God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 10 - Numbers 35-36: God Provides for the Levites and Accused Murderers

Today’s Reading: Numbers 35-36

The Message

English Standard Version

Congratulations! You've made it through five books of the Old Testament! Only one more to go in the Pentateuch.

Thought to Guide Your Reading

God is providing for the Levites, the ones who go between the people and God, and someone who accidently kills another.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

God gave land outside every city for the Levites to graze their livestock. Six towns were given for asylum-seekers. The Levites were also given 42 cities inside Israel.
The asylum towns served as courts for accused murderers. If they knowingly used a tool or waited for the person to kill him/her, the person was executed. If a pure accident occurred, he/she lived in the asylum city until the high priest died. One person's testimony could not condemn an accused murderer.
God commanded any woman who received her father's inheritance to marry within her own tribe to prevent cross-tribal land transfer.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

God gave land to His Priests.

The Levites would not receive a land inheritance as the other tribes. The grasslands and 42 cities were to serve as their replacement for the large province the other tribes would receive. God provides for His Priests.

God protected the accidental-killer but not the murderer.

God would not allow the innocent person (or someone who killed another in an accident) to be executed by a relative bent on revenge. However, God knew that once a person's close relative was killed (that is how a person became the blood redeemer), the person would never be able to let it go. So God gave a statute that any person who was found innocent of murder could not leave the city. If they did, their asylum was revoked. God protects the innocent and punishes the murderer with death.

God does not allow one person to condemn another alone.

God realizes that one person alone is not a reliable witness. Too many variables could prevent righteous justice: personal distaste, grudges, bad view, mistaken identity, wanting easy justice instead of righteous justice. So God stipulated that one person could not condemn a person. God protects the innocent from someone with a vendetta against them.

God's statute that a woman with no brothers who wishes to marry must marry within her tribe helped each tribe maintain clear borders to keep the peace.

Land transfer was an important issue. God stated that land must be returned to its original tribe during the Jubilee. However, land was transferred through male lineage and not female lineage. So when a woman married outside her tribe, she in essence left her claim on her tribe's land. So if a woman had no brothers and received her father's land as an inheritance, she could no longer marry outside her tribe so the tribe could maintain control over the land. This helped the tribes stay peaceful with each other and prevented larger tribes from gaining land within the smaller tribes' area (or vice versa). It's a complicated law, but one that was important for that time period.

What do you think of the asylum cities? Leave a comment in the section below or on the Sonoma Mountain Parkway Church of Christ Facebook page.
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