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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
a -sı̄´lum : The custom of fleeing to specially sacred places to obtain the protection of a deity is found all over the world (Post, Grundriss , II, 252ff). In ancient Israel we meet with it in two forms - the asylum of the altar and the asylum of the cities of refuge. The altar at the House of God was a place to which persons in danger fled for protection (1 Kings 1:50; 1 Kings 2:28 ). It had horns and must not be confused with the altars of earth or stone that were used for lay sacrifices. See ALTAR; SANCTUARY . Exodus 21:14 provides that a murderer is to be taken from the altar to be put to death. The law of the cities of refuge proceeds upon a somewhat different principle. Its objects are (1) to shield a homicide from the avenger of blood until trial, and (2) to provide a refuge for the manslayer who has not been guilty of murder. There is one reference to the institution in the history of the kingdom ( 2 Samuel 14:14 ). For the legal and geographical information, see CITIES OF REFUGE; HOMICIDE .
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Asylum'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/a/asylum.html. 1915.