Joshua 20


Cities Of Refuge

‘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. When they flee to one of these cities, they are to stand in the entrance of the city gate and state their case before the elders of that city. Then the elders are to admit the fugitive into their city and provide a place to live among them. If the avenger of blood comes in pursuit, the elders must not surrender the fugitive, because the fugitive killed their neighbour unintentionally and without malice aforethought. 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. Then they may go back to their own home in the town from which they fled.” So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. East of the Jordan (on the other side from Jericho) they designated Bezer in the wilderness on the plateau in the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead in the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan in the tribe of Manasseh. Any of the Israelites or any foreigner residing among them who killed someone accidentally could flee to these designated cities and not be killed by the avenger of blood prior to standing trial before the assembly.’ Judges 20:1-9

One of the provisions God made for his people were the cities of refuge. These were for the person who killed by accident. When someone was killed, a kinsperson took it upon himself to get revenge by slaying the slayer. He was known as the avenger of blood.

If one killed by accident, though, he could flee, Exodus 21:12-13. The one who killed innocently was protected and would remain in that city until his death or the death of the high priest.

The cities are mentioned in Exodus 21 / Numbers 35 / Deuteronomy 19 and Joshua 20. Roads leading to these cities were kept in excellent condition, with signposts reading, ‘Refuge! Refuge!’ The cities were no more than half a day’s journey from any other city. The cities of refuge are a strong illustration of the work of Christ.

Some facts about the cities, the cities were in central locations where they could easily be reached from any part of the country. The cities of refuge were open to all and the doors into the cities were never locked. The cities were stocked with food and there was no protection if a man did not flee to a city of refuge.

Similarities between Christ and the cities Christ is easy to reach and Christ is open to all. Christ never locks His gates and Christ is a totally sufficient refuge. If we do not flee to Christ, there is no help for us.

Back then cities of refuge had meaning to their names, Shechem means, shoulder or back or strength, Hebron means fellowship, Kedesh means holy, sanctuary, Golan means joy, exultation, Ramoth means high, exalted and Bezer means fortification, stronghold.

Now, what do you need in your life by way of a place of refuge?

Go To Joshua 21



"For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city."

Acts 18:10