1: And the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,
d i¹ 35:2-34. Levitical cities. i² 36:1-12. Heiresses.
i¹ k 2-5. Levitical cities: description. l 6-. Cities of refuge: number (6). k -6-8. Levitical cities: number (48). l 9-34. Cities of refuge: description.
2: “Command the sons of Israel, that they give to the Levites (Yahaveh gives to the Nation; the Nation gives to the Levites) of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and you all shall give also to the Levites suburbs for the cities round about them.
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.
4: And the suburbs of the cities, which you all shall give to the Levites, shall reach from the wall of the city and outward a thousand cubits round about (approx. 1750 feet).
5: And you all shall measure from without the city on the east side two thousand cubits (3500'), 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.
6: And among the cities which ye shall give to the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge (see Deut. 4:41. Josh. 20:7,8; 21:3), which you all shall appoint for the man-slayer,
that he may flee to that place: and to them you all shall add forty and two cities.
7: So all the cities which you all shall give to the Levites shall be forty and eight cities (cp. Josh. 21:41. So was Gen. 49:5,7 fulfilled, that Levi should be "divided in Jacob and scattered in Israel". At first a curse, but changed to a blessing on account of Ex. 32:26,29): them shall you all give with their suburbs.
8: And the cities which you all shall give shall be of the possession of the sons of Israel: from them that have many you all shall give many; but from them that have few you all shall give few: every one shall give of his cities to the Levites according to his inheritance which he inherits” (9 from Judah and Simeon; 4 from Benjamin; 4 from Ephraim; 4 from Dan; 2 from the half tribe of Manasseh; 2 from the other half; 4 from Issachar; 4 from Asher; 3 from Naphtali; 4 from Zebulun; 4 from Reuben; 4 from Gad. Cp. Josh. 21:9,16, &c.).
l m 9-11-. The cities (general). n -11,12. Purpose. m 12-15-. The cities (particular). n -15-34. Purpose.
9: And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
10: “Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, ‘When you all be come over Jordan into the land of Canaan(cp. Deut. 19:2. Josh. 20:2);
11: Then you all shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you;
that the slayer may flee to that place, which kills any person (Heb. nephesh = soul) by misadventure.
12: And they shall be to you cities for refuge from the avenger (Heb. Goêl, to redeem, to ransom. First occ. is Gen. 48:16; next, Ex. 6:6; 15:13. Goêl, when used in this connection, means to avenge bloodshed, as here; both were the duties of the next of kin, the kinsman. Our Goêl not only redeems us from all evil, but avenges us of all our enemies. Rom. 8:31-34); that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment.
13: And of these cities which you all shall give six cities shall you all have for refuge.
14: You all shall give three cities on this side Jordan (Bezer, Ramoth, Golan [Deut. 4:41-43]), and three cities shall you all give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge (Kedesh, Shechem, Hebron [Josh. 20:7]. These were placed in due order, east and west, in 2 ranks; Hebron over against Bezer, Shechem over against Ramoth, Kedesh over against Golan. If the Lord enlarged their lands, they were to add 3 more [Deut. 19:8,9]).
15: These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the sons of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them:
n o -15. Positive. p 16-21. Negative. o 22-25. Positive. p 26-34. Negative.
that every one that kills any person unawares may flee to that place.
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.
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.
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.
19: The revenger of blood (see v.12) himself shall slay the murderer: when he meets him, he shall slay him.
20: But if he thrust him of hatred (Deut. 19:11,12), or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die;
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 meets him.
22: But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity (cp. Ex.21:13), or have cast upon him any thing without laying of wait (see v.20),
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:
24: Then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the revenger of blood according to these judgments:
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 (= set apart, see Ex.3;5) oil.
p q 26-28. Negative.
r 29. Purpose secured.
q 30-32. Negative.
r 33,34. Purpose secured.
26: But if the slayer shall at any time come outside the border of the city of his refuge, whither he was fled;
27: And the revenger of blood find him outside the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill the slayer; he (the revenger) shall not be guilty of blood:
28: Because he (the slayer) 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.
29: So these things shall be for a statute of judgment (= a regulative statute, cp. 27:11) to you throughout your generations in all your dwelling-places.
30: Whoso kills any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses (Fig., put for evidence given by it): but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.
31: Moreover you all shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer (cp. Ps.49:7. Only God can redeem [v.15]), which is guilty of death (= if he has unlawfully caused death, Fig., "guilty" being put for the crime which caused it, Heb. "wicked, to die"): but he shall be surely put to death.
32: And you all shall take no ransom 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.
33: So you all shall not pollute the land wherein you all are: for blood (unlawfully shed) it defiles the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it (cp. Gen.9:6).
34: Defile you not therefore the land which you all shall inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell: for I the Lord dwell among the sons of Israel.’ ”