The Towns for the Levites
1While the people of Israel were still camped in the lowlands of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho, the LORD told Moses 2to say to them:
When you receive your tribal lands, you must give towns and pastures to the Levi tribe. 3That way, the Levites will have towns to live in and pastures for their animals. 4-5The pasture around each of these towns must be in the shape of a square, with the town itself in the center. The pasture is to measure three thousand feet on each side, with fifteen hundred feet of land outside each of the town walls. This will be the Levites’ pastureland.
6Six of the towns you give them will be Safe Towns where a person who has accidentally killed someone can run for protection. But you will also give the Levites forty-two other towns, 7so they will have a total of forty-eight towns with their surrounding pastures.
8Since the towns for the Levites must come from Israel’s own tribal lands, the larger tribes will give more towns than the smaller ones.
The Safe Towns
9The LORD then told Moses 10to tell the people of Israel:
After you have crossed the Jordan River and are settled in Canaan, 11choose Safe Towns, where a person who has accidentally killed someone can run for protection. 12If the victim’s relatives think it was murder, they might try to take revenge. Anyone accused of murder can run to one of these Safe Towns for protection and not be killed before a trial is held. 13There are to be six of these Safe Towns, 14three on each side of the Jordan River. 15They will be places of protection for anyone who lives in Israel and accidentally kills someone.
Laws about Murder and Accidental Killing
The LORD said:
16-18Suppose you hit someone with a piece of iron or a large stone or a dangerous wooden tool. If that person dies, then you are a murderer and must be put to death 19by one of the victim’s relatives. He will take revenge for his relative’s death as soon as he finds you.
20-21Or suppose you get angry and kill someone by pushing or hitting or by throwing something. You are a murderer and must be put to death by one of the victim’s relatives.
Matthew 5:22 (New International Version)
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brotherwill be subject to judgment.
22-24But if you are not angry and accidentally kill someone in any of these ways, the townspeople must hold a trial and decide if you are guilty. 25If they decide that you are innocent, you will be protected from the victim’s relative and sent to stay in one of the Safe Towns until the high priest dies. 26But if you ever leave the Safe Town 27and are killed by the victim’s relative, he cannot be punished for killing you. 28You must stay inside the town until the high priest dies; only then can you go back home.
29The community of Israel must always obey these laws.
30Death is the penalty for murder.
Genesis 9:6 (English Standard Version)
“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.”
But no one accused of murder can be put to death unless there are at least two witnesses to the crime. 31You cannot give someone money to escape the death penalty; you must pay with your own life!
32And if you have been proven innocent of murder and are living in a Safe Town, you cannot pay to go back home; you must stay there until the high priest dies.
33-34I, the LORD, live among you people of Israel, so your land must be kept pure. But when a murder takes place, blood pollutes the land, and it becomes unclean. If that happens, the murderer must be put to death, so the land will be clean again. Keep murder out of Israel!
“Let There Be Peace on Earth” sung by the AUP Ambassadors, from the Adventist University of the Philippines. I can’t think of a better New Year’s resolution for each of us!
The Laws about Married Women and Land
1One day the family leaders from the Gilead clan of the Manasseh tribe went to Moses and the other family leaders of Israel 2and said, “Sir, the LORD has said that he will show what land each tribe will receive as their own. And the LORD has commanded you to give the daughters of our relative Zelophehad the land that he would have received.
3But if they marry men from other tribes of Israel, the land they receive will become part of that tribe’s inheritance and will no longer belong to us. 4Even when land is returned to its original owner in the Year of Celebration and Jubilee, we will not get back Zelophehad’s land–it will belong to the tribe into which his daughters married.”
5So Moses told the people that the LORD had said:
These men from the Manasseh tribe are right. 6I will allow Zelophehad’s daughters to marry anyone, as long as those men belong to one of the clans of the Manasseh tribe.
7Tribal land must not be given to another tribe–it will remain the property of the tribe that received it. 8-9In the future, any daughter who inherits land must marry someone from her own tribe. Israel’s tribal land is never to be passed from one tribe to another.
10-11Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah the daughters of Zelophehad obeyed the LORD and married their uncles’ sons 12and remained part of the Manasseh tribe. So their land stayed in their father’s clan.
13These are the laws that the LORD gave to Moses and the Israelites while they were camped in the lowlands of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho.
The end of the book of Numbers. On Monday, we begin reading the Gospel of Luke.
Upon finishing Numbers, let us consider a couple ideas from the Apostle Paul–
1 Corinthians 10:1-12 (New International Version)
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.”We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!
Images courtesy of:
“Dove of Peace.” Stained glass by Chantel Pare. http://chantalstainedglass.50megs.com/3peacedove_btn.jpg
city of refuge. http://www.bibleexplained.com/moses/Numb/c%20f%20refuge-sm.jpg
capital punishment bumper sticker. http://www.northernsun.com/images/imagethumb/%20Capital%20Punishment%20Bumper%20Sticker%20%285630%29.jpg
Five Sisters, Scotland. http://lifeattheendoftheroad.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/030309-029-large.jpg