Y’hoshua con’t…. Part XI

Y’hoshua con’t…. Part XI
To begin this study at the beginning – click on March 1st and then every highlighted day on the March calendar.

Chapter 20

Cities of Refuge
The Lord spoke to Y’hoshua and told him to appoint “six cities of refuge” for the children of Israel and for the gerim among them. A ger (say gare) is one who lives among the Israelis and stands with them. One might say they are adopted in. I am a ger, and proud to be one! The people leaving Egypt during the time of the exodus were called a “mixed multitude”. There were many, many non-Jews among them who were accepted and adopted into the various tribes. They received land right along with the Israelis. Same rules applied for all.

There were three cities on the west side of the Jordan River and three on the east side. They were pretty well spaced to allow access to all the people. The purpose for these cities was this: If an Israeli accidentally killed another Israeli without meaning to they could flee to the nearest city of refuge and be safe from the family of the victim. In those days, if someone was murdered, the family had the right to go after them and kill them. There was no long court battle, no endless amount of attorney’s fees and no super long delays for those on “death row”. Plain and simple – if you murdered someone, your life was taken immediately. When you arrived in one of these cities, you went to the gate and declared your innocence to the elders of the city. There was, of course, no radio, no TV, and no newspapers. The city gate was the place where people went to “catch the news”. Important men of the city gathered there to decide matters, hear the latest, and be seen by the inhabitants and travelers coming and going. The refugee was given a place to live and I would suppose, employment of some kind. Then he went before the Congregation to be examined. If you were found innocent, you had to stay inside that city until the death of the Cohen HaGadol (high priest). After that he could safely return to his own city and take up his life without fear of retaliation.

Chapter 21

The Levites were given 48 cities and their common lands. Many of them were also cities of refuge. The land was thus divided and Israel was able to rest. None of their enemies stood against them and everything happened just as G-d said it would. It was a good time for the Israelites.

Chapter 22

The two tribes and the half tribe which were granted land on the east of the Jordan had been requested to leave their families on their new lands and the warriors were to do battle along side the rest of the nation until all had received their portion. This was now accomplished. Y’hoshua commended them for their good work and sent them home to their families. He sent them with his blessing as these words – which are apropos for us today. I think this verse would be a good one to memorize and live by!

Joshua 22:5: But take diligent heed to do the commandment which Moses, the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your G-d, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and soul.

If we do this, we will be doing well!

See you next time …
Shalom, Sharaka

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