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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (a.) Of or pertaining to a Levite or the Levites.

2. (a.) Priestly.

3. (a.) of or pertaining to, or designating, the law contained in the book of Leviticus.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia





1. Numbers

2. Deuteronomy



1. Traces of the Cities

2. Wellhausen's Arguments Answered

3. Van Hoonacker's Reply

4. Ezekiel's Vision

5. Priestly Cities and Cities in Which Priests Dwell


I. Legal Provisions.

1. Numbers: Numbers 35:1-8 provides that 48 cities should be given to the Levites, each surrounded by a pasturage. The exact details are not quite clear, for in the Hebrew, Numbers 35:4 would naturally be read as meaning that the pasturage was a radius of 1,000 cubits from the city walls, while 35:5 makes each city the center of a square, each side of which was 2,000 cubits long. Extant variants in the versions suggest, however, that the text has suffered slightly in transmission. Originally there seems to have been no discrepancy between the two verses, and it may be doubted whether the intent was that the city was always to be in the mathematical center of the patch. The Levites were to have the right of redeeming the houses at any time, and in default of redemption they were to go out in the Jubilee. The field was not to be sold (Leviticus 25:32 f).

2. Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 18:8 undoubtedly recognizes patrimonial possessions of the Levites outside the religious capital, and sees no inconsistency with its earlier statement that Levi had no portion or inheritance with Israel (18:1). The explanation lies in the fact that these cities were not a tribal portion like the territories of the secular tribes. The area occupied by the whole 48 jointly would only have amounted to less than 16 miles.

II. Wellhausen's View.

Joshua 21 relates that this command was fulfilled by the allocation of 48 cities, but it is clear that some of those cities were not in fact reduced into possession; see e.g. Joshua 16:10 Judges 1:29 as to Gezer, and Judges 1:27 as to Taanach. Wellhausen treats the whole arrangement as fictitious. His main reasons are: (1) that the arrangement is physically impracticable in a mountainous country, and (2) that "there is not a historical trace of the existence of the Levitical cities." Many remained in the hands of the Canaanites till a late period, while others were "important but by no means ecclesiastical towns" (Prolegomena, 160). Two pages later he says that "four of them were demonstrably famous old seats of worship," and conjectures that most, if not all, were ancient sanctuaries. He also regards Ezekiel's scheme of a heave offering of land (Ezekiel 45) as the origin of the idea. Yet "Jerus and the temple, which, properly speaking, occasioned the whole arrangement, are buried in silence with a diligence which is in the highest degree surprising" (p. 164).

III. Alternative View and Evidence.

1. Traces of the Cities:

In point of fact, there are traces of some of the Levitical cities in the later history. Such are Anathoth (1 Kings 2:26 Jeremiah 1:1; Jeremiah 32), Jattir (2 Samuel 20:26, where, as shown in the article PRIESTS AND LEVITES (which see), Jattirite should be read for the Massoretic Jairite), Beth-shemesh (1 Samuel 6:13-15; see PRIESTS AND LEVITES as to the text). (From Amos 7:17 it appears that Amaziah of Bethel had land, but we do not know that he was of Levitical descent or where the land was.)

2. Wellhausen's Arguments Answered:

Further, the fact that many other Levitical cities appear to have been centers of worship points to the presence of priests. Was the great high place of Gibeon (1 Kings 3:4) unserved by priests? It is surely natural to suppose that during the period between the capture of the Ark and its transport to Jerusalem there was a tendency for high places to spring up in cities where there were priests rather than elsewhere; indeed there would probably be a disposition on the part of unemployed priests to go astray in a direction that would prove lucrative.

3. Van Hoonacker's Reply:

With regard to the other objection, Van Hoonacker's answer is convincing: "As to the way in which the measurements were to be carried out in the mountainous country of Palestine, the legislator doubtless knew what method was usually employed. Besides, we are free to believe that he only gives these figures as approximate indications" (Sacerdoce levitique, 433).

4. Ezekiel's Vision:

The same writer's reply to theory that the idea originated with Ezekiel is wholly admirable. "Strictly we could ask.... whether Ezekiel did not found himself on the description of the camp of the Israelites in the desert. It is only too manifest that the division and appointment of the territory as presented in Ezekiel 48 of the prophet are scarcely inspired by practical necessities, that they have a very pronounced character of ideal vision; and `as no fancy is pure fancy,' we ought also to find the elements which are at the basis of Ezekiel's vision. The tents of the tribe of Levi ranged around the tabernacle explain themselves in the Priestly Code; we may doubt whether the Levites, deprived of territory (Ezekiel 44:28) and nevertheless grouped on a common territory, in the conditions described in Ezekiel 48, explain themselves with equal facility. A camp is readily conceived on the pattern of a chessboard, but not the country of Canaan. We need not stop there. It is in fact certain that Ezekiel here has in view the protection of the holiness of the temple from all profanation; and in the realm of the ideal, the means are appropriate to the end" (op. cit., 425).

5. Priestly Cities and Cities in Which Priests Dwell:

Lastly there runs through Wellhausen's discussion the confusion between a city where priests may be dwelling and a priestly city. There were priests in Jerusalem, as there are today in London or Chicago; but none of these three places can be regarded as a priestly city in the same sense as the Levitical cities. Not one of them has ever been a patrimonial city of priests, or could be the origin of such an arrangement.

While therefore the whole of the cities mentioned in Joshua 21 were certainly not reduced into possession at the time of the conquest, the Wellhausen theory on this matter cannot be sustained.


J. Wellhausen, Prolegomena, 159-63; A. Van Hoonacker, Sacerdoce levitique, 423-35 (very brilliant and important).

Harold M. Wiener

3020. Leuitikos -- Levitical
... Levitical. Part of Speech: Adjective Transliteration: Leuitikos Phonetic Spelling:
(lyoo-it'-ee-kos) Short Definition: Levitical Definition: belonging to the ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/3020.htm - 6k

537. hapas -- all, the whole
... sky" (). In this verse, "everything" ("all," 537 ) has two : animal; and
the Levitical food-system. all things, everyone, whole. ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/537.htm - 7k

4686. speira -- anything wound up or coiled, by ext. a body (of ...
... cognate heilisso; a coil (spira, "spire"), ie (figuratively) a mass of men (a Roman
military cohort; also (by analogy) a squad of Levitical janitors) -- band. ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/4686.htm - 6k

4755. strategos -- a general, governor
... stratia and ago or hegeomai; a general, ie (by implication or analogy) a (military)
governor (praetor), the chief (praefect) of the (Levitical) temple-wardens ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/4755.htm - 7k

Strong's Hebrew
4737. Miqneyahu -- "possession of Yah," a Levitical musician
... Miqneyahu. 4738 . "possession of Yah," a Levitical musician. Transliteration:
Miqneyahu Phonetic Spelling: (mik-nay-yaw'-hoo) Short Definition: Mikneiah. ...
/hebrew/4737.htm - 6k

1203. Beeshterah -- perhaps "house of Ashtoreth," a Levitical city ...
... perhaps "house of Ashtoreth," a Levitical city in Manasseh. Transliteration: Beeshterah
Phonetic Spelling: (beh-esh-ter-aw') Short Definition: Be-eshterah. ...
/hebrew/1203.htm - 6k

5658. Abdon -- four Israelites, also a Levitical city
... 5657, 5658. Abdon. 5659 . four Israelites, also a Levitical city. Transliteration:
Abdon Phonetic Spelling: (ab-dohn') Short Definition: Abdon. ...
/hebrew/5658.htm - 6k

1937. Hodevah -- a Levitical family
... 1936, 1937. Hodevah or Hodeyah. 1938 . a Levitical family. Transliteration:
Hodevah or Hodeyah Phonetic Spelling: (ho-dev-aw') Short Definition: Hodevah. ...
/hebrew/1937.htm - 6k

4158. Mophaath -- a Levitical city in Reuben
... a Levitical city in Reuben. Transliteration: Mophaath or Mephaath or Mephaath
Phonetic Spelling: (mo-fah'-ath) Short Definition: Mephaath. ...
/hebrew/4158.htm - 6k

1829. Dimnah -- a Levitical city in Zebulun
... 1828, 1829. Dimnah. 1830 . a Levitical city in Zebulun. Transliteration:
Dimnah Phonetic Spelling: (dim-naw') Short Definition: Dimnah. ...
/hebrew/1829.htm - 6k

1387. Geba -- a Levitical city of Benjamin
... 1386, 1387. Geba. 1388 . a Levitical city of Benjamin. Transliteration:
Geba Phonetic Spelling: (gheh'-bah) Short Definition: Geba. ...
/hebrew/1387.htm - 6k

1562. Gilalay -- a Levitical musician
... 1561, 1562. Gilalay. 1563 . a Levitical musician. Transliteration: Gilalay
Phonetic Spelling: (ghe-lal-ah'-ee) Short Definition: Gilalai. ...
/hebrew/1562.htm - 6k

2576. Chammoth Dor -- a Levitical city in Naphtali
... Chammoth Dor. 2577 . a Levitical city in Naphtali. Transliteration: Chammoth Dor
Phonetic Spelling: (kham-moth' dore) Short Definition: Hammoth-dor. ...
/hebrew/2576.htm - 6k

1507. Gezer -- "portion," a Levitical city on the border of ...
... 1506, 1507. Gezer. 1508 . "portion," a Levitical city on the border of Ephraim.
Transliteration: Gezer Phonetic Spelling: (gheh'-zer) Short Definition: Gezer ...
/hebrew/1507.htm - 6k


Christ is the Substance of the Levitical Priesthood.
... Hymns, Book II HYMN 12 Christ is the substance of the Levitical priesthood.
CM Christ is the substance of the Levitical priesthood. ...
/.../watts/the psalms and hymns of isaac watts/hymn 12 christ is the.htm

Proof that God did not Appoint the Levitical Dispensation for his ...
... Against Heresies: Book IV Chapter XVII."Proof that God did not appoint the Levitical
dispensation for His own sake, or as requiring such service; for He does ...
/.../irenaeus/against heresies/chapter xvii proof that god did.htm

Christ is the Substance of the Levitical Priesthood.
... Hymns. Book 2. Composed on Divine Subjects. Hymn 2:12. Christ is the substance
of the Levitical priesthood. 1 The true Messiah now ...
/.../watts/hymns and spiritual songs/hymn 2 12 christ is the.htm

On the Offices of Our Lord Jesus Christ
... thy law is within my heart." (Psalm 40:6-8.) That is, "Thou hadst no pleasure in
the sacrifices which are offered by the law" according to the Levitical ritual ...
/.../arminius/the works of james arminius vol 1/disputation 14 on the offices.htm

The Epistle to the Hebrews
... Paul; (2) he was a Levite, and would be interested in Levitical worship; (3) he
was a native of Cyprus, which was in close communication with Alexandria; (4 ...
/.../pullan/the books of the new testament/chapter xviii the epistle to.htm

The Paschal Supper - the Institution of the Lord's Supper.
... before the Law had been given or the Covenant ratified by blood; nay, in a sense
it was the cause and the foundation of all the Levitical Sacrifices and of the ...
/.../the life and times of jesus the messiah/chapter x the paschal supper.htm

What a Sacrifice Is, and what are the Species of Sacrifice.
... And all Levitical sacrifices can be referred to these members as to their own
homes [genera]. ... It accordingly abolishes the Levitical services. ...
/.../melanchthon/the apology of the augsburg confession/part 30 what a sacrifice.htm

The Clean and the Unclean
... "If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth."
The levitical law enjoined many precepts as to meats and drinks; but those ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 9 1863/the clean and the unclean.htm

Proceeding to the History of Israel, Tertullian Shows that ...
... Among Their Sins as in Adam's Case. Therefore the Restraints of the Levitical
Law Were Imposed. At length, when a familiar people ...
/.../chapter v proceeding to the history.htm

Article xiii (vii): of the Number and Use of the Sacraments.
... to others, but they understand it as referring to sacrifice, as though in the New
Testament there ought to be a priesthood like the Levitical, to sacrifice for ...
/.../the apology of the augsburg confession/part 18 article xiii vii .htm

Levitical (19 Occurrences)
... CITIES, LEVITICAL. ...LEVITICAL CITIES. ... 1. Traces of the Cities: In point of fact, there
are traces of some of the Levitical cities in the later history. ...
/l/levitical.htm - 20k

Laws (184 Occurrences)
... The Levitical cities were subject to the rules of land, not of walled cities (Leviticus
25:32; read with the Vulgate in the American Revised Version, margin ...
/l/laws.htm - 47k

Levite (43 Occurrences)
... The Levitical order consisted of all the descendants of Levi's three sons, Gershon,
Kohath, and Merari; whilst Aaron, Amram's son (Amram, son of Kohat), and ...
/l/levite.htm - 26k

... The Levitical cities were subject to the rules of land, not of walled cities (Leviticus
25:32; read with the Vulgate in the American Revised Version, margin ...
/a/agrarian.htm - 17k

Sodomite (1 Occurrence)
... it is to be noted that the priesthood of Jesus is declared to be after the order
of Melchizedek, and consequently radically unlike that of the Levitical priests ...
/s/sodomite.htm - 101k

Ezekiel (4 Occurrences)
... 4,5, show his intimate acquaintance with the Levitical legislation. (See Exodus
22:30; Deuteronomy 14:21; Leviticus 5:2; 7:18, 24; 17:15; 19:7; 22:8, etc.). ...
/e/ezekiel.htm - 45k

Purity (16 Occurrences)
... of cups, and pots, and brasen vessels," yet such statements are but summaries of
directions distributed here and there throughout the whole Levitical Law. ...
/p/purity.htm - 30k

Tithe (30 Occurrences)
... Every Jew was required by the Levitical law to pay three tithes of his property
(1) one tithe for the Levites; (2) one for the use of the temple and the great ...
/t/tithe.htm - 28k

Juttah (3 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary Extended, a Levitical city in the mountains or
hill-country of Judah (Joshua 15:55; 21:16). Its modern ...
/j/juttah.htm - 9k

Jesharelah (1 Occurrence)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary Upright towards God, the head of the seventh division
of Levitical musicians (1 Chronicles 25:14). Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. ...
/j/jesharelah.htm - 7k

How was Jesus' sacrifice better than the Levitical sacrifices? | GotQuestions.org

What was the Levitical priesthood? | GotQuestions.org

What was the purpose of the Levitical Law? | GotQuestions.org

Levitical: Dictionary and Thesaurus | Clyx.com

Bible ConcordanceBible DictionaryBible EncyclopediaTopical BibleBible Thesuarus
Levitical (19 Occurrences)

Hebrews 7:11
Now if there was perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people have received the law), what further need was there for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron?

Leviticus 25:32
But as for the cities of the Levites, the houses of the cities of their possession, the Levites shall have a perpetual right of redemption.
(See NIV)

Deuteronomy 17:9
And thou shall come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days; and thou shalt inquire; and they shall declare unto thee the sentence of judgment.

Deuteronomy 17:18
And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites.

Deuteronomy 18:1
The priests the Levites, even all the tribe of Levi, shall have no portion nor inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and His inheritance.

Deuteronomy 24:8
Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you, as I commanded them, so ye shall observe to do.

Deuteronomy 27:9
And Moses and the priests the Levites spoke unto all Israel, saying: 'Keep silence, and hear, O Israel; this day thou art become a people unto the LORD thy God.

Joshua 3:3
and they commanded the people, saying: 'When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.

Joshua 8:33
And all Israel, and their elders and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, that bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger as the home-born; half of them in front of mount Gerizim and half of them in front of mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded at the first, that they should bless the people of Israel.

1 Chronicles 15:12
and said unto them: 'Ye are the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites; sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, unto the place that I have prepared for it.
(See NIV)

2 Chronicles 5:5
And they brought up the ark, and the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tent; these did the priests and the Levites bring up.
(See NAS)

2 Chronicles 5:12
also the Levites who were the singers, all of them, even Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and their brethren, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them a hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets--

2 Chronicles 23:18
And Jehoiada appointed the offices of the house of the LORD under the hand of the priests the Levites, whom David had distributed in the house of the LORD, to offer the burnt-offerings of the LORD, as it is written in the Law of Moses, with rejoicing and with singing, according to the direction of David.

2 Chronicles 30:27
Then the priests the Levites arose and blessed the people; and their voice was heard of the LORD, and their prayer came up to His holy habitation, even unto heaven.
(See NAS)

Jeremiah 33:18
And to the priests -- the Levites, Not cut off from before Me is one, Causing a burnt-offering to ascend, And perfuming a present, and making sacrifice -- all the days.'

Jeremiah 33:21
Also My covenant is broken with David My servant, So that he hath not a son reigning on his throne, And with the Levites the priests, My ministers.

Jeremiah 33:22
As the host of the heavens is not numbered, Nor the sand of the sea measured, So I multiply the seed of David My servant, And the Levites My ministers.'
(See RSV)

Ezekiel 43:19
And thou hast given unto the priests, the Levites, who 'are' of the seed of Zadok -- who are near unto Me, an affirmation of the Lord Jehovah, to serve Me -- a calf from the herd, for a sin-offering.

Ezekiel 44:15
And the priests, the Levites, sons of Zadok, who have kept the charge of My sanctuary in the wandering of the sons of Israel from off Me, they draw near unto Me to serve Me, and have stood before Me, to bring near to Me fat and blood -- an affirmation of the Lord Jehovah:



Levitical Cities

Related Terms

Laws (184 Occurrences)

Levite (43 Occurrences)


Sodomite (1 Occurrence)

Ezekiel (4 Occurrences)

Purity (16 Occurrences)

Tithe (30 Occurrences)

Juttah (3 Occurrences)

Jesharelah (1 Occurrence)

Levit'ical (1 Occurrence)

Fowl (73 Occurrences)

Chemarim (1 Occurrence)

Abdon (8 Occurrences)

Ashtaroth (13 Occurrences)

Animal (163 Occurrences)



Korah (51 Occurrences)

Leviticus (1 Occurrence)

Hammoth-dor (1 Occurrence)

Hammothdor (1 Occurrence)


Priests (451 Occurrences)

Priesthood (30 Occurrences)

Melchizedek (12 Occurrences)

John (154 Occurrences)

Hebrews (24 Occurrences)

Cities (427 Occurrences)

Aaron (343 Occurrences)


Doctrine (52 Occurrences)

Korhites (4 Occurrences)

Korahites (7 Occurrences)

Kings (350 Occurrences)

Kore (4 Occurrences)

Offering (850 Occurrences)

Jaaziel (1 Occurrence)

Jutah (1 Occurrence)

Jerimoth (10 Occurrences)

Joash (49 Occurrences)

Jarmuth (7 Occurrences)

Jeshuah (1 Occurrence)

Jeshua (30 Occurrences)

Jehoash (28 Occurrences)

Jehieli (2 Occurrences)

Jehdeiah (2 Occurrences)

Jeremoth (9 Occurrences)

Jehiel (17 Occurrences)

Jonathan (109 Occurrences)

Jeriah (3 Occurrences)

Jekameam (2 Occurrences)

Libnah (18 Occurrences)

Gleaning (10 Occurrences)

Genealogy (29 Occurrences)

Gath-rimmon (4 Occurrences)

Gathrimmon (4 Occurrences)

Geba (22 Occurrences)

Gentiles (150 Occurrences)

Wages (52 Occurrences)

Isshiah (5 Occurrences)

Iddo (14 Occurrences)

Forerunner (3 Occurrences)

Ramoth (30 Occurrences)

Reckoned (98 Occurrences)

Ramathaimzophim (1 Occurrence)

Ramathaim-zophim (1 Occurrence)

Rehabiah (3 Occurrences)

Elizaphan (4 Occurrences)

Eagle (27 Occurrences)

Elisheba (1 Occurrence)

Elkanah (20 Occurrences)

Eltekeh (2 Occurrences)

Eshtemoa (5 Occurrences)

Elishaphat (1 Occurrence)

Eder (6 Occurrences)

Daberath (3 Occurrences)

Demon (26 Occurrences)

Demoniac (7 Occurrences)


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