The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Deuteronomy 19

Deu 19:1

Deu 19: This chapter contains: (a) an order to separate three cities of refuge in the land of Canaan, for the man who killed someone unawares to flee to, but to which those who were guilty of purposeful murder were to have no benefit (vv 1-13; cp Num 35:6-34), (b) a law against removing landmarks (Deu 19:14; cp Deu 27:17; Pro 22:28; 23:10); and (c) laws concerning witnesses in legal cases, that there should be more than one, that is, two or three (Deu 19:15; cp Mat 18:16; Joh 8:17; 2Co 13:1), and that a false witness, on conviction, should be punished (Deu 19:16-21; cp Exo 23:1-7; Mark 14:55-59).

Vv 1-13: "An important divine benefit was the provision of cities of refuge to protect those who found themselves in a grave situation of impending death. Six cities were to be separated for this purpose, three on each side of the Jordan. On arrival on the east, three of the cities had been named, a work completed by Joshua. Further instructions regarding the maintenance of the roads leading to the cities are now given. The provision of these cities was not merely for the circumstances of society, but to teach lessons concerning salvation. To live according to the flesh (ie, the desires thereof) and to give way to it, or sow to it, is to court death. Thus, lawlessness in which one refuses to be brought under the influence of divine law is a sin unto death. Thus one who hates his brother is a murderer, for which there is no city of refuge available, but he was removed out of the way of mercy. But there are sins not unto death, for which forgiveness shall be granted. We therefore should seek that City of Refuge (Christ) along the Living Way of prominence, and easy access" (GEM).

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