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ing to these judgments: and the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the revenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to the city of his refuge whither he
There were some striking peculiarities connected with these cities, all of which seem to point to the Great Refuge, of which they were the acknowledged, though imperfect types. The roads to them were to be kept constantly in order, that the fugitive might have no impediment in his way to gain them; there were also to be direction-posts with the word “ Refuge” inscribed on them, that none might mistake their path; every facility was to be given to the criminal that he might reach them, before the avenger of blood could overtake him, and when once within their walls, he was perfectly secure.
So is it also with the Christian's Refuge, the Lord Jesus Christ. The way to Him is always open, the road always clear, the directions to find Him not to be mistaken; no suppliant who seeks an entrance at that gate of mercy ever knocks in vain. But, then, we also must “fly for refuge to the hope set before us,” with the same zeal, the same determination, the same unwearied resolution, as the Jewish fugitive. If we are found by the avenger of blood, out of Christ the Lord, our hope and our righteousness, we are lost; but once guided by the Spirit of God within the enclosure of his mercy, the arms of his grace, and even the worst of sinners shall assuredly obtain security and peace. 66 The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it, and is safe."
[Here may be read from verse 29, to the end of the chapter.]
NUMBERS xxxvi. 1-9.
1. And the chief fathers of the families of the children of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came near, and spake before Moses, and before the princes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel :
2. And they said, the Lord commanded my lord to give the land for an inheritance by lot to the children of Israel : and my lord was commanded by the Lord to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother unto his daughters.
3. And if they be married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the children of Israel, then shall their inheritance be taken from the inheritance of our fathers, and shall be put to the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they are received : so shall it be taken from the lot of our inheritance.
4. And when the jubilee of the children of Israel shall be, then shall their inheritance be put unto the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they are received : 80 shall their inheritance be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers.
A second difficulty had here arisen respecting the daughters of Zelophehad, who were placed in a very peculiar situation. We find from the twenty-seventh chapter, that their father had died in the wilderness, and that in consequence this, they would necessarily, having no brother, be portionless, when the division of the land of Canaan should take place. They accordingly complained to Moses, and their suit was carried before the Lord, who mercifully commanded that their father's inheritance should be divided among them. This was perfectly satisfactory, as regarded the young women themselves; but now another difficulty arose in the minds of the heads of their tribe, which we have just heard, in the verses we have read, viz. that if the daughters of Zelophehad were permitted to marry into any of the other tribes, their inheritances would in time pass into the inheritance of the tribe with which they had intermarried, and thus counteract the express intention of the Almighty, that the distinct possessions should remain in the different tribes to which they were at first allotted, for The elders, therefore, now
once bring the cause before Moses, that he should legislate upon this point also.
5. And Moses commanded the children of Israel, according to the word of the Lord, saying, The tribe of the sons of Joseph hath said well.
6. This is the thing which the Lord doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry.
7. So shall not the inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe : for every one of the children of Israel shall keep himself to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers.
8. And every daughter, that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may enjoy every man the inheritance of his fathers.
9. Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe : but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep himself to his own inherit
The difficulty, therefore, to which we have rerred, was overcome by permitting the daughters
of Zelophehad to marry only within their own tribe, by which regulation, their portion would
among the inheritance of their brethren, and yet they would themselves have a sufficient number, from which to choose their future partners. The direction, “Let them
marry to whom they think best,” is a remarkable proof of the tendency of the only true religion, in all ages, to exalt the characters and liberate the persons of the female sex. If we compare this freedom with the debasement, servility, and degradation of women among the most civilised nations of antiquity, it is impossible not to be forcibly struck with this additional proof that the institutions of the Jews were as much in advance of those of other nations, as their lawgiver, divinely taught as he unquestionably was, excelled in character and conduct all others whom the history of the world has bequeathed to us.
How ought these considerations to raise our hearts, and especially the heart of every female reader of God's word, in thanksgiving to that great and merciful Being, who has placed her lot in a land where, by the influence of the religion of the Bible, she is rescued from the debasing situation in which she would assuredly otherwise have been found; and ranked in that high and honourable position for which she was originally created