约书亚记 21

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1 那时,利未人的众族长来到祭司以利亚撒嫩的儿子约书亚,并以色列各支派的族长面前,

2 迦南地的示罗对他们:从前耶和华藉着摩西吩咐我们城邑居住,并城邑的郊野可以牧养我们的牲畜。

3 於是以色列人耶和华所吩咐的,从自己的地业中,将以下所记的城邑和城邑的郊野了利未人。

4 为哥辖族拈阄:利未人的祭司亚伦的子孙,从犹大支派、西缅支派、便雅悯支派的地业中,按阄得了十三座城。

5 哥辖其馀的子孙,从以法莲支派、但支派、玛拿西支派的地业中,按阄得了座城。

6 革顺的子孙,从以萨迦支派、亚设支派、拿弗他利支派、住巴珊的玛拿西支派的地业中,按阄得了十三座城。

7 米拉利的子孙,按着宗族,从流便支派、迦得支派、西布伦支派的地业中,按阄得了十座城。

8 以色列人照着耶和华摩西所吩咐的,将这些城邑和城邑的郊野,按阄分利未人。

9 犹大支派、西缅支派的地业中,将以下所记的城了利未支派哥辖宗族亚伦的子孙;因为他们拈出头一阄,

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11 犹大地的基列亚巴和四围的郊野了他们。亚巴是亚衲族的始祖。(基列亚巴就是希伯仑)。

12 惟将属城的田地和村庄了耶孚尼的儿子迦勒为业。

13 以色列人将希伯仑,就是误杀人的逃城和属城的郊野,祭司亚伦的子孙;又他们立拿和属城的郊野,

14 雅提珥和属城的郊野,以实提莫和属城的郊野,

15 何仑和属城的郊野,底璧和属城的郊野,

16 亚因和属城的郊野,淤他和属城的郊野,伯示麦和属城的郊野,共座城,是从这支派中分出来的。

17 又从便雅悯支派的地业中给了他们基遍和属城的郊野,迦巴和属城的郊野,

18 亚拿突和属城的郊野,亚勒们和属城的郊野,共座城。

19 亚伦子孙作祭司的共有十三座城,还有属城的郊野。

20 利未支派中哥辖的宗族,就是哥辖其馀的子孙,拈阄所得的城有从以法莲支派中分出来的。

21 以色列人将以法莲地的示剑,就是误杀人的逃城和属城的郊野,了他们;又他们基色和属城的郊野,

22 基伯先和属城的郊野,伯和仑和属城的郊野,共座城;

23 又从但支派的地业中给了他们伊利提基和属城的郊野,基比顿和属城的郊野,

24 亚雅仑和属城的郊野,迦特临门和属城的郊野,共座城;

25 又从玛拿西半支派的地业中给了他们他纳和属城的郊野,迦特临门和属城的郊野,共两座城。

26 哥辖其馀的子孙共有座城,还有属城的郊野。

27 以色列人又从玛拿西支派的地业中将巴珊的哥兰,就是误杀人的逃城和属城的郊野,给了利未支派革顺的子孙;又给他们比施提拉和属城的郊野,共两座城;

28 又从以萨迦支派的地业中给了他们基善和属城的郊野,大比拉和属城的郊野,

29 耶末和属城的郊野,隐干宁和属城的郊野,共座城;

30 又从亚设支派的地业中给了他们米沙勒和属城的郊野,押顿和属城的郊野,

31 黑甲和属城的郊野,利合和属城的郊野,共座城;

32 又从拿弗他利支派的地业中将加利利的基低斯,就是误杀人的逃城和属城的郊野,给了他们;又给他们哈末多珥和属城的郊野,加珥坦和属城的郊野,共座城。

33 革顺人按着宗族所得的城,共十三座,还有属城的郊野。

34 其馀利未支派米拉利子孙,从西布伦支派的地业中所得的,就是约念和属城的郊野,加珥他和属城的郊野,

35 丁拿和属城的郊野,拿哈拉和属城的郊野,共座城;

36 又从流便支派的地业中给了他们比悉和属城的郊野,雅杂和属城的郊野,

37 基底莫和属城的郊野,米法押和属城的郊野,共座城;

38 又从迦得支派的地业中,将基列的拉末,就是误杀人的逃城和属城的郊野,给了他们;又给他们玛哈念和属城的郊野,

39 希实本和属城的郊野,雅谢和属城的郊野,共座城。

40 其馀利未支派的人,就是米拉利的子孙,按着宗族拈阄所得的,共十座城。

41 利未人在以色列人的地业中所得的城,共四十座,并有属城的郊野。

42 这些城四围都有属城的郊野,城城都是如此。

43 这样,耶和华将从前向他们列祖起誓所应许的全地赐以色列人,他们就得了为业,在其中。

44 耶和华照着向他们列祖起誓所应许的一切话,使他们四境平安;他们一切仇敌中,没有一在他们面前站立得住。耶和华把一切仇敌都交在他们中。

45 耶和华应许赐福给以色列家的一句也没有落空,都应验了。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 约书亚记 21      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua 21: The cities of the Levite priests and the end of the settlement.

In this chapter, the last remaining part of the settlement was completed: the provision for the Levites, the priests of Israel. This tribe had been appointed priests because only they had answered the call, “Who is on the side of the Lord?” when the Israelites had been worshipping the golden calf in the wilderness (see Exodus 32:26).

Much of the chapter is spent listing the cities given to the three sons of Aaron, who was appointed high priest. Each extended family of Aaron’s sons was given about sixteen cities. It seems very significant that a lot of these cities were the same ones given to the other tribes, and were also the cities of refuge.

Levi’s name means ‘joined’, which is very suitable for the Levite priests, who received cities in every tribal territory. This meant that the presence of priests was everywhere (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 342).

Spiritually speaking, this distribution is a wonderful illustration that our spirit lives throughout our whole body. Every part of us is alive! Every single thing in our body, from one blood cell to our heart and lungs, is maintained by our spirit, which itself is maintained by the influx of the Lord’s life. The function of everything in our body is in a perfect correspondence with the kingdom of heaven.

So, spiritually, the Levites stand for the presence of the Lord everywhere, in everything. This underlines the point that everything in the natural world - even the cities and territories described in this chapter of Joshua - reflect something about God and heaven (see Swedenborg’s Apocalypse Revealed 194). But there is another important meaning for the distribution of the priestly Levites in cities all through the tribal territories: we must keep on acknowledging that everything is a blessing from the Lord, that everything we do is for God, and that the Lord alone does what is truly good (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Providence 91).

After the distribution of cities to the Levites, Israel was fully established in the land of Canaan. The rest of this chapter is a consolidating statement which is worth including in full:

v43. “So the Lord gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it.
v44. The Lord gave them rest all around, according to all that he had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand.
v45. Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.”

These are words of fulfillment, culmination, assurance and blessing. Everything here traces back to the Lord. The Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, granted them victory over their enemies, and gave them the Land of Canaan; the Lord had spoken in complete truth. “All came to pass.”

This final statement is a promise of our own capacity for regeneration and spiritual progress. We are able to overcome our natural desires and selfish states; we have been established in our life with the ability to understand and do what is good. In devoting ourselves to the Lord, we find strength to see that He will never fail us, and will change us for the better. ‘All came to pass’ is our affirmation that our life is always under God’s care and providence (Arcana Caelestia 977).

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