In accordance with Yahweh’s command, the people designate six cities of refuge for those who kill by mistake.
Yahweh is concerned for those who kill by mistake: “Speak to the Israelites: Designate the cities of refuge — about which I commanded you through Moses — to which a manslayer who kills a person by mistake, unintentionally, may flee.” (v. 1)
III. Select Verses
1-6: The LORD said to Joshua: “Speak to the Israelites: Designate the cities of refuge — about which I commanded you through Moses — to which a manslayer who kills a person by mistake, unintentionally, may flee. They shall serve you as a refuge from the blood avenger. He shall flee to one of those cities, present himself at the entrance to the city gate, and plead his case before the elders of that city; and they shall admit him into the city and give him a place in which to live among them. Should the blood avenger pursue him, they shall not hand the manslayer over to him, since he killed the other person without intent and had not been his enemy in the past. He shall live in that city until he can stand trial before the assembly, and remain there until the death of the high priest who is in office at that time. Thereafter, the manslayer may go back to his home in his own town, to the town from which he fled.”
7-8: So they set aside Kedesh in the hill country of Naphtali in Galilee, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba — that is, Hebron — in the hill country of Judah. And across the Jordan, east of Jericho, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness, in the Tableland, from the tribe of Reuben; Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad; and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh.
9: Those were the towns designated for all the Israelites and for aliens residing among them, to which anyone who killed a person unintentionally might flee, and not die by the hand of the blood avenger before standing trial by the assembly.
1-6. Yahweh’s command to build cities of refuge
7-8. The six cities
For help with the geography, see the following map from Accordance Bible software.
VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)