Dave Burnette's Commentary

Deuteronomy Chapter 19

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses 
Date Penned: (1407 BC)
Overview: To Remind and Rededicate Israel to the Lord (c 1-34)
Theme: Principles for Godly Living (c 5-28)
Message: Cities of Refuge (v 1-21)

Deuteronomy 19 Commentary

(19:2-7) Accidental Killings - Every society must deal with the problem of murder. But how should society treat those who have accidentally killed someone? God had an answer for the Israelites. Since revenge was common and swift in Moses' day, God had the Israelites set apart several cities of refuge. Those who claimed to have accidentally killed someone could flee to one of these cities until they could have a fair trial. If they were found innocent of intentional murder, they could remain in that city and be safe from those seeking revenge. This is a beautiful example of how God blended his justice and mercy toward his people. (For more information on cities of refuge, see the note on Numbers 35:6.)

(19:12) The Avenger of Blood - The "avenger of blood" was the nearest male relative to the person killed. It was his responsibility to act as the family protector (Numbers 35:19).

(19:16-21) Justice in a Policeless Day - This was a system for the judges to use, not a plan for personal vengeance. These principles for punishment may seem primitive, but they were actually a breakthrough for justice and fairness in ancient times, when most nations used arbitrary methods to punish criminals. Guidelines like these reflect a concern for evenhandedness and justice, ensuring that those who violated the law were not punished more severely than their particular crimes deserved. A hand would not be cut off for breaking a tooth, for example. In the same spirit of justice, a false witness was to receive the same punishment the accused person would have suffered. The general principle of making the punishment fit the crime should still be observed today.



Dave Burnette's Life Application

Prepare the Road

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the book of Deuteronomy with Chapter 19 and we see the Laws for ruling the nation, which is the 4th part of Moses instruction in the second giving of the law to this new generation of Israel. Today Moses gives us the the instruction of the Cities of Refuge. A place to escape the judgement of others due to accidental death of a person. A picture of our Lord Jesus where we can escape the judgement we deserve as lost sinners. What catches my eye is that Israel was to keep the roads in good condition, "preparing a way" for those who needed to use it. In making application we see the need for us to "prepare the way" for sinners by keeping the roads paved with the Gospel. Those who are saved have a responsibility to lead others to Christ by simply sharing the Gospel. It reminds me of a campaign that I believe the Lord had me do when I mailed a million tracts to the homes in our city of Atlanta. I felt an obligation to share the Gospel in the city where someone shared the Gospel with me and I was saved. A lady called me who received Christ from the tract in tears because she finally was forgiven from her sins...Hallelujah...Now I cant take any credit for her salvation because all I did is prepare the road where by the Lord convicted her of her sins and she received the free pardon of sin in Christ-Jesus. I did get to rejoice with her which encourages me to continue preparing the road to this day and as a result others continue to use the Gospel Road to be saved.  How about you? Do you share the Gospel with others? Let us learn from today's text and continue to "prepare the road" so others can reach the city of refuge which is Christ-Jesus.    


Deuteronomy 19

Deuteronomy 19

 1When the LORD thy God hath cut off the nations, whose land the LORD thy God giveth thee, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their cities, and in their houses;

 2Thou shalt separate three cities for thee in the midst of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.

 3Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither.

 4And this is the case of the slayer, which shall flee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past;

 5As when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live:

 6Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.

 7Wherefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt separate three cities for thee.

 8And if the LORD thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers;

 9If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three:

 10That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.

 11But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities:

 12Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.

 13Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.

 14Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.

 15One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

 16If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;

 17Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days;

 18And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;

 19Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.

 20And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.

 21And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.