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was not only permitted but commanded by Jehovah. In practice, also, we see that it was deemed lawful to kill at the altar a criminal who refused to leave its protection. Thus when Joab fled to the tabernacle and took hold of the horns of the altar, Benaiah, who was sent to slay him, commanded him, in the king's name, to come forth. He refused, saying, “ Nay, but I will die here." Benaiah went to the king for further instructions, and Solomon told him to “ Do as he hath said, and fall upon him and bury him ; that thou mayest take away the innocent blood which Joab shed.” (1 Kings ii. 28, &c.) In all this there is a healthiness of principle-a freedom from any thing like superstition, which we should look for vainly among other ancient nations, or find only as a sentiment of some philosophers and poets.
The ancient sanctuaries were not, however, exclusively places consecrated to the worship of the gods. Towns, and parts of towns, and even islands, had this privilege. The whole island of Samothracia was a sanctuary, according to Livy. The whole city of Smyrna was made a sanctuary by Seleucus. The people of Hierocæsarea held the right of asylum to extend for two miles around their temple, dedicated to the Persian Diana ; and indeed it was not unusual for the sanctuary to include a considerable extent of ground around a temple. It seems indeed to have been a favourite device of antiquity to people a new founded city by declaring it an asylum for all the criminals and fugitives who wanted refuge. Thus Cadmus is said to have attracted a population to Thebes ; and thus Romulus, when he built Rome, left a place, covered with wood, between the capital and the Tarpeian rock, which he promised to make a safe asylum to all who fled thither. All these were however very different indeed from the Hebrew cities of refuge. One rather remarkable analogy exists among the North American Indians, and is noticed by Adair, whose statements are generally entitled to credit, although mostly adduced to support a favourite hypothesis—which is, that the North Americans are descended from the Jews. He says, “ The North American Indian nations have most of them either a house or town of refuge, which is a sure asylum to protect a manslayer or an unfortunate captive. The Cheerake, though now exceedingly corrupt, still observe that law so inviolably, as to allow their beloved town the privilege of protecting a wilful murderer, but they seldom allow them to return home afterwards in safety: they will revenge blood for blood, unless in some very particular case where the eldest can redeem. In almost every Indian nation there are several peaceable towns, which are called old, beloved, ancient, holy, or white towns, (white being their fixed emblem of peace, friendship, prosperity, happiness, purity, &c.) They seem to have been formerly towns of refuge, for it is not in the memory of their oldest people that ever human blood was shed in them, although they often force persons from thence and put them to death elsewhere."
half tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, thirteen 1 Eight and forty cities given by lot, out of the cities.
other tribes, unto the Levites. 43 God gave the 7 The children of Merari by their families land, and rest unto the Israelites, according to his had out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of promise.
the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Then came near the heads of the fathers of Zebulun, twelve cities. the Levites unto Eleazar the priest, and | 8 And the children of Israel gave by lot unto Joshua the son of Nun, and unto the unto the Levites these cities with their heads of the fathers of the tribes of the chil | suburbs, as the LORD commanded by the dren of Israel;
hand of Moses. 2 And they spake unto them at Shiloh in 99 And they gave out of the tribe of the the land of Canaan, saying, 'The LORD com children of Judah, and out of the tribe of manded by the hand of Moses to give us the children of Simeon, these cities which cities to dwell in, with the suburbs thereof are here ?mentioned by name, for our cattle.
10 Which the children of Aaron, being 3 And the children of Israel gave unto of the families of the Kohathites, who were the Levites out of their inheritance, at the of the children of Levi, had : for their's was commandment of the LORD, these cities and the first lot. their suburbs.
11 And they gave them the city of Arba 4 And the lot came out for the families the father of Anak, which city is Hebron, in of the Kohathites : and the children of Aaron the hill country of Judah, with the suburbs the priest, which were of the Levites, had by thereof round about it. lot out of the tribe of Judah, and out of the 12 But 'the fields of the city, and the viltribe of Simeon, and out of the tribe of Ben- lages thereof, gave they to Caleb the son of jamin, thirteen cities.
Jephunneh for his possession. 5 And the rest of the children of Kohath 13 | Thus they gave to the children of had by lot out of the families of the tribe of Aaron the priest Hebron with her suburbs, Ephraim, and out of the tribe of Dan, and to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and out of the half tribe of Manasseh, ten Libnah with her suburbs, cities.
14 And Jattir with her suburbs, and Esh6 And the children of Gershon had by temoa with her suburbs, lot out of the families of the tribe of Issa | 15 And Holon with her suburbs, and char, and out of the tribe of Asher, and out Debir with her suburbs, of the tribe of Naphtali, and out of the 16 And Ain with her suburbs, and Juttah
Num. 33. 2. Heb. called. Or, Kirjath-arba Chap. 14. 14. 1 Chron. 6, 56.
with her suburbs, and Bethshemesh with 32 And out of the tribe of Naphtali, Keher suburbs; nine cities out of those two desh in Galilee with her suburbs, to be a city tribes.
of refuge for the slayer; and Hammoth-dor 17 And out of the tribe of Benjamin, with her suburbs, and Kartan with her Gibeon with her suburbs, Geba with her suburbs; three cities. suburbs,
33 All the cities of the Gershonites ac18 Anathoth with her suburbs, and Almoncording to their families were thirteen cities with her suburbs; four cities.
with their suburbs. 19 All the cities of the children of Aaron, 34 9 And unto the families of the chilthe priests, were thirteen cities with their dren of Merari, the rest of the Levites, out suburbs.
of the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with her 20 | And the families of the children of suburbs, and Kartah with her suburbs, Kohath, the Levites which remained of the 35 Dimnah with her suburbs, Nahalal children of Kohath, even they had the cities with her suburbs; four cities. of their lot out of the tribe of Ephraim. I 36 And out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer
21 For they gave them Shechem with her with her suburbs, and Jahazah with her suburbs in mount Ephraim, to be a city of suburbs, refuge for the slayer; and Gezer with her 37 Kedemoth with her suburbs, and Me. suburbs,
phaath with her suburbs; four cities. 22 And Kibzaim with her suburbs, and 38 And out of the tribe of Gad, Ramoth Beth-horon with her suburbs; four cities. in Gilead with her suburbs, to be a city of
23 And out of the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh refuge for the slayer; and Mahanaim with with her suburbs, Gibbethon with her her suburbs, suburbs,
39 Heshbon with her suburbs, Jazer with 24 Aijalon with her suburbs, Gath-riin- her suburbs; four cities in all. mon with her suburbs; four cities.
40 So all the cities for the children of 25 And out of the half tribe of Manasseh, Merari by their families, which were remainTanach with her suburbs, and Gath-rimmoning of the families of the Levites, were by with her suburbs; two cities.
their lot twelve cities. 26 All the cities were ten with their 41 All the cities of the Levites within the suburbs for the families of the children of possession of the children of Israel were Kohath that remained.
forty and eight cities with their suburbs. 27 9 And unto the children of Gershon, 42 These cities were every one with their of the families of the Levites, out of the suburbs round about them; thus were all other half tribe of Manasseh they gave Golan these cities. in Bashan with her suburbs, to be a city of 43 | And the LORD gave unto Israel all refuge for the slayer; and Beesh-terah with the land which he sware to give unto their her suburbs; two cities.
fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt 28 And out of the tribe of Issachar, Ki therein. shon with her suburbs, Dabareh with her 44 And the LORD gave them rest round suburbs,
about, according to all that he sware unto 29 Jarmuth with her suburbs, Engannim their fathers : and there stood not a man of with her suburbs; four cities.
all their enemies before them; the LORD 30 And out of the tribe of Asher, Mishal delivered all their enemies into their hand. with her suburbs, Abdon with her suburbs, .45 "There failed not ought of any good
31 Helkath with her suburbs, and Rehob | thing which the Lord had spoken unto the with her suburbs; four cities.
| house of Israel; all came to pass. * Chap 23. 14, 15.
Verse 4. (i Thirteen cities.”_We must not here overlook a remarkable instance of arrangement, with so distinct a reference to future circumstances as could only have taken place under the direction of ONE whose cognizance of things is not memory or foresight, but to whose infinite mind all the events of eternity and time are simultaneously present. We observe that the priestly division of the family of Kohath have all their cities in the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Simeon. None in any other tribe ;—not even in that of Ephraim in which the tabernacle then stood. Indeed, we may almost say that they were all in Judah and Benjamin ; for only one was in the tribe of Simeon, and that one (Ain) is supposed to have been on the frontier of Judah, and subject in some degree to its control. We cannot reasonably doubt that this arrangement had a prospective reference to the ultimate establishment of the Temple and the services of religion at Jerusalem, when this distribution of their towns placed the priests in the most advantageous situation for that attendance at the capital which their duty required. Dr. Hales has also a very probable idea as to the ulterior intention of this arrangement; namely, that it had a reference to the division which ultimately took place, and by which Judah and Benjamin became an independent state, which remained far more faithful to Jehovah than did the kingdom which the other tribes composed. He says: “By this arrangement all the sacerdotal cities (except one) lay in the faithful tribes of Judah and Benjamin, to maintain the national worship in them, in opposition to the apostacy of the other tribes. Otherwise the kingdom of Judah might have experienced a scarcity of priests, or have been burdened with the maintenance of those who fled from the kingdom of Israel (2 Chron. xi. 13, 14), when the base and wicked policy of Jeroboam made priests of the lowest of the people to officiate in their room."
41. “ All the cities of the Levites.... were forty and eight cities with their suburbs.”—Considering the inferior numbers of the tribe of Levi, this seems a very disproportionate number of cities, as compared with those of the other tribes. But we are to recollect that in this account every Levitical city is enumerated, whereas, in the account of the towns in the lot of the other tribes, only the principal, and sometimes only those that occur on the frontiers, are mentioned. Besides, the Levites had only these cities, with a strictly-defined circuit of ground around each. They had no villages or extensive grounds connected with their towns. These, like most of the others in Palestine at this period, were doubtless towns of small extent and consequence, although they included some of the best towns the land possessed. We need not suppose them to be so very small, however, as Michaelis imagines: he says, “ The tribe of Levi, which, including children, consisted of 22,000 males, and, of course, with its females, would amount to about 44,000 souls, received forty-eight cities for its share: and who but must see that all of them must have been inconsiderable?" According to this calculation, the population of each Levitical town would not have amounted to one thousand. But it is founded on a mistake, into which it is singular that so acute an analyst should have fallen. The Levites were by no means the exclusive occupants of the cities which belonged to them. This is implied in the right which they possessed to sell their houses for a term of years, although not in perpetuity. We may easily conceive that the grant of forty-eight cities was not exclusively intended with a view to their present numbers only, but prospectively, with reference to their future wants. And as they were proprietors, but not necessarily occupants, they doubtless let such houses as, while their numbers were low, they did not require for their own accommodation. Thus it is, that, in the course of the sacred history, we meet with Levitical cities in which the Levites do not appear to have formed any considerable part of the population. We observe, for instance (v. 17), that Geba, or Gibeah, is one of the Levitical cities in the lot of Benjamin ; yet, in Judges xix., we see that city occupied by Benjamites, who treated in the most atrocious manner a Levite, who happened to seek a lodging there. We afterwards find the same city the birthplace and residence of Saul, a layman ; who, when he became king, made it the seat of his government. After him, David resided with his court, and reigned, in Hebron, which was not only a Levitical city, but a priestly city, and a city of refuge. Is it also not possible that the present arrangement merely determines the right of the Levites to the cities in question, whenever their increased numbers should render the whole of them necessary; and that, till then, such of them as were not immediately wanted, remained in the hands of the tribe in whose domain they were situated ?
As, on the one hand, other persons might reside in the cities of the Levites, so, on the other, might the Levites reside in other cities than their own. We accordingly meet with them as stated residents in other towns; and we know that most of the priests resided at Jerusalein, or in its immediate vicinity, after the building of the Temple. As, however, every man naturally desires to live on his own estate, there is no question that the Levites did substantially, aud in the course of time, reside principally in the cities which belonged to them: and even those who did not, did, ly dispersing themselves in other towns, fulfil one of the great objects of their institution, as instructors and advisers of the people.
42. “ With their suburbs round about them.”—There is a particular account of the suburbs of the Levitical cities in Num. xxxv. It is there said, in verse 4, that the suburbs should “reach from the wall of the city and outward a thousand cubits round about ;" but, in verse 5, it is said that the suburbs should extend two thousand cubits, measured from each side of the city. The apparent discrepancy has been variously explained. The Septuagint reads "two thousand" in verse 4, as well as in verse 5; and the elucidation which this reading offers has been adopted by many commentators. It, of course, gives two thousand cubits as the extent of the suburbs in every direction from the city wall. We rather incline to this opinion, as it is a very usual custom in the sacred writings to state a measurement first in general terms and then in detail. In fact, were we to read, with the Septuagint, “two thousand cubits round about," in verse 4, we should, from analogy, expect the statement to be followed by the particular detail which is given in the ensuing verse. Josephus and Philo agree with this statement, in assigning two thousand cubits to the suburbs. Another explanation concludes that the one thousand refers to the extent of the suburbs from the walls, and that the two thousand is a measurement from the exterior margin of the suburbs inward, not to the wall but to the centre of the city. A considerable number of writers, however, adopt the explanation of Maimonides, that the thousand cubits were for suburbs, properly so called, for outhouses, barns, stables, &c., and perhaps for gardens of herbs and flowers ; and that the two thousand extended beyond this, and were intended as pastures for the cattle of the Levites; being, in fact, what is called, in Lev. xxv. 31,“ the fields of the suburbs.” This explanation gives an extent of three thousand cubits in every direction from the walls of the city; and from the high authorities by which it is supported, as well as from apparent probability, we should prefer it to any of the others which reject the explanation afforded by the Septuagint and Josephus. The Levites could not, as they might with their houses, sell the fields of the suburbs even for a term of years (that is, till the jubilee), “ For these fields were not enclosed, that every family might have its several allotment; but they were common to the whole body of the Levites, who would have been undone if they had wanted pasture for their flocks, which were all their substance." (Lewis.) It will be recollected that the Levites only wanted land for this purpose, as they had no occasion to engage in agriculture, being abundantly supplied with all kinds of produce from the tithes and firstfruits of the other tribes. The Jewish writers say that the suburbs of their cities were not restored to the Levites after the return from the Babylonish captivity ; but this seems very doubtful, as it is not easy to perceive how they could manage without some portion of land around their towns. (See Lewis's • Origines Hebrææ ;' Lowman's · Civil Government of the Hebrews;' and Jennings's Jewish Antiquities.')
| nasseh built there an altar by Jordan, a 1 The two tribes and half with a blessing are sent great altar to see to.. home. 9 They build the altar of testimony in 11 And the children of Israel heard their journey. 11 The Israelites are offended say, Behold, the children of Reuben and the thereat. 21 They give them good satisfaction. I children of Gad and the half tribe of MaThen Joshua called the Reubenites, and the nasseh have built an altar over against the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, | land of Canaan, in the borders of Jordan,
2 And said unto them, Ye have kept all at the passage of the children of Israel. that Moses the servant of the LORD com | 12 And when the children of Israel heard manded you, and have obeyed my voice in of it, the whole congregation of the children all that I commanded you:
of Israel gathered themselves together at 3 Ye have not left your brethren these Shiloh, to go up to war against them. many days unto this day, but have kept the 13 And the children of Israel sent unto charge of the commandment of the LORD the children of Reuben, and to the children your God.
of Gad, and to the half tribe of Manasseh, 4 And now the LORD your God hath given into the land of Gilead, Phinehas the son of rest unto your brethren, as he promised Eleazar the priest, them: therefore now return ye, and get you 14 And with him ten princes, of each unto your tents, and unto the land of your 3chief house a prince throughout all the possession, 'which Moses the servant of the tribes of Israel ; and each one was an head Lord gave you on the other side Jordan. of the house of their fathers among the
5 But take diligent heed to do the com thousands of Israel. mandment and the law, which Moses the 15 | And they came unto the children servant of the Lord charged you, 'to love of Reuben, and to the children of Gad, and the LORD your God, and to walk in all his to the half tribe of Manasseh, unto the land ways, and to keep his commandments, and of Gilead, and they spake with them, saying, to cleave unto him, and to serve him with 16 Thus saith the whole congregation of all your heart and with all your soul.
the Lord, What trespass is this that ye have 6 So Joshua blessed them, and sent them committed against the God of Israel, to away: and they went unto their tents. turn away this day from following the LORD,
7 g Now to the one half of the tribe of in that ye have builded you an altar, that Manassch Moses had given possession in ye might rebel this day against the Lord ? Bashan: but unto the other half thereof 17 Is the iniquity -of Peor too little for gave Joshua among their brethren on this us, from which we are not cleansed until this side Jordan westward. And when Joshua | day, although there was a plague in the consent them away also unto their tents, then | gregation of the LORD, he blessed them,
18 But that ye must turn away this day 8 And he spake unto them, saying, Return from following the LORD ? and it will be, with much riches unto your tents, and with seeing ye rebel to day against the LORD, very much cattle, with silver, and with gold, that to morrow he will be wroth with the and with brass, and with iron, and with very whole congregation of Israel. much raiment: divide the spoil of your ene 19 Notwithstanding, if the land of your mies with your brethren.
possession be unclean, then pass ye over unto 9 | And the children of Reuben and the the land of the possession of the LORD children of Gad and the half tribe of Ma- wherein the Lord's tabernacle dwelleth, and nasseh returned, and departed from the take possession among us: but rebel not children of Israel out of Shiloh, which is in against the LORD, nor rebel against us, in the land of Canaan, to go unto the country building you an altar beside the altar of the of Gilead, to the land of their possession, LORD our God. whereof they were possessed, according to 20 "Did not Achan the son of Zerah comthe word of the LORD by the hand of Moses. mit a trespass in the accursed thing, and
10 | And when they came unto the | wrath fell on all the congregation of Israel ? borders of Jordan, that are in the land of and that man perished not alone in his iniCanaan, the children of Reuben and the quity. children of Gad and the half tribe of Ma-1 21 | Then the children of Reuben and
Num. 32. 33. Chap. 13. 8.
the children of Gad ana the half tribe of the Lord, which our fathers made, not for Manasseh answered, and said unto the heads burnt offerings, nor for sacrifices; but it is of the thousands of Israel,
| a witness between us and you. 22 The Lord God of gods, the LORD 29 God forbid that we should rebel God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he against the LORD, and turn this day from shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in following the LORD, to build an altar for transgression against the LORD, (save us not burnt offerings, for meat offerings, or for this day,)
sacrifices, beside the altar of the LORD our 23 That we have built us an altar to turn God that is before his tabernacle. from following the LORD, or if to offer thereon | 30 | And when Phinehas the priest, and burnt offering or meat offering, or if to offer the princes of the congregation and heads peace offerings thereon, let the LORD him- of the thousands of Israel which were with self require it ;
him, heard the words that the children of 24 And if we have not rather done it for Reuben and the children of Gad and the fear of this thing, saying, "In time to come children of Manasseh spake, 'it pleased your children might speak unto our children, them. saying, What have ye to do with the Lord 31 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the God of Israel ?
priest said unto the children of Reuben, and 25 For the LORD hath made Jordan a to the children of Gad, and to the children border between us and you, ye children of of Manasseh, This day we perceive that the Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no LORD is among us, because ye have not compart in the Lord: so shall your children mitted this trespass against the LORD: 'now make our children cease from fearing the ye have delivered the children of Israel out LORD.
of the hand of the LORD. 26 Therefore we said, Let us now prepare 32 | And Phinehas the son of Eleazar to build us an altar, not for burnt offering, the priest, and the princes, returned from the nor for sacrifice:
children of Reuben, and from the children 27 But that it may be 'a witness between of Gad, out of the land of Gilead, unto the us, and you, and our generations after us, land of Canaan, to the children of Israel, and that we might do the service of the LORD brought them word again. before him with our burnt offerings, and 33 And the thing pleased the children of with our sacrifices, and with our peace offer- Israel; and the children of Israel blessed ings; that your children may not say to our God, and did not intend to go up against children in time to come, Ye have no part | them in battle, to destroy the land wherein in the LORD.
the children of Reuben and Gad dwelt. 28 Therefore said we, that it shall be, 34 And the children of Reuben and the when they should so say to us or to our ge-children of Gad called the altar "Ed: for it nerations in time to come, that we may say shall be a witness between us that the Lord again, Behold the pattern of the altar of is God. 6 Heb. To morrow. 7 Gen. 31. 48. Chap. 14. 27. Verse 34. 8 Heb. it was good in their eyes. Heb, then 10 That is, A witness.
Verse 8. “ Divide the spoil... with your brethren.”—This directs their attention to the regulation concerning the division of spoil, by which they were required to impart a fair proportion of the wealth they had acquired to those who, although they had not been actual parties in the war west of the Jordan, had rendered the most essential service by guarding the families and possessions of the warriors during the long period of their absence. See the note on Num. xxxi. 27.
10. “ In the land of Canaan.”_"Opposite the land of Canaan," as Dr. Boothroyd reads. It is evident from the following verse, that the altar was erected on the eastern border of the Jordan. The present reading seems to place it on the western.
“ A great altar to see to.”—This was doubtless a great mass of earth or stones, such as it was usual, among different nations, to set up in memory of important events, and the principle of which we have already had occasion to explain. (See Gen. xxxv. 20.) This principle is clearly announced in verses 24–28; and is precisely similar to "the heap of witness” which was erected by Jacob at Mizpah (Gen. xxxi. 46-48). The old heroes of antiquity were, in the same manner, accustomed to rear up vast heaps of earth or stones—the labour of collected multitudes to leave in particular spots as standing memorials of their victories or travels. The present heap, large as it was, evidently exhibited the same general form which the law prescribed for the altars on which sacrifices were offered to Jehovah. The motive of its erection was excellent; and its unwieldy size ought to have prevented the suspicion which the tribes west of Jordan so hastily entertained ; although we have no cause to regret a mistake which afforded the eastern tribes the opportunity of making a statement so honourable to themselves and so replete with right feeling and devout sentiment. They ought, indeed, to have declared their intention before they set out on their return home; but it is probable that the idea of such a structure did not occur to them till they had arrived at the Jordan. The promptitude of the western