Cities of Refuge

Claudia Elzinga

READ : Numbers 33-36

The Levites were not to have a separate area for their inheritance as did the other tribes. Rather, they were to be given 48 cities and the surrounding territory to live in. The idea was that scattered among the tribes they would be available to teach the law of God to the people. There is no historical evidence that such a program was practiced; perhaps that was one reason for the downfall of Israel. May all in the church, young and old, be involved in Bible study.

Of the Levitical cities, six were to be cities of refuge. We must remember that the Israelites were a primitive people. As with most such people, it was the responsibility of the next of kin to repay anyone who killed a member of the family. But what if the killing was accidental? Here was a provision for such a situation: the killer could flee to the city of refuge. One can picture such a situation, where the killer is running for his life. Oh what relief when he entered the gates of the city of refuge. In like manner each of us should flee to Christ to escape the penalty of sin. How grateful we should be for such escape! The killer was to spend the rest of his life in that city. Likewise let us spend our life “in Christ”.

If, however, the killing was deliberate, the killer was to die. Sincere Christians differ on the death penalty today. Note that in this passage it was considered that for murderers to live caused the land to be polluted.

PRAYERThank You, Jesus, for escape from sin. Amen.