Numbers 35:2

Hebrew Bible

1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses in the rift valley plains of Moab along the Jordan near Jericho. He said: 2Instruct the Israelites to give the Levites towns to live in from the inheritance the Israelites will possess. You must also give the Levites grazing land around the towns. 3 Thus they will have towns in which to live, and their grazing lands will be for their cattle, for their possessions, and for all their animals. 4 The grazing lands around the towns that you will give to the Levites must extend to a distance of 500 yards from the town wall.

Joshua 21:3

Hebrew Bible

1 The tribal leaders of the Levites went before Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun and the Israelite tribal leaders 2 in Shiloh in the land of Canaan and said, “The Lord told Moses to assign us cities in which to live along with the grazing areas for our cattle.” 3 So the Israelites assigned these cities and their grazing areas to the Levites from their own holdings, as the Lord had instructed. 4 The first lot belonged to the Kohathite clans. The Levites who were descendants of Aaron the priest were allotted 13 cities from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. 5 The rest of Kohath’s descendants were allotted ten cities from the clans of the tribe of Ephraim, and from the tribe of Dan and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

 Notes and References

"... The Levites assume unique status in relation to the claim to land. The older sources of the Hexateuch already emphasize that the Levites obtain no portion of the land; their's is Yahweh’s priesthood (Joshua 18:7). Even P emphasizes that Aaron and the Levites have no claim to the land; their's is Yahweh and the tithe that they receive for their service (Numbers 18:20, 23, 26; 26:62; Joshua 14:3); in addition, the other tribes are obligated to cede cities ... to the Levites (Numbers 35:2, 8; Joshua 21:3). That Yahweh is Levi’s also serves the Deuteronomist as a justification for the Levites’ exclusion from exercising any claim to the land (Deuteronomy 10:9; 12:12; 14:27, 29; 18:2, Joshua 13:14, 33; Deuteronomy 18:1 and Joshua 13:14 interpret further: they should support themselves with the sacrifices and offerings.) The appendix to Ezekiel also knows this notion of the Levites’ (Ezekiel 44:28) as related to the tribal property within the Jerusalem sanctuary. Precincts excluded from the tribal , however, can be ceded to the Levites (45:5; 48:13) ..."

Jenni, Ernst, and Claus Westermann Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (p. 935) Hendrickson Publishers, 1997

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