Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Deuteronomy 3:11 note. Deu 19:3, as is evident, the 4th and 5th verses coming in as a parenthesis, which is usual in Scripture and other authors.
And slay him; which is supposed, but not allowed, as appears from the following words. But the avenger of blood is not to be punished with death for killing the manslayer, in case he found him without the borders of the city of refuge after he had been received there, Numbers 35:26,27, because then he was guilty of a new crime, to wit, a contempt of God’s ordinance, and a gross neglect of the duty of self-preservation, and therefore deserved death from God, who might permit it to be inflicted by the avenger of blood. Deuteronomy 19:3, where it is ordered to prepare the way to the cities of refuge, and to divide the land into three parts, for the convenience of the slayer to flee thither, lest he that was next of kin, and incensed against the slayer, and determined to avenge what was done, should pursue after him:
while his heart is hot; by reason of the loss of his relation, upon which his passions being raised, his heart becomes inflamed with wrath and anger; which pushes him upon an eager and hasty pursuit of the slayer, before he sits down and coolly considers and deliberates on the affair:
and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; wherefore it was proper that everything should be done to make the way to these cities as easy and as short as it could be:
whereas he was not worthy of death; had not committed an action deserving of it, it being done ignorantly and without notice, as follows:
inasmuch as he hated him not in time past; See Gill on Deuteronomy 19:4.Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. avenger of blood] Heb. go‘el haddâm (2 Samuel 14:11, Numbers 35:19-27, Joshua 20:3; Joshua 20:5; Joshua 20:9). The consuetudinary law of the vendetta is not abrogated, but persists so far as the nearest, or other, kinsman of the slain still takes the duty of punishing the slayer. See v. 22 and Add. note.
while his heart is hot] and he cannot discriminate between accidental and wilful murder. It was doubtless to avoid the same unjust passion that the right of sanctuary arose among the nomad Arabs.
because the way is long] to the One Altar, Deuteronomy 14:24; cp. Deuteronomy 12:21.
mortally] Heb. to, or as to, the life (nephesh), Deuteronomy 19:11; cp. Deuteronomy 22:26.
whereas, etc.] Heb. there being no case of death to (against) him (a circumstantial clause); cp. Deuteronomy 21:22, Deuteronomy 22:26.Deuteronomy 13:2.).
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