Divrei Hayamim I – Six: Cities of Refuge

This chapter is another one that’s full of names upon names, for straight up sixty-six verses. There are only a few that have content beyond X son of X, repeatedly, so I’m choosing to focus on one of those for my reflection piece today. “And to the sons of Aaron they gave the cities of refuge: Hebron, and Libnah and the open land around it, and Jattir, and Eshtemoa and the open land around it (Chronicles I 6:42).” Cities of refuge are a concept that I’m fascinated by. We haven’t seen them in a few books, but from what I recall, they were places that those charged manslaughter, but not murder, could go to in order to escape blood feuds. I guess it’s important in the context of the text that they served this purpose, but I’m just thinking about all the other categories of people who could use a refuge place and weren’t necessarily being served by any of the communal institutions of the day. Particularly in the age of #MeToo, I’m thinking about women in this era, and how they didn’t exactly have options if they wanted to leave their abusive situations. Or individuals who, for whatever reason, weren’t accepted by their communities and tribes. Did they get refuge somewhere?

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