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Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Cities of Refuge

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(See BLOOD, AVENGING OF.) Kedesh ("holy," so Jesus our city of refuge, Hebrews 6:18; Hebrews 7:26), now Kedes, 20 miles E.S.E. from Tyre. Shechem ("shoulder," upon Jesus' shoulder the government is, Isaiah 9:6), now Nablous. Hebron ("fellowship," so Christ to us, 1 Corinthians 1:9), now El-Khalil. Bezer, perhaps Bozor in the Book of Maccabees ("fortress," so is Jesus, Isaiah 32:2; Isaiah 26:1; Isaiah 26:4). Ramoth Gilead, on the site of Ez-Szalt (Ramoth ("high"), so is Jesus to us, Acts 5:31). Golan, Jaulan ("joy"; Jesus is our joy, Romans 5:11). All the 48 cities of Levi had the right of asylum. But the six of refuge were bound to entertain the involuntary manslayer gratuitously. The cities on each side of the Jordan were nearly opposite one another (Deuteronomy 19:2; Numbers 35:6; Numbers 35:13; Numbers 35:15; Joshua 20:2; Joshua 20:7; Joshua 20:9).

If manslayers had been driven out of the country as among the Greeks, they would have been exposed to the temptation of worshipping strange gods (1 Samuel 26:19). The Levitical cities were to have a space of 1,000 cubits (583 yards) beyond the city walls for pasture and other purposes (Numbers 35:4-5). The 2,000 cubits also specified mean probably the sum of the two single thousands on opposite sides of the city, exclusive of the city itself; as here shown. Clermont-Ganneau has discovered a bilingual inscription, Greek and Hebrew, "limit of Gezer" (now Tel-el-Jezer), on a horizontal slab E. of that royal Canaanite city; also a second similarly inscribed stone 1,696 yards due N.W. of the first. This proves that the sacred boundary was a square, having its four angles at the four cardinal points (Palestine Exploration Quarterly Statement, Oct. 1874).


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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Cities of Refuge'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/fbd/c/cities-of-refuge.html. 1949.

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