Joshua 21:1-45 Levite’s Homes
The last of the allotments have been handed out. The cities of refuge have been established. What remains is for the rest of the Levite cities to be designated. Then the division of the land will be complete.
Everyone else has had a turn. It’s now the tribe of Levite’s turn. “We want what was promised to us too.” God had made a promise to the Levites and now it was time for the rest of the tribes to honor it.
The tribe of Levi did not receive a large parcel to conquer and break into portions for their people. Instead they would receive specific cities within the tribes of their brothers. These cities would also include pasture land around it so they could make a living for themselves apart from the tithes and offerings. These cities would be assigned by lot which was controlled by the Lord.
Every tribe gave of its cities. Not even the tribe of Dan, who wasn’t able to conquer its territory, was exempt. God wanted His special emissaries to be within reach of ALL His children. There were 48 cities in total that were given to the Levites as their own. Six of these cities were also cities of refuge for those who accidentally killed another person.
When I sat and did the math I found that one tribe gave less than the others. It was the tribe of Naphtali. They gave three instead of four. Judah and Simeon’s contributions weren’t broken down individually for us but together they gave nine. I would assume that the tribe of Judah took the larger portion of this contribution as they were the largest territory among all the tribes. I would expect this to be a 4-5 split but I could be wrong. Actually, after looking at several maps it appears that the Judah/Simeon split is 8/1. I can’t guarantee this is accurate as there are many versions out there of the divisions of Israel and everything else regarding ancient times. Names change, towns move, and records get lost. I trust God to maintain the important things though.
Something else I noticed from many of the maps is that several of the cities are close to the borders. This would have been helpful for the cities required of Dan. Their neighbors would have been able to absorb Dan’s cities into their own territories to protect the Levites living there. But then again, it could be that those cities never attained possession of them.
“Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that He swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as He had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass” (verses 43-45).
God fulfilled ALL of His promises. But we know that Israel didn’t follow through with receiving the whole land. They let some of the people who were already there live among them. They didn’t follow through with ALL of God’s commands regarding taking the land. God did His part. They fell short on theirs. God still gave them rest though. There came a time when those who remained in the land let things lie. They were loath to stir up Israel again, lest they be displaced too.
I’m wondering what promises I’ve missed out on because I didn’t step into them fully. I know my actions in life have NOT always lined up with what God has called for. I pray I’m not “living with the enemy” in my presence. I want to step into all that God has for me. But I have a part to play in that happening. I have to give Him my heart and my hands. I need to keep His words within all “my borders” too. I have to stay close to Him to keep my ears in tune.
Father God thank You for all Your promises. Thank You that You give me SO MANY good things! Thank You that You still give me Your blessings even when I don’t give You credit for all You’ve done for me. Even when I don’t walk in the ways I should. Please help me with that issue Lord. Stir my heart daily so I will come to You. Draw me near. Show me the way I should go and PLEASE help me walk in it. Thank You for all of Your reminders that do bring me closer every day. Keep me coming God!