Three refuges cites on the east side of the Jordan River (Deut 4:41-4:49)

“Then Moses set apart on the east side of the Jordan three cities, to where a murderer could flee, that is someone who unintentionally kills another person, when the two have not been enemies before. The murderer could flee to one of these cities and live. They were Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland belonging to the Reubenites, Ramoth in Gilead belonging to the Gadites, and Golan in Bashan belonging to the Manassites.”

Here is the direct naming of the three east bank Jordan towns that were generically mentioned in Numbers, chapter 35. The person who killed another person could flee to these cities awaiting a trial. The assumption would be that the two people involved were not enemies. Thus the murderer could avoid the blood revenge from the next of kin and safely await a trial. These towns were Bezer in the south for the Reubenites, Ramoth in the center for the Gadites, and Golan in the north by the Sea of Galilee for the half tribe of Manasseh.

“This is the law that Moses set before the Israelites. These are the decrees, the statutes, and ordinances that Moses spoke to the Israelites when they had come out of Egypt. He spoke to them beyond the Jordan in the valley opposite Beth-peor, in the land of King Sihon of the Amorites, who reigned at Heshbon, whom Moses and the Israelites defeated when they came out of Egypt. They occupied his land and the land of King Og of Bashan, the two kings of the Amorites on the eastern side of the Jordan. From Aroer, that is on the edge of the Wadi Arnon, as far as Mount Sirion, that is Mt. Hermon, together with all the Arabah on the east side of the Jordan as far as the Sea of the Arabah, under the slopes of Pisgah.”

This is no longer Moses speaking himself in the first person, but a third person descriptive account about Moses speaking to the Israelites. Once again this is before the battle and the crossing into the West Jordan area. They already occupied all the land of King Sihon and King Og that had been given to the 2 ½ tribes. Moses kept insisting on the statutes and ordinances that they must follow.

 

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