Bible Commentaries

Joshua 20

Verses 1-9

Having come into possession of the land, the cities of refuge were provided according to arrangements already made. Three were fixed on the west of the Jordan and three on the east. They wire so placed as to cover the whole area. Moreover, they were Levitical cities.

Maclear says, "Jewish interpreters tell us how in later times, the roads leading to the cities of refuge were always kept in thorough repair-all obstructions were removed that might stay the flyer's feet or hinder his speed. No hillock was left, no river was allowed over which there was no bridge, and at every turning there were posts erected bearing the word 'Refuge.' "

In this method of dealing with the most heinous of all sins as between man and man, certain interesting principles are manifest. First, God does make a distinction in degrees of guilt. Premeditated murder was to find no sanctuary even in the city of refuge. Second, man must not punish man save after the fullest inquiry. Third, all deliverance was closely connected with the priesthood, which forever stands for sacrificial mediation.