Hebron, Third City of Refuge

November 8, 2013

Our previous two posts have featured cities of refuge on the western side of Jordan, Kedesh and Shechem. Several passages discuss the cities of refuge, but the one that gives the most information is Numbers 35.

The cities of refuge were Levitical cities. Unlike the other tribes, which were assigned allotments of land for their inheritance, the Levites were given a total of 48 cities, 6 of which were the cities of refuge. “The cities you give the Levites will include six cities of refuge, which you must provide so that the one who kills someone may flee there; in addition to these, give 42 other cities” (Num. 35:6, CSB). Further Moses instructed, “Select three cities across the Jordan and three cities in the land of Canaan to be cities of refuge”(v.14).

The three cities of refuge in Canaan are set forth as follows, “So they designated Kedesh in the hill country of Naphtali in Galilee, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah” (Josh. 20:7, CSB).

Hebron has a lot of history pertaining to the patriarchs. Not only was it a dwelling place for many of them, it was also a burial-place (Gen. 23:16-20). Our photo here at Hebron was taken with the cave of Machpelah at our back.

Hebron, a city of refuge. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Hebron, a city of refuge. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Other posts on Hebron may be viewed here and here.

For security reasons, Hebron is usually not included on tour to Israel.

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Milestones

August 31, 2011

Greetings from Jerusalem. Today has been a very good day, with focus in the Shepheleh and Elah Valley areas

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), He said, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (Matt. 5:41). Have you ever wondered what was meant by that? The NET Bible has a note explaining, “Roman soldiers had the authority to press civilians into service to carry loads for them.”

The Roman Empire ruled the world in the 1st century, and the Jews were a subject nation. Any of the Jews in Jesus’ audience could be thus compelled to carry a burden for a Roman soldier. But Roman law stated that you could not be made to carry it more than a mile. That raises the question of how one would know when a mile had passed. Would it be when you felt you had walked a mile, or when the soldier announced that a mile had passed?

One way to be sure was when you came across a milestone. The Romans were expert road builders, and they posted mile markers along the way.

Milestone near Beth Shemesh. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

Milestone near Beth Shemesh. Photo by Leon Mauldin.

The real question becomes why would Jesus make a requirement of this nature? While there may be many reasons, here are a couple of suggestions: [1] Jesus disciples are different. Not different just to be different, but different in the ways that the Gospel will make one different. Jesus’ disciples are different because they are like Jesus. See the verses of the context leading into this text.

[2] Living the kind of life envisioned by this text could very likely cause someone to ask you a reason of the hope that is in you, thus providing a teaching opportunity (1 Pet. 3:15-16).

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Be sure to check Ferrell’s Travel Blog also.