ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃] Those were (are [Junius and Tremellius]) the cities individual (each one [Junius and Tremellius]; Hebrew, a city a city[3] [Junius]) and their suburbs round about them: thus to all those cities (Pagnine), or, thus it was concerning these individual cities (Munster, similarly the English, Dutch, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus); which is to say, To all those cities suburbs were adjoined (Vatablus). Now, these cities were situated in such a way that to each city its own towns were round about; and all those cities were thus established (Syriac).

[1] Hebrew: כֹּ֚ל עָרֵ֣י הַלְוִיִּ֔ם בְּת֖וֹךְ אֲחֻזַּ֣ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל עָרִ֛ים אַרְבָּעִ֥ים וּשְׁמֹנֶ֖ה וּמִגְרְשֵׁיהֶֽן׃

[2] Hebrew: תִּֽהְיֶ֙ינָה֙ הֶעָרִ֣ים הָאֵ֔לֶּה עִ֣יר עִ֔יר וּמִגְרָשֶׁ֖יהָ סְבִיבֹתֶ֑יהָ כֵּ֖ן לְכָל־הֶעָרִ֥ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃

[3] Hebrew: עִ֣יר עִ֔יר.

Joshua 21:34-40: Cities of the Merarites

Verse 34:[1] (Josh. 21:7; see 1 Chron. 6:77) And 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…

[Jokneam, etc.] But in 1 Chronicles 6:77, there are only two cities, and, as far as it appears, diverse from these. Response: It is possible that they received these two on loan, while the Barbarians held those four (Masius).


Verse 35:[2] Dimnah with her suburbs, Nahalal with her suburbs; four cities.


Verse 36:[3] And out of the tribe of Reuben, (Josh. 20:8) Bezer with her suburbs, and Jahazah with her suburbs…

[Out of the tribe of Reuben, etc.] These two verses were not in the most ancient Hebrew codices: and so the Masorah does not number these. Hence they appear to have been added out of Chronicles (Grotius). They are not found in the Venetian edition, but in its margin[4] (Drusius). But these verses are necessarily to be supplied, so that even from this those exemplars of the Massoretes ought to be reckoned as mutilated and less pure (Bonfrerius). For, 1. the Hebrew codices everywhere now have them, and Kimchi testifies that he read them in some most ancient exemplars (Bonfrerius). I myself found them in the other Venetian edition (Drusius). 2. The Septuagint has them, as do the Chaldean and Jerome [add both the Syriac and Arabic], but whence except from the Hebrew (Bonfrerius)? Grotius responds that they had them from Chronicles (Grotius). 3. Otherwise this text of Scripture will be mutilated, neither will the number either of twelve cities in verse 40 or forty-eight cities in verse 41 agree (Bonfrerius, similarly Masius). 4. It was said above (verse 7), that they were going to give cities out of the inheritance of Reuben to the Merarites (Masius, Bonfrerius). 5. They are found in 1 Chronicles 6:78, 79 (Bonfrerius).

Bezer, a city of refuge, as it is called Joshua 20:8, and therefore needless to be here repeated.


Verse 37:[5] Kedemoth with her suburbs, and Mephaath with her suburbs; four cities.

[Bezer in the wilderness, Misor, and Jaser, and Jethson, and Mephaath[6]] Here there are five names; but at the end of the verse they are said to be four. Neither will the number of twelve cities of the Merarites, verse 40, or of forty-eight cities of the Levites, verse 41, otherwise stand (Bonfrerius). Response: Misor is the same with Bezer, that is to say, Bezer, which is Misor (Menochius, Tirinus, Serarius). [But they give themselves unnecessary trouble; for in the Hebrew text Misor is not found, neither in Jonathan, the Syriac, nor the Arabic.] From the text of the Septuagint it crept into the Latin (Serarius).


Verse 38:[7] And out of the tribe of Gad, (Josh. 20:8) Ramoth in Gilead with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Mahanaim with her suburbs…


Verse 39:[8] Heshbon with her suburbs, Jazer with her suburbs; four cities in all.

[Heshbon] Question: How was this taken from the Gadites, when previously it was attributed to the Reubenites, Joshua 13:17? Response: It was positioned on the border of those two tribes. Cities of which sort are wont to be ascribed now to one Tribe, now to the other. I would prefer to assert this than to pretend two Heshbons with no authority (Masius).


Verse 40:[9] So 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.

[1] Hebrew: וּלְמִשְׁפְּח֣וֹת בְּנֵֽי־מְרָרִי֮ הַלְוִיִּ֣ם הַנּוֹתָרִים֒ מֵאֵת֙ מַטֵּ֣ה זְבוּלֻ֔ן אֶֽת־יָקְנְעָ֖ם וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ אֶת־קַרְתָּ֖ה וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶֽׁהָ׃

[2] Hebrew: אֶת־דִּמְנָה֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ אֶֽת־נַהֲלָ֖ל וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ עָרִ֖ים אַרְבַּֽע׃

[3] Hebrew: וּמִמַּטֵּ֣ה רְאוּבֵ֔ן אֶת־בֶּ֖צֶר וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ וְאֶת־יַ֖הְצָה וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶֽׁהָ׃

[4] Daniel Bomberg (c. 1483-c. 1549) established a printing press in Venice.  Although a Christian, he devoted much of his effort to the printing of Hebrew books, including a Rabbinical Hebrew Bible.  Bomberg’s work was revised by Jacob ben Hayyim of Tunis (1525).

[5] Hebrew: אֶת־קְדֵמוֹת֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ וְאֶת־מֵיפָ֖עַת וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ עָרִ֖ים אַרְבַּֽע׃

[6] Thus the Vulgate.

[7] Hebrew: וּמִמַּטֵּה־גָ֗ד אֶת־עִיר֙ מִקְלַ֣ט הָרֹצֵ֔חַ אֶת־רָמֹ֥ת בַּגִּלְעָ֖ד וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ וְאֶֽת־מַחֲנַ֖יִם וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶֽׁהָ׃

[8] Hebrew: אֶת־חֶשְׁבּוֹן֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ אֶת־יַעְזֵ֖ר וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ כָּל־עָרִ֖ים אַרְבַּֽע׃

[9] Hebrew: כָּל־הֶ֙עָרִ֜ים לִבְנֵ֤י מְרָרִי֙ לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֔ם הַנּוֹתָרִ֖ים מִמִּשְׁפְּח֣וֹת הַלְוִיִּ֑ם וַיְהִי֙ גּוֹרָלָ֔ם עָרִ֖ים שְׁתֵּ֥ים עֶשְׂרֵֽה׃

Joshua 21:27-33: Cities of the Gershonites

Verse 27:[1] (Josh. 21:6; 1 Chron. 6:71) And unto the children of Gershon, of the families of the Levites, out of the other half tribe of Manasseh they gave (Josh. 20:8) Golan in Bashan with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Beeshterah with her suburbs; two cities.


Verse 28:[2] And out of the tribe of Issachar, Kishon with her suburbs, Dabareh with her suburbs…


Verse 29:[3] Jarmuth with her suburbs, En-gannim with her suburbs; four cities.


Verse 30:[4] And out of the tribe of Asher, Mishal with her suburbs, Abdon with her suburbs…


Verse 31:[5] Helkath with her suburbs, and Rehob with her suburbs; four cities.


Verse 32:[6] And out of the tribe of Naphtali, (Josh. 20:7) Kedesh in Galilee with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Hammoth-dor with her suburbs, and Kartan with her suburbs; three cities.


Verse 33:[7] All the cities of the Gershonites according to their families were thirteen cities with their suburbs.

[1] Hebrew: וְלִבְנֵ֣י גֵרְשׁוֹן֮ מִמִּשְׁפְּחֹ֣ת הַלְוִיִּם֒ מֵחֲצִ֞י מַטֵּ֣ה מְנַשֶּׁ֗ה אֶת־עִיר֙ מִקְלַ֣ט הָרֹצֵ֔חַ אֶת־גָּלוֹ֤ן בַּבָּשָׁן֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ וְאֶֽת־בְּעֶשְׁתְּרָ֖ה וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ עָרִ֖ים שְׁתָּֽיִם׃

[2] Hebrew: וּמִמַּטֵּ֣ה יִשָּׂשכָ֔ר אֶת־קִשְׁי֖וֹן וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ אֶת־דָּֽבְרַ֖ת וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶֽׁהָ׃

[3] Hebrew: אֶת־יַרְמוּת֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ אֶת־עֵ֥ין גַּנִּ֖ים וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ עָרִ֖ים אַרְבַּֽע׃

[4] Hebrew: וּמִמַּטֵּ֣ה אָשֵׁ֔ר אֶת־מִשְׁאָ֖ל וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ אֶת־עַבְדּ֖וֹן וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶֽׁהָ׃

[5] Hebrew: אֶת־חֶלְקָת֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ וְאֶת־רְחֹ֖ב וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ עָרִ֖ים אַרְבַּֽע׃

[6] Hebrew: וּמִמַּטֵּ֙ה נַפְתָּלִ֜י אֶת־עִ֣יר׀ מִקְלַ֣ט הָֽרֹצֵ֗חַ אֶת־קֶ֙דֶשׁ בַּגָּלִ֤יל וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֙הָ֙ וְאֶת־חַמֹּ֥ת דֹּאר֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ וְאֶת־קַרְתָּ֖ן וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ עָרִ֖ים שָׁלֹֽשׁ׃

[7] Hebrew: כָּל־עָרֵ֥י הַגֵּרְשֻׁנִּ֖י לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם שְׁלֹשׁ־עֶשְׂרֵ֥ה עִ֖יר וּמִגְרְשֵׁיהֶֽן׃

Joshua 21:20-26: Cities of the Kohathites

Verse 20:[1] (Josh. 21:5; 1 Chron. 6:66) And 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.

The families which remained of the children of Kohath, over and above those of them who were priests.


Verse 21:[2] For they gave them (Josh. 20:7) Shechem with her suburbs in mount Ephraim, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Gezer with her suburbs…


Verse 22:[3] And Kibzaim with her suburbs, and Beth-horon with her suburbs; four cities.


Verse 23:[4] And out of the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh with her suburbs, Gibbethon with her suburbs…


Verse 24:[5] Aijalon with her suburbs, Gath-rimmon with her suburbs; four cities.


Verse 25:[6] And out of the half tribe of Manasseh, Tanach with her suburbs, and Gath-rimmon with her suburbs; two cities.

The half tribe of Manasseh: To wit, that half which dwelt in Canaan, by comparing this with Joshua 21:27.


Verse 26:[7] All the cities were ten with their suburbs for the families of the children of Kohath that remained.

[Ten cities] But in 1 Chronicles 6 only eight are named. Response: It was not the purpose of the writer of that book to pursue this matter with accuracy, which could be supplied from another source, if anything be missing. Moreover, that book does not make mention of the Tribe of Dan among them, but only of Ephraim and Manasseh; apparently comprehending the Danites under the Ephraimites (Bonfrerius).

[They were given to the children of Kohath, לְמִשְׁפְּח֥וֹת] Something is to be understood; either, they were of the families, etc., or, which they have to the families (Vatablus).

[1] Hebrew: וּלְמִשְׁפְּח֤וֹת בְּנֵֽי־קְהָת֙ הַלְוִיִּ֔ם הַנּוֹתָרִ֖ים מִבְּנֵ֣י קְהָ֑ת וַֽיְהִי֙ עָרֵ֣י גֽוֹרָלָ֔ם מִמַּטֵּ֖ה אֶפְרָֽיִם׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיִּתְּנ֙וּ לָהֶ֜ם אֶת־עִ֙יר מִקְלַ֧ט הָרֹצֵ֛חַ אֶת־שְׁכֶ֥ם וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֖הָ בְּהַ֣ר אֶפְרָ֑יִם וְאֶת־גֶּ֖זֶר וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶֽׁהָ׃

[3] Hebrew: וְאֶת־קִבְצַ֙יִם֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ וְאֶת־בֵּ֥ית חוֹרֹ֖ן וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ עָרִ֖ים אַרְבַּֽע׃

[4] Hebrew: וּמִמַּ֙טֵּה־דָ֔ן אֶֽת־אֶלְתְּקֵ֖א וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ אֶֽת־גִּבְּת֖וֹן וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶֽׁהָ׃

[5] Hebrew: אֶת־אַיָּלוֹן֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ אֶת־גַּת־רִמּ֖וֹן וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ עָרִ֖ים אַרְבַּֽע׃

[6] Hebrew: וּמִֽמַּחֲצִית֙ מַטֵּ֣ה מְנַשֶּׁ֔ה אֶת־תַּעְנַךְ֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ וְאֶת־גַּת־רִמּ֖וֹן וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ עָרִ֖ים שְׁתָּֽיִם׃

[7] Hebrew: כָּל־עָרִ֥ים עֶ֖שֶׂר וּמִגְרְשֵׁיהֶ֑ן לְמִשְׁפְּח֥וֹת בְּנֵֽי־קְהָ֖ת הַנּוֹתָרִֽים׃

Joshua 21:13-19: Cities of the Priests, Part 2

Verse 13:[1] Thus (1 Chron. 6:57, etc.) they gave to the children of Aaron the priest (Josh. 15:54; 20:7) Hebron with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and (Josh. 15:42) Libnah with her suburbs…

[He gave, therefore…Hebron, etc.] If you compare 1 Chronicles 6 with these lists, there is certainly a great discrepancy in the names of many (of the cities): For there the city of Juttah is omitted; and in the place of Ain,[2] there it is Ashan[3] (Masius). According to the Hebrews, the variety arose from this, that, while some of the allotted cities were under the power of the Canaanites, others were provided, until those that had been appointed would come into the power of the Israelites: and so in one text the substitute cities are read, but in the other those designated initially. Perhaps it might be able to be said more truly that some places are called by a twofold name, or that over the course of time changes were made in the names (Menochius out of Masius).


Verse 14:[4] And (Josh. 15:48) Jattir with her suburbs, (Josh. 15:50) and Eshtemoa with her suburbs…


Verse 15:[5] And (Josh. 15:51) Holon (Hilen, 1 Chron. 6:58[6]) with her suburbs, (Josh. 15:49) and Debir with her suburbs…

Holon, called Hilen, 1 Chronicles 6:58, as Juttah here is called Ashan, 1 Chronicles 6:59, and Kibzaim called Jokmeam, 1 Chronicles 6:68, and so some others, the names of the places being changed by length of time, and upon special occasions, as was frequent among the Jews; though their doctors add, that some of these places here mentioned, being now in the Canaanites’ possession, and not speedily recovered from them, there were others put in their stead.


Verse 16:[7] And Ain (Ashan,[8] 1 Chron. 6:59; Josh. 15:42) with her suburbs, (Josh. 15:55) and Juttah with her suburbs, and (Josh. 15:10) Beth-shemesh with her suburbs; nine cities out of those two tribes.

Ain here, and Gibeon verse 17, and some others here named, are not named 1 Chronicles 6, either because they were destroyed in some of those hostile invasions and wars wherewith their land was grievously harassed and wasted before that time; or they appear there under other names, as was said.


Verse 17:[9] And out of the tribe of Benjamin, (Josh. 18:25) Gibeon with her suburbs, Geba (Gaba, Josh. 18:24[10]) with her suburbs…


Verse 18:[11] Anathoth with her suburbs, and (Alemeth,[12] 1 Chron. 6:60) Almon with her suburbs; four cities.


Verse 19:[13] All the cities of the children of Aaron, the priests, were thirteen cities with their suburbs.

[1] Hebrew: וְלִבְנֵ֣י׀ אַהֲרֹ֣ן הַכֹּהֵ֗ן נָֽתְנוּ֙ אֶת־עִיר֙ מִקְלַ֣ט הָרֹצֵ֔חַ אֶת־חֶבְר֖וֹן וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ וְאֶת־לִבְנָ֖ה וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶֽׁהָ׃

[2] Joshua 21:16.

[3] 1 Chronicles 6:59.

[4] Hebrew: וְאֶת־יַתִּר֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ וְאֶת־אֶשְׁתְּמֹ֖עַ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶֽׁהָ׃

[5] Hebrew: וְאֶת־חֹלֹן֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ וְאֶת־דְּבִ֖ר וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶֽׁהָ׃

[6] 1 Chronicles 6:58:  “And Hilen (חִילֵז, but חִילֵן in many manuscripts) with her suburbs, Debir with her suburbs…”

[7] Hebrew: וְאֶת־עַ֣יִן וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֗הָ וְאֶת־יֻטָּה֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ אֶת־בֵּ֥ית שֶׁ֖מֶשׁ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ עָרִ֣ים תֵּ֔שַׁע מֵאֵ֕ת שְׁנֵ֥י הַשְּׁבָטִ֖ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃

[8] Hebrew: עָשָׁן.

[9] Hebrew: וּמִמַּטֵּ֣ה בִנְיָמִ֔ן אֶת־גִּבְע֖וֹן וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ אֶת־גֶּ֖בַע וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶֽׁהָ׃

[10] Joshua 18:24:  “And Chephar-haammonai, and Ophni, and Gaba (וָגָ֑בַע); twelve cities with their villages…”

[11] Hebrew: אֶת־עֲנָתוֹת֙ וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֔הָ וְאֶת־עַלְמ֖וֹן וְאֶת־מִגְרָשֶׁ֑הָ עָרִ֖ים אַרְבַּֽע׃

[12] Hebrew: עָלֶמֶת.

[13] Hebrew: כָּל־עָרֵ֥י בְנֵֽי־אַהֲרֹ֖ן הַכֹּֽהֲנִ֑ים שְׁלֹשׁ־עֶשְׂרֵ֥ה עָרִ֖ים וּמִגְרְשֵׁיהֶֽן׃