297.) Joshua 20 and 21

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” –Psalm 46:1

Joshua 20   (NRSV)

The Cities of Refuge

Then the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, 2“Say to the Israelites, ‘Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, 3so that anyone who kills a person without intent or by mistake may flee there; they shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood.

4“The slayer shall flee to one of these cities and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city, and explain the case to the elders of that city; then the fugitive shall be taken into the city, and given a place, and shall remain with them. 5And if the avenger of blood is in pursuit, they shall not give up the slayer, because the neighbor was killed by mistake, there having been no enmity between them before. 6The slayer shall remain in that city until there is a trial before the congregation, until the death of the one who is high priest at the time: then the slayer may return home, to the town in which the deed was done.’”

7So 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. 8And 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. 9These were the cities designated for all the Israelites, and for the aliens residing among them, that anyone who killed a person without intent could flee there, so as not to die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until there was a trial before the congregation.

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Note the even geographical distribution:  three cities east of the Jordan, and three west of the Jordan.  In both cases the cities were located in the northern, central, and southern regions.  The cities were places of refuge for those who had killed another person under such circumstances that the killing was not considered a capital crime (like modern day third degree murder, or manslaughter), to protect them from revenge by the victim’s relatives.

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Music:

“You Are My Refuge.”

The Maranatha! Singers is a 50-person-strong choir comprised mostly of University of Florida and Santa Fe Community College students.  Originally founded in 1970, the group is part of the University Methodist Church and Student Center, Gainesville, FL.

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Joshua 21

Cities Allotted to the Levites

Then the heads of the families of the Levites came to the priest Eleazar and to Joshua son of Nun and to the heads of the families of the tribes of the Israelites; 2they said to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, “The Lord commanded through Moses that we be given towns to live in, along with their pasture lands for our livestock.” 3So by command of the Lord the Israelites gave to the Levites the following towns and pasture lands out of their inheritance.

As a farm girl, I believe that God loves seeing his animals eating contentedly!  To accompany the assignment of pasture lands to the Levites, we will see pasture lands from around the world.  Here:  pasture land in Tasmania, Australia.

4The lot came out for the families of the Kohathites. So those Levites who were descendants of Aaron the priest received by lot thirteen towns from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. 5The rest of the Kohathites received by lot ten towns from the families of the tribe of Ephraim, from the tribe of Dan, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

6The Gershonites received by lot thirteen towns from the families of the tribe of Issachar, from the tribe of Asher, from the tribe of Naphtali, and from the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan.

7The Merarites according to their families received twelve towns from the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad, and the tribe of Zebulun.

8These towns and their pasture lands the Israelites gave by lot to the Levites, as the Lord had commanded through Moses.

Pasture land on St. Agnes Island, the Isles of Scilly, England.

9Out of the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Simeon they gave the following towns mentioned by name, 10which went to the descendants of Aaron, one of the families of the Kohathites who belonged to the Levites, since the lot fell to them first.

11They gave them Kiriath-arba (Arba being the father of Anak), that is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, along with the pasture lands around it. 12But the fields of the town and its villages had been given to Caleb son of Jephunneh as his holding.

13To the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for the slayer, with its pasture lands, Libnah with its pasture lands, 14Jattir with its pasture lands, Eshtemoa with its pasture lands, 15Holon with its pasture lands, Debir with its pasture lands, 16Ain with its pasture lands, Juttah with its pasture lands, and Beth-shemesh with its pasture lands—nine towns out of these two tribes.

Pasture land in Argentina.

17Out of the tribe of Benjamin: Gibeon with its pasture lands, Geba with its pasture lands, 18Anathoth with its pasture lands, and Almon with its pasture lands—four towns. 19The towns of the descendants of Aaron—the priests—were thirteen in all, with their pasture lands.

20As to the rest of the Kohathites belonging to the Kohathite families of the Levites, the towns allotted to them were out of the tribe of Ephraim.

21To them were given Shechem, the city of refuge for the slayer, with its pasture lands in the hill country of Ephraim, Gezer with its pasture lands, 22Kibzaim with its pasture lands, and Beth-horon with its pasture lands—four towns.

23Out of the tribe of Dan: Elteke with its pasture lands, Gibbethon with its pasture lands, 24Aijalon with its pasture lands, Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands—four towns.

25Out of the half-tribe of Manasseh: Taanach with its pasture lands, and Gath-rimmon with its pasture lands—two towns. 26The towns of the families of the rest of the Kohathites were ten in all, with their pasture lands.

Pasture land along the Nile River.

27To the Gershonites, one of the families of the Levites, were given out of the half-tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan with its pasture lands, the city of refuge for the slayer, and Beeshterah with its pasture lands—two towns.

28Out of the tribe of Issachar: Kishion with its pasture lands, Daberath with its pasture lands, 29Jarmuth with its pasture lands, En-gannim with its pasture lands—four towns;

30Out of the tribe of Asher: Mishal with its pasture lands, Abdon with its pasture lands, 31Helkath with its pasture lands, and Rehob with its pasture lands—four towns.

32Out of the tribe of Naphtali: Kedesh in Galilee with its pasture lands, the city of refuge for the slayer, Hammoth-dor with its pasture lands, and Kartan with its pasture lands—three towns. 33The towns of the several families of the Gershonites were in all thirteen, with their pasture lands.

High pasture near Tungnath, India.

34To the rest of the Levites—the Merarite families—were given out of the tribe of Zebulun: Jokneam with its pasture lands, Kartah with its pasture lands, 35Dimnah with its pasture lands, Nahalal with its pasture lands—four towns.

36Out of the tribe of Reuben: Bezer with its pasture lands, Jahzah with its pasture lands, 37Kedemoth with its pasture lands, and Mephaath with its pasture lands—four towns.

38Out of the tribe of Gad: Ramoth in Gilead with its pasture lands, the city of refuge for the slayer, Mahanaim with its pasture lands, 39Heshbon with its pasture lands, Jazer with its pasture lands—four towns in all.

Pasture land near Nanshan, China.

40As for the towns of the several Merarite families, that is, the remainder of the families of the Levites, those allotted to them were twelve in all.

41The towns of the Levites within the holdings of the Israelites were in all forty-eight towns with their pasture lands. 42Each of these towns had its pasture lands around it; so it was with all these towns.

43Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to their ancestors that he would give them; and having taken possession of it, they settled there. 44And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their ancestors; not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. 45Not one of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

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7 Promises Made and 7 Promises Fulfilled!

Exodus 6:6-8 (New International Version)

“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.  I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.  And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’ “

Galatians 4:28 (New Living Translation)

You, dear brothers and sisters, are children of the promise.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
safety at a city of refuge (first published in 1901).    http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart/1902/joshua20.jpg
cities of refuge map.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/refuge.gif
Pasture — Tasmania.    http://www.planbooktravel.com.au/region-images/TAS/flinders-island/flinders-island-400×272/pasture-land-near-whitemark.jpg/image_preview
Pasture — Scilly.    http://www.planetware.com/i/photo/st-agnes-island-isles-of-scilly-gb734.jpg
Pasture — Argentina.    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3456/3199508520_04cbf04f75_b.jpg
Pasture — Nile River.    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_U-w3_mIQ6co/Szjixa4h1JI/AAAAAAAAAEU/BM8UlxAIcOY/S730/LAND+HAS+BEEN+CONSOLIDATED+AND+AGRICULTURE+MODERNISED+IN+RWANDA.jpg
Pasture — India.    http://www.sherwinbeach.com/india/india2/MtnPastureWebFull.jpg
Pasture — China.    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2600/3674894017_ee76b9fc4b.jpg
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One Response to 297.) Joshua 20 and 21

  1. Carole says:

    Isn’t it wonderful to know and rest in His promises – confident that He is always faithful to His word!!

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