Six cities appointed as places of refuge; forty-eight cities given to the Levites. Their support is the responsibility of all the tribes (Josh. 21:44-45).
Verses for Today:
The children of Israel gave unto the Levites out of their inheritance, at the Commandment of the Lord . . . cities and their suburbs (Josh. 21:3).
Unlike all the other tribes of Israel, Levi was not given separate territory (14:3). Unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance, as He said unto them (13:33). But the Levites have no part among you; for the priesthood of the Lord is their inheritance (18:7).
The Levites were divided into three groups according to the descendants of Levi's three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. But only those Israelites who were descendants of Levi through Kohath's grandson Aaron could be priests and serve in the Tabernacle (Num. 3:10). However, some of these descendants were physically disqualified to be ministers at the altar because of disabilities and defects and some were spiritually disqualified because they violated one or more of the Commandments (Lev. 21:1-23). The priests were responsible for preserving, transcribing, teaching, and interpreting the Law. They were also the civil officers responsible for the administration of the Law (Deut. 17:9-12; 31:9,11-12,26). All the Levites, not merely the ones who were responsible for the worship at the Tabernacle, were to receive an equal share of the tithes from the other tribes (Num. 18:21-24). Each tribe was to provide for the physical welfare of the priests within its own territory. This was not left up to the goodwill of the people but was a Command from God.
God devoted 42 of the 45 verses in Joshua 21 to emphasize the Israelites' obligation to support the ministers of His Word. No one is too poor or exempt from giving his tithe which is a tenth of his income; and thus it was proportionately equal for all. When Israel was faithful in this, God mightily blessed them. When they failed, they suffered.
The Apostle Paul illustrated this by saying: For it is written . . . Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith He it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written. . . . If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal (financial) things? . . . the Lord ordained that they which preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel (I Cor. 9:9-11,14).
Thought for Today:
And this is His Commandment, That we should believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us Commandment (I John 3:23).
By Eleazar, the chief priest (Josh. 21:1; Num. 3:32). Jesus Christ is our High Priest. The . . . High Priest of our profession (confession), Christ Jesus (Heb. 3:1).
20:2 Appoint out =choose, Assign; 20:3 unwittingly =without premeditation, unintentionally; 20:4 declare his cause =state his case; 20:5 hated him not = was without malice; 20:9 stranger =foreign resident; sojourneth =temporarily dwells; at unawares =by accident; 21:1 heads =leaders; 21:4 lot =share.
Pray for Country: Cameroon (15 million) in west-central Africa • Major languages: English and French • Pressure on Christians from authorities and Muslims • 28% Roman Catholic; 23% Muslim; 18% animism, divination, and animal sacrifices; 14% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Lift up prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God even in times of adversity (Acts 16:22-25).
Optional Reading: John 11
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:7-8