The children of Merari by their families had out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Numbers 16. On comparing Numbers 26:57 following with Numbers 3:27 ff, two of the families of the Kohathites seem to have disappeared altogether. Hence, it is not surprising that the rest of the Kohathites were sufficiently accommodated in ten cities.
had out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad; which were both on the other side Jordan:
and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities; in all forty eight, as the Lord commanded, Numbers 35:7.The children of Merari by their families had out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. The children of Merari] The descendants of the third son of Levi, had been stationed during the encampment to the north of the Tabernacle, being placed together with the Gershonites “under the hand” of Ithamar “the son of Aaron.” They had been entrusted with the heavier portions of the Tabernacle furniture, such as the boards, pillars, and bars, and therefore had been permitted together with the Gershonites to use the oxen and waggons contributed by the congregation, while the Kohathites were only supposed to remove the sacred vessels on their shoulders (Numbers 7:1-9).
had out of the tribe of Reuben] They received twelve cities from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.Numbers 35:1-8, together with the necessary fields as pasturage for their cattle. The setting apart of the cities of refuge took place before the appointment of the Levitical towns, because the Lord had given commandment through Moses in Numbers 35:6, that they were to give to the Levites the six cities of refuge, and forty-two cities besides, i.e., forty-eight cities in all. From the introductory statement in Joshua 21:1, Joshua 21:2, that the heads of the fathers (see Exodus 6:14, Exodus 6:25) of the Levitical families reminded the distribution committee at Shiloh of the command of God that had been issued through Moses, that towns were to be given them to dwell in, we cannot infer, as Calvin has done, that the Levites had been forgotten, till they came and asserted their claims. All that is stated in these words is, "that when the business had reached that point, they approached the dividers of the land in the common name of the members of their tribe, to receive by lot the cities appointed for them. They simply expressed the commands of God, and said in so many words, that they had been deputed by the Levites generally to draw lots for those forty-eight cities with their suburbs, which had been appointed for that tribe" (Masius). The clause appended to Shiloh, "in the land of Canaan," points to the instructions in Numbers 34:29 and Numbers 35:10, to give the children of Israel their inheritance in the land of Canaan.
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