Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
Three Cities of Refuge
Deuteronomy 19:1 “When the Lord your God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm) has cut off the nations whose land the Lord your God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm) is giving you, and you dispossess them and dwell in their cities and in their houses,
Deuteronomy 19:2 you shall separate three cities for yourself in the midst of your land which the Lord your God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm) is giving you to possess.
Deuteronomy 19:3 You shall prepare roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the Lord your God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm) is giving you to inherit, that any manslayer may flee there.
Deuteronomy 19:4 “And this is the case of the manslayer who flees there, that he may live: Whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally ignorantly, (lit. without knowledge), not having hated him in time past—
- The death must be accidental killed.
Deuteronomy 19:5 as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies—he shall flee to one of these cities and live;
- According to the book of Numbers the manslayer must stay in the city of refuge
Deuteronomy 19:6 lest the avenger of blood, while his anger is hot, pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and kill him, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated the victim in time past.
- The “Avenger of Blood” is called a Kinsman Redeemer; the Hebrew word is “Goel”.
Deuteronomy 19:7 Therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall separate three cities for yourself.’
- It begins with three cities and three more cities were added later. These six cities are:
- Golan, Ramoth, and Bosor, on the east (left bank) of the Jordan River, and Kedesh, Shechem, and Hebron on the western (right) side.
- Jesus is man’s city of refuge. His blood is on His forehead and on both arms like a doorpost. He is the Passover Lamb so that when the blood was applied to the doorpost the angel of death passed over them. The city of refuge causes the Avenger of death to “pass over” the manslayer.
- The meanings of the names of the cities:
- Golan: Passage, Revolution
- Ramoth: Height, Eminences, High Places
- Bosor/Bezer: A Burning
- Kedesh: Holy
- Shechem: Shoulder
- Hebron/Chevron: Society, friendship
- I like to think of them this way: Jesus is our passage to the height of eminence. He is Holy, a shoulder to lean on for our friendship with God.
Deuteronomy 19:8 “Now if the Lord your God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm) enlarges your territory, as He swore to your fathers, and gives you the land which He promised to give to your fathers,
Deuteronomy 19:9 and if you keep all these commandments and do them, which I command you today, to love the Lord your God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm) and to walk always in His ways, then you shall add three more cities for yourself besides these three,
Deuteronomy 19:10 lest innocent blood be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and thus guilt of bloodshed be upon you.
Deuteronomy 19:11 “But if anyone hates his neighbor, lies in wait for him, rises against him and strikes him mortally, so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities,
Deuteronomy 19:12 then the elders of his city shall send and bring him from there, and deliver him over to the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.
- Elder means older, those with wisdom who are stable and think clearly.
- A City of Refuge was not set up to aid in murder.
- A life for a life.
Deuteronomy 19:13 Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall put away the guilt of innocent blood (purge the blood of the innocent) from Israel, that it may go well with you.
- A healthy society cannot endure “injustice”.
Deuteronomy 19:14 “You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God (Yᵊhōvâ ‘ĕlōhîm) is giving you to possess.
- They are not to remove the landmark which the people who they have conquered set. The purpose for removing landmarks is to get more for yourself.
- Not obeying God is to move his boundaries (laws).
- God is a God of boundaries and sin is invasive.
- Symbolically, locusts are an invading army overflowing their national boundaries.
- Symbolically, floods are also an army overflowing their natural waters.
- Symbolically, weeds are invasive, like armies, overflowing their designated habitat.
- God has a keen eye for creating boundaries:
- He separated the light from the darkness. (Where men can see and where men cannot see)
- He separates Himself from a sinning mankind. To be separated in this way is called “Holy”.
- He separates the “clean” from the “unclean” animals which means He separates the healthy from the unhealthy.
- Boundary has the word “Bound” inherent in it. To “bind” within a territory.
- Jude 1:6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
The Law Concerning Witnesses
Deuteronomy 19:15 “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.
- A “Pillar” is called a “witness”. Hieroglyphs are written on pillars to be a witness to an event like the Egyptian’s hieroglyphs. If one compares the same story on various hieroglyphs the story becomes multidimensional and closer to absolute truth when told by the viewpoint of sinful men.
- These viewpoints are considered “vantage points”
- The Book of Revelation is told by three different vantage points: The Seals, The Trumpets and the Bowls.
- God has two witnesses ready to be installed during the upcoming seven year tribulation. Their testimony will be used at the Great White Throne Judgment.
See Rev 11
- Pillars are associated with up-righteousness. Substantial citizens are called the “pillars” of society.
Deuteronomy 19:16 If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing,
Deuteronomy 19:17 then both men in the controversy shall stand before the Lord (Yᵊhōvâ), before the priests and the judges who serve in those days.
Deuteronomy 19:18 And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother,
Deuteronomy 19:19 then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you.
Deuteronomy 19:20 And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you.
Deuteronomy 19:21 Your eye shall not pity: life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
- Life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Pure justice for a sinful man.
And Yet…When Jesus was crucified for man’s sins, pure justice took a higher platform called the “New” covenant, also known as the “New” testament.
“Forgiveness, Mercy and Grace” are a new way of life through the Holy Spirit.
- Matthew 9:17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wine skins, and both are preserved.”
- Luke 5:37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.
- Luke 22:20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
- See Job 32