Of the Cities of Refuge.
Hebron, the most eminent among them, excites us to remember the rest. "The Rabbins deliver this; Moses separated three cities of refuge beyond Jordan, [Deut 4:41-43;] and, against them, Joshua separated three cities in the land of Canaan, [Josh 20:7,8]. And these were placed by one another, just as two ranks of vines are in a vineyard: Hebron in Judea against Bezer in the wilderness: Shechem in mount Ephraim against Ramoth in Gilead: Kedesh in mount Napthali against Golan in Basan. And these three were so equally disposed, that there was so much space from the south coast of the land of Israel to Hebron, as there was from Hebron to Shechem; and as much from Hebron to Shechem, as from Shechem to Kedesh; and as much from Shechem to Kedesh, as from Kedesh to the north coast of the land."

It was the Sanhedrim's business to make the ways to those cities convenient, by enlarging them, and by removing every stop, against which one might either stumble or dash his foot. No hillock or river was allowed to be in the way, over which there was not a bridge: and the way, leading thither, was, at least, two-and-thirty cubits broad. And in every double way, or in the parting of the ways, was written "Refuge, refuge," -- lest he that fled thither might mistake the way.

The mothers of the high priest used to feed and clothe those, that for murder were shut up in the cities of refuge, that they might not pray for the death of their sons, -- since the fugitive was to be restored to his country and friends at the death of the high priest: but if he died before in the city of refuge, his bones were to be restored after the death of the high priest.

The Jews dream, that in the days of the Messias, three other cities are to be added to those six which are mentioned in the Holy Scripture, -- and they to be among the Kenites, the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites.

"Let him that kills the high priest by a sudden chance, fly to a city of refuge; but let him never return thence."

chapter 49 hebron
Top of Page
Top of Page