Summary: A Bible study on Numbers 35
As a child, did you ever run away from home? Where did you go?
Thesis: 3 Things From This Chapter
The Levitical Towns- ““You are the salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13, NIV.
They were scattered widely throughout Israel.
It is not good for Christians to gather in the holy huddle.
“And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” Acts 8:1-4.
Some Christians have a hard time in a workplace with few other Christians. Put there for a reason, to be salt. Need Christians in all places, in all walks of life to be salt.
Even though scattered they lived together in towns.
There is strength in numbers. Went out 2 by 2.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no-one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17, NIV.
The Levites properties were meager but sufficient for their needs.
Total amount of actual land given them amounted to one tenth of 1 percent of land of Canaan
“It is the Levites who are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting and bear the responsibility for offenses against it. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. They will receive no inheritance among the Israelites.” Numbers 18:23, NIV.
They were to be focused on ministry of Lord in the tabernacle and to their fellow Israelites. “having nothing, and yet possessing everything” 2 Corinthians 6:10
The Israelites in each area of the country were to provide for the Levites.
“For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the ploughman ploughs and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:9-14, NIV.
The Cities of Refuge
This is a type or metaphor of the salvation of people through Jesus Christ.
For whom was the city of refuge provided?
It is not for the person who has committed first or second degree murder (vs. 16- 21). The elements of common law murder are: Unlawful killing of a human by another human with malice aforethought.
It is for the person who has committed manslaughter. The main idea is that this was not committed with malice aforethought. (vs. 22- 23). Have you ever been accidentally hurt by a friend? How did this situation make you feel? How did it affect your friendship?
Here is a place where the type or metaphor breaks down (really this breaks down in several places). James Philip says this, “There was no mercy and no provision for the murderer in the OT: he was to be put to death, for his crime was deliberate and premeditated. The question that therefore arises is what parallel there is in the NT when we think of man the sinner. For is not our sin also deliberate? Yes, but human sin is rarely purely deliberate; most often it is mixed with something else- ignorance, weakness, or shortcoming.” I think this is very weak. Yes, many times we have mixed motives but in reality we are all guilty and we are without excuse or defense.
Jesus Christ is for people who are guilty, not for those who are innocent “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8, NIV.
The city was to protect the manslayer from whom?
In OT times the duty of avenging a killing lay upon the nearest kinsman (the avenger, vs. 12); obviously, occasions would come in which vengeance might well be executed on those who had not killed deliberately. This provision was made to prevent excesses that might develop into feuds. A man could flee to this city for refuge. Probably he appealed to the elders at the city gate, a trial was set up before the congregation of the city not long after. This trial would judge whether this was a deliberate murder or a manslaughter. If a manslaughter, the killer could find refuge, protection, in the city and be free from the fear of vengeance, so long as he remained within the city walls. (vs. 24- 28)