|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:1-6 When the Israelites were settled in their promised inheritance, they were reminded to set apart the cities of refuge, whose use and typical meaning have been explained, Nu 35; De 19. God's spiritual Israel have, and shall have in Christ and heaven, not only rest to repose in, but refuge to secure themselves in. These cities were designed to typify the relief which the gospel provides for penitent sinners, and their protection from the curse of the law and the wrath of God, in our Lord Jesus, to whom believers flee for refuge, Heb 6:18.
Verse 1. - Cities of refuge. The original is more definite, the cities of refuge. So LXX. Whereof I spake to you. In Exodus 21:13; Numbers 35:9; Deuteronomy 19:2. Here, again, Joshua is represented as aware of the existence of the Pentateuch. It must, therefore, have existed in something like its present shape when the Book of Joshua was written. The words are partly quoted from Numbers and partly from Deuteronomy; another proof that these books were regarded as constituting one law, from the "hand of Moses," when Joshua was written.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The Lord also spake unto Joshua,.... Out of the tabernacle, at the door of which he with the high priest and princes were; the Lord had spoken to him before concerning dividing the land among the tribes, Joshua 13:1; and this being done he speaks to him again:
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Jos 20:1-6. The Lord Commands the Cities of Refuge.
1-3. The Lord spake unto Joshua … Appoint out for you cities of refuge—(See Nu 35:9-28; De 19:1-13). The command here recorded was given on their going to occupy their allotted settlements. The sanctuaries were not temples or altars, as in other countries, but inhabited cities; and the design was not to screen criminals, but only to afford the homicide protection from the vengeance of the deceased's relatives until it should have been ascertained whether the death had resulted from accident and momentary passion, or from premeditated malice. The institution of the cities of refuge, together with the rules prescribed for the guidance of those who sought an asylum within their walls, was an important provision, tending to secure the ends of justice as well as of mercy.
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