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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

March 16, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again


Daily Reading: Joshua 19-21


Joshua 21:3

And the children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the commandment of the LORD, these cities and their suburbs.


A casual reading of chapter 21 may result in confusion. Perhaps a quick overview may help.


The tribe of Levi was the priestly tribe. It was to receive no inheritance in the promise land. Yet, they received forty-eight cities and their suburbs for a possession (Joshua 21:41). This was told to Moses by God way back in Numbers 35:7. So all the cities which ye shall give to the Levites shall be forty and eight cities: them shall ye give with their suburbs. If they were not to receive an inheritance in the land, how did they obtain these forty-eight cities? This could cause some confusion, but there is a perfectly simple answer which shows forth a great truth even for today.


The cities the Levites received were out of the lands the other eleven tribes inherited. In other words, the eleven tribes gave the tribe of Levi these cities out of their inheritance. After all, while the tribe of Levi was to be busy about the things of the Lord, they still had to eat, needed a place to live, a place to raise their family, they needed all the temporal things of life just like the other eleven tribes. But they did not inherit these lands, they were given them by those whom they served.


In I Chronicles 26 there is a continuation of this practice of willfully giving to the work of God from the “spoils won in battle”. Out of the spoils won in battles did they dedicate to maintain the house of the LORD. (I Chronicles 26:27). That is exactly what the eleven tribes did. They won spoils in battle and dedicated portions of it for the work and ministry of the Lord God. Then it was the spoils won in battle, today it is the tithe and freewill offerings. Hopefully this clears up a possible misunderstanding about the Levites possession in the promise land.


On another note, did you notice in Joshua 21:45, There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel, all came to pass. The Lord did give them the victory, they did drive out many of the “ites” of the land, they did inherit the promise land, it is theirs, forever, given to them by Almighty God. Every promise God made has or will come to pass. Now and forever!


Our Lord and King has given us so many promises.  All will be kept. Every last one. He may not fulfill his promises the way we think, or how we think, or according to our timetable, but He will fulfil every promise made. Just as Peter wrote:  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9) Yes, a thousand times yes, the Lord will keep His promises. He did for Israel, He will for Israel, and He will for you too.


Dr. William T. Howe

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