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Sunday Morning Bible Study 6/6/2010

Cities of Refuge and Towns of the Levites


Joshua 20 & 21
I. Observation
A. Summary of Events
1. Cities of Refuge
a. The Lord commanded Joshua concerning the cities of refuge (20:1-6)
b. The Israelites set apart Kedesh, Shechem, and Hebron on the west side of the Jordan and
Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan on the east side of the Jordan (20:7-9)
2. Towns of the Levites
a. The family heads of the Levites petitioned Joshua for the cities and pasturelands that had
been promised to them by the Lord through Moses (21:1-2)
b. In obedience to God, they gave 48 cities from their possessions to the Levites (21:3)
c. To the Kohathites, twenty-three towns were given…
i. Thirteen towns were given to those descended from Aaron the priest from the
tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin (21:4, 9-19)
ii. Ten towns were given to the rest of the Kohathites from the possessions of
Ephraim, Dan, and half of Manesseh (21:5, 20-26)
d. To the Gershonites, thirteen towns were given…
i. from the possessions of Issachar, Asher, Naphtali, and the half tribe of Manasseh
in Bashan (21:6, 27-33)
e. To the Merarites, twelve towns were given….
i. from the possessions of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun (21:7, 34-40)
3. Not one of all the Lord’s promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled (21:45)
B. Observation Questions
1. Who are the people in this passage? What do we know about them?
a. The Levites: _____________________________________________________________
b. The Kohathites: __________________________________________________________
c. The Gershonites: _________________________________________________________
d. The Merarites: ___________________________________________________________
2. When does this passage take place? Is there anything significant about when this passage occurs?
a. This passage is a continuation of the previous passages pertaining to the allocation of
land to the tribes of Israel by lot. There is no indication of a passage of time between
chapters 19 and 20, so it appears that this was also part of the allocation process.
3. Where do the events of this passage take place? What do we know about these places?
a. The cities of refuge were placed strategically throughout Canaan, three on the west side
of the Jordan and three on the east. Because of their function, they were located so that
they could be reached within a few days if needed.
b. The 48 Levitical towns were peppered throughout the Promised Land, on both sides of
the Jordan.
II. For Discussion…
1. Describe the protocol for a city of refuge. What aspects of God’s character are reflected in this?
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
2. Why do you think that God ordained so many Levitical towns? What did the Levites represent?
______________________________________________________________________________
3. Does the allotment of the cities of refuge and the towns of the Levites reflect God’s glory? How?
______________________________________________________________________________
III. Application
1. God is the protector of the innocent and provides guidelines to help us seek justice. How might
Cities of Refuge parallel with our modern-day “innocent until proven guilty” philosophy? Differ?
2. Just as the Levitical towns were peppered throughout the Promised Land, God has also placed us
in locations to represent him throughout the whole world. Perhaps it could be said that the great
commission was, at least in part, an expansion of this principle started with the Levitical towns.

Teacher: Johnny Hughes (living2serve@gmail.com) MYA 2.0 is a ministry of Metropolitan Baptist Church, OKC, OK (http://www.mbcokc.org)