Joshua 20:6
And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come to his own city, and to his own house, to the city from from where he fled.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Joshua 20:6. Stand — Which was the posture of the accused and accusers. The congregation — The council appointed to judge of these matters, not the council of the city of refuge, for they had examined him before, (Joshua 20:4,) but of the city to which he belonged, or in or nigh which the fact was committed, as appears from Numbers 35:25.20:1-6 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.As soon as the manslayer presented himself at the city of refuge, the elders of the city were to hold an inquiry, and receive him provisionally into the city. Afterward, when the avenger of blood should have tracked his victim to the city, and appear to claim him, a more formal and thorough investigation Joshua 20:6 was to be made. Consult the marginal references. 6. until the death of the high priest—His death secured the complete deliverance of the manslayer from his sin, only because he had been anointed with the holy oil (Nu 35:25), the symbol of the Holy Ghost; and thus the death of the earthly high priest became a type of that of the heavenly one (Heb 9:14, 15). Standing was the posture of the accused and accusers, Exodus 18:13 Isaiah 1:8 Zechariah 3:1.

Before the congregation, or, company, or assembly, to wit, the council appointed to judge of these matters: not the council of the city of refuge, for they had examined him before, Joshua 20:4; but of the city to which he belonged, or in or nigh which the fact was committed, as appears from Numbers 35:25.

Until the death of the high priest; of which see Poole "Numbers 35:25". And he shall dwell in that city until he shall stand before the congregation for judgment,.... That is, until his cause was heard in the court of judicature in his own city, or in any other to which the avenger of blood should appeal: see Numbers 35:24; who if they found him guilty of death, they put him to death; but if only guilty of accidental manslaughter, then they delivered him up to his city of refuge for safety, where he was to abide

until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days; see Numbers 35:25,

then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled; and live with his family in the enjoyment of his possessions and estates, honours, and privileges belonging to him, as before; see Numbers 35:28.

And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for {c} judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.

(c) Till his cause was proved.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. until the death of the high priest] “To the tyme that the great priest dye,” Wyclif. The protection granted was provisional, until the manslayer and the pursuer could be duly heard by the assembly of the elders of the city where the occurrence took place, and the guilt or innocence of the former established. In the latter case the homicide was safely lodged in the City of Refuge until the death of the anointed High priest (Numbers 35:25).

then shall the slayer return] The death of the ruling High priest, “the head of the theocracy and representative of the whole people,” was regarded as of such importance that any other death was, so to speak, forgotten in consequence, and an amnesty ensued during which the manslayer was at liberty to return to his home. Thus as on the one hand by disallowing compensation by money in the case of wilful murder, the Jewish Law shewed a just regard for human life, and put the poor on the same footing as the rich, so on the other “the asylum afforded by Moses displayed the same benign regard for human life in respect of the homicide himself. Had no obstacle been put in the way of the Goel, instant death would have awaited any one who had the misfortune to occasion the death of another. By his wise arrangements, however, Moses interposed a seasonable delay, and enabled the manslayer to appeal to the laws and justice of his country. Momentary wrath could hardly execute its fell purposes, and a suitable refuge was provided for the guiltless and unfortunate.” Kitto’s Biblical Cyclopædia, i. p. 527.Verse 6. - Until he stand before the congregation. That is, until he had had a fair trial. It was no object of the Jewish law to make a man a victim to passion. Until the death of the high priest. The further to protect the unwitting homicide from the consequences of an unjust revenge, he was, if innocent, to return to the city of refuge, and to dwell there until there was reasonable ground to suppose that the anger of the relatives of the slain man should have abated. This is clear from Numbers 35:24, 25. Why the period of the death of the high priest should have been fixed upon is not easy to explain. Keil thinks it is because the death of the high priest was typical of the death of Christ, and refers to Hebrews 9:14, 15. But the reference is not to the point. The high priest's death was in no sense typical of the death of Christ. His yearly entrance into the holy place once a year, on the Day of Atonement, was so typical. It might have been supposed that this yearly atonement would have been regarded as a propitiation for all the sins committed during the year. Certainly the fact that the high priest died the common death of all men, and the inauguration of his successor to fill his place could in no way be regarded as an atonement for sin. There is more force in Bahr's suggestion in his 'Symbolik' (2:52). The high priest, on this view, is the head of the theocracy, the representative of the covenant. He concentrates in his person (so Bahr puts it in another place - see vol. 2:13) the whole people of Israel in their religious aspect. His death, therefore, stands in a connection with the life of Israel which that of no other man could do. "It is," says Maimonides ('Moreh Nevochim,' 3.40), "the death of the most honoured and beloved man in all Israel. His death plunges the whole community into such distress that private sorrow is lost in the general affliction." Thus the covenant in a way recommences with the inauguration of the new high priest. Bahr complains that Philo has carried this view to an extravagant and fanciful extent. Hengstenberg ('Geschichte des Reiches Gottes,' vol. 2, sec. 3, p. 258) takes the same view as Maimonides, that the high priest's death was "a great calamity," affecting the whole nation. Closing formula to the account of the distribution of the land, which refers primarily to Joshua 18:1., as the expression "in Shiloh" shows, but which also includes Joshua 14-17.
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