Good News Translation (GNB)
21

The Cities of the Levites

211The leaders of the Levite families went to Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and to the heads of the families of all the tribes of Israel. 2

21.2:
Num 35.1–8
There at Shiloh in the land of Canaan they said to them, “The LORD commanded through Moses that we were to be given cities to live in, as well as pasture land round them for our livestock.” 3So in accordance with the LORD's command the people of Israel gave the Levites certain cities and pasture lands out of their own territories.

4The families of the Levite clan of Kohath were the first to be assigned cities. The families who were descended from Aaron the priest were assigned thirteen cities from the territories of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. 5The rest of the clan of Kohath was assigned ten cities from the territories of Ephraim, Dan, and West Manasseh.

6The clan of Gershon was assigned thirteen cities from the territories of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and East Manasseh.

7The families of the clan of Merari were assigned twelve cities from the territories of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun.

8By drawing lots,21.8; 19.51 drawing lots: See 14.2. the people of Israel assigned these cities and their pasture lands to the Levites, as the LORD had commanded through Moses.

9These are the names of the cities from the territories of Judah and Simeon which were given 10to the descendants of Aaron who were of the clan of Kohath, which was descended from Levi. Their assignment was the first to be made. 11They were given the city of Arba (Arba was Anak's father), now called Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, along with the pasture land surrounding it. 12However, the fields of the city, as well as its towns, had already been given to Caleb son of Jephunneh as his possession.

13In addition to Hebron (one of the cities of refuge), the following cities were assigned to the descendants of Aaron the priest: Libnah, 14Jattir, Eshtemoa, 15Holon, Debir, 16Ain, Juttah, and Beth Shemesh, with their pasture lands: nine cities from the tribes of Judah and Simeon. 17From the territory of Benjamin they were given four cities: Gibeon, Geba, 18Anathoth, and Almon, with their pasture lands. 19Thirteen cities in all, with their pasture lands, were given to the priests, the descendants of Aaron.

20The other families of the Levite clan of Kohath were assigned some cities from the territory of Ephraim. 21They were given four cities: Shechem and its pasture lands in the hill country of Ephraim (one of the cities of refuge), Gezer, 22Kibzaim, and Beth Horon, with their pasture lands. 23From the territory of Dan they were given four cities: Eltekeh, Gibbethon, 24Aijalon, and Gathrimmon, with their pasture lands. 25From the territory of West Manasseh they were given two cities: Taanach and Gathrimmon, with their pasture lands. 26These families of the clan of Kohath received ten cities in all, with their pasture lands.

27Another group of Levites, the clan of Gershon, received from the territory of East Manasseh two cities: Golan in Bashan (one of the cities of refuge) and Beeshterah, with their pasture lands. 28From the territory of Issachar they received four cities: Kishion, Daberath, 29Jarmuth, and Engannim, with their pasture lands. 30From the territory of Asher they received four cities: Mishal, Abdon, 31Helkath, and Rehob, with their pasture lands. 32From the territory of Naphtali they received three cities: Kedesh in Galilee, with its pasture lands (one of the cities of refuge), Hammoth Dor, and Kartan, with their pasture lands. 33The various families of the clan of Gershon received a total of thirteen cities with their pasture lands.

34The rest of the Levites, the clan of Merari, received from the territory of Zebulun four cities: Jokneam, Kartah, 35Dimnah, and Nahalal, with their pasture lands. 36From the territory of Reuben they received four cities: Bezer, Jahaz, 37Kedemoth, and Mephaath, with their pasture lands. 38From the tribe of Gad they received four cities: Ramoth in Gilead, with its pasture lands (one of the cities of refuge), Mahanaim, 39Heshbon, and Jazer, with their pasture lands. 40So the clan of Merari was assigned a total of twelve cities.

41-42From the land that the people of Israel possessed, a total of 48 cities, with the pasture lands round them, was given to the Levites.

Israel Takes Possession of the Land

43So the LORD gave to Israel all the land that he had solemnly promised their ancestors he would give them. When they had taken possession of it, they settled down there. 44The LORD gave them peace throughout the land, just as he had promised their ancestors. Not one of all their enemies had been able to stand against them, because the LORD gave the Israelites the victory over all their enemies. 45The LORD kept every one of the promises that he had made to the people of Israel.

22

Joshua Sends the Eastern Tribes Home

221Then Joshua called together the people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh. 2

22.2:
Num 32.20–32
Josh 1.12–15
He said to them, “You have done everything that Moses the LORD's servant ordered you to do, and you have obeyed all my commands. 3All this time you have never once deserted your fellow-Israelites. You have been careful to obey the commands of the LORD your God. 4Now, as he promised, the LORD your God has given your fellow-Israelites peace. So go back home to the land which you claimed for your own, the land on the east side of the Jordan, that Moses, the LORD's servant, gave you. 5Make sure you obey the law that Moses commanded you: love the LORD your God, do his will, obey his commandments, be faithful to him, and serve him with all your heart and soul.” 6-8Joshua sent them home with his blessing and with these words: “You are going back home very rich, with a lot of livestock, silver, gold, bronze, iron, and many clothes. Share with your fellow-tribesmen what you took from your enemies.” Then they left for home.

Moses had given land east of the Jordan to one half of the tribe of Manasseh, but to the other half Joshua had given land west of the Jordan, along with the other tribes.

9So the people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh went back home. They left the rest of the people of Israel at Shiloh in the land of Canaan and started out for their own land, the land of Gilead, which they had taken as the LORD had commanded them through Moses.

The Altar by the Jordan

10When the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh arrived at Geliloth, still on the west side22.10 still on the west side; or on the east side. of the Jordan, they built a large, impressive altar there by the river. 11The rest of the people of Israel were told, “Listen! The people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh have built an altar at Geliloth, on our side of the Jordan!” 12When the people of Israel heard this, the whole community came together at Shiloh to go to war against the eastern tribes.

13Then the people of Israel sent Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the priest, to the people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh in the land of Gilead. 14Ten leading men went with Phinehas, one from each of the western tribes and each one the head of a family among the clans. 15They came to the land of Gilead, to the people of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh, 16

22.16:
Deut 12.13–14
and speaking for the whole community of the LORD, they said to them, “Why have you done this evil thing against the God of Israel? You have rebelled against the LORD by building this altar for yourselves! You are no longer following him! 17
22.17:
Num 25.1–9
Remember our sin at Peor, when the LORD punished his own people with an epidemic? We are still suffering because of that. Wasn't that sin enough? 18Are you going to refuse to follow him now? If you rebel against the LORD today, he will be angry with everyone in Israel tomorrow. 19Now then, if your land is not fit to worship in, come over into the LORD's land, where his Tent is. Claim some land among us. But don't rebel against the LORD or make rebels out of us by building an altar in addition to the altar of the LORD our God. 20
22.20:
Josh 7.1–26
Remember how Achan son of Zerah refused to obey the command about the things condemned to destruction; the whole community of Israel was punished for that. Achan was not the only one who died because of his sin.”

21The people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh answered the heads of the families of the western tribes: 22“The Mighty One is God! He is the LORD! The Mighty One is God! He is the LORD! He knows why we did this, and we want you to know too! If we rebelled and did not keep faith with the LORD, do not let us live any longer! 23If we disobeyed the LORD and built our own altar to burn sacrifices on or to use for grain offerings or fellowship offerings, let the LORD himself punish us. 24No! We did it because we were afraid that in the future your descendants would say to ours, ‘What do you have to do with the LORD, the God of Israel? 25He made the Jordan a boundary between us and you people of Reuben and Gad. You have nothing to do with the LORD.’ Then your descendants might make our descendants stop worshipping the LORD. 26So we built an altar, not to burn sacrifices or make offerings, 27but instead, as a sign for our people and yours, and for the generations after us, that we do indeed worship the LORD before his sacred Tent with our offerings to be burnt and with sacrifices and fellowship offerings. This was to keep your descendants from saying that ours have nothing to do with the LORD. 28It was our idea that, if this should ever happen, our descendants could say, ‘Look! Our ancestors made an altar just like the LORD's altar. It was not for burning offerings or for sacrifice, but as a sign for our people and yours.’ 29We would certainly not rebel against the LORD or stop following him now by building an altar to burn offerings on or for grain offerings or sacrifices. We would not build any other altar than the altar of the LORD our God that stands in front of the Tent of his presence.”

30Phinehas the priest and the ten leading men of the community who were with him, the heads of families of the western tribes, heard what the people of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh had to say, and they were satisfied. 31Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the priest, said to them, “Now we know that the LORD is with us. You have not rebelled against him, and so you have saved the people of Israel from the LORD's punishment.”

32Then Phinehas and the leaders left the people of Reuben and Gad in the land of Gilead and went back to Canaan, to the people of Israel, and reported to them. 33The Israelites were satisfied and praised God. They no longer talked about going to war to devastate the land where the people of Reuben and Gad had settled.

34The people of Reuben and Gad said, “This altar is a witness to all of us that the LORD is God.” And so they named it “Witness”.

23

Joshua's Farewell Address

231Much later the LORD gave Israel security from their enemies around them. By that time Joshua was very old, 2so he called all Israel, the elders, leaders, judges, and officers of the people, and said, “I am very old now. 3You have seen everything that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you. The LORD your God has been fighting for you. 4I have assigned as the possession of your tribes the land of the nations that are still left, as well as of all the nations that I have already conquered, from the River Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. 5The LORD your God will make them retreat from you, and he will drive them away as you advance. You shall have their land, as the LORD your God has promised you. 6So be careful to obey and do everything that is written in the book of the Law of Moses. Do not neglect any part of it, 7and then you will not associate with these peoples left among you or speak the names of their gods or use those names in taking vows or worship those gods or bow down to them. 8Instead, be faithful to the LORD, as you have been till now. 9The LORD has driven great and powerful nations out as you advanced and no one has ever been able to stand against you. 10

23.10:
Deut 3.22
32.30
Any one of you can make a thousand men run away, because the LORD your God is fighting for you, just as he promised. 11Be careful, then, to love the LORD your God. 12If you are disloyal and join with the nations that are still left among you and intermarry with them, 13you may be sure that the LORD your God will no longer drive these nations out as you advance. Rather, they will be as dangerous for you as a trap or a pit and as painful as a whip on your back or thorns in your eyes. And this will last until none of you are left in this good land which the LORD your God has given you.

14“Now my time has come to die. Every one of you knows in his heart and soul that the LORD your God has given you all the good things that he promised. Every promise he made has been kept; not one has failed. 15But just as he kept every promise that he made to you, so he will carry out every threat. 16If you do not keep the covenant which the LORD your God commanded you to keep and if you serve and worship other gods, then in his anger he will punish you, and soon none of you will be left in this good land that he has given you.”