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March 15, 2019

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
Christian Standard Bible for 2019

Text: Joshua 16-18
Audio: Joshua 16-18

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Joshua 20 (ESV)

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, that the manslayer who strikes any person without intent or unknowingly may flee there. They shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood. He shall flee to one of these cities and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and explain his case to the elders of that city. Then they shall take him into the city and give him a place, and he shall remain with them. And if the avenger of blood pursues him, they shall not give up the manslayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor unknowingly, and did not hate him in the past. And he shall remain in that city until he has stood before the congregation for judgment, until the death of him who is high priest at the time. Then the manslayer may return to his own town and his own home, to the town from which he fled.’”

So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. And beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they appointed Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland, from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead, from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan, from the tribe of Manasseh. These were the cities designated for all the people of Israel and for the stranger sojourning among them, that anyone who killed a person without intent could flee there, so that he might not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, till he stood before the congregation.

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Next: Joshua 21

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This Post Has One Comment
  1. The Manslayer and the Avenger of Blood

    A "manslayer" is someone who kills another person unintentionally or unknowingly. This is similar to someone who committed manslaughter where murder is taking the life of someone intentionally.

    It's interesting to read about the "avenger of blood" in the context of "hunting down" the manslayer (and killing them) for taking someone's life. An "avenger" was family member who was charged with avenging the victim's death. says, "The congregation would judge to find if the attacker acted unintentionally. If he did, he would return to the city of refuge and live there safely until the death of the high priest who was in office at the time of the trial, at which point he could return to his property. If the attacker left the city of refuge before the death of the high priest, however, the avenger would have the right to kill him (Numbers 35:24-28).

    In an article at Ligonier Ministries, Jeremy Pierre writes of involuntary sins:

    "Scripture speaks of involuntary sins as including three characteristics: they are (1) from ignorance of God’s will and therefore (2) not deliberately chosen as hostile acts against God, yet (3) they are disobedience nonetheless. Leviticus 5:17 describes unintentional sin as “doing any of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, though he did not know it.” Peter told his law-celebrating Jewish brothers they “killed the Author of life” because they “acted in ignorance” (Acts 3:15, 17). Paul told his idol-loving Greek audience their long artistic history was actually “the times of ignorance” that God had overlooked (Acts 17:30)."

    And finally, Charles Spurgeon offers the following insight in the Spurgeon Study Bible:

    "Cities of refuge were situated so that one of them could be reached within half a day. In the same way the word of our salvation is near to us; Jesus is a present Savior, and the way to him is short. It is but a simple renunciation of our own merit and a laying hold of Jesus to be our all in all. We are told that the roads to the cities of refuge were strictly maintained so that the one who fled might find an easy passage. Wherever there were junctions and turnings, there were signposts clearly stating, “The city of refuge!” This is a picture of the road to Christ Jesus. It is a straight road: “Believe and live.” It is a road so hard that no self-righteous person can ever tread it but so easy that every sinner who knows himself to be a sinner may by it find his way to heaven. As soon as the one seeking refuge reached the outskirts of the city, he was safe; it was not necessary for him to be within the walls—the suburbs themselves were sufficient protection. We may learn from this that if we merely touch the hem of Christ’s garment, we will be made whole; if we can only lay hold on him with “faith the size of a mustard seed,” we are safe. So waste no time; do not dillydally, for the avenger of blood moves quickly; and it could be that he is at our heels."

    Spurgeon. (2017). The Spurgeon Study Bible: Notes (p. 294). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    I'm grateful for the technology to be able to study and write about the Bible while my love is getting her chemo treatment. Today is 9 of 12 for the "double dose" then it switches to once every 3 weeks for a while. 

    God is good!

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