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Joshua 19-21

Joshua 19-21…Inheritances and cities of refuge.

Within the land of Israel, once it was conquered, there were to be cities established for refuge, as we read in these chapters. The cities were actually included in the Mosaic law (Num. 35:9–15), and they demonstrate the grace of God that was evident even within the Law given at Sinai. In the ancient world, feuds could be a part of everyday life. If you harmed my sister, even by accident, I might do the same to your brother. Then your family might come after my cousin, and so on. In setting up places for refuge from this kind of harm, a powerful check was placed upon blood-feuding and innocent life was protected from harm (Josh. 20).

Theocrats want to establish the penalties of the Mosaic law in society today, but this position is ultimately not tenable because unlike the old covenant, the new covenant community is not a geopolitical entity. That does not mean, however, that lawmakers should not consider the Mosaic code at all when writing legislation. In fact, society as a whole would benefit if the principles in the Law (what we call today “natural law”) were applied more often.

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