Joshua Chapter 20: Cities of Refuge

Verses 1-6: The cities of refuge were designated as cities that would receive and protect those people that accidentally or unintentionally took a life. The victim’s relative is expected to take revenge on the original offender, and the fact that this accidental offender had a place of solace and protection must have been a great relief. This was a fulfillment of God’s law as it was handed down to Moses in Numbers 35. It is important because it represents God’s faithfulness and the care he takes for the afflicted.

God has given us a refuge in His Son Jesus, even though our own sin was intentional. God’s behavior towards mankind is consistent, preparing a place of solace for those that seek it through Him.

Verses 7-9: Continuing the theme of salvation, let us note the meanings of the cities’ names in the original Greek as they appear in these verses. 

Kedesh: Holy

Shechem: Shoulder

Hebron: Fellowship

Bezer: Fortification

Ramoth: High or Exalted

Golan: Joy

Fascinating to consider how these refuge cities’ names mirror the meaning of their use. Rest in the knowledge that it is no mistake. 

Also consider the themes of salvation and care, and how they not only apply to this chapter, but how it is also a mirror for our sinful state before we seek Jesus Christ.

Numbers 35:9-34 provides a detailed description of what constituted murder and what was termed as accidental murder, along with more details about the cities of refuge.

Matthew Henry’s commentary used as a reference

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