1 Chronicles 6:54–81

Read the passage.

For a number of reasons, which are laid out in the book of Exodus, mostly, the tribe of Levi is treated differently than the others. Instead of getting an allotment of land, they are given particular cities throughout the whole country, along with enough pastureland to sustain some herds and crops. These cities were in several places throughout the land of Israel, but they would not be too far away from the tabernacle and then later the temple. The Levites would serve there on a schedule, and when it was their turn, they would not be able to tend their herds or cultivate the land around their city.

The priests, though didn’t even get the land around their city, which was chosen by lot as Hebron. Before David conquered Jerusalem, Hebron was the capital of the nation and the location of the tabernacle. But the fields around Hebron were given to Caleb the son of Jephunneh. By design, the priests and their families were dependent on the sacrifices the people would bring in. If you read through all the different sacrifices in Leviticus that the priests were allowed to eat, and how often they were offered, no one was going to be left to starve.

Verse 60 says the sons of Aaron were given thirteen cities among the lands of Judah and Benjamin, but I only count eleven named. Originally, there were only six cities of refuge, so maybe they added five more, and the other two weren’t cities of refuge? Maybe the other two names were written in the original, but they have been lost to us over the centuries. If that thought bothers you, let me remind you that our Lord is completely in control of His entire world, and if He saw fit to let the names of two of those cities slide away, then He would have a good reason to. He wouldn’t allow that to happen for something important, like what is necessary to be made right with Him. He’s too good and too powerful for something like that to be lost. But the names of two cities? That’s far less important in the grand scheme of things.

Another oddity is what I don’t find among the list of cities. Every tribe on each side of the Jordan River gives cities for the Levites to live in. Except for the tribe of Dan. Dan doesn’t get a genealogy in 1 Chronicles either. The tribe of Dan did not fully settle their original land allotment, and instead moved north of Asher and Naphtali as told in Judges 18. This seems like sufficient reason why their cities were not given to the Levites. They were either in Phillistine hands by the time the cities were assigned, or they were too far away from the tabernacle for the necessary travel. As for the lack of genealogy, I suspect the tribe lost its distinctiveness or died out by the time of the Exile, and there were no records available to tell the Chronicler who the sons of Dan were.

You have preserved Your Word through each era so that we may know everything pertaining to life and godliness.

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