Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,11. The Cities of Refuge
1. The provision of the Levites: Forty-eight cities (Numbers 35:1-8)
2. The cities of refuge (Numbers 35:9-34)
The cities of the Levites were scattered through the land. Genesis 49:7 is therefore fulfilled. The provision of cities for refuge is full of interest. The careful study of the purpose of these cities is recommended. Note especially that they were provided to give shelter for those who had killed a person unawares. The avenger of blood (Hebrew: _goel, which means to redeem) pursued the person and the city of refuge gave shelter. The death of the high priest resulted in liberty for all who were in the cities of refuge. It was the signal that they could return to their possessions (verse 28).
Israel’s history may be easily read in this chapter in connection with the cities of refuge. The innocent blood shed is the blood of Christ. Blood guiltiness is upon the nation. They did it ignorantly, even as He prayed on Calvary’s cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” They are on account of this blood-guiltiness kept out of their inheritance, and yet they have had their city of refuge and have been preserved till the time comes when they are set free and return to the possession in the land. And that will be when the Priesthood of Christ as now exercised by Him in glory ends, when He comes forth as the King-Priest to exercise the Melchisedek priesthood. The names of the cities are not given in the book of Numbers. They were: Bezer, Ramoth, Golan, Kedesh, Shechem and Hebron (Deuteronomy 4:41-43; Joshua 20:7). The cities are also types of Christ because they gave shelter. He is our refuge and our hiding place.