8 If the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as He promised on oath to your ancestors, and gives you the whole land He promised them, 9 because you carefully follow all these laws I command you today—to love the Lord your God and to walk always in obedience to Him—then you are to set aside three more cities. 10 Do this so that innocent blood will not be shed in your land, which the Lord your God is giving you as your inheritance, and so that you will not be guilty of bloodshed.
So the people of Israel if they were to love the Lord your God and to walk always in obedience to Him, He would enlarge their territory as He had promised. But then, then you are to set aside three more cities. Set aside three more cities? What is that about? It is about Cities of Refuge which is the title of this chapter.
So why are cities of refuge needed. The first explanation comes at the end of verse 3: so that a person who kills someone may flee for refuge to one of these cities. However, this explanation is not sufficient so reading further
4 This is the rule concerning anyone who kills a person and flees there for safety—anyone who kills a neighbor unintentionally, without malice aforethought. 5 For instance, a man may go into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and as he swings his ax to fell a tree, the head may fly off and hit his neighbor and kill him. That man may flee to one of these cities and save his life. 6 Otherwise, the avenger of blood might pursue him in a rage, overtake him if the distance is [not] too great, and kill him even though he is not deserving of death, since he did it to his neighbor without malice aforethought. 7 This is why I command you to set aside for yourselves three cities.
The idea is to avoid revenge killings for someone who kills another, who kills a neighbor unintentionally, without malice aforethought. Well and good, but what about intentional murder, can that person also flee to a refuge city for safety?
11 But if out of hate someone lies in wait, assaults and kills a neighbor, and then flees to one of these cities, 12 the killer shall be sent for by the town elders, be brought back from the city, and be handed over to the avenger of blood to die. 13 Show no pity. You must purge from Israel the guilt of shedding innocent blood, so that it may go well with you.
So God was aware of the tendency to seek revenge and wanted to prevent bloodshed for accidental deaths, but the purposeful shedding of innocent blood was to be punished. Well, that’s a thought as we are all guilty of causing the death of Jesus. The difference being He who was without sin chose to die on the cross for our sins. He made this plain when He was arrested in Gethsemane after the last supper and rebuked those who would defend Him
53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
Bloodshed came, the shedding of innocent blood and it came as payment for our sins. And it came voluntarily, by choice. Why? So that we could repent, accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and have eternal life with Him and His Father.
Something to think on as we enter the weekend. I hope you have a great weekend and made greater by thinking on what Jesus did for us, for you. Remember to Go To Church, praise God for sending His Son for our salvation, your salvation.