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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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One of the cities of refuge appointed for the manslayer to flee unto, as provided. See (Deuteronomy 4:41, etc.) It lay in the country of the Reuhenites, but became somewhat like a frontier town, both to them, and to Edom and Moab; being near the borders of each. What makes it particularly meriting our attention is, that in the design and appointment of it we see clear traces of its being typical of the Lord Jesus Christ.

These cities of refuge were for the manslayer to flee to for shelter. Now Christ is the only refuge for the manslayer of the soul to flee unto; for every sinner is a soul-murderer: he hath slain his own soul. And if fleeing to Christ when the avenger of blood, that is, the law of God, and the justice of God, is pursuing him, he takes shelter in the Lord Jesus, the Bezer of his people, and the city of refuge for security, before he be overtaken, he is in safety for ever. All the days his High Priest liveth no condemnation can fall upon him; and that is for ever!

That the appointment of those cities (which were six in number), had an eye to Christ cannot be doubted, because a provision for the manslayer, if referring only to temporal things, might have been made in a much easier and more simple way. An express law for the magistrate or priest to have acted upon, in all cases of murder where there was no malice prepense, would have been equally easy in this case, as in every other. But when we see six cities expressly set apart for this one purpose only, and placed in certain situations convenient for the poor murderer to get most easily at; when we read so much as is said concerning it, and call to mind how much the Holy Ghost delighted in shadowing forth Christ, under the Old Testament Scripture, in type and figure; and when we observe, moreover, how very strikingly the things here marked down in the city of refuge point to the Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot hesitate to conclude, that it was thus, among a great variety of other ways, Christ was preached to the people. Christ, indeed, as a sanctuary, infinitely exceeds the type represented by the city of refuge. For though the manslayer, when entered within the suburbs, could not be taken from thence, yet neither could he go abroad; if he did, he died. But in Jesus we are both made safe and free; for "if the Son hath made us free, we shall be free indeed." (John 8:36) Moreover, the manslayer among the Jews had freedom only upon the death of the high priest, but our great High Priest giveth freedom both while we live on earth, and hereafter in heaven; and "he himself abideth a priest for ever."

I cannot forbear adding, what hath been always considered, by pious believers, as a farther testimony that these cities of refuge had an eye to Christ, and were plainly typical, namely, that the name given to each became expressive of somewhat significant in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. Bezer means a strong hold. And such is Christ. Ramoth in Gilead, a place of eminency. And JEHOVAH'S testimony of Jesus is, that "he should be exalted, and extolled, and be very high?" (Isaiah 52:13) And Golan, in Bashan, carries with it the glory. And is there not joy and peace in believing when the soul abounds in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost? Neither were the other three cities appointed beyond Jordan by Joshua, less striking, when considered in reference to Christ. (Joshua 20:7) Kedish, holy. And who is holy but Jesus? Shechem, the shoulder. And Christ's government is said to be upon his shoulder. (Isaiah 9:6) And Kirjatharba, or Hebron, the city of fellowship. Into what sweet fellowship and communion doth Jesus bring all his people!

It is a very blessed addition to this merciful design of the Lord, that he so graciously appointed the whole six cities of refuge to suit the different situations of the people, that if they were central in the place where the manslaughter was committed, or at the remote end of their town, at each extremity there were avenues leading to the one or other of the city of refuge. And it was a law in Israel we are told, that one day in every year there were persons sent to repair the roads leading to them, and to remove all stumblingblocks or stones, which might by time have fallen in the way; and to see also, that the posts of direction, which were set up at every corner leading to the city, were carefully preserved, and the name Miklat, (that is, refuge) legible upon them. All these were so many express types of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Zoar, Genesis 19:20, etc. our Bezer, (Psalms 145:18) our city of refuge to flee to. And he is always near at hand. He is also, (as the prophet described him) the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in. (Isaiah 58:12) And every ordinance and means of grace in the ministry of his word points, like the Miklat of the Jews, unto Jesus, saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left," (Isaiah 30:21) Blessed Jesus, be thou indeed, "the way, and the truth, and the life!" and surely, "the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." (Isaiah 35:8)

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Bezer'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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