Joshua 21:7
The children of Merari by their families had 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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
21:1-8 The Levites waited till the other tribes were provided for, before they preferred their claim to Joshua. They build their claim upon a very good foundation; not their own merits or services, but the Divine precept. The maintenance of ministers is not a thing left merely to the will of the people, that they may let them starve if they please; they which preach the gospel should live by the gospel, and should live comfortably.The non-priestly Kohathites had been diminished by the destruction of Korah and his company Numbers 16. On comparing Numbers 26:57 following with Numbers 3:27 ff, two of the families of the Kohathites seem to have disappeared altogether. Hence, it is not surprising that the rest of the Kohathites were sufficiently accommodated in ten cities. 4-8. the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites—The Levites were divided into Kohathites, Gershonites, and Merarites. Among the former the family of Aaron were exclusively appointed to the priesthood, and all the rest were ranked in the common order of Levites. The first lot was drawn by the Kohathites; and the first of theirs again by the priests, to whom thirteen cities were granted, and ten to the rest of the Kohathites (Jos 21:5); thirteen to the Gershonites (Jos 21:6), and twelve to the Merarites (Jos 21:7). No text from Poole on this verse. The children of Merari by their families,.... The descendants of Merari, the third son of Levi:

had out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad; which were both on the other side Jordan:

and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities; in all forty eight, as the Lord commanded, Numbers 35:7.

The children of Merari by their families had out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. The children of Merari] The descendants of the third son of Levi, had been stationed during the encampment to the north of the Tabernacle, being placed together with the Gershonites “under the hand” of Ithamar “the son of Aaron.” They had been entrusted with the heavier portions of the Tabernacle furniture, such as the boards, pillars, and bars, and therefore had been permitted together with the Gershonites to use the oxen and waggons contributed by the congregation, while the Kohathites were only supposed to remove the sacred vessels on their shoulders (Numbers 7:1-9).

had out of the tribe of Reuben] They received twelve cities from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.After the cities of refuge had been set apart, the towns were also selected, which the different tribes were to give up for the priest and Levites to dwell in according to the Mosaic instructions in Numbers 35:1-8, together with the necessary fields as pasturage for their cattle. The setting apart of the cities of refuge took place before the appointment of the Levitical towns, because the Lord had given commandment through Moses in Numbers 35:6, that they were to give to the Levites the six cities of refuge, and forty-two cities besides, i.e., forty-eight cities in all. From the introductory statement in Joshua 21:1, Joshua 21:2, that the heads of the fathers (see Exodus 6:14, Exodus 6:25) of the Levitical families reminded the distribution committee at Shiloh of the command of God that had been issued through Moses, that towns were to be given them to dwell in, we cannot infer, as Calvin has done, that the Levites had been forgotten, till they came and asserted their claims. All that is stated in these words is, "that when the business had reached that point, they approached the dividers of the land in the common name of the members of their tribe, to receive by lot the cities appointed for them. They simply expressed the commands of God, and said in so many words, that they had been deputed by the Levites generally to draw lots for those forty-eight cities with their suburbs, which had been appointed for that tribe" (Masius). The clause appended to Shiloh, "in the land of Canaan," points to the instructions in Numbers 34:29 and Numbers 35:10, to give the children of Israel their inheritance in the land of Canaan.
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