The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), March 29
“The heads of the Levite families approached Eleazar the priest, Joshua son of Nun, and the heads of the families of the Israelite tribes. At Shiloh in the land of Canaan, they told them, “The LORD commanded through Moses that we be given cities to live in, with their pasturelands for our livestock” (Josh. 21:1-2).
Cities and pasture lands throughout Israel’s twelve territories were set aside for the Levites. Six of those 48 cities were appointed as Cities of Refuge. Justice and the spiritual welfare of Israel depend upon the dispersion of Levites (who know and do their job) throughout all 12 territories. This dispersion reveals a number of truths regarding the governance of the nation:
Bible literacy accompanies the spiritual welfare of God’s people. The Levites are dispersed throughout the land to exalt and to teach the Book of the Law of Moses, “They shall teach Jacob your judgments and Israel Your law” (Deut. 33:10).
Justice accompanies a biblically literate and spiritually healthy people. Six cities (three on each side of the Jordan River) among the 48 cities of the Levites are designated as cities of refuge. The Levites form a court of law to hear the cases of those involved in unintentional loss of life. Spiritual discernment based on God’s law offers justice for the innocent.
Biblically literate and spiritually healthy people offer unbiased judgment and safe places for those falsely accused of wrongdoing. Accidents happen. Sinners, being who they are, seek revenge, even for unintentional loss of life. Cities of Refuge offer those involved in unintentional death a safe place for trial and a safe place to live once innocence is declared. There are no prisons in Israel; those found guilty of intentional loss of life die. Those exonerated are safe from retaliation. The Levites are accountable before God to assure that justice reigns in Israel.
The positioning of the Levites throughout all twelve territories and the six cities of refuge within those territories ensure all of Israel access to justice. Right governance of this newly founded nation depends upon Bible literacy and the spiritual health of the Levites.
Questions from today’s reading (Joshua 19:49-21:45; 1 Chronicles 6:54-81):
What do God’s concern and provision for the person guilty of manslaughter tell you about His character?
God gives the sons of Aaron 13 cities in Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin.Three of these cities in Benjamin include Gibeon, Geba, and Anathoth. These cities circle within five miles Gibeah of Benjamin, made famous in Judges 19. What kind of influence should the sons of Aaron have on their neighboring towns?