Cities of Refuge in Easton's Bible Dictionary
were six in number (Num. 35). 1. On the west of Jordan were
Kadesh, in Naphtali; (2) Shechem, in Mount Ephraim;
in Judah. 2. On the east of Jordan were, (1) Golan, in
(2) Ramoth-Gilead, in Gad; and (3) Bezer, in Reuben.
each of these names.)
Cities of Refuge in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
frontBLOOD, AVENGING OF.) Kedesh ("holy," so Jesus our city
of refuge, Hebrews 6:18; Hebrews 7:26), now Kedes, 20 miles
E.S.E. from Tyre. Shechem ("shoulder," upon Jesus' shoulder
the government is, Isaiah 9:6), now Nablous. Hebron
("fellowship," so Christ to us, 1 Corinthians 1:9), now El-
Khalil. Bezer, perhaps Bozor in the Book of Maccabees
("fortress," so is Jesus, Isaiah 32:2; Isaiah 26:1; Isaiah
26:4). Ramoth Gilead, on the site of Ez-Szalt (Ramoth
("high"), so is Jesus to us, Acts 5:31). Golan, Jaulan
("joy"; Jesus is our joy, Romans 5:11). All the 48 cities of
Levi had the right of asylum. But the six of refuge were
bound to entertain the involuntary manslayer gratuitously.
The cities on each side of the Jordan were nearly opposite
one another (Deuteronomy 19:2; Numbers 35:6; Numbers 35:13;
Numbers 35:15; Joshua 20:2; Joshua 20:7; Joshua 20:9).
If manslayers had been driven out of the country as
among the Greeks, they would have been exposed to the
temptation of worshipping strange gods (1 Samuel 26:19). The
Levitical cities were to have a space of 1,000 cubits (583
yards) beyond the city walls for pasture and other purposes
(Numbers 35:4-5). The 2,000 cubits also specified mean
probably the sum of the two single thousands on opposite
sides of the city, exclusive of the city itself; as here
shown. Clermont-Ganneau has discovered a bilingual
inscription, Greek and Hebrew, "limit of Gezer" (now Tel-el-
Jezer), on a horizontal slab E. of that royal Canaanite
city; also a second similarly inscribed stone 1,696 yards
due N.W. of the first. This proves that the sacred boundary
was a square, having its four angles at the four cardinal
points (Israel Exploration Quarterly Statement, Oct.
Cities of Refuge in Naves Topical Bible
From the avenger of blood
Ex 21:13,14; Nu 35:11-32; De 4:41-43; 19:2-13; Jos
Roads made to
Cities of Refuge in Smiths Bible Dictionary
six Levitical cities specially chosen for refuge to the
involuntary homicide until released from banishment by the
death of the high priest. Nu 35:6,13,15; Jos 20:2,7,9 There
were three on each side of Jordan.
1. KEDESH, in Naphtali.
2. SHECHEM, in Mount Ephraim.
Jos 21:21; 1Ch 6:67; 2Ch 10:1
3. HEBRON, in Judah.
Jos 21:13; 2Sa 5:5; 1Ch 6:55; 29:27; 2Ch 11:10
4. On the east side of Jordan - BEZER, in the tribe of
Reuben, in the plains of Moab.
De 4:43; Jos 20:8; 21:36
5. RAMOTH-GILEAD, in the tribe of Gad.
De 4:43; Jos 21:38; 1Ki 22:3
6. GOLAN, in Bashan, in the half-tribe of Manasseh.
De 4:43; Jos 21:27; 1Ch 6:71
Cities of Refuge in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
`are ha-miqlaT; poleis ton phugadeuterion (compare 1 Macc
10:28), and other forms):
Six cities, three on each side of the Jordan, were set apart
and placed in the hands of the Levites, to serve as places
of asylum for such as might shed blood unwittingly. On the
East of the Jordan they were Bezer in the lot of Reuben,
Ramoth-gilead in the tribe of Gad, and Golan in the
territory of Manasseh. On the West of the Jordan they were
Hebron in Judah, Shechem in Mt. Ephraim, and Kedesh in
Naphtali (Nu 35:6,14; Josh 20:2,7 ff; 21:13,21,27,32,38;
Bezer is named in 21:36, but not described as a City of
Refuge). An account of these cities is given in separate
articles under their names. Dt 19:2 speaks of three cities
thus to be set apart, referring apparently to the land West
of the Jordan.
From time immemorial in the East, if a man were slain the
duty of avenging him has lain as a sacred obligation upon
his nearest relative. In districts where more primitive
conditions prevail, even to this day, the distinction
between intentional and unintentional killing is not too
strictly observed, and men are often done to death in
revenge for what was the purest accident. To prevent such a
thing where possible, and to provide for a right
administration of justice, these cities were instituted.
Open highways were to be maintained along, which the
manslayer might have an unobstructed course to the city
The regulations concerning the Cities of Refuge are found in
Nu 35; Dt 19:1-13; Josh 20. Briefly, everything was to be
done to facilitate the flight of the manslayer, lest the
avenger of blood, i.e. the nearest of kin, should pursue him
with hot heart, and, overtaking him, should smite him
mortally. Upon reaching the city he was to be received by
the elders and his case heard. If this was satisfactory,
they gave him asylum until a regular trial could be carried
out. They took him, apparently, to the city or district from
which he had fled, and there, among those who knew him,
witnesses were examined. If it were proved that he was not a
willful slayer, that he had no grudge against the person
killed, and had shown no sign of purpose to injure him, then
he was declared innocent and conducted back to the city in
which he had taken refuge, where he must stay until the
death of the high priest. Then he was free to return home in
safety. Until that event he must on no account go beyond the
city boundaries. If he did, the avenger of blood might slay
him without blame. On the other hand, if he were found
guilty of deliberate murder, there was no more protection
for him. He was handed over to the avenger of blood who,
with his own hand, took the murderer's life. Blood-money,
i.e. money paid in compensation for the murder, in
settlement of the avenger's claim, was in no circumstances
permitted; nor could the refugee be ransomed, so that he
might "come again to dwell in the land" until the death of
the high priest (Nu 35:32).
A similar right of refuge seems to have been recognized in
Israel as attaching to the altar in the temple at Jerusalem
(1 Ki 1:50; 2:28; compare Ex 21:12 f). This may be compared
with the right of asylum connected with the temples of the
Cities of Refuge Scripture - 1 Chronicles 6:67
And they gave unto them, [of] the cities of refuge, Shechem in
mount Ephraim with her suburbs; [they gave] also Gezer with
Cities of Refuge Scripture - 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
Cities of Refuge Scripture - Numbers 35:11
Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for
you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any
person at unawares.
Cities of Refuge Scripture - Numbers 35:14
Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three
cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, [which] shall be
cities of refuge.