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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Numbers 35

Verses 1-34

Jesus Christ Our Refuge

Numbers 35:6

I. The Cities of Refuge were so placed, three on either side of Jordan, that they provided the greatest possible readiness of access. The devout imagination has always pictured for the cities conditions almost ideal in character. The gates of the cities, like those of the New Jerusalem, were to be kept always open, both day and night.

The refugee, whether an Israelite or a stranger, was safe the moment he entered the gate of the city of refuge.

This merciful provision of the Cities of Refuge acted as a preventive to idolatry; the involuntary manslayer was not driven to seek a home among the heathen nations around, but was allowed to live in his own land, among his own kindred, who held like him the faith in Israel's God.

The Cities of Refuge were not merely civil institutions serving a local purpose. They were also types of heavenly things, and taught the people lessons of the very deepest significance.

The Cities of Refuge embodied in themselves truths of the highest importance concerning the salvation of God, and His provision of grace and security for His children.

II. The Cities of Refuge point to Christ as the sinner's refuge, and that in more ways than one. They are found in careful and prayerful study to suggest Gospel principles, Gospel promises, Gospel privileges. Christ is the city of refuge.

The six Cities of Refuge belonged to the priestly tribe of Levi. The forty-eight cities of Levi possessed the right of asylum, but the six Cities of Refuge were bound to receive and to entertain, without cost, the involuntary homicide. They were priestly cities, with peculiar privileges of their own.

The refugee, flying from the avenger, had but to pass through the gate, and not only was he immune, free from the slightest danger, but he ranked at once as a fellow-citizen with the priests of the Most High God.

III. Jesus Christ is our first and only Priest. The Levitical priesthood which pointed to Him has been realized and fulfilled in His life and work.

Jesus Christ is the one eternal High Priest, through whom salvation comes to man, and in whom man has communion with God. The Christian believer stands safe and secure within this refuge.

Jesus Christ is not only the divinely appointed way of escape, He is, in Himself, the city of refuge.

W.J. Armitage, The Cities of Refuge, p. 7.

References. XXXV. 9-11. C. Stowell Pedley, Christian World Pulpit, vol. liii. p. 217. XXXV. 11. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlv. No. 2621.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Numbers 35". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/numbers-35.html. 1910.