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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Deuteronomy 19

Verses 1-21


Justice for the accused (19:1-21)

Three cities of refuge had already been established east of Jordan (see 4:41-43), and three more were to be established west of Jordan (19:1-2). In each of these two regions one city was to be in the north, one in the centre and one in the south, so that a city of refuge was within easy reach of every person in the land, no matter where he lived. All six cities had to have well marked roads leading to them so that the refugee could reach safety quickly (3-7; see also Numbers 35:9-34). The Israelites could add more cities later as their territory expanded beyond its original borders (8-13).

While dealing with matters of land allocation, Moses warned land-owners not to shift boundary markers that they had already agreed upon. Such action was clearly a case of stealing a neighbour’s property (14).

In legal matters, because agreement between two or three witnesses was necessary in order to bring a conviction, a person might be tempted to lie so as to ensure an opponent’s defeat. If the witness’s honesty was in doubt, the case had to be brought before the higher court of priests and judges. If they found that the witness had made a false confession, he was to suffer the punishment he had tried to bring upon his opponent (15-20). The basis of justice was that the punishment had to fit the crime (21). (For other relevant details see the comments before and after the notes on Exodus 21:1-27.)


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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 19". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/deuteronomy-19.html. 2005.