The Cities of Refuge

  Numbers 35:9-15




"And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Leviim there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer, that he may flee thither: and to them ye shall add forty and two cities.

Read Yehoshua 20 21 

"And the ADONAI spake unto Moshe, saying


Speak unto the Benai Yisrael, and say unto them, When ye be come over Jordan into the land of  Canaan. Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge

for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares. And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in

judgment.  And of these cities which ye shall give six cities shall ye have for refuge. Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge.  These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the Benai Yisrael, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither.



The cities of Refuge are for the protection of Israelites, resident foreigners, and traveling merchants anyone who accidentally kills someone may flee there for safety.


Joshua 20:7-8 tells of the actual cities chosen; they fulfilled the plan of being evenly distributed perfectly.


There were to be a total of forty-eight Levitical cities; six cities of refuge, and forty-two additional cities.


The cities were to be distributed proportionally through the nation, so that where there were larger populations and larger areas of land, there would be more Levitical cities, so that no one in Israel would be far from a city of refuge.


A man who have accidentally cause death another person could flee to a city of refuge - an appointed Levitical city, where he could stay, safe from the avenger of blood, until the issue was settled and he could leave the city of refuge safely.


The ancient Jewish rabbis explain that, at least once every year, the magistrates of each city were responsible to survey the road to their

city, making certain that the road was clear of all debris and easily passable. There must be no obstacles in the way that would hinder any

who might flee to the cities of refuge. The magistrates would send out work crews to remove all large rocks and fallen trees from the road, taking the greatest possible care to remove every stumbling-block. Any low places in the road would be filled. Any high places would be leveled. All

along the road they placed markers with the word 'refuge' written in bold letters. When the fugitive came to cross-roads, he needed not

hesitate for a moment. Seeing that blessed word, 'refuge', he kept on his breathless pace with relentless determination until he reached the place of merciful safety. Once he entered the gates of the city, he was secure.


But when a person takes up any object  (some example given vs 16-21) and kill some one, he is consider a murderer. All murderer must

be executed but only if there is more than one witness. No one may be put to deth on the testimony of only one witness. No ransom

payment for the life of someone judged guilty of murder and subject to execution, murderers must always be put to death. Anger is no

excuse of murder. If someone angrily hits another  person with a fist and the person dies, it is a murder.


Anger is often associate with hatred "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding

 in him."    (1 John 3:15 )  The heart that is full of hate is potentially capable of murder (cf. Matt. 5:21-22). whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:


In these short passage of study we could see that the attributes of  the Almighty is fair, justice, merciful and the righteous ONE to all

men.  The study of cities of Refuge is so comforting.