JOSHUA 20 – MERCY SHOWN, JUSTICE SATISFIED
#16 – MOVING FORWARD – THE BOOK OF JOSHUA
- What is the difference between murder and (involuntary) manslaughter? Should there be a difference in punishment?
- God in His mercy provided for a lesser punishment and protection for someone guilty of manslaughter.
- Numbers 35:29-33 – God in His justice still required the blood for another in order to satisfy God’s righteous requirement.
A PLAN FOR MERCY – Vss. 1-2, Numbers 35:9-15
- When someone was killed by another, an “Avenger of Blood” from his family was assigned to take the life of the guilty party. Genesis 9:5-6
- The Cities of Refuge were appointed so a person guilty of manslaughter had a place to flee until he had a fair trial, and a place of protection from the Avenger of Blood.
A PLEA FOR MERCY – Vss. 3-4, Numbers 35:11
- A person guilty of manslaughter was to flee the Avenger of Blood as fast as he could and present himself at a City of Refuge.
- Access to these cities was to be provided with good roads. Deuteronomy 19:3
A PLACE FOR MERCY – Vss. 5-6, 9
- Note that this place for mercy was available to all until there was a trial and/or the death of the high priest.
A PREREQUISITE FOR MERCY – Vs. 6
- There was to be a trial. Numbers 35:12
- Those guilty of murder were not to be spared. Numbers 35:16-21
- Those guilty of manslaughter were allowed mercy. Numbers 35:22-23
- Those guilty of manslaughter had to remain in the city of refuge to be protected. Numbers 35:24-28
THE PROVIDERS OF MERCY – Vss. 7-8
- Six cities, 3 on each side of the Jordan and in each section of the country were provided.
- According to Warren Wiersbe in The Bible Exposition Commentary: The meanings of the names of the cities are interesting. Taking them in the order listed in Joshua 20:7–8, you have: Kedesh = “righteousness”; Shechem = “shoulder”; Hebron = “fellowship”; Bezer = “fortress” or “strong”; and Ramoth = “heights.” Hebraists do not agree on what Golan means, but the Gesenius Lexicon says it means “exile.”
- If you think of Christ as our refuge, how do the names for these cities apply to Him?
THE PRICE OF MERCY – Vs. 9
- Blood was still required to avenge the shedding of blood.
- Probably God accepted the death of the high priest as the blood payment required.
- Although we are all guilty of sin and deserve punishment, Jesus, our High Priest was sacrificed for us that we might be set free. God’s justice was satisfied on the cross! Hebrews 2:14-17