The new Passover slaughter (Ezek 9:5-9:7)

“To the other executioners

Yahweh said

In my hearing.

‘Pass through the city

After him!

Kill!

Your eye shall not spare!

You shall show no pity!

Cut down old men!

Cut down young men!

Cut down young women!

Cut down little children!

Cut down women!

But touch no one

Who has the mark!

Begin at my sanctuary!’

So they began

With the elders

Who were in front

Of the house.

Then he said

To them.

‘Defile the house!

Fill the courts

With the slain!

Go forth!’

So they went out.

They killed

In the city.”

Yahweh then told the other executioners so that Ezekiel could hear what he was saying. They were to pass through the city after the man with the writing case had marked off those who were to be saved. They were to kill all the others that were not marked with the taw. They were to spare no one. They were not to show any pity. They were to kill the old men, the young men, the young women, the little children, and the other older women. However, those with the mark were not to be touched. These executioners would begin at the sanctuary itself. Thus the first ones killed were the elders around the Temple. The holy house of Yahweh was defiled as the courts were filled with dead bodies. Yahweh told these killers to get going. Thus they went out and killed all the unmarked people in the city.

 

The refuge towns (Josh 20:1-20:9)

“Then Yahweh spoke to Joshua. ‘Say to the Israelites. Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, so that anyone who kills a person without intent or by mistake may flee there. They shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood. The killer shall flee to one of these cities. He shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and explain the case to the elders of that city. Then the fugitive shall be taken into the city and given a place. He shall remain with them. If the avenger of blood is in pursuit, they shall not give up the killer, because the neighbor was killed by mistake, there having been no enmity against them before. The killer shall remain in that city until there is a trial before the congregation, or until the death of the one who is high priest at that time. Then the killer may return home, to the town in which the deed was done.’”

This refers back to the Numbers, chapter 35, and Deuteronomy, chapter 19, when Moses put forward this proposal of refuge cities. The inadvertent killer had a place of refuge to be judged. He has to explain his case to the elders of the town. The avenger of blood could not kill the killer there. The killer would be let free at the death of the high priest. Then he was able to return home.

“So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba, which is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah. Beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they appointed Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland, from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead, from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan, from the tribe of Manasseh. These were the towns designated for all the Israelites and for the alien strangers residing among them so that anyone who killed a person without intent could flee there. Thus no one would die by the hand of the avenger of blood until there was a trail before the congregation.”

These 6 cities were 3 on the west and 3 on the east Jordan side as outlined in Deuteronomy, chapter 4. Each tribe on the east side of the Jordan had their own refuge city. However, only Judah, Ephraim, and Naphtali had their own refuge city, while the other 6 tribes did not have their refuge town. Interesting Hebron, which was given to Caleb, was also a refuge town.