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God gave Moses direction concerning the cities of refuge in Num_35:9-33 ; Deu_4:41-43 ; Deu_19:1-21 . In Jos_20:1-9 , God tells Joshua to appoint those cities as he had instructed Moses. These cities were not built to harbor criminals but those who accidentally killed someone. Further, the avenger of blood could go to that city for a trial to prove the death was not accidental. If proven, the guilty man was delivered from the city to be executed. God has never approved of criminal activity. However, as long as the man who accidentally killed remained within the city walls, he was safe from harm. Clearly, these cities foreshadowed the safety we can have in Christ as the Hebrews writer indicates in 6:18-19.
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Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Joshua 20". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany