Verse 1: Then came near the heads of the fathers of the Levites unto (Josh. 14:1; 17:4) 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…
[The princes of the families of the Levites came near, רָאשֵׁי֙ אֲב֣וֹת הַלְוִיִּ֔ם] The heads (or princes [Pagnine]) of the fathers of the Levites (Montanus, Jonathan, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Munster); princes of the priests and Levites (Syriac); nobles of the paternal families of the Levites (Junius and Tremellius); ἀρχιπατριῶται τῶν υἱῶν Λευῒ (Septuagint), which they render, the princes of the families of the sons of Levi: for πατριὰ is family. The Fathers of the Levites were those that were in charge of their families. Now, there were four families or clans, the Aaronites, the remaining Kohathites, the Gershonites, and the Merarites. Those that were in charge of them were called heads of the fathers (Drusius). The Levites were not neglected by Joshua, etc., but first to the tribes was to the assigned their portion of the region, and only then out of each tribe cities were to be chosen that would be given to the Levites (Menochius, Masius). And the Levites honorable ask for that which was due to them by right (Menochius).
Then, that is, when the whole land was distributed unto the several tribes, but not actually possessed by them; which was the proper season for them to put in their claim. The fathers of the Levites were Kohath, Gershom, and Merari, and the heads of these were the chief persons now alive of these several families.
Verse 2: And they spake unto them at (Josh. 18:1) Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, (Num. 35:2) The LORD commanded by the hand of Moses to give us cities to dwell in, with the suburbs thereof for our cattle.
 Hebrew: וַֽיִּגְּשׁ֗וּ רָאשֵׁי֙ אֲב֣וֹת הַלְוִיִּ֔ם אֶל־אֶלְעָזָר֙ הַכֹּהֵ֔ן וְאֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ בִּן־נ֑וּן וְאֶל־רָאשֵׁ֛י אֲב֥וֹת הַמַּטּ֖וֹת לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
 Hebrew: וַיְדַבְּר֙וּ אֲלֵיהֶ֜ם בְּשִׁלֹ֗ה בְּאֶ֤רֶץ כְּנַ֙עַן֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר יְהוָה֙ צִוָּ֣ה בְיַד־מֹשֶׁ֔ה לָֽתֶת־לָ֥נוּ עָרִ֖ים לָשָׁ֑בֶת וּמִגְרְשֵׁיהֶ֖ן לִבְהֶמְתֵּֽנוּ׃