The Book of Joshua, Chapter 20, with BAC Explanations. Cities of Refuge for accidental Homicide are appointed.
with Yair Davidiy
[Joshua 20:1] THE LORD ALSO SPAKE UNTO JOSHUA, SAYING,
[Joshua 20:2] SPEAK TO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, SAYING, APPOINT OUT FOR YOU
CITIES OF REFUGE, WHEREOF I SPAKE UNTO YOU BY THE HAND OF
[Joshua 20:3] THAT THE SLAYER THAT KILLETH ANY PERSON UNAWARES AND
UNWITTINGLY MAY FLEE THITHER: AND THEY SHALL BE YOUR REFUGE FROM THE
AVENGER OF BLOOD.
<<THE AVENGER OF BLOOD>>: This was preferably a kinsman of the victim but
if none were available the court appointed a kind of bounty-hunter to do
the Jew.Â The courts actually distinguished (as I understand it) between
four degrees of homicide:
a.Â Â Â Â Â Completely Unforeseeable accident: no punishment but the court
could decide on exile in some cases.
b.Â Â Â Â Â Homicide due to criminal negligence with the possibility of
criminal intent, punishment.
c.Â Â Â Â Â Murder involved punishment usually (but not always) the death penalty
d.Â Â Â Â Â Homicide due to negligence involved exile which is what the passage
is speaking of in this case.
[Joshua 20:4] AND WHEN HE THAT DOTH FLEE UNTO ONE OF THOSE CITIES SHALL
STAND AT THE ENTERING OF THE GATE OF THE CITY, AND SHALL DECLARE HIS CAUSE
IN THE EARS OF THE ELDERS OF THAT CITY, THEY SHALL TAKE HIM INTO THE CITY
UNTO THEM, AND GIVE HIM A PLACE, THAT HE MAYÂ DWELL AMONG THEM.
[Joshua 20:5] AND IF THE AVENGER OF BLOOD PURSUE AFTER HIM, THEN THEY SHALL
NOT DELIVER THE SLAYER UP INTO HIS HAND; BECAUSE HE SMOTE HIS NEIGHBOUR
UNWITTINGLY, AND HATED HIMÂ NOT BEFORETIME.
[Joshua 20:6] AND HE SHALL DWELL IN THAT CITY, UNTIL HE STAND BEFORE THE
CONGREGATION FORÂ JUDGMENT, AND UNTIL THE DEATH OF THE HIGH PRIEST THAT
SHALL BE IN THOSE DAYS: THEN SHALL THEÂ SLAYER RETURN, AND COME UNTO HIS
OWN CITY, AND UNTO HIS OWN HOUSE, UNTO THE CITY FROMÂ WHENCE HE FLED.
[Joshua 20:7] AND THEY APPOINTED KEDESH IN GALILEE IN MOUNT NAPHTALI, AND
SHECHEM IN MOUNT EPHRAIM, AND KIRJATHARBA, WHICH IS HEBRON, IN THE MOUNTAIN OF JUDAH.
SCHECHEM (now named "Nablus" which is an Arab pronunciation of Naples,
named after the pagan god, Apollo) was once the major city in Manasseh. It
is interesting to note that the whole region was referred to as MOUNT
EPHRAIM even though it was in Manasseh. The Talmud (Macot 10;a)Â points out
the Schechem is not that far from Hebron but the cities should have been
set at proportional distances, i.e. for every number of people they should
have a city of refuge within a reasonable distance. The answer is that in
the area of Schechem murderers were more common so there was more need for
a city of refuge in that area.
The King James translation has the following entry:
[Hosea 6:9] AND AS TROOPS OF ROBBERS WAIT FOR A MAN, SO THE COMPANY OF
PRIESTS MURDER IN THE WAY BY CONSENT: FOR THEY COMMIT LEWDNESS.
I like the King James but in this case the translation has me perplexed: It
should be something like:
<<And as a band of troops (or robbers) waiting for a man, a band of priests
will murder in the way towards Schechem, for they committed lewdness>>.
Apparently the KJ translated the Hebrew "Schechemah" (towards Schechem)
asÂ <<BY CONSENT>> but I doÂ not know what this interpretation could be
based upon. At all events the sages understood the passage as evidence that
murders were common in the region of Schechem.Â We identify Manasseh mainly
with the USA and a disproportional number (by Israelite standards) of
murders do take place there.Â Despite otherwise very positive features
there does seem to be an inordinate tendency to violence in American society.
<<KIRJATHARBA, WHICH IS HEBRON>>:Â We will see later that the fields and
suburbs of Hebron were given to CALEB THE SON OF JEPHUNNEH (Joshua 21:12).
The Talmud (Macot 10;a) explains that the city outself was given to the
Levites and this was the section that became the City of Refuge whereas the
outlying g areas went to Caleb or in Hebrew "Calev". Kalev is considered
the first king and national hero of the people of Finland.
We have traced the people of Finland to Issachar, Gad, and Simeon.
Hebron was in the southern portion of Judah close to Simeon that was
encompassed and absorbed by Judah.Â The connection of the Finnish people to
Caleb may perhaps be explained through their Simeon component or mixed
Judah-Simeon since many from Judah were also exiled along with the Ten
Tribes.Â Sennacherib in an inscription boasted of taking more than 200,000
from Judah into captivity. This is referred to in Midrashic sources where
it says that most of those taken by the Assyrians from Judah were of the
Tribe of Simeon.
[Joshua 20:8] AND ON THE OTHER SIDE JORDAN BY JERICHO EASTWARD, THEY
ASSIGNED BEZERÂ IN THE WILDERNESS UPON THE PLAIN OUT OF THE TRIBE OF
REUBEN, AND RAMOTH IN GILEAD OUTÂ OF THE TRIBE OF GAD, AND GOLAN IN BASHAN
OUT OF THE TRIBE OF MANASSEH.
Â Gilead was east of the Jordan. It was a city of refuge (Numbers chapter
32) for unintentional homicides.Â There were three major cities of refuge
east of the Jordan and three west of it. The Talmud (Macot 9;a) comments
that this was because these cities were situated were homicide was the more
to be expected.
<<GILEAD IS A CITY OF THEM THAT WORK INIQUITY, AND IS POLLUTED WITH BLOOD>>
Gilead is also pronounced Galaad.Â Gilead is also the name of a major clan
in Menasseh. Descendants of Gilead now dominate those who dwell in the
In "Albion's Seed, Four British Folkways in America," David Hackett
Fischer, NY, 1989. It is described how people in the west of the USA are
dominated by elements from west and north Britain and northern Ireland and
how these always had a greater propensity to violence and wildness. [they
were also a great people and the spread of Anglo-Saxon power was also
largely due to them] In "The Tribes" these people are traced to elements
from "Gilead" of Menasseh.Â A very valuable article on this matter was also
written by David LewisÂ in Craig White's magazine "Origin of Nations." A
complte chapter in "Joseph" by Yair Davidi (2001) was devoted to Gilead in the USA.
[Joshua 20:9] THESE WERE THE CITIES APPOINTED FOR ALL THE CHILDREN OF
ISRAEL, AND FOR THE STRANGER THAT SOJOURNETH AMONG THEM, THAT WHOSOEVER
KILLETH ANY PERSON AT UNAWARES MIGHT FLEE THITHER, AND NOT DIE BY THE HAND
OF THE AVENGER OF BLOOD, UNTIL HE STOOD BEFORE THE CONGREGATION.