Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Of blood, and authorized to kill the manslayer, (Menochius) if he find him out of one of these cities. See Numbers xxxv. 6., and Deuteronomy xix. 4. Revenge was never lawful: but to prosecute offenders in the courts of justice, (Calmet) or agreeably to the law of God, can never deserve blame. (Haydock) --- If some of the saints of the old law seem to have taken delight in revenge, their expressions must be explained in a favourable sense. David, who is accused of this crime, (Calmet) repels the charge with horror, Psalm vii. 5. The evils which he denounces to his adversaries, were predictions of what they had reason to expect, Psalm lvii. 11., and Jeremias xi. 20. (Haydock) --- If some of the Jews looked upon vengeance as lawful, it cannot be a matter of surprise, when we reflect that even some, who have been taught the mild law of the gospel, think themselves bound, in some cases, to revenge an affront. (Calmet) --- So far have the maxims of the world supplanted Christianity in their breasts! How severely does Jacob rebuke his children for what they had done to the Sichemites, though they falsely thought that the affront offered to their sister, would justify them! (Genesis xxxiv.) (Haydock)
Gate, where justice was administered. (Menochius) --- Here the ancients heard what the manslayer had to say in his own defence; and if they thought his account plausible, they gave him a retreat till he might be safely brought to answer the charges of the avenger, who might endeavour to prove that the murder was wilful.
Before. This is generally taken literally. But if sufficient proof could be brought that the contending parties were at variance, or reconciled some time before the accident happened, the person who had taken refuge, would be judged accordingly. It might lawfully be presumed that they were enemies, if, after being at variance, they had given no signs of reconciliation. (Calmet)
Fact. Septuagint, "before the synagogue for judgment." (Haydock) --- Whether this took place in the same city, or where the murder was committed, (see Numbers xxxv. 12, 25.) the reasons are given why the manslayer was released at the death of the high priest. (Calmet) --- By the death of Christ, the greatest criminals are redeemed. (Menochius)
Cedes and Gaulon lay on the north, Sichem and Ramoth in the middle, Hebron and Bosor on the south of the country. (Haydock)
Strangers. The limitations of the Jews in favour of their own nation are rejected. The civil and criminal law should affect all alike, except, God order it otherwise. --- Stand. This was the posture of the people accused, while the judges sat. (Drusius) (Calmet)