Command the children of Israel
All the tribes of them; it is not a bare instruction that is given them, much less a mere request that is made to them, or something proposed, and left to their option whether they would agree to it or not; but it is strictly enjoined them by the Lord, who had given them freely all they should possess, and who had a right to all they had, and to whom they were in duty and gratitude bound to do his will and pleasure: the order is,
that they give unto the Levites, of the inheritance of their
possession, cities to dwell in;
which was but reasonable and requisite, that the ministers of God, and the assistants of the priests, and who did the service of the congregation, that they should have, habitations for them and their families, as well as food and raiment was provided for them in another way:
and ye shall give also unto the Levites suburbs for the cities round
which were partly for ornament to their cities, and partly for their health, that they might have air, and not be too closely confined within the walls of their cities; and also for convenience, that they have room for their cattle, and places to lay up the increase of their fields, as after suggested. Jarchi says, that a suburb was a space and place parted without the city, round about, for the beauty of it; but they were not allowed to build there an house (i.e. to dwell in), nor to plant a vineyard, nor to sow seed; other ground is after provided for such uses.