Joshua 19-21

Maybe you read this word for word, but if you skimmed some of these distributions (I did ūü§™),¬† the summary can be found on 19:51

51 These are the territories that Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun and the heads of the tribal clans of Israel assigned by lot at Shiloh in the presence of the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. And so they finished dividing the land.

Ch. 19. – If you went all the way back to Genesis 49 (click here if you want to read it, it’s pretty cool now).¬† But one caught my eye (other than the obvious Judah tribe)

5¬†‚ÄúSimeon¬†and Levi¬†are brothers‚ÄĒ
    their swords are weapons of violence.
6 Let me not enter their council,
    let me not join their assembly,
for they have killed men in their anger
    and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
7 Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
    and their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
    and disperse them in Israel.

In today’s reading, we see that the tribe of Simeon did not technically get their own land, they were given the land Judah’s did not need or occupy.

Division of Promised Land to Israel Map

Click here for a printable copy

Click here to print the one below instead

  • Chapter 20-Cities of Refuge.Then the¬†Lord¬†said to Joshua:¬†2¬†‚ÄúTell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses,¬†3¬†so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally¬†may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood.
  • Chapter 21- Towns for Levites

We talked about this in Numbers 35 but here is a quick recap.

The yellow dots are Levitical Towns, the red dots are the Cities of Refuge. The cities were divided 3 on each side of the Jordan River so that no Israelite would have to travel far to reach one of them.  These were safe cities so that they had protection from revenge or injustice from accidental death.  (Today, Jesus is the High Priest that protects us from injustice at death.  He is our refuge)

  • ‚Äď Kadesh‚Äď in Naphtali
  • ‚Äď Shechem‚Äď in West Manasseh
  • ‚Äď Hebron‚Äď in Judah
  • ‚Äď Golan‚Äď in East Manasseh
  • ‚Äď Ramoth ‚Äď Gilead¬†in Gad
  • ‚Äď Bezer‚Äď in RuebenJOSHUA 20-21, ‚ÄúCities Of Refuge / Cities For The Levites‚ÄĚ

The tribes also had to set aside 42 additional cities for the priests and Levites to inhabit.  In all, the Levites received 48 cities with their surrounding pasturelands, including the six cities of refuge. God arranged the distribution of the 48 Levitical towns in such a way that the Levites, whose responsibilities included the teaching and counseling of the other Israelites in the Law, were not far from anyone in Israel.

Today’s read ends with:

So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their ancestors, and they took possession of it and settled there.The Lord gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their ancestors. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hands. Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.

So cool!

If you are curious about the size of the land, click here for a reference.


6 thoughts on “Joshua 19-21

  1. Accidental killings? Was there a lot of that going on?

    In 19:12, it describes the border of Zebulum‚Äôs clan as ‚Äúturned east … toward the sunrise.‚ÄĚ That is the only border described so, well, poetically. So pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes — wondering the same on the cities of refuge. So people awaited trial there? Or they were just released. Like the priest dies, so all the criminals go free? I’ve either missed something, or it didn’t sink in when I read it.


    2. Well, I am not sure. I would think with the conditions there might be a lot of deaths. Building houses, digging wells, and the walls caved in, farming accidents. Maybe they accidentally stabbed someone when threshing what with a pitchfork? I do think that people were probably accidentally killed with millstones. They were huge!


      1. The Law stated that anyone who committed a murder was to be put to death. But for unintentional deaths, God set aside these cities to which the murderer could flee for refuge. He would be safe from the avenger‚ÄĒthe family member charged with avenging the victim‚Äôs death ‚ÄĒuntil the case could go to trial. The priests would judge to find if the attacker acted unintentionally. If he did, he would return to the city of refuge and live there safely until the death of the high priest who was in office at the time of the trial, at which point he could return to his property. If the attacker left the city of refuge before the death of the high priest, however, the avenger would have the right to kill him. The reason they were set free when the High Priest died was a foreshadow of Jesus. When the High Preist died, atonement had been made (a substitutionary death). Jesus is our city of refuge-where we run to for safety from death and condemnation. ‚̧ԳŹ.


  2. A prayer ‚ÄĒ that I may never see my current circumstances and fail to recall that all of God‚Äôs promises are Yes and Amen in Christ. Just like these territories were divided according to plan…so are all the Days of Our Lives. (Yes, I had to throw that in.) ūü§£

    Liked by 1 person

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