Deuteronomy 19-20

Deuteronomy 19-20

Chapter 19: Murders to be put to Death

Cities of refuge among the children of Israel are established in cases of accidental manslaughter, so that the one who committed the accident can flee that he might not be killed out of revenge. If the person is to be found guilty by two or three witnesses (verse 15), then they shall be put to death. Anyone who is a false witness shall be punished.

Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, the word shall be established. This is one of the reasons that missionaries in the LDS church preach in pairs, and sometimes in trios.

Chapter 20: Laws of War

When the children of Israel are to go to battle, they are reminded to not be worried when the opposing army is bigger, because the Lord will stand by them. They are told to take care of unfinished business before they go to war, that they might be able to enjoy life in the case that they are killed in battle.

If the children of Israel or anyone goes to war upon a city that wants peace, and are genuine about this peace offering, you must respect it. However, if they want war, then they are commanded to smite all the males with their sword, and kill them in the city. Women, children and animals are to be spared and part of the spoils of war.

Israelites are commanded to “utterly destroy” the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and the Jebusites.

Numbers 35-36

Numbers 35-36

Chapter 35: Murderers

The Lord speaks to Moses and tells him to command the Israelites to give a portion of their inheritance to the Levites. The Israelites are to allocate 48 towns (verse 7). Each land has a place for their flocks. Each Levite town would be” 1 thousand cubits roundabout” (1,500 feet or about 1/3 of a mile). In each Levite town there were pasture lands (in squares, 2000 cubits on each side) OR each pasture land was squared by 1/2 miles.

Each tribe of the Israelites would give a fair/proper portion of their lands. Tribes with more land would give more to the Levites, than a tribe with less land.

Six of the cities given to the Levites (3 on each side of the river Jordan) were designated as “cities of refuge”. If someone accidently murdered someone, they could run to a city of refuge and stay there until the high priest died, to return back to their home. However, if that person came back before the High Priest died and the “avenger” of the person he killed saw him, the “avenger” could kill the “murderer” without consequence of being a “murderer” himself.

The Rules of Murder among the Israelites is set forth in verses 15-34.

If someone accidently kills someone, then they can flee to a city of refuge to avoid the “revenger of blood” – maybe a relative of the person killed?

If however it was not an accident, but a murder. Then the murderer would be put to death.

The end of the chapter leaves us with a warning from God, that we should not pollute the land with blood. Also warns about “defiling the land”, because the Lord dwells among his people. A warning not to pollute, or misuse the land that God has given us? I think so.

Chapter 36: Marry in Your Tribe

The chief fathers of the families of Gilead come to speak before Moses, asking them about inheritances and marrying within or without of your tribe.

Their complaint/worry is that the daughters of Zelophehad (read Numbers 27:1-11) were given their fathers inheritance and they were worried that they would marry outside of the tribe of their fathers. The worry here, is that the name and property (inheritance) would disappear from the clan.

The Lord responds to this, by saying that the daughters of Zelophehad can marry anyone they choose, just as long as they marry within their tribe (verse 6). Zelophehad’s daughters do as they are commanded and marry their father’s, brothers, sons. OR their cousins on their fathers side. This would keep the land and their name in the tribe of their father.