Count the cities
and what sourounds
to weave an inheritance
your plot of land
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This chapter continues allotment, the "lot / destiny" (goral) "falling" in an order that moves from the children of Leah, to those of the maidservant, Bilhaa and Zilpa.
There is a fundmanetal difference between the inheritence of Simeon, and the allotments that came before. No trancing of a border that rises, falls, goes out and come in like a living thing. Instead, Simeon is swallowed "in the midst of the inheritence of Judah," and his inheritence consists of a list of cities "and the fields around these cities. This is the inheritence of the tribe of the Children of Simeon." Simeon's inheritence seems closer to that of Levi--"who does not inherit within the land", but is rather granted cities and fields--than to that of the tribes whose allotment preceded his. The early history of the family of Israel in Genesis which so impacted the inheritence of Judah and Joseph continues to resonate in this return to the land, as Jacob's final curse of Levi and Simeon is expressed in their scattered inheritence.
This focus on cities continued to play out in the rest of the allotments , which all close with an enumeration of cities and villige which make up "the inheritence of the tribe." Cities, and the uber-cities-- fortresses--are at the center. The "writing" of the landscape by the surveyers who set up to walk and divide the land has transformed it to a human space, with a focus on its acculteration, the shaping to human needs.
The focus on cities and kings, that has accompanied this book since its opening, here seeps into the until-now nomadic Children of Israel. In thedenumoix, the Children of Israel grant Joshua his inheritence: a single city of his very own].