The last few chapters of Joshua have focused on the distribution of stolen lands to the Israelis but we are finally done allotting lands! Thanks goodness! Let’s see what Joshua 20 has in store for us.
“Then the Lord said to Joshua: ‘Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood.’” – Joshua 20:1-3
Accidents happen and I understand someone wanting to seek revenge. However, we have laws today to prevent this from happening. A law doesn’t stop every instance of revenge, but it will stop most revenge attacks for fear of punishment. Why does God not step in and say, hey, no revenge attacks for accidents? Instead the person involved in an accident who survives is required to flee! A person, through no fault of their own, must leave their family and friends and flee to another city! And what’s to stop the victim’s family from traveling to the refuge city and seeking revenge? Nothing! This command of having refuge cities makes no sense.
“They are to stay in that city until they have stood trial before the assembly and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time.” – Joshua 20:6
Um…what? Why is the person being put on trial if this was an accident and 100% unintentional? And why does the death of a high priest matter at all? So the person who is required to flee can come back when the high priests dies? Are you serious? What does someone else’s death have to do with returning to your home city that you were forced to flee due to some crazy law? Sigh.
This was a short chapter and we are now at the end. There’s no need to create refuge cities if you have a system of laws and a court system that is just and fair. Then again, we know very well that God is anything but just and fair.
Coming Soon: Joshua – Chapter 21: Towns for the Levites