Dave Burnette's Commentary

Joshua Chapter 20

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Joshua 
Date Penned: (1406-1370 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel in the Promised Land (c 1-34)
Theme: Dividing the Promised Land (c 13-24)
Message: Cities of Refuge Named (v 1-9)

Joshua 20 Commentary

(20:1-9) The Cities of Refuge - A new nation in a new land needed a new government. Many years earlier God had told Moses how this government should function. One thing God wanted the Israelites to do when they entered the Promised Land was to designate certain cities as "cities of refuge." These were to be set aside throughout the land. Their purpose was to prevent injustice, especially in cases of revenge. For example, those who accidentally killed someone else could flee to a city of refuge to be safe until they could have a fair trial. The Levites were in charge of these cities. They were to ensure that God's principles of justice and fairness were kept. (For more on cities of refuge, see the notes on Numbers 35:6 and 35:9-29.)

Dave Burnette's Life Application

City of Refuge

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 Joshua with Chapter 20 and we see the establishment of the cities of refuge in the Promised Land. A place established in the law by Moses in previous books of the old testament under instruction of the Lord. Here a person killing someone unawares could escape the judgement of others. In making application we see the Lord being our city of refuge. A place where we can run and escape the judgement of our sinful condition. It reminds me of when I first found myself a lost sinner and I ran to that city of refuge which is Jesus-Christ my Lord. How about you? Have you found that city of refuge for your sinful condition? Let us learn from today's text and run to our city of refuge. 


Joshua 20

Joshua 20

 1The LORD also spake unto Joshua, saying,

 2Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:

 3That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.

 4And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.

 5And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime.

 6And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.

 7And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah.

 8And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.

 9These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth any person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.