Numbers 35:27
And the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill the slayer; he shall not be guilty of blood:
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Numbers 35:27. Not guilty — Not liable to punishment from men, though not free of guilt before God. This God ordained, to oblige the manslayer to abide in his city of refuge.35:9-34 To show plainly the abhorrence of murder, and to provide the more effectually for the punishment of the murderer, the nearest relation of the deceased, under the title of avenger of blood, (or the redeemer of blood,) in notorious cases, might pursue, and execute vengeance. A distinction is made, not between sudden anger and malice aforethought, both which are the crime of murder; but between intentionally striking a man with any weapon likely to cause death, and an unintentional blow. In the latter case alone, the city of refuge afforded protection. Murder in all its forms, and under all disguises, pollutes a land. Alas! that so many murders, under the name of duels, prize-fights, &c. should pass unpunished. There were six cities of refuge; one or other might be reached in less than a day's journey from any part of the land. To these, man-slayers might flee for refuge, and be safe, till they had a fair trial. If acquitted from the charge, they were protected from the avenger of blood; yet they must continue within the bounds of the city till the death of the high priest. Thus we are reminded that the death of the great High Priest is the only means whereby sins are pardoned, and sinners set at liberty. These cities are plainly alluded to, both in the Old and New Testament, we cannot doubt the typical character of their appointment. Turn ye to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope, saith the voice of mercy, Zec 9:12, alluding to the city of refuge. St. Paul describes the strong consolation of fleeing for refuge to the hope set before us, in a passage always applied to the gracious appointment of the cities of refuge, Heb 6:18. The rich mercies of salvation, through Christ, prefigured by these cities, demand our regard. 1. Did the ancient city rear its towers of safety on high? See Christ raised up on the cross; and is he not exalted at the right hand of his Father, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins? 2. Does not the highway of salvation, resemble the smooth and plain path to the city of refuge? Survey the path that leads to the Redeemer. Is there any stumbling-block to be found therein, except that which an evil heart of unbelief supplies for its own fall? 3. Waymarks were set up pointing to the city. And is it not the office of the ministers of the gospel to direct sinners to Him? 4. The gate of the city stood open night and day. Has not Christ declared, Him that cometh unto me I will in nowise cast out? 5. The city of refuge afforded support to every one who entered its walls. Those who have reached the refuge, may live by faith on Him whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed. 6. The city was a refuge for all. In the gospel there is no respect of persons. That soul lives not which deserves not Divine wrath; that soul lives not which may not in simple faith hope for salvation and life eternal, through the Son of God.The homicide was safe only within the walls of his city of refuge. He became a virtual exile from his home. The provisions here made serve to mark the gravity of the act of manslaughter, even when not premeditated; and the inconveniences attending on them fell, as is right and fair, upon him who committed the deed.

Unto the death of the high priest - The atoning death of the Saviour cast its shadow before on the statute-book of the Law and on the annals of Jewish history. The high priest, as the head and representative of the whole chosen family of sacerdotal mediators, as exclusively entrusted with some of the chief priestly functions, as alone privileged to make yearly atonement within the holy of holies, and to gain, from the mysterious Urim and Thummim, special revelations of the will of God, was, preeminently, a type of Christ. And thus the death of each successive high priest presignified that death of Christ by which the captives were to be freed, and the remembrance of transgressions made to cease.

22-28. But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or have cast upon him any thing without laying of wait, &c.—Under the excitement of a sudden provocation, or violent passion, an injury might be inflicted issuing in death; and for a person who had thus undesignedly committed slaughter, the Levitical cities offered the benefit of full protection. Once having reached the nearest, for one or other of them was within a day's journey of all parts of the land, he was secure. But he had to "abide in it." His confinement within its walls was a wise and salutary rule, designed to show the sanctity of human blood in God's sight, as well as to protect the manslayer himself, whose presence and intercourse in society might have provoked the passions of the deceased's relatives. But the period of his release from this confinement was not until the death of the high priest. That was a season of public affliction, when private sorrows were sunk or overlooked under a sense of the national calamity, and when the death of so eminent a servant of God naturally led all to serious consideration about their own mortality. The moment, however, that the refugee broke through the restraints of his confinement and ventured beyond the precincts of the asylum, he forfeited the privilege, and, if he was discovered by his pursuer, he might be slain with impunity. i.e. Not liable to punishment from men, though not free from guilt before God, because he kills an innocent person, as appears from Deu 19:10. This God ordained to oblige the man-slayer to abide in his city of refuge. See Numbers 35:32. And the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge,.... Without the suburbs, fields, and vineyards belonging to it:

and the revenger of blood kill the slayer; being exasperated against him, and to avenge the blood of his relation on him:

he shall not be guilty of blood; or be reckoned murderer, or die for it.

And the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill the {k} slayer; he shall not be guilty of blood:

(k) By the sentence of the judge.

And so also the man who hit another in hatred, or threw at him by lying in wait, or struck him with the hand in enmity, so that he died. And if a murderer of this kind fled into a free city, the elders of his city were to have him fetched out and delivered up to the avenger of blood (Deuteronomy 19:11-12). Then follow, in Numbers 35:22-28, the proceedings to be taken with an unintentional manslayer, viz., if any one hit another "in the moment," i.e., suddenly, unawares (Numbers 6:9), without enmity, or by throwing anything upon him, without lying in wait, or by letting a stone, by which a man might be killed, fall upon him without seeing him, so that he died in consequence, but without being his enemy, or watching to do him harm. In using the expression בּכל־אבן, the writer had probably השׁליך still in his mind; but he dropped this word, and wrote ויּפּל in the form of a fresh sentence. The thing intended is explained still more clearly in Deuteronomy 19:4-5. Instead of בּפתע, we find there בּבלי־דעת, without knowing unintentionally. The words, "without being his enemy," are paraphrased there by, "without hating him from yesterday and the day before yesterday" (i.e., previously), and are explained by an example taken from the life: "When a man goeth into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron slippeth (נשׁל Niphal of שׁלל) from the wood (handle), and lighteth upon his neighbour."
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