Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
Then came near the heads of the fathers of the Levites unto Eleazar the priest, and unto Joshua the son of Nun, and unto the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel;8. The Portion of the Levites
1. The Levites, the children of Aaron, and their portions (Joshua 21:1-8)
2. Kohath (Joshua 21:9-26)
3. Gershon (Joshua 21:27-33)
4. Merari (Joshua 21:34-40)
5. The Lord’s faithfulness (Joshua 21:41-45)
In chapters 13:14, 33 and 14:3, 4 the statement is made that Moses gave no inheritance to the Levites. The Lord was their inheritance. After the tribes had received their allotments the heads of the fathers of the Levites came to Joshua and Eleazar with a petition. They based their petition upon the Word of God spoken to Moses. “Command the children of Israel, that they give unto the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and ye shall give also unto the Levites suburbs for the cities round about them” (Numbers 35:2). The people were obedient and gave them cities out of their several inheritances. But the cities were also assigned by lot, so that the Lord assigned them their habitations. How it must have pleased Him to see His Word remembered, obeyed and acted upon! They were scattered throughout the entire domain of Israel. The Kohathites and the children of Aaron had thirteen cities in the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Simeon, and two more in Ephraim, Dan and Manasseh. The Gershonites were placed in cities in eastern Manasseh, Issachar, Asher and Naphtali. The Merarites were in Zebulun and among Gad and Reuben. The divine purpose in scattering them over the land was, no doubt, that they might exercise a beneficent influence in divine things to exhort the tribes to worship Jehovah, to remind them of His goodness and to restrain them from idolatry. At the close of this chapter we read of the faithfulness of the Lord. He gave them the land; He gave them rest; He gave them victory. “There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken.” All God’s promises will be in due time accomplished.