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Bible Commentaries

Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

Numbers 35

Verses 1-34

It will be remembered that the Levites were not permitted to hold, any inheritance in the land. Jehovah was the portion of their inheritance. Provision was now made for them. Forty-eight cities scattered throughout the whole land were to be the places of their abode. This scattering of the servants of the Tabernacle through the length and breadth of the land was a beneficent arrangement. Nothing is said of religious service to be rendered by them in their own cities. They were rather to go up in courses to the center of worship. According to the divine purpose, their residence would have an influence for right on the whole life of the nation.

Among these forty-eight cities of the Levites six were to be set apart as cities of refuge. This was a tender and just provision among a people naturally fierce and vindictive. The law of God had made life sacred, and the punishment of taking it had been solemnly declared in the words, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." Nevertheless, there might be extenuating circumstances. For premeditated murder there was to be no final refuge or forgiveness. For killing in haste, that is, unpremeditated killing, provision was made. These cities were not provided that men might evade justice, but rather that justice might be ensured. The fact that a man slayer reached one of these cities did not ensure him against inquiry and investigation. It rather made such inquiry necessary and thus gave him opportunity of explanation and ensured the certainty of just action.

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Bibliographical Information
Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on Numbers 35". "Morgan's Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gcm/numbers-35.html. 1857-84.