Cities of Refuge & Arad

Finger Pointing UpI would’ve thought You’d zap them all by now, but then again I remember Moses said that You’re longsuffering.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,

1. Jericho
Jericho (/ˈdʒɛrɪkoʊ/; Hebrew: יְרִיחוֹ‬ Yərīḥō; Arabic: أريحا‎ Arīḥā [ʔaˈriːħaː] (About this sound listen)) is a city in the Palestinian Territories and is located near the Jordan River in the West Bank. It is the administrative seat of the Jericho Governorate, and is governed by the Fatah faction of the Palestinian National Authority.[2] In 2007, it had a population of 18,346.[3] The city was occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967, and has been held under Israeli occupation since 1967; administrative control was handed over to the Palestinian Authority in 1994.[4][5] It is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world[6][7][8] and the city with the oldest known protective wall in the world.[9] It was thought to have the oldest stone tower in the world as well, but excavations at Tell Qaramel in Syria have discovered stone towers that are even older.
Command the children of Israel, that they give unto the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and ye shall give also unto the Levites suburbs for the cities round about them.  

And the cities shall they have to dwell in; and the suburbs of them shall be for their cattle, and for their goods, and for all their beasts.

And the suburbs of the cities, which ye shall give unto the Levites, shall reach from the wall of the city and outward a thousand cubits round about. 

And ye shall measure from without the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits; and the city shall be in the midst: this shall be to them the suburbs of the cities. 

And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the manslayer, that he may flee thither: and to them ye shall add forty and two cities.

(The cities  of refuge were: GolanRamoth, and Bosor, on the east of the Jordan River, and KedeshShechem, and Hebron on the western side.)

So all the cities which ye shall give to the Levites shall be forty and eight cities: them shall ye give with their suburbs.

And the cities which ye shall give shall be of the possession of the children of Israel: from them that have many ye shall give many; but from them that have few ye shall give few: every one shall give of his cities unto the Levites according to his inheritance which he inheriteth.

2. Jericho Today
Jericho Today In many ways, Jericho is the very symbol of man’s transition from a wandering, nomadic society that relied solely on hunting and gathering to a settled existence made possible by the discovery of agriculture. In other words, the building of ancient Jericho’s walls in roughly 8,000 B.C. marks the change from a wild existence to civilization. That this symbol still exists as a living city is nothing short of astonishing. To mark this incredible anniversary, the Palestinian Authority had decided to invest heavily in the redevelopment of Jericho as a tourism hub. Plans include new resorts, an airport and even a 1,000-acre palm tree forest. Much of the funding will come from private companies, like the Palestine Development and Investment Limited, which will reportedly put an estimated $500 million toward various projects. The work that had already started in Jericho is bearing fruit. The number of annual visitors to the city was up 16 percent from 2009 to 2010. More importantly, visitors are increasingly staying in Jericho overnight and spending more days in the ancient city. Overnights in Jericho were up by over 70 percent during the same time period.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come over Jordan into the land of Canaan;

Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares. 

And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment (He is talking about manslaughter, not murder).

And of these cities which ye shall give six cities shall ye have for refuge. 

Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge. 

3. golan heights
Golan Heights The northern part of Israel is divided to four major areas: the Golan Heights, the upper Galilee, the western Galilee and around the Sea of Galilee. The northern part of Israel known as “the nature of Israel”, it characterizes itself with mountain terrain an abundance of streams, flowing from Mount Hermon down to the Sea of Galilee. The Golan Heights look like mountains to most of us, but actually they are a rocky plateau with an average altitude of 3,300 feet (1000 meters). This plateau straddles the borders of Israel and Syria. The Golan provides about 15% of Israel’s water supply. About 3 million tourists a year visit the Golan; this includes both foreign and domestic travelers. Recent History Syria controlled the Golan until 1967. From the time of the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 until then, the Syrians attacked the Jewish settlements below from the Golan Heights. Syrian army snipers opened fire almost every day, wounding and killing many innocent Israelis. The residents of northern Israel slept in bomb shelters for protection from Syrian fire. In the Six-Day War, Israel conquered the Golan and pushed the Syrian army back to Damascus, and the Syrian threat had disappeared. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Syrian army attacked and recaptured almost all of the Golan. Israel attached once again during that terrible war, and at great cost in lives of Israeli soldiers, recaptured the Golan. Syria is still in a state of war with Israel. Both Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994) have signed peace treaties with Israel. The Golan is a vital strategic asset for Israel, and Syrian is demanding a return to the 1967 borders in return for peace. This would mean returning to the situation of the Golan Heights being in the hands of the Syrians.

These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither. 

And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death. 

Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him. 

But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die;

Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him. 

But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or have cast upon him anything without laying of wait,

or with any stone, wherewith a man may die, seeing him not, and cast it upon him, that he die, and was not his enemy, neither sought his harm: 

Then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the revenger of blood according 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 was fled: and he shall abide in it unto the death of the high priest, which was anointed with the holy oil. 

But if the slayer shall at any time come without the border of the city of his refuge, whither he was fled; 

And the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill the slayer; he shall not be guilty of blood: 

Because he should have remained in the city of his refuge until the death of the high priest: but after the death of the high priest the slayer shall return into the land of his possession.

So these things shall be for a statute of judgment unto you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.  

Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. 

4.The Battle of Kadesh
Kadesh was a city in what is today the country of Syria, an important center of trade in the ancient world, and site of the famous battle between Pharaoh Rameses II (The Great) of Egypt and King Muwatalli II of the Hittite Empire, usually dated to 1274 or 1273 B.C. (though Durant, and others, assign a date of 1288 B.C.). The Battle of Kadesh is the most thoroughly documented military engagement of ancient times in the Middle East with both antagonists claiming a decisive victory. For centuries the account given by Rameses II in his ‘Poem’ and ‘Bulletin’ (the two Egyptian sources we have for the battle) of a great Egyptian victory at Kadesh was taken as literal truth. Today, however, most historians regard these sources as more propaganda than an honest account of the events and the Battle of Kadesh is believed to have ended in a draw.

Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death. 

And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.

So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. 

Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel (Num 35:1-34).


The ancient Israelite city of Arad was located at modern Tell Arad, in the Negev south of Jerusalem.

Archaeological excavation there has uncovered a large, well-preserved, Early Bronze Age city that served as an important post on key trade routes.

Hebrew ostraca (pottery fragments containing writing) bearing the name Arad have been found there, as have a large quantity of ostraca bearing other Hebrew or Aramaic inscriptions.

5. Canaanite
Canaanite Arad and Later Israelite Citadel in the Negev Ancient Arad is located in the Negev Desert some 30 km northeast of Beersheba on a hill that rises 40 meters above the surrounding plain. During the 18 seasons of excavation conducted from 1962-1984 it became clear that the remains of ancient Arad are located in two separate areas and are from two distinct periods. The Canaanite city (3rd millennium B.C.) was located mainly on the southern slope of the hill. On the summit of this hill several fortresses were built in the period of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah (10th-6th centuries B.C.) and also later during the Persian — Hellenistic — Roman periods (5th century B.C. to 4th century A.D. Arad is mentioned in the Bible in the story of the failed attempt to reach the Promised Land and in the list of the Canaanite kings defeated by the Children of Israel. There exists however a historical chronological problem with this biblical account as there is no evidence that Tel (Arabic mound) Arad was inhabited during the Late Bronze Age. Scholars suggest that the King of Arad mentioned in the Bible was in fact the ruler of the Kingdom of Arad – the Negev of Arad whose capital was another city. The Canaanite City During the Early Bronze Age (2950-2650 B.C.) Arad was a large fortified and prosperous city. It served as the capital of the important Canaanite kingdom [of the same name] which ruled over a large part of the northern Negev. The growth of Arad was part of the rapid urbanization of the Land of Israel during the 3rd millennium B.C. Technological development such as: 1. Use of metal for plowing the 2. Domestication of animals, 3. Planting of fruit trees created conditions for the establishment of large cities even in outlying areas such as Arad.
A series of fortified occupations dating from the reign of Solomon to that of Zedekiah also have been found at Tell Arad.

The site appears to have been more or less deserted during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages, but during the Iron Age Israelites built a fortress on the summit of Tell Arad  to guard the eastern Negev basin from nomadic peoples and Transjordanian enemies – especially Edom.

The structures belonging to the final level of Israelite occu­pation at Arad were destroyed during the Babylonian conquest of Judah in 586 B.C.

An impressive Israelite temple has also been unearthed at Arad.

The only Israelite temple recovered by archaeologists to date, it may have been modeled after Solo­mon’s temple; like Solomon’s it was ori­ented toward the east.

This structure had a sacrificial altar in the courtyard, as well as two incense altars and two standing stones in its “Most Holy Place.”

Archaeologists have determined that this particular temple was deliberately put out of use.

This probably happened during the reforms of either Hezekiah or Josiah, when local temples situated outside of the control of the king and the Jerusalem priesthood were dismantled because they tended to become focal points for the growth of pagan and/or aberrant religious movements.

6. Arad Today
Arad Today A recent visitor to Arad was so impressed with the peace and tranquility of this city of 27,000 that He thought it would be a great place for someone to retire. He saw Arad as an Arizona Oasis at the feet of the Judean hills in the Holy Land. This city that stand as a gateway to Judea is warm and comfortable. Since this city is approximately 2,000 feet above sea level, the nights cool down and make a nice setting for a serine stroll in the evening, watching the sun set as one walks down the immaculately paved streets bordered with beautiful homes and condos. The streets are lined with palm trees and other beautiful vegetation. There is also no shortage of singing birds. Arad has some of the cleanest driest air on Earth. And has very few insects and Mosquitoes. It has some great schools, both religious and secular. Arad is a Modern city located 45 Km east of Beersheba and 25 km west of the Dead Sea. Indeed it is the gateway to travel to the Dead Sea and the people who live there often do the 25 minute drive to lie on the beaches and enjoy the resorts located their. Of coarse it is impossible to resist bathing in the warm waters at the lowest point on planet Earth.

The location of Arad, however, poses a problem related to the conquest narrative.

The king of Arad attacked the Israelites, who were traveling near the southern border of Canaan.

After suffering an initial loss, Israel defeated this king and destroyed his cities. Yet Tell Arad lacks any remains dating to the time of Moses.

A possible so­lution exists in the campaign account of Pharaoh Shishak, whose 10th century B.C. list mentions the conquests of two Arads: Arad the Great and Arad of Yrhm.

The Is­raelites could have destroyed the second Arad, the location of which remains uncer­tain.

Another possibility is that the Arad mentioned in Numbers 21 actually refers to the general region and that the king of Arad lived in the city of Hormah.

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