2 then set aside for yourselves three cities in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess. 3 Determine the distances involved and divide into three parts the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, so that a person who kills someone may flee for refuge to one of these cities.
4 This is the rule concerning anyone who kills a person and flees there for safety—anyone who kills a neighbor unintentionally, without malice aforethought. 5 For instance, a man may go into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and as he swings his ax to fell a tree, the head may fly off and hit his neighbor and kill him. That man may flee to one of these cities and save his life. 6 Otherwise, the avenger of blood might pursue him in a rage, overtake him if the distance is too great, and kill him even though he is not deserving of death, since he did it to his neighbor without malice aforethought. 7 This is why I command you to set aside for yourselves three cities.
Every society deals with the problem of murder, but what happens when it is an accident? God had an answer for the Israelites. Revenge was swift and common in Moses’ day, so God had the Israelites set aside cities where a person could go if there had been an accidental death caused by that person. In the refuge city that person could have a fair trial. If that person was found not guilty on intentional murder, that person could stay in that city of refuge and be safe from revenge. God blended his mercy and judgement for his people. Today, the justice system we have works to ensure that people are innocent until proven guilty. It does not work perfectly and people can abuse the system, but it is important to have a system in place to protect and preserve justice for society. An organized system works to ensure that those who violate the law are not punished more severely that their crime deserves. The justice system works to have the punishment fit the crime. We must always continue to work on and improve our justice system and keep God’s perspective and wisdom.
Spirit and Truth