Today's passage: Numbers 35
- In today's chapter, commands for the cities designated for the Levites and as cities of refuge are given.
- Of the forty-eight cities which were to be allotted for the Levites, six of them were to be cities of refuge (Verses 6 and 15). These cities protected those who committed manslaughter from immediate retaliation from the family of the deceased.
- The “avenger of blood” would have been the closest male relative of the deceased. Murderers were to be put to death by the avenger of blood.
- This law of the cities of refuge allowed the one who accidentally killed another to have a trial before sentencing. If it was determined in trial that the death was a murder, the murderer would then be executed.
- The manslayer would only remain protected from the avenger of blood if he remained in the city of refuge. Once the high priest died and was replaced by another, he could leave safely (Or, if the avenger of blood was still angry and killed the manslayer, that avenger of blood would then be guilty of murder himself!).
- No bribes were to be taken to save the life of a murderer. And, no bribes were to be offered to God in exchange for the execution of a murderer. Capital punishment was the only option.
- Here is the same map from the previous passage. The six cities of refuge are specified with a white dot.
- Notice, there are three cities on either side of the Jordan River.
Questions to consider:
- What does the fact Israel hadn't even crossed the Jordan yet say about the promise of God when He is already telling them how they will use these cities west of the Jordan? How could this have bolstered the confidence of the people (Not in themselves, but in the Lord)?
- Why was it so important for Israel to keep the land undefiled from sinful bloodshed (Verse 34)? What made the land holy (set apart from every other place on earth)? Was it the people or was it the Lord?
- For whom should we seek to conduct ourselves rightly in the church, in our homes, etc.? Who is it who dwells in us and for whom do we live (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)?