Joshua 21:12
But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, gave they to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for his possession.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Joshua 21:12. The fields and villages — That is, all beyond the two thousand cubits expressed Numbers 35:5. This is here mentioned, not as his peculiar case, but as one eminent instance, to show that it was so in all the rest of the cities here named; that the fields and villages thereof still belonged to the several tribes from whom the cities and their suburbs were taken. It would make the rest of the Israelites more cheerfully resign part of their possessions to the Levites, considering that even Caleb did so, though his possession had been long before promised, and now actually given to him by God’s special command, as a mark of honour and compensation for his long and faithful service.21:9-42 By mixing the Levites with the other tribes, they were made to see that the eyes of all Israel were upon them, and therefore it was their concern to walk so that their ministry might not be blamed. Every tribe had its share of Levites' cities. Thus did God graciously provide for keeping up religion among them, and that they might have the word in all parts of the land. Yet, blessed be God, we have the gospel more diffused amongst us.The thirteen priestly cities (see the marginal references) were all in the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. Thus, as Calvin remarks, God so overruled it that the priestly families were placed upon the spot which He had determined before hand to choose as the site of His temple. Jos 21:9-42. The Cities of the Priests.

9-40. they gave … these cities which are here mentioned by name—It was overruled by the unerring providence of the Divine Lawgiver that the cities of the priests lay within the territories of Judah and Benjamin. This was a provision, the admirable wisdom and propriety of which were fully manifested on the schism that took place in the reign of Rehoboam.

The fields of the city, i.e. all beyond the 2000 cubits expressed Numbers 35:5. This is here mentioned, not as his peculiar case, but as one eminent instance, to show that it was so in all the rest of the cities here named; that the fields and villages thereof still belonged to the several tribes from whom the cities and their suburbs were taken; and to make the rest of the Israelites more contentedly and cheerfully resign so great a part of their possessions to the Levites, because even Caleb did so, though his possession had been long before promised, and now actually given to him by God’s special command, as a mark of honour and compensation for his long and faithful service. But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof,.... Which lay beyond the two thousand cubits:

gave they to Caleb the son of Jephunneh, for his possession; as Moses had promised, and Joshua had confirmed to him; and now the children of Israel gave them to him, and put him in the possession of, Joshua 14:6; and the same is to be observed of all the other cities given to the Levites, that they and their suburbs, extending to such a distance only, were given to them; but the fields and villages, which belonged to them, continued the inheritance of the tribes in which they were.

But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, gave they to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for his possession.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. But the fields of the city] of Hebron and its villages, i.e. the arable land had been already assigned to Caleb (see above ch. Joshua 14:13). Whence we may conclude “that the Levites only received as many houses in the cities assigned them, as their numerical strength required, and that it was these which remained in their hands as an inalienable possession.” See Keil’s Commentary.Verse 12. - The fields. The original is in the singular. We are not necessarily, therefore, to suppose that the land was mapped out into divisions analogous to our fields. Our word "land" would more accurately represent the meaning of the original, which refers to the arable and pasture land in the neighbourhood of the city, with the agricultural villages or homesteads dotted about it. Keil contends that the Levites only received as many houses within the city as they needed, and that the rest belonged to Caleb. Bahr, moreover ('Symbolik,' 2:49), supposed that the Levites dwelt with the other inhabitants of the city, and that the pasture land within the distance of 2,000 paces from the city was reserved for them, the rest of the land belonging to the inhabitants of the tribe (see note on Gezer, ch. 10:33). This seems the most probable explanation. The land in general was owned by the descendants of Caleb. But the Levites had certain pastures reserved for them, whither they drove their cattle (see note on suburbs, Joshua 14:4). The special information about Hebron here again is worthy of notice. It is copied by the author of 1 Chronicles in ch. 6. The Gershonites received thirteen towns from Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and half Manasseh in Bashan.
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