Wesley's Notes on the Bible
And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,
Command the children of Israel, that they give unto the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and ye shall give also unto the Levites suburbs for the cities round about them.
And the cities shall they have to dwell in; and the suburbs of them shall be for their cattle, and for their goods, and for all their beasts.
35:3 For the cattle - For pasturage for their cattle: where they might not build houses, nor plant gardens, orchards or vineyards, no nor sow corn, for which they were abundantly provided out of the first - fruits. And these suburbs did not belong to the Levites in common, but were distributed to them in convenient proportions.
And the suburbs of the cities, which ye shall give unto the Levites, shall reach from the wall of the city and outward a thousand cubits round about.
35:4 A thousand cubits - In the next verse it is two thousand. But this verse and the next do not speak to the same thing; this speaks of the space from whence the suburbs shall be measured, the next speaks of the space unto which that measure shall be extended; and the words may very well be read thus. And the suburbs - Shall be from the wall of the city and from without it, or, from the outward parts of it, even from a thousand cubits round about. Which are mentioned not as the thing measured, but as the space from which the measuring line should begin. And then it follows, Nu 35:5. And ye shall measure from without the city, (not from the wall of the city, as said before Nu 35:4, but from without it, that is, from the said outward space of a thousand cubits without the wall of the city round about) on the east side two thousand cubits. So in truth there were three thousand cubits from the wall of the city, whereof one thousand probably were for out - houses, stalls for cattle, gardens, vineyards and olive - yards, and the other two thousand for pasture, which are therefore called the field of the suburbs, Lev 25:34, by way of distinction from the suburbs themselves, which consist of the first thousand cubits from the wall of the city.
And ye shall measure from without the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits; and the city shall be in the midst: this shall be to them the suburbs of the cities.
And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer, that he may flee thither: and to them ye shall add forty and two cities.
35:6 Cities for refuge - Or, of escape for manslayers: And these cities are assigned among the Levites, partly because they might be presumed to be the most proper and impartial judges between man - slayers, and wilful murderers; partly because their presence and authority would more effectually bridle the passions of the avenger of blood who might pursue him thither; and perhaps to signify, that it is only in Christ (whom the Levitical priests represented) that sinners find refuge and safety from the destroyer.
So all the cities which ye shall give to the Levites shall be forty and eight cities: them shall ye give with their suburbs.
And the cities which ye shall give shall be of the possession of the children of Israel: from them that have many ye shall give many; but from them that have few ye shall give few: every one shall give of his cities unto the Levites according to his inheritance which he inheriteth.
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come over Jordan into the land of Canaan;
Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares.
35:11 Unawares - Not wilfully, designedly or maliciously, but through mistake or indiscretion.
And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment.
35:12 From the avenger - Heb. from the redeemer, or, from the next kinsman, to whom by the law belonged the right of redemption of the lands of; and vindication of the injury done to, the person deceased. Die not - Be not killed by the avenger meeting him in some other place. Before the congregation - Before the judges or elders who were appointed in every city for the decision of criminal causes, who were to examine, and that publickly before the people, whether the murder was wilful or casual.
And of these cities which ye shall give six cities shall ye have for refuge.
Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge.
35:14 On this side Jordan - Because that land was as long as Canaan, though not so broad, and besides these might be convenient for many of them that lived in Canaan.
These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither.
And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.
35:16 If he smite him - Wittingly and wilfully, though not with premeditated malice. He shall be put to death - Yea though he were fled into the city of refuge.
And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.
Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.
The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him.
35:19 He shall slay him - Either by himself, as the following words shew; so it is a permission, that he may do it without offence to God or danger to himself: or by the magistrate, from whom he shall demand justice: so it is a command.
But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die;
Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him.
But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or have cast upon him any thing without laying of wait,
Or with any stone, wherewith a man may die, seeing him not, and cast it upon him, that he die, and was not his enemy, neither sought his harm:
Then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the revenger of blood according to these judgments:
35:24 Then - If the man - slayer flee to to the city of refuge.
And the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the revenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to the city of his refuge, whither he was fled: and he shall abide in it unto the death of the high priest, which was anointed with the holy oil.
But if the slayer shall at any time come without the border of the city of his refuge, whither he was fled;
35:26 He shall abide in it - Be confined to it, partly to shew the hatefulness of murder in God's account by so severe a punishment, inflicted upon the very appearance of it, and partly for the security of the man - slayer, lest the presence of such a person, and his conversation among the kindred of the deceased, might occasion reproach and blood - shed. The death of the high - priest - Perhaps to shew that the death of Christ (the true High - priest, whom the others represented) is the only means whereby sins are pardoned and sinners set at liberty.
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:
35:27 Not guilty - Not liable to punishment from men, though not free of guilt before God. This God ordained to oblige the man - slayer to abide in his city of refuge.
Because he should have remained in the city of his refuge until the death of the high priest: but after the death of the high priest the slayer shall return into the land of his possession.
So these things shall be for a statute of judgment unto you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.
Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.
And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.
So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.
Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.