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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary


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The sacredness of human life, and the justice of punishing a murderer by death, are grounded on the fact that man was made in the image of God, Genesis 9:6 . With justice, the passion for revenge often conspired to secure the death of the criminal. Among the Arabs, the nearest male relative of a murdered person was to pursue the homicide until by force or craft he put him to death. The law of Moses expressly forbade the acceptance of any ransom for a life thus forfeited, Numbers 35:31 ; but it interfered between an accused person and his pursuer, by providing a sanctuary-at the altar of God and in the cities of refuge-where the accused might be safe until it was proved that he had committed the act, willfully or accidentally, Joshua 20:6,9 . In the former case, he was at once given up to his pursuer for death, Exodus 1:14 ; 1 Kings 2:29,34 . In the latter case, he might dwell with safety in the city of refuge; but should he go elsewhere before the death of the high priest, he was liable to be slain by the avenger of blood, Numbers 35:25-28 .

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Blood-Avenger'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. 1859.

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