1 Chronicles 6:54
Now these are their dwelling places throughout their castles in their coasts, of the sons of Aaron, of the families of the Kohathites: for theirs was the lot.
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(54-81) The Levitical cities, beginning with those of the Aavonites, the principal branch of the Kohathite clan. This list deals with the same topic as Joshua 21:3-40, with which, upon the whole, it is in substantial agreement. 1Chronicles 6:54-60 are parallel to Joshua 21:10-19.

(54) Render, “And these were their seats according to their encampments within their border.” This, as the heading to all that follows, should be stopped off therefrom. It does not occur in Joshua 21, and may indicate an intermediate source used by the chronicler. The variant spellings of proper names, many of which are not mere copyists’ blunders, point in the same direction.

Of the sons of Aaron.—Rather, “to the sons of Aaron, of the clan of the Kohathites—for to them had fallen the lot—they gave to them Hebron,” &c. Joshua 21:10 has, “for to them the lot had fallen first.”

1 Chronicles 6:54. Throughout their castles — So called, not only because walled and well guarded by the country, but because they and their possessions were in a particular manner the care of Divine Providence. As God was their portion, so God was their protector. And a cottage will be a castle to those that abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Theirs was the lot — Or, the first lot.

6:1-81 Genealogies. - We have an account of Levi in this chapter. The priests and Levites were more concerned than any other Israelites, to preserve their descent clear, and to be able to prove it; because all the honours and privileges of their office depended upon their descent. Now, the Spirit of God calls ministers to their work, without any limit as to the families they came from; and then, as now, though believers and ministers may be very useful to the church, none but our great High Priest can make atonement for sin, nor can any be accepted but through his atonement.Their's was the lot - i. e. "the first lot." The Kohathites had the first lot among the Levitical families, as being the family whereto the high priesthood was attached (compare Joshua 21:10). 1Ch 6:49-81. Office of Aaron and His Sons.

49. But Aaron and his sons offered, &c.—The office and duties of the high priests having been already described, the names of those who successively filled that important office are recorded.

Or, this lot or portion which here follows. Or, the first lot, as appears by the sequel.

Now these are their dwelling places,.... The dwelling places of the priests and Levites, assigned and given to them in the several tribes of Israel; and the account of them agrees with that in Joshua 21:1 with some few variations of names of places, which have been there observed: see the notes there; only in 1 Chronicles 6:57 two cities are omitted, Juttah and Gibeon, through want of care in transcribing, since they are said to be "thirteen", as they should be, whereas eleven only are mentioned. The Jews say (h), the cities of the suburbs (those here mentioned) ceased from the time the first temple was destroyed; and yet Ezra, who lived after the captivity, and the building the second temple, here gives a very particular account of them; the suburbs belonging to every city, which he particularly mentions, were 2000 cubits, both to the cities of refuge, and the rest, Numbers 35:5 Hebron, the first city mentioned in the next verse, was a city of refuge, and had suburbs of such a space; and it is remarkable, that some of the temples with the Heathens, which were asylums, or places of refuge, had the space of 2000 paces assigned them for the same sanctity and privilege (i).

(h) T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 48. 2.((i) Tacit. Annal. l. 3. c. 62.

Now these are their {l} dwelling places throughout their castles in their coasts, of the sons of Aaron, of the families of the Kohathites: for theirs was the {m} lot.

(l) Or, cities which were given to the Levites.

(m) They were first appointed, and prepared for.

54–60 (= Joshua 21:10-19). The [thirteen] cities of the Aaronites

54. throughout their castles] R.V. according to their encampments. The Heb. word is used of the circular encampments of nomads.

their coasts] R.V. their borders.

the lot] R.V. the first lot (cp. Joshua 21:4; Joshua 21:10).

54–81 (= 39–66 according to the Heb. division). The forty-eight Levitic cities

This section has been adopted with some rearrangement from the parallel passage in Joshua. In Joshua the number of cities taken from each group of tribes and given to its respective division of the Levites is first stated, no city being named; and next the names of the cities are given under each division of the Levites and under the name of the tribe from which the cities were taken. In Chron. the cities given to the Aaronites are first mentioned by name and reckoned to be thirteen In number (1 Chronicles 6:55-60); next the cities given to each remaining division of the Levites are reckoned shortly by number only (1 Chronicles 6:61-63); lastly, these cities are separately reckoned at length by name only (1 Chronicles 6:66-81). This rearrangement is not happy; perhaps the Chronicler originally intended to give the Aaronite cities only by name as well as number, and so 1 Chronicles 6:66-81 (containing the names of the non-Aaronite cities) may be a supplement to the original text. Notice that no names of cities taken from Simeon are given; cp. 1 Chronicles 6:65; Joshua 21:9.

(Critical Note on 54–81.)

The text of the passage has suffered in transcription. In 1 Chronicles 6:55-60 eleven names are given, but thirteen are reckoned (1 Chronicles 6:60), the explanation being that the names Juttah and Gibeon (Joshua 21:16-17) have fallen out. In 1 Chronicles 6:61, after or before Manasseh the names of Ephraim and Dan have fallen out (cp. 1 Chronicles 6:66 and Joshua 21:5); Manasseh contributed only two out of the ten cities. Before 1 Chronicles 6:69 we must restore from Joshua 21:23 the words, And out of the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh with her suburbs, Gibbethon with her suburbs. In 1 Chronicles 6:77 or immediately before 1 Chronicles 6:78 two names of cities of Zebulun have fallen out; cp. 1 Chronicles 6:63 (“twelve cities”) with 1 Chronicles 6:77-81 (ten cities only are named).

Verses 54-81. - The writer returns upon his steps to give the cities and dwelling-places of the Levites, beginning with the priestly members of the Kohathite line (vers. 54-61), then taking those of the Gershomite (ver. 62) and Merarite lines (vers. 63-65) in order; and again in the same order disposing of the members not priestly (vers. 66-70; 71-76; 77-81) of the same three branches. Verses 54-61, 64-70. - And these are their dwellings according to their enclosures in their territories, טִירותָם means the settlements of whatever people in question, surrounded and protected by whatever fence or defence customary. For theirs was the lot is more intelligible with the addition of the word "first," supplied in Joshua 31:10, i.e. theirs was the first lot. The whole drift of the present passage, with the remainder of the chapter, is made entirely plain by Numbers 35:1-8 and Joshua 21:1-10. But the omission and the alteration of individual names of places occasion some delay. Our ver. 55 is given somewhat more fully in Joshua 21:11; our ver. 56 is identical with Joshua 21:12; and our vers. 57-60 correspond substantially with Joshua 21:13-19, but from this latter source we are glad to supply the two names Juttah and Gibeon, without which we cannot add up correctly the thirteen cities of ver. 60. Also in Joshua, our Hilen, Ashan, and Alemsth appear as Holon, Ain, and Almon respectively, although in regard to the intermediate name of these three the places cannot be accepted as identical, for they are mentioned side by side in Joshua 19:7 and in 1 Chronicles 4:32, but we must admit an error involved. Ver. 56 (see Joshua 14:14; Joshua 21:12). Ver. 61 seems to be an anticipation of vers. 66-70, with which verses, if we incorporate it, we shall obtain substantially the same results as are found in Joshua 21:5, 20-26; but again we are glad of the latter source to supply for us the two places, Eltekeh and Gibbethon, necessary to enable us to count up the ten cities of our ver. 61, while our Jokmeam, Aner, and Bileam appear as probably the corrected readings of Kibzaim, Tanach, and Gath-rimmon respectively in Joshua. The sons of Kohath.., left (ver. 61), the residue (Authorized Version, ver. 66), the remnant (ver. 70), point (as above) to the non-priestly descendants in the Kohath line. Summing up, we see that the Kohathite priests had thirteen cities from the allotments of Judah and Simeon and Benjamin, and the Ko-hathite non-priests had ten, from Ephraim, Dan, and West Manasseh. One might detect in all this some germ of the more modern parochial system, so far at least as regards the distributed residence of a clerical and ministerial order, though not with sacred buildings similarly distributed. 1 Chronicles 6:54(1 Chronicles 6:39-66). Register of the cities of the Levites, which agrees on the whole with the register in Joshua 21, if we except different forms of some names of cities, and many corruptions of the text, but differing in many ways from it in form; whence we gather that it is not derived from the book of Joshua, but from some other ancient authority.

1 Chronicles 6:54

(6:39). 1 Chronicles 6:54 contains the superscription, "These are their dwelling-places according to their districts, in their boundaries." So far the superscription belongs to the whole catalogue of cities. The suffixes point back to the לוי בּני, 1 Chronicles 6:1. טירה, from טוּר, to surround in a circle, signifies in the older language a "nomad village" (cf. Genesis 25:16; Numbers 31:10); here, on the contrary, it is sued in a derivative sense for "district," to denote the circle of dwellings which were granted to the Levites in the cities of the other tribes. The following words, "For the sons of Aaron of the family of Kohath," etc., are the superscription to 1 Chronicles 6:54-61, and together with the confirmatory clause, "for to him the (first) lot had fallen," are a repetition of Joshua 21:10, where, however, ראשׁנה is found after הגּורל, and has perhaps been here dropped out.

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