Deuteronomy 19:6
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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19:1-13 Here is the law settled between the blood of the murdered, and the blood of the murderer; provision is made, that the cities of refuge should be a protection, so that a man should not die for that as a crime, which was not his willing act. In Christ, the Lord our Righteousness, refuge is provided for those who by faith flee unto him. But there is no refuge in Jesus Christ for presumptuous sinners, who go on still in their trespasses. Those who flee to Christ from their sins, shall be safe in him, but not those who expect to be sheltered by him in their sins.With the axe - literally, "with the iron." Note the employment of iron for tools, and compare Deuteronomy 3:11 note.6, 7. Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot—This verse is a continuation of De 19:3 (for De 19:4, 5, which are explanatory, are in a parenthetical form), and the meaning is that if the kinsman of a person inadvertently killed should, under the impulse of sudden excitement and without inquiring into the circumstances, inflict summary vengeance on the homicide, however guiltless, the law tolerated such an act; it was to pass with impunity. But to prevent such precipitate measures, the cities of refuge were established for the reception of the homicide, that "innocent blood might not be shed in thy land" (De 19:10). In the case of premeditated murder (De 19:11, 12), they afforded no immunity; but, if it were only manslaughter, the moment the fugitive was within the gates, he found himself in a safe asylum (Nu 35:26-28; Jos 20:6). This verse is to be joined with 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. Lest the avenger of blood pursue the slayer,.... These words are to be connected with 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.
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.The false prophet was to be discovered by the fact, that the word proclaimed by him did not follow or come to pass, i.e., that his prophecy was not fulfilled. Of him they were not to be afraid. By this injunction the occurrence of what had been predicted is made the criterion of true prophecy, and not signs and wonders, which false prophets could also perform (cf. Deuteronomy 13:2.).
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