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Wednesday, November 29th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 35

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 2

Num 35:2 Command the children of Israel, that they give unto the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and ye shall give [also] unto the Levites suburbs for the cities round about them.

Ver. 2. Suburbs. ] These were for pasture, pleasure, and other country commodities, not for tillage; for the Levites were to have no such employment. Numbers 18:20 ; Num 18:24

Verse 6

Num 35:6 And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites [there shall be] six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer, that he may flee thither: and to them ye shall add forty and two cities.

Ver. 6. That he may flee thither. ] All sins then are not equal, as the Stoics held; neither are all to be alike punished, as by Draco’s laws they were, in a manner. Those laws were said to be written, not with black, but with blood, because they punished every peccadillo almost with death, as idleness, stealing of pot herbs, &c. Aristotle gives them this small commendation, that they are not worth remembrance, but only for their great severity.

Verse 7

Numbers 35:7 [So] all the cities which ye shall give to the Levites [shall be] forty and eight cities: them [shall ye give] with their suburbs.

Ver. 7. Shall be forty and eight cities. ] Thus the Levites were dispersed throughout the land for instruction of the people; so ought ministers of the gospel, who are fitly called the salt of the earth, that being sprinkled up and down, may keep the rest (as flesh) from rotting and putrifying.

Verse 8

Num 35:8 And the cities which ye shall give [shall be] of the possession of the children of Israel: from [them that have] many ye shall give many; but from [them that have] few ye shall give few: every one shall give of his cities unto the Levites according to his inheritance which he inheriteth.

Ver. 8. From them that have many ye shall give. ] By the equity of this proportion, the richer are bound to give more to the minister’s maintenance than the poorer. Let this be noted by those that refuse to give anything to their ministers, because they have not those things, the tithes whereof the law requires for this purpose. See Galatians 6:6 , See Trapp on " Gal 6:6 "

Verse 15

Num 35:15 These six cities shall be a refuge, [both] for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither.

Ver. 15. Shall be a refuge. ] Christ is our asylum, to whom running for refuge, when pursued by the guilt of an evil conscience, we are safe; none can take us out of his hands; if we be in Christ the Rock, temptations and oppositions, as waves, dash upon us, but break themselves.

Verse 16

Num 35:16 And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he [is] a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

Ver. 16. So that he die. ] Though he had no intent to kill, yet because he should have looked better to it, he is a murderer; he smote him purposely and presumptuously, and the man dies of it. King James was wont to say, that if God did leave him to kill a man (though beside his intention), he should think God did not love him.

Verse 18

Num 35:18 Or [if] he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he [is] a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

Ver. 18. The murderer shall surely be put to death. ] This is ius gentium. The Turks’ justice in this case will rather cut off two innocent men, than let one offender escape. The Persians punish theft and manslaughter so severely, that in an age a man shall hardly hear either of the one or the other. a A severity fit for Italy, where they blaspheme oftener than swear, and murder more than revile or slander b (like the dogs of Congo, which, they say, c bite, but bark not): and no less fit for France, where within ten years six thousand gentlemen have been slain, as it appears by the king’s pardons. d Byron, Lord high-Marshal of France, and Governor of Burgundy, slew a certain judge for putting to death a malefactor, whom he had commanded to be spared; for this he sued a pardon, and had it: but not long after he turned traitor to his prince that had pardoned him, and was justly executed. e

a Cartwr., Travels.

b Spec. Europ.

c Purchas.

d Les ombres des defunde sieurs de Villemor.

e Epitome Hist. Gall., p. 275.

Verse 21

Num 35:21 Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote [him] shall surely be put to death; [for] he [is] a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him.

Ver. 21. He shall surely be put to death. ] And yet the Papists allow wilful murderers also to take sanctuary; who should, as Joab was, be taken from the altar to the slaughter. Their hatred to Protestants is so deadly, that they hold us unworthy to live on God’s ground, fit for nothing but fire and faggot; yea, they send us to hell without bail or surety, as worse than Turks or Jews. They tell the people, that Geneva is a professed sanctuary of all roguery; that in England the people are grown barbarous, and eat young children, that they are as black as devils, &c.

Verse 23

Num 35:23 Or with any stone, wherewith a man may die, seeing [him] not, and cast [it] upon him, that he die, and [was] not his enemy, neither sought his harm:

Ver. 23. Or with any stone. ] As at the funeral solemnities of Queen Anne, a scholar was slain by the fall of a letter of stone, thrust down from the battlements of the Earl of Northampton’s house, by one that was a spectator.

Verse 25

Num 35:25 And the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the revenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to the city of his refuge, whither he was fled: and he shall abide in it unto the death of the high priest, which was anointed with the holy oil.

Ver. 25. Unto the death of the high priest. ] Because he was amongst men, the chief god on earth, and so the offence did most directly strike against him. Or rather, because the high priest was a type of Christ: and so this release was a shadow of our freedom and redemption by the death of Christ.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 35". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/numbers-35.html. 1865-1868.
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