A Greater Portion
– Levitical Tribes Inheritance –
Joshua 21:1-45
Paul J. Bucknell

This Bible study on Joshua 21 higlights the key points that the passage brings out. The previous article can be of great help in deepening one’s study of the following passage. This is part 5 to a 5 part series on Joshua 21, 'Obtaining a Greater Portion.' See below for an index on Joshau.

Joshua 21:1-7
A. Our Special Calling
Then the heads of households of the Levites approached Eleazar the priest and Joshua the son of Nun and the heads of households of the tribes of the sons of Israel. And they spoke to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, saying, “The LORD commanded through Moses to give us cities to live in, with their pasture lands for our cattle.” So the sons of Israel gave the Levites from their inheritance these cities with their pasture lands, according to the command of the LORD. Then the lot came out for the families of the Kohathites. And the sons of Aaron the priest, who were of the Levites, received thirteen cities by lot from the tribe of Judah and from the tribe of the Simeonites and from the tribe of Benjamin. And the rest of the sons of Kohath received ten cities by lot from the families of the tribe of Ephraim and from the tribe of Dan and from the half-tribe of Manasseh.  (Joshua 21:1-5,).
  1. 1.By  looking at Joshua 21:1, who would you say this chapter is about? What is it that they wanted?
  2. 2.What is the inheritance that they requested (v. 2)?
  3. 3.Levi had three sons. From verses 4,6,7 state what the names of these three sons were.
  4. 4.Who got the first (better) lot?  Look at at Numbers 25:6-13 and relate why this is so.
  5. 5.How many cities did each of Levi’s sons and their descendants receive? (The Kohathites had two groupings).
  6. 6.Find out what each of the three son’s descendants were responsible for (Numbers 31:25-36).
  7. 7.Why is it that the Levites belonged to God in a different way than the other Israelites (Numbers 3:12-13, 45)?
  8. 8.Why are Christians called priests today? Is there some special comparison with these Levitical priests that we are to make?  Study Revelations 1:5-6; Galatians 3:13; and Titus 2:14. What special calling does the Christian have? How should he respond to this calling?
Joshua 21:8-42
B. Our Special Service  
Now the sons of Israel gave by lot to the Levites these cities with their pasture lands, as the LORD had commanded through Moses. And they gave these cities which are here mentioned by name from the tribe of the sons of Judah and from the tribe of the sons of Simeon; and they were for the sons of Aaron, one of the families of the Kohathites, of the sons of Levi, for the lot was theirs first. (Joshua 21:8-10, NASB).

And to the sons of Gershon, one of the families of the Levites, from the half-tribe of Manasseh, they gave Golan in Bashan, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasture lands, and Be-eshterah with its pasture lands; two cities. (21:27).
  1. 9.What starts happening in Joshua 21:8?
  2. 10.Look at verses 41-42. What can you tell about these Levitical cities?
  3. 11.Read verses 13, 20, 27, 34. What do each of these verses begin to describe?
  4. 12.Read through this section quickly and spot all the names of the tribes you know. What do you notice about the positioning of these cities? (Also refer to the map of the Levitical cities in the articles).
  5. 13.Read Matthew 5:13-16. What are the two things the Lord wants for His people in the world? How does that compare to the way He distributed the Levites throughout the land? Explain.
  6. 14.What does God want for His people in this world? Should we live together in communes? Why or why not?
Joshua 21:43-45
C. Our Special Promise  
So the LORD gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. And the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the LORD gave all their enemies into their hand. Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass. (Joshua 21:43-45).
  1. 15. Go through verses 43-45. List at least three things that the Lord had done for the Israelites.
  2. 16.How are God’s promises described in 21:45? What significance does that have on us as Christians?
  3. 17.List at least three promises that God has given to you as a Christian.
  4. 18.(Advanced question) Who are your ‘enemies?’  How are we to face these enemies?
  5. Summarizes & Review
  6. 19.How does our understanding of our calling help us be better committed in our service?
  7. 20.The Levites could not inherit property like the others. Christians also need to realize that the importance of the mission calls them to make needed sacrifices on earth so they can properly serve God. What are some sacrifices Christians are called to make?
  8. 21.What does it mean to Christians that “the Lord is their inheritance” (Numbers 3:45)?  Refer to Ephesians 1:3-4.
  9. 22.What earthly thing have you valued that caused you to serve the Lord not as faithfully as you could have? Discuss.

    1. This is the end of this series on Joshua. Look below for further articles.

      Obtaining a Greater Portion (Joshua 21:1-45)

      Index on Joshua

      Reaching Beyond Mediocrity (Joshua 10:1-43)
      – The Day the Sun Stood in the Sky –
      Skepticism and Higher Bible Criticism
      Joshua 10:12-14 Interpretations of the 'Sun stood in the sky.'
      Joshua 10:12-14 Purpose of Recording the Miracle
      Joshua 10:1-11: A. Joshua's Sincere Obedience
      Joshua 10:12-43: B. Joshua's Quest for God's Best
      Joshua 10:1-43: Bible Study Questions
      Mobilizing God's People (Joshua 1:10-18)

      Joshua 1:10-18: Introduction to Moblizing God's People
      Joshua 1:10-11: A. Communicates God’s Will
      Joshua 1:12-15: B. Demands Total Participation
      Joshua 1:16-18: C. Responds With A Clear Commitment
      Joshua 1:10-18: Bible Study Questions
      Finishing the Task (Joshua 13:1-33)

      Joshua 13: Introduction: 3 Unexplainables
      Joshua 13:1 Passes on the Vision
      Joshua 13:2-5 Knows the Need
      Joshua 13:6 Lives by Faith
      Joshua 13:7-33 Distributes the Responsibility
      Joshua 13:1-33 Bible Study Questions
      Victory over Strongholds (Joshua 6:1-27)
      Joshua 6:1-27 The Lesson from Jericho
      Joshua 6:1 Our Need for God's Power
      Joshua 6:2-5 Our Discovery of God's Solutions
      Joshua 6:6-27 Our Participation in God's Victory
      Joshua 6:1-27 Summary: You can win too!
      Joshua 6:1-27_Bible_Study_Questions
      Obtaining a Greater Portion (Joshua 21)

      Joshua 21 Introduction: A Greater Deal
      Joshua 21:1-7 A Special Calling
      Joshua 21:8-42 A Special Service
      Joshua 21:43-45 A Special Promise
      Joshua 21 Bible Study Questions
      Effectively Dealing with Defeat & Despair (Joshua 7:1-15)
      Joshua 7:1-15: Learning about Defeat and Failures
      Joshua 7:1-5: Falling into Failure
      Joshua 7:6-10: Staying in Disgrace
      Joshua 7:11-15: Road to Recovery
      Joshua 7:1-15: Bible Study Questions

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      Biblical Foundations for Freedom

      Rev. Paul J. Bucknell
Bible Study Questions (Joshua 21:1-45)