THE CONCEPT of holy war is developed in the passages we read today (specifically Deut. 20:16-18), where the Hebrew verb kharam is translated “devote to complete destruction”. The concept is broader than warfare; it is a sanction of someone or something because it is accursed or due to Yahweh’s exclusive ownership, and it is used to describe the Israelites’ treatment of cities in Canaan. It relates to the coming war between Israel and enemies who served — and were spawned by — lesser gods. We will visit this again when we get into the Book of Joshua.
Tag Archives: Cities of Refuge
PEOPLE BEING what we are, the Lord had to set rules for dealing with the shedding of human blood, both accidental and premeditated. So six “cities of refuge” were established among the land given to the Israelites, and the Lord established the role of the avenger of blood, a designated executioner to take vengeance on those guilty of purposely killing another.
We discuss the avenger of blood, the kinsman-redeemer, and the parallels with the role Jesus Christ, the Messiah, plays in redeeming us from our sins, and his future role as the Avenger of Blood on all who reject his offer of salvation by grace.