Read Numbers 34 -- 35
In Today's Reading:
Dividing the land of Canaan; inheritance of the Levites
Unlike the other tribes, the tribe of Levi, which included the priests, did not have a separate inheritance in the land. They were to depend on the people's tithes, as God had commanded. Forty-eight cities and pasturelands scattered throughout the eleven other tribes would be assigned to them as permanent residences (Joshua 21:1-42). Of their 48 cities, six were assigned as cities of refuge which were easily accessible throughout all the tribes. For those suspected of manslaughter, these cities were vitally important as places of safety until a trial could determine their guilt or innocence (Numbers 35:6-7,11,13).
Our Creator demands that whoso kills any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness (accuser) shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. Moreover you shall take no satisfaction (ransom) for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death. . . . So you shall not pollute the land wherein you are: for blood it defiles the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it (35:30-31,33).
When it was proven to the satisfaction of the congregation that the accused person was guilty of murder, he had to be put to death, regardless of age or whether it was a man or a woman. There was to be no consideration of being sentenced to time in prison, the possibility of parole or rehabilitation, or any kind of financial settlement.
Without a doubt, the prosecution and execution of criminals is an exceedingly painful situation that everyone would prefer to avoid; yet it is necessary to maintain justice and order, the welfare of our society, and, most importantly, the approval of God. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For outside are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie (Revelation 22:14-15).
34:5 fetch a compass = take a turn toward, goings out = end; 35:15 unawares = unintentionally; 35:26 come without = go outside.
By the city of refuge (Numbers 35). Christ is our Refuge from the judgment of God and the curse of the Law. We . . . have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul . . . even Jesus (Hebrews 6:18-20). As the inheritance of the children of Israel (Numbers 36:7). Christ . . . In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance (Ephesians 1:10-11).
Government Official: Rep. Martin Sabo (MN) · Country: Romania (22 million) in southeastern Europe · Major languages: Rumanian and Hungarian · Freedom of worship · 70% Eastern Orthodox; 7% Protestant; 6% Roman Catholic; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Call upon the Lord in adversity, for He will hear (Psalm 116:1-4,8).
Optional Reading: Luke 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:11