Joshua Chapter 20  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Joshua 20
Jos 20:1(top)
Jos 20:2

“the cities of refuge.” “Refuge” has the meaning of “shelter,” and in modern Hebrew, it is used of shelters and bomb shelters. Every one of the cities of refuge is a Levitical city, so the elders of the city (Josh. 20:4) are all Levites.

“of which I spoke to you by Moses.” Moses spoke about the cities of refuge (Num. 35:6; 9-34; Deut. 19:1-13). The literal is “by the hand of Moses.” Yahweh spoke to Israel “by (“by way of” or “through”) Moses.”

Jos 20:3

“strikes down any person.” More literally “strikes down any soul,” where “soul” is used of the person, and indicates the whole person.

“unintentionally.” The translation “unintentionally” means without premeditation. The Hebrew is literally, “without knowledge,” and includes without premeditation, but it would also include doing something that someone died from but you did not even know the person had died. For example, someone walking on a mountaintop might kick a stone that rolls down into a wadi below and hits and kills someone, and the person who loosed the rock might not even know about it.

“avenger of blood.” A member of one’s family or clan that would kill anyone who killed someone in the family (see commentary on Num. 35:19). However, there was a procedure. There had to be two witnesses, etc.

The word translated “avenger” is the word for “redeemer.” The “avenger,” the “redeemer,” provides justice.

Jos 20:4

“gate...elders.” In the biblical culture of the Old Testament, it was the custom that the elders of a city would sit at the city gate (Gen. 19:1, 9; Deut. 21:19; 22:15; 25:7; Josh. 20:4; Ruth 4:11; 1 Sam. 4:18; Esther 2:19, 21; 3:2; Lam. 5:14; Dan. 2:49).

[For more on the elders at the gate, see commentary on Ruth 4:11; and for Wisdom being at the city gate, see commentary on Proverbs 1:21.]

Jos 20:5

“unintentionally.” Literally, “without knowledge” (cp. Josh. 20:3).

“hate him previously.” A Hebrew idiom: more literally, “yesterday or three,” but the meaning is “previously,” “before,” “in times past.”

Jos 20:6(top)
Jos 20:7(top)
Jos 20:8

“they assigned Bezer.” The city of Bezer was more or less east of Jericho.

“Golan.” “Golan” is the name of a city in the modern Golan Heights, but the ancient name for the area was Bashan.

Jos 20:9(top)

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