gathering of the people, a city of Ephraim, which was given with
its suburbs to the Levites (1 Chr. 6:68). It lay somewhere in
the Jordan valley (1 Kings 4:12, R.V.; but in A.V. incorrectly
gathered by the people, (Josh. 19:11; 21:34), a city "of Carmel"
(12:22), i.e., on Carmel, allotted with its suburbs to the
Merarite Levites. It is the modern Tell Kaimon, about 12 miles
south-west of Nazareth, on the south of the river Kishon.
the immediate vicinity of a city or town (Num. 35:3, 7; Ezek.
45:2). In 2 Kings 23:11 the Hebrew word there used (parvarim)
occurs nowhere else. The Revised Version renders it "precincts."
The singular form of this Hebrew word (parvar) is supposed by
some to be the same as Parbar (q.v.), which occurs twice in 1
a precipice, an ancient royal Canaanitish city (Josh. 10:33;
12:12). It was allotted with its suburbs to the Kohathite
Levites (21:21; 1 Chr. 6:67). It stood between the lower
Beth-horon and the sea (Josh. 16:3; 1 Kings 9:17). It was the
last point to which David pursued the Philistines (2 Sam. 5:25;
1 Chr. 14:16) after the battle of Baal-perazim. The Canaanites
retained possession of it till the time of Solomon, when the
king of Egypt took it and gave it to Solomon as a part of the
dowry of the Egyptian princess whom he married (1 Kings
9:15-17). It is identified with Tell el-Jezer, about 10 miles
south-west of Beth-horon. It is mentioned in the Amarna tablets.
the descendants of Merari (Num. 26:57). They with the
Gershonites and the Kohathites had charge of the tabernacle,
which they had to carry from place to place (Num. 3:20, 33-37;
4:29-33). In the distribution of the oxen and waggons offered by
the princes (Num. 7), Moses gave twice as many to the Merarites
(four waggons and eight oxen) as he gave to the Gershonites,
because the latter had to carry only the lighter furniture of
the tabernacle, such as the curtains, hangings, etc., while the
former had to carry the heavier portion, as the boards, bars,
sockets, pillars, etc., and consequently needed a greater supply
of oxen and waggons. This is a coincidence illustrative of the
truth of the narrative. Their place in marching and in the camp
was on the north of the tabernacle. The Merarites afterwards
took part with the other Levitical families in the various
functions of their office (1 Chr. 23:6, 21-23; 2 Chr. 29:12,
13). Twelve cities with their suburbs were assigned to them
(Josh. 21:7, 34-40).
The earliest mention of city-building is that of Enoch, which
was built by Cain (Gen. 4:17). After the confusion of tongues,
the descendants of Nimrod founded several cities (10:10-12).
Next, we have a record of the cities of the Canaanites, Sidon,
Gaza, Sodom, etc. (10:12, 19; 11:3, 9; 36:31-39). The earliest
description of a city is that of Sodom (19:1-22). Damascus is
said to be the oldest existing city in the world. Before the
time of Abraham there were cities in Egypt (Num. 13:22). The
Israelites in Egypt were employed in building the "treasure
cities" of Pithom and Raamses (Ex. 1:11); but it does not seem
that they had any cities of their own in Goshen (Gen. 46:34;
47:1-11). In the kingdom of Og in Bashan there were sixty "great
cities with walls," and twenty-three cities in Gilead partly
rebuilt by the tribes on the east of Jordan (Num. 21:21, 32, 33,
35; 32:1-3, 34-42; Deut. 3:4, 5, 14; 1 Kings 4:13). On the west
of Jordan were thirty-one "royal cities" (Josh. 12), besides
many others spoken of in the history of Israel.
A fenced city was a city surrounded by fortifications and high
walls, with watch-towers upon them (2 Chr. 11:11; Deut. 3:5).
There was also within the city generally a tower to which the
citizens might flee when danger threatened them (Judg. 9:46-52).
A city with suburbs was a city surrounded with open
pasture-grounds, such as the forty-eight cities which were given
to the Levites (Num. 35:2-7). There were six cities of refuge,
three on each side of Jordan, namely, Kadesh, Shechem, Hebron,
on the west of Jordan; and on the east, Bezer, Ramoth-gilead,
and Golan. The cities on each side of the river were nearly
opposite each other. The regulations concerning these cities are
given in Num. 35:9-34; Deut. 19:1-13; Ex. 21:12-14.
When David reduced the fortress of the Jebusites which stood
on Mount Zion, he built on the site of it a palace and a city,
which he called by his own name (1 Chr. 11:5), the city of
David. Bethlehem is also so called as being David's native town
Jerusalem is called the Holy City, the holiness of the temple
being regarded as extending in some measure over the whole city
Pithom and Raamses, built by the Israelites as "treasure
cities," were not places where royal treasures were kept, but
were fortified towns where merchants might store their goods and
transact their business in safety, or cities in which munitions
of war were stored. (See PITHOM ¯T0002968.)
a descendant of the tribe of Levi (Ex. 6:25; Lev. 25:32; Num.
35:2; Josh. 21:3, 41). This name is, however, generally used as
the title of that portion of the tribe which was set apart for
the subordinate offices of the sanctuary service (1 Kings 8:4;
Ezra 2:70), as assistants to the priests.
When the Israelites left Egypt, the ancient manner of worship
was still observed by them, the eldest son of each house
inheriting the priest's office. At Sinai the first change in
this ancient practice was made. A hereditary priesthood in the
family of Aaron was then instituted (Ex. 28:1). But it was not
till that terrible scene in connection with the sin of the
golden calf that the tribe of Levi stood apart and began to
occupy a distinct position (Ex. 32). The religious primogeniture
was then conferred on this tribe, which henceforth was devoted
to the service of the sanctuary (Num. 3:11-13). They were
selected for this purpose because of their zeal for the glory of
God (Ex. 32:26), and because, as the tribe to which Moses and
Aaron belonged, they would naturally stand by the lawgiver in
The Levitical order consisted of all the descendants of Levi's
three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; whilst Aaron, Amram's
son (Amram, son of Kohat), and his issue constituted the
The age and qualification for Levitical service are specified
in Num. 4:3, 23, 30, 39, 43, 47.
They were not included among the armies of Israel (Num. 1:47;
2:33; 26:62), but were reckoned by themselves. They were the
special guardians of the tabernacle (Num. 1:51; 18:22-24). The
Gershonites pitched their tents on the west of the tabernacle
(3:23), the Kohathites on the south (3:29), the Merarites on the
north (3:35), and the priests on the east (3:38). It was their
duty to move the tent and carry the parts of the sacred
structure from place to place. They were given to Aaron and his
sons the priests to wait upon them and do work for them at the
sanctuary services (Num. 8:19; 18:2-6).
As being wholly consecrated to the service of the Lord, they
had no territorial possessions. Jehovah was their inheritance
(Num. 18:20; 26:62; Deut. 10:9; 18:1, 2), and for their support
it was ordained that they should receive from the other tribes
the tithes of the produce of the land. Forty-eight cities also
were assigned to them, thirteen of which were for the priests
"to dwell in", i.e., along with their other inhabitants. Along
with their dwellings they had "suburbs", i.e., "commons", for
their herds and flocks, and also fields and vineyards (Num.
35:2-5). Nine of these cities were in Judah, three in Naphtali,
and four in each of the other tribes (Josh. 21). Six of the
Levitical cities were set apart as "cities of refuge" (q.v.).
Thus the Levites were scattered among the tribes to keep alive
among them the knowledge and service of God. (See PRIEST