Yehoshua Twenty: Cities of Refuge

A while back, we heard about a while back, there’s this concept of cities of refuge that was introduced to the people. These cities are designated places for people who accidentally committed manslaughter to go in order to escape vengeful honor killings. Now, God reminds Joshua of them. “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Prepare for you cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses (Joshua 20:2).” Now, we learn more about the process of asking for refuge in one of these places. “And he shall flee to one of those cities, and he shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city, and shall declare is cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city to them, and give him a place, and he shall dwell among them (Joshua 20:4).” I take this to mean that getting to one of these cities wasn’t just a process of running, but rather that a person had to prove that they deserved to be there, fitting the criteria set forth. Actual murderers couldn’t take advantage of the refugee status in order to hide from their pursuers.

We see the list of the cities, which are spread throughout the land so that wherever a person is, one is at least semi-easily accessible. In this way, God cares even for those who have done something terrible, because it wasn’t their fault. He protects those who need it, even in horrible circumstances.


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