Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cities of Refuge

Today's Reading:
  • Joshua 16:1 - 20:09
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Joshua 16:1 - 20:09

Chapters 16-20 covered the vast allotment of the cities and towns to the various tribes. The entirety of the land was surveyed and mapped and divided according to each tribe's share. I love how the Lord ensures everyone is taken care of equally. Chapter 17 talks about Makir, who had no sons. Typically the land was divided by male heirs, but in this case there were none, so the daughters of Makir were granted a share of the land. I struggled at first with the idea of the land being split up by male heirs, but then I realized it made perfect sense. Daughters are given in marriage and then go live with their husbands and set up home there. So if the males always have an allotted portion of land, the females are always taken care of. We live in an age where female independence is desired and esteemed. I enjoy my role in modern society, for sure. I have to wonder, though, how much simpler life would be for me if I were able to manage the household and have my husband work to earn the living. I never thought I'd be content as a stay at home mom, but we live in a different time. It's hard to gauge these things when you're viewing them through a different perspective.

Chapter 20 discusses cities of refuge. I've always thought cities of refuge were a very interesting topic. The Old Testament talks about an eye for an eye, a life for a life. Taking another person's life is a mortally serious thing to do - arguably one of the worst sins (I realize in the scheme of things that ALL sin has mortal consequence, despite the severity). When someone is killed, people get mortally angry. In these times, people were allowed to take the life of the person who killed their loved one. The Lord, however, recognized the need for people who had accidentally killed another person. These were the cities of refuge, located throughout the territories. If someone accidentally killed another person, they could flee to these cities. This did not automatically give someone a free pass - they still had to stand trial with the elders. It did, however, give them a chance to have that trial and hearing and be cleared of wrong doing and protected from retaliation. We take processes like fair trials for granted depending on where we live. That was not always the case (and may not be still today depending where you live in the world). I love how the Lord takes care of all people, even killers.