1 Chronicles 6:63
Unto the sons of Merari were given by lot, throughout their families, out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities.
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(63) This verse is word for word the same as Joshua 21:7, omitting the one term “by 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.Unto the sons of Kohath which were left - i. e. to such of them as were not priests.

Out of the half tribe ... ten cities - The half tribe furnished two cities only (1 Chronicles 6:70, and compare Joshua 21:25). It is evident therefore that something has fallen out. We may supply from Joshua the words "out of Ephraim and out of Dan, and" before "out of the half tribe."

62. to the sons of Gershom—Supply "the children of Israel gave." No text from Poole on this verse.

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.

Unto the sons of Merari were given by lot, throughout their families, out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities.
63. twelve cities] The total number of Levitic cities (1 Chronicles 6:60 thirteen, 1 Chronicles 6:61 ten, 1 Chronicles 6:62 thirteen, 1 Chronicles 6:63 twelve) was forty-eight (so Joshua 21:41), of which the Kohathites, as the largest division (cp. 1 Chronicles 15:5, note), received twenty-three or nearly half.

Verse 63. - The distribution of cities to the third branch of Levi's family, that of Merari, now follows. They are selected, four from each of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, Zebulun (Joshua 21:7, 34-40). 1 Chronicles 6:63(1 Chronicles 6:46-48). Summary statements of the number of cities which the remaining Kohathites, the Gershonites, and the Merarites received in the domains of the various tribes, corresponding to Joshua 21:5-7. In 1 Chronicles 6:61 occurs a hiatus; between המּטּה and ממּחצית the words "Ephraim and of the tribe of Dan and" have been omitted. In 1 Chronicles 6:48 the words "of the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan" are quite intelligible without חצי, which is found in Joshua.
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