Wednesday – History
Reading – Joshua 19-21
“These cities were set apart for all the Israelites as well as the foreigners living among them. Anyone who accidentally killed another person could take refuge in one of these cities. In this way, they could escape being killed in revenge prior to standing trial before the local assembly.”
Joshua 20:9 NLT
We’ll see more about the laws governing the justice system of Israel in Leviticus. For now, this is such a unique situation that it bears a bit of thought.
During this time, there was no local police. Not even an occasional Marshal to swing through each town. Justice was often swift and not always just.
The cities of refuge gave every Israeli as well as foreigners living in the land a place to run to for justice within half a day’s journey.
The cities of refuge were all Levite cities where priests would be on hand to give counsel and administer justice. They were designed to prevent the tyranny of the masses (mob rule).
We owe many of the concepts of modern justice to the concept of cities of refuge and the justice system that developed there.
The Cities of Refuge were yet one more way that God showed His love to His people.
If you were guilty of murder, do you think you would want to run to a city of refuge?
If you lived then and you accidentally killed someone, how would you feel about there being a place of safety for you to run to?