Numbers 35:1-34


I.    Verse 1-8 - The cities for the Levites to dwell in.

A.  The Levites don't have a certain land area to live in like the other tribes.

1.   The tribes of Israel will all dwell together in a particular area of land.

2.   The Levites will dwell together in their cities which are scattered throughout the other tribes.

a.   Verse 7 - There will be 48 cities set aside for the Levites.

b.   Joshua 21 - The listing of these cities.

B.   Some believe the Levites didn't have any inheritance, but they do.

1.   The Levites inheritance is not together like the other tribes.

2.   But they do have an inheritance of cities.

a.   Rev. 7:7 - The tribe of Levi is included in the eternal inheritance.

b.   Every person who faithfully serves God will have an eternal inheritance.

3.   In these certain cities, the Levites have inheritance of houses, lands, and material goods.

4.      Some people today think that pastors shouldn't own their own houses or lands, but they should only live in parsonages supplied by their churches.

5.      Churches like the idea of a parsonage for it saved them a lot of money, but it is a very expensive idea for the pastor.

6.      Churches usually pay the pastor less for they are supplying him a place to live.  Therefore, the pastor cannot purchase his own home.  then he gets old or dies and his family doesn't have a place to live.

C.   There was a wall around the cities.

1.      There are always those who say the pastor doesn't need things as nice as the church members.  Some expect the pastor to live in a house they wouldn't keep a hog in.

2.   The wall is for protection.  Some would say the wall would be unnecessary because the Levites, like pastors, should trust in God for their protection.  Isn't it true that we all ought to trust in God for protection?  But doesn't God give us the sense to build a wall to keep the enemy out?

D.  The suburbs around the cities.

1.   The measurement is like this:

a.   Measure north of the city wall 1,000 cubits (1,500 feet).  Measure east and west of that northern most point 2,000 cubits (3,000 feet).

b.   Measure east of the city wall 1,000 cubits (1,500 feet).  Measure north and south of that eastern most point 2,000 cubits (3,000 feet).

c.   Measure south of the city wall 1,000 cubits (1,500 feet).  Measure east and west of that southern most point 2,000 cubits (3,000 feet).

d.   Measure west of the city wall 1,000 cubits (1,500 feet).  Measure north and south of that western most point 2,000 cubits (3,000 feet).

e.   These measurements should form a rough square around the priestly cities for their suburbs.

2.   The suburbs are necessary for the priests for this is the place they keep their beasts, cattle and goods in.

3.      This teaches us that the priests had possessions just like all the other tribes.

a.   Some believe the priests lived completely off the sacrifices given by all Israel.

b.   They forget that the priests had responsibilities not covered by the sacrifices, which they supplied for themselves.

c.   I believe it was a good thing God let the Levites have possessions and wealth apart from the sacrifices.  Sometimes Israel didn't give sacrifices because of rebellion.  During times like this the Levites had to go to secular work, supplying the necessities for their families. Nehemiah 13:10.

d.   God did not hold the priests responsible for not doing the priestly work when they had to work at other jobs to supply for their families.

e.   I do not believe God holds pastors responsible if they must leave off some pastoral responsibilities in order to supply the necessities for their families.

f.    The pastor must make sure he is fulfilling a responsibility to his family, not a convenience.

E.   The cities of refuge.

1.      Verse 6 - There are to be 6 cities of refuge in all.

2.      Deut. 4:42 - Moses names 3 cities because they are on the east side of Jordan.  (See verse 14)

3.      Joshua 20:7,8 - Joshua later names all 6 cities, after Israel dwells in the promised land.


II.   The cities of refuge.

A.  These cities are only for accidental manslayers.

1.   No thief shall be kept in the city of refuge.  He shall repay the person he stole from.  Ex. 22:1-4.

2.   No rapist shall be kept in the city of refuge.  He shall be stoned.

3.   No murderer shall be kept in the city of refuge. He shall be killed.

B.   Thieves steal more than once.

1.      They steal actively when they break into someone's house and take their possessions.

2.      They steal passively when they are in jail living off taxes.

a.   The thieves family steals passively because many times they are supported by welfare while the bread winner is in jail.

b.   The victim must purchase locks for his doors, and insurance for his possessions.  Then the thief tears the door down, which must be repaired, he steals the possession, which must be replaced.  Then the insurance rates go up.  So the victim gets it in the ear, and the thief gets to rest in jail, complaining of being treated unjustly.

c.   In God's judicial system, this would not happen.

d.   Any person who would not do what the judge said would die, Deut. 17:12.

C.   The city of refuge would be for anybody living or visiting in Israel.

D.  Verse 16-25 - The way to tell a murder from an accidental killing.

1.   If an instrument was used (of iron, stone, or wood) it is murder.

2.   If the blow was done by hate, it is murder.  (This does away with "temporary insanity".)

3.      There must be more than one witness.  Nobody shall be put to death at the mouth of only one witness.

E.   The congregation shall judge whether it is a murder or an accidental killing.

1.      This is not left up to any one person or group of persons.

2.      There will be no lawyers to be paid huge salaries.

3.   The slayer shall flee to the city of refuge until he is judged.

4.   The priests will be the ones to control the matter.

F.   The revenger of blood will not kill the murderer with hatred.

1.   If he does so, he is guilty of murder and will be judged like the one he killed.

2.   The revenger of blood will kill the murderer before all the people in an orderly fashion, not like a mob would do.

G.   Verse 31,32 - A murderer shall not pay his way out of death.

1.      Some crimes allow the criminal to pay and go free.  (Such as if an animal destroyed another animal.  the owner of the live animal would pay for the dead animal, kill his live animal and say nothing against the law.)

2.      Verse 33,34 - The reason the murderer shall not pay and get released is because the shed blood has polluted the land and the only way the land can be cleansed is by shedding the blood of the murderer.