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Bible Commentaries
Deuteronomy 19

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-21

Chapter 19

Now in the nineteenth chapter again, they are told to establish the cities of refuge; three of them when they come into the land. Three had already been established on the other side of Jordan. But when you come into the land, God will appoint three cities as cities of refuge. Again the idea being that if you killed someone accidentally, if you and your friend were out chopping wood and your ax head should fly off the handle and hit him in the head and kill him and the avenger of blood would be angry because you killed his brother and he's chasing you, you could flee to the city of refuge. And there you could be saved from the avenger of blood. He could not come into the city to take you or to kill you. However, the cities of refuge were never to be a refuge from those who were guilty, for those who were guilty of first-degree murder.

Now again in verse nine, God just gives, chapter nineteen, some commandments.

If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then thou shalt add three cities more for thee, beside these three ( Deuteronomy 19:9 ):

In other words, three more cities when you get into the land. Now, the commandment is to "love the Lord and to walk ever in his ways". They were not to touch the landmark of their neighbors. Now in those days they would set up little piles of stones. These stones would be landmarks. When you go through the land of Israel today, you can still see out in the fields these little piles of stones, which are landmarks which they have set up. In the Arab territory, in the Jewish territory, they don't practice this, but in the Arab territory in the land of Israel there on the West Bank you'll see all these little piles of stones out in the fields which are landmarks. Now you're not to go out at night and move those stones over ten feet or so. You're not to remove your neighbor's landmark. That was a crime that was looked upon with great disfavor.

Now, if a man would rise up and bear false against his neighbor and he was proved that he had perjured himself in his false witness, his sentence would be whatever kind of a crime he is trying to get pinned on his neighbor. In other words, if you got up and lied and said, "Well, I saw this man steal that cow." and it was proved that you were lying, you didn't see him, you were just trying to get him in trouble; then you would get the sentence of a cow thief. Whatever sentence would have been meted out against the fellow, whom you were trying to incriminate, that sentence would be yours. And if you were trying to incriminate him in a capital offense, then you would be put to death. So, whatever you were seeking to have done unto him shall be put onto you. And thus, God wanted them to have a healthy fear of lying as a witness, the perjury


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 19". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/deuteronomy-19.html. 2014.
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