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Monday, December 23 2013

Numbers 35: Cities Of Refuge

"That they give unto the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and ye shall give also unto the Levites suburbs for the cities round about them"

The LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) chose the Israelite tribe of Levi, the Levites (see Numbers 4: The Levite Clans), to serve the LORD and His people (see Numbers 3: When Were The Levites Set Apart?, Leviticus 9: The Beginning Of The Levite Ministry and Leviticus 8: The Prophecy Of The Blood Upon The Anointed One). For that reason and purpose, the Levites were to live throughout the other tribes of Israel, but apart from them (see Numbers 18: The Inheritance Of The Levites).

Tribal Map

"35:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, 35:2 Command the children of Israel, that they give unto the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and ye shall give also unto the Levites suburbs for the cities round about them. 35:3 And the cities shall they have to dwell in; and the suburbs of them shall be for their cattle, and for their goods, and for all their beasts.

35:4 And the suburbs of the cities, which ye shall give unto the Levites, shall reach from the wall of the city and outward a thousand cubits round about. 35:5 And ye shall measure from without the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits; and the city shall be in the midst: this shall be to them the suburbs of the cities." (Numbers 35:1-5 KJV)

The Levites were given to be the custodians of the Law of the LORD - they were there to see that the LORD's Justice was done, not merely man's revenge or vigilantism. For that reason and purpose, some of the Levite cities were to be designated as official "cities of refuge" were an accused person could take refuge, not to escape justice, but to see that justice was done. The cities were to be strategically located throughout Israel, three east of the Jordan River (see Numbers 32: The Israel Of East Jordan) and three west of the Jordan River (see Numbers 34: The Boundaries Of Canaan).

"35:6 And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer, that he may flee thither: and to them ye shall add forty and two cities. 35:7 So all the cities which ye shall give to the Levites shall be forty and eight cities: them shall ye give with their suburbs. 35:8 And the cities which ye shall give shall be of the possession of the children of Israel: from them that have many ye shall give many; but from them that have few ye shall give few: every one shall give of his cities unto the Levites according to his inheritance which he inheriteth.

35:9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 35:10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come over Jordan into the land of Canaan; 35:11 Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares. 35:12 And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment. 35:13 And of these cities which ye shall give six cities shall ye have for refuge. 35:14 Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge. 35:15 These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither.

35:16 And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. 35:17 And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. 35:18 Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. 35:19 The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him. 35:20 But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die; 35:21 Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him.

35:22 But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or have cast upon him any thing without laying of wait, 35:23 Or with any stone, wherewith a man may die, seeing him not, and cast it upon him, that he die, and was not his enemy, neither sought his harm: 35:24 Then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the revenger of blood according to these judgments: 35:25 And the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the revenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to the city of his refuge, whither he was fled: and he shall abide in it unto the death of the high priest, which was anointed with the holy oil.

Cities Of Refuge 35:26 But if the slayer shall at any time come without the border of the city of his refuge, whither he was fled; 35:27 And the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill the slayer; he shall not be guilty of blood: 35:28 Because he should have remained in the city of his refuge until the death of the high priest: but after the death of the high priest the slayer shall return into the land of his possession.

35:29 So these things shall be for a statute of judgment unto you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

35:30 Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.

35:31 Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.

35:32 And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.

35:33 So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. 35:34 Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel." (Numbers 35:6-34 KJV)

The original order, as stated above, was given before the Israelites crossed the Jordan. The specific choice of the cities was done later, in the time of Joshua: "The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses."

"20:1 The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying, 20:2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses: 20:3 That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.

20:4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them. 20:5 And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime. 20:6 And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.

20:7 And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah. 20:8 And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh. 20:9 These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth any person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation." (Joshua 20:1-9 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why were there no Levites in the "lost ten tribes"? Why did the leave their property in the north and move down to Judah?
See No Levites In The Lost Ten Tribes?


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This Day In History, December 23

484: Huneric, king of the Vandals, died. The Vandals were a Germanic tribe; their practice of destroying and looting is the origin of the term "vandalism." He was succeeded by his nephew Gunthamund.

The Holy Scriptures 962: During the Byzantine-Arab Wars, Byzantine troops under the command of the future Emperor Nicephorus Phocas captured the city of Aleppo.

1569: Philip of Moscow was martyred by Ivan the Terrible.

1672: Giovanni Cassini discovered Rhea, a moon of Saturn.

1688: During the "Glorious Revolution," King James II fled England to Paris after being deposed by his nephew, William of Orange and his daughter Mary.

1690: John Flamsteed observed Uranus without realizing that the 7th planet was not yet officially discovered.

1823: A Visit from St. Nicholas, also known as The Night Before Christmas, was published (see Could Santa Claus Have Become The Pope?).

1861: The Danubian Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia were formally united as Romania.

1909: King Leopold II of Belgium died.

1919: Britain instituted a new constitution for India.

1920: Ireland was divided.

1933: Marinus van der Lubbe was found guilty and sentenced to death for setting fire to the Reichstag (the German Parliament Building) earlier in the year. The Reichstag fire was Germany's "9-11" that was used by Adolf Hitler as the excuse to turn Germany into a lawless police state (see Law-Abiding Criminals) i.e. the infamous Gestapo were the state police in charge of "security of the fatherland" (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1937: The British government warned the Vatican to stop the anti-British propaganda in "Palestine" (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).

1947: The transistor was invented by Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley at Bell Labs.

1948: Hideki Tojo, Japanese soldier, Prime Minister when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, was executed as a war criminal along with 6 others. Among the court-specified war crimes, for which they were ordered hung by U.S. judges, was the waterboarding torture of prisoners.

1964: Over 2,000 people were killed by a cyclone in Ceylon (known today as Sri Lanka).

1972: A massive earthquake struck Managua, Nicaragua, causing the deaths of approximately 7,000 people.

1973: 6 Persian Gulf nations doubled their oil prices.

1979: Soviet forces occupied the capital city of Kabul after the communist USSR invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban defense forces (U.S. President Ronald Reagan called them "freedom fighters" and "the moral equivalent of America's founding fathers" when he welcomed some of their leaders in the Oval Office) were trained and armed primarily by the U.S. The same Taliban are today fighting the U.S. after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

1997: A U.S. jury found Terry Nichols guilty of involvement with Timothy McVeigh in the terrorist bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City - up to that time the worst act of terrorism in the U.S.


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