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Ver. 1-6. The Lord also spake unto Joshua, saying, &c.— The great work of distributing the lands being now finished, God orders Joshua to put the last hand to the settlement of the cities of refuge, upon the footing which he had specified to Moses. See on Numbers 35:0 and Deuteronomy 19:0. The slayer was to stand at the gate of the city, ver. 4 as being the place where the courts of justice were held.
Ver. 9. These were the cities appointed, &c.— It is to be observed, that the six cities of refuge were given as a portion to the Levites. See the following chapter. So that those who were unhappily forced to retire thither, met with persons there whose authority could screen them from violence, whose wisdom could direct their proceedings, and whose piety might be useful to them in a variety of instances, during the stay they were obliged to make there till the death of the high-priest.
REFLECTIONS.—1. The cities of refuge were a common blessing for every Israelite, whose unhappy lot it might be to need their protection; and therefore it was every man's interest to have this provision made as soon as they had settled the division of the land. Note; The Gospel has provided for sinners, in Christ Jesus, a surer refuge from the avenging wrath of God; the soul that flies thither shall not only be freed from fear of death, but be refreshed with the consolations of the divine favour and love. 2. The three cities on the other side Jordan, Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan, had been appointed by Moses. These on this side Jordan, were Kedesh in Naphtali, Hebron in Judah, and Shechem in Ephraim; and they were so situated, as to stand at the most convenient distances, that all the tribes might be near one or other of them. Note; Salvation is near, and Jesus a very present help to all who call upon him. These were all Levite cities, where, if the poor banished manslayer was cut off from his friends and relations, he had the best of company, and peculiar opportunities of spiritual improvement. Note; It will reconcile us to every providential change of situation, to think more of the mercies we enjoy than of the comforts we lose. The names of these cities are very significative; Kedesh, holiness; Shechem, a shoulder; Hebron, fellowship; Bezer, a fortress; Ramoth, high; and Golan, joy. Thus, in the perfection of our Redeemer's merits, lies the security of the sinner's hope; on his shoulder the government is laid, so that no enemy can hurt us; the sweetest communion is that which can be enjoyed through faith in him; his arms of love are a strong-hold, and his exaltation is the pledge of our own; for he shall bring all who have fled to him for refuge, and cleave to him, to Zion, with everlasting joy upon their heads.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 20". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26