The dwelling places of the Kohathite Levites (1 Chr 6:54-6:61)

“These are their dwelling places according to their settlements within their borders. To the sons of Aaron of the families of Kohathites, for the lot fell to them, to them they gave Hebron in the land of Judah and its surrounding pasture lands. However, the fields of the city and its villages they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh. To the sons of Aaron they gave the cities of refuge, Hebron, Libnah with its pasture lands, Jattir, Eshtemoa with its pasture lands, Hilen with its pasture lands, Debir with its pasture lands, Ashan with its pasture lands, and Beth-shemesh with its pasture lands. From the tribe of Benjamin, Geba with its pasture lands, Alemeth with its pasture lands, and Anathoth with its pasture lands. All their towns throughout their families were thirteen. To the rest of the Kohathites were given by lot out of the family of the tribe, out of the half-tribe, the half of Manasseh, ten cities.”

Here we have the dwelling places for the Levite Kohathites, based on Joshua, chapter 21. Although the Levites were to receive no territory, they were given certain cities and some pasture land. The Kohathites won the first lottery and got the towns in Judah. There is no mention of the fact that in Joshua, they also got cites from the territories of Simeon. Although the ending is the same as in Joshua, that they got 13 towns from the south and 10 towns from the north from the tribes of Ephraim, Dan, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, some details are different here. Definitely, the Kohathite branch of the Levites ended up with 23 towns. (1) Hebron became a center of attention because it was a refugee town and the fields of the town and its villages had been given to Caleb the son of Jephunneh. Then this ancient city of Hebron and its surrounding pasture lands were given to the Kohathites. Thus there might be some arguments about this town. The Kohathites also got (2) Libnah, a refuge town also, (3) Jattir and (4) Eshtemoa with their pasture lands. There are a few discrepancies with Joshua, since 2 towns have a different name. (5) Debir and (6) Beth-shemesh were the same, but (7) Holon has become Hilen and (8) Ain has become Ashan here. (9) Juttah is missing here in 1 Chronicles. These were the nine towns out of the two tribes of Judah and Simeon. There were 4 other towns from Benjamin but (1) Gibeon is missing here. (2) Geba and (3) Anathoth are the same as in Joshua, but (4) Alemeth has become Almon. Here there is no mention of the names of the 10 towns from the north given to the Kohathites, just the fact that it happened.

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Dwelling places of the Simeonites (1 Chr 4:28-4:33)

“The Simeonites lived in Beersheba, Moladah, Hazar-shual, Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susim, Beth-biri, and Shaaraim. These were their towns until David became king. Their villages were Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen, and Ashan, five towns, along with all their villages which were around about these towns as far as Baal. These were their settlements. They kept a genealogical record.”

This list is almost the same as Joshua, chapter 19. Simeon got many of these towns in the partition of the Promised Land, because Judah had too much land. These towns lay within the inheritance of the tribe of Judah. They got the towns of Beersheba, Moladah, Hazar-shual, Ezem, Eltolad or Tolad, Bethul or Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susah, Beth-biri or Beth-lebaoth, and Sharuhen or Shaaraim. They also got villages of Ain, Rimmon, Ether or Tochen, and Ashan. They also got all the villages all around these towns as far as Baal or Baalath-beer. Only 2 towns are mentioned here that were in Joshua, Bilhah and Etam. Bilhah was the name of the slave girl of Rachel in Genesis, chapter 30. Etam was a town in Judah. Most of these towns were in part of the territory of Judah. Thus the tribe of Simeon literally got no land, much like the Levites. However, it is not clear why. Perhaps they were too small of a tribe. Remember that the tribe of Simeon did not get a blessing from Moses in Deuteronomy, chapter 33. They were really at the bottom of the totem pole. What land they had was on the southern border of Judah, just before the wilderness. Of the 17 towns mentioned here, 12 towns were also mentioned as belonging to Judah in Joshua, chapter 15.