-The LORD speaks to Moses first off in this chapter concerning the portion of lands that the Levites will be given in the cities that they live in. They will have adequate pasture lands for their cattle, herds, and all sorts of beasts that they may have. Their lands will extend from the city walls outward for 1,000 cubits (approximately 1,500 feet) and 2,000 cubits (approximately 3,000 feet) in all directions from the city’s center (Numbers 35:1-5).
-The cities of refuge given to the Levites is also detailed by the LORD through Moses. The Levites will be given six cities of refuge for the involuntary manslaughter escapees to run to in their hour of need along with 42 other cities for the Levites that are to be broken up by the tribes. The bigger tribes would have more and the small tribes would have fewer. The cities of refuge would be a holding place for people to wait until the congregation could hold a trial for them to decide on cases that were in doubt and contested. These cities were not just for the nationals, but aliens and sojourners through their lands also could run to these safe haven cities in their distress. Three of these cities would be in the land of Canaan and three to the east of Canaan across the Jordan (Numbers 35:6-15). Next, some statutes for what constituted capital murder are explained (Numbers 35:16-21). Diverse situations are covered for use of weaponry and intent. Capital punishment is endorsed to clear the guilty from the land, and the blood avenger is excused from murder in these cases. Unintentional mishaps where people die is a whole other situation and needed explanation from the LORD. Protections are instituted for these who have accidentally killed others. However, if strict guidelines are not adhered to in the cities of refuge, the blood avenger had every right and opportunity to execute justice according to the Israeli law. This statutory ordinance was to be perpetual throughout their generations. Freedom for those who had fled to cities of refuge would come only with the death of the High Priest who was anointed with the holy oil. This let some time pass so that emotions could calm down and tranquility be restored in most situations. Here is the summed up point near the end of the chapter: “If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. You shall not take ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to live in the land before the death of the priest. So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation (amends, compensation, penance, apology) can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the LORD am dwelling in the midst of the sons of Israel (Numbers 35:22-34)."
-*Application* God does not like death. He is opposed to it in every way. The only reason we have death is because of our sin against Him. Where He dwells, no death is allowed. If Christ dwells in you, this affects everything around you. Do you speak and live life, or are you tearing down and creating a climate of death by your daily conduct? Jesus came to give life, and give it abundantly (John 10:10). Only Satan has anything to do with stealing, killing and destroying. Let’s live today with the presence of God in total control of our lives and spread that hope to others in our midst. Don’t pollute your land.
Verse to Memorize: Numbers 35:34