Devotional Readings, M'Cheyne Bible Reading Notes

Numbers 35 – The Death Penalty for Murder

This is a tough read. Our country is experiencing a lot of anxiety about our cherished 2nd Amendment.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Most of the concerns are about people misusing guns harming any number of others. Including murdering them.

Today’s reading in Numbers 35 has much to say about the issue in their day. Verses 16-21 seem to address various forms of murder: instruments of iron, stone and weapons of wood, or even by bare hand. They didn’t have guns but that seemed not to prevent murder.

The first murder came early in history.

Genesis 4:8  And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

And God’s Law is clear.

Exodus 20:13  Thou shalt not kill.

But you can see that there was a need for allowing refuge from revenge in cases of accidental manslaughter, as well as a clear death penalty for murder with intent. See verses 20-21.

Cities of Refuge

Num 35:9  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Num 35:10  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come over Jordan into the land of Canaan;

Num 35:11  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.

Num 35:12  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.

Num 35:13  And of these cities which ye shall give six cities shall ye have for refuge.

Num 35:14  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.

Num 35:15  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.

Num 35:16  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.

Num 35:17  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.

Num 35:18  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.

Num 35:19  The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him.

Num 35:20  But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die;

Num 35:21  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.

Num 35:22  But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or have cast upon him any thing without laying of wait,

Num 35:23  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:

Num 35:24  Then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the revenger of blood according to these judgments:

Num 35:25  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.

Num 35:26  But if the slayer shall at any time come without the border of the city of his refuge, whither he was fled;

Num 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:

Num 35:28  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.

Num 35:29  So these things shall be for a statute of judgment unto you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

Num 35:30  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.

Num 35:31  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.

Num 35:32  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.

Num 35:33  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.

Num 35:34  Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.

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