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׃

1 thought on “Joshua 21:20-26: Cities of the Kohathites

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘We have here a particular account of the cities which were given to the children of Levi out of the several tribes, not only to be occupied and inhabited by them, as tenants to the several tribes in which they lay—no, their interest in them was not dependent and precarious, but to be owned and possessed by them as lords and proprietors, and as having the same title to them that the rest of the tribes had to their cities or lands, as appears by the law which preserved the house in the Levites’ cities from being alienated any longer than till the year of jubilee, Leviticus 25:32, 33. Yet it is probable that the Levites having only the cities and suburbs, while the land about pertained to the tribes in which they lay, those of that tribe, for the convenience of occupying that land, might commonly rent houses of the Levites, as they could spare them in their cities, and so live among them as their tenants.’

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