Numbers 35:31
Moreover you shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death.
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(31, 32) Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer . . . —The Israelites were not allowed to make terms with the relatives of the man who had been slain, as is not unfrequently the case at the present time; nor were they permitted to allow the man who had slain any one unintentionally to return home from the city of refuge before the death of the high priest, on the payment of a sum of money by way of compensation.

35:9-34 To show plainly the abhorrence of murder, and to provide the more effectually for the punishment of the murderer, the nearest relation of the deceased, under the title of avenger of blood, (or the redeemer of blood,) in notorious cases, might pursue, and execute vengeance. A distinction is made, not between sudden anger and malice aforethought, both which are the crime of murder; but between intentionally striking a man with any weapon likely to cause death, and an unintentional blow. In the latter case alone, the city of refuge afforded protection. Murder in all its forms, and under all disguises, pollutes a land. Alas! that so many murders, under the name of duels, prize-fights, &c. should pass unpunished. There were six cities of refuge; one or other might be reached in less than a day's journey from any part of the land. To these, man-slayers might flee for refuge, and be safe, till they had a fair trial. If acquitted from the charge, they were protected from the avenger of blood; yet they must continue within the bounds of the city till the death of the high priest. Thus we are reminded that the death of the great High Priest is the only means whereby sins are pardoned, and sinners set at liberty. These cities are plainly alluded to, both in the Old and New Testament, we cannot doubt the typical character of their appointment. Turn ye to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope, saith the voice of mercy, Zec 9:12, alluding to the city of refuge. St. Paul describes the strong consolation of fleeing for refuge to the hope set before us, in a passage always applied to the gracious appointment of the cities of refuge, Heb 6:18. The rich mercies of salvation, through Christ, prefigured by these cities, demand our regard. 1. Did the ancient city rear its towers of safety on high? See Christ raised up on the cross; and is he not exalted at the right hand of his Father, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins? 2. Does not the highway of salvation, resemble the smooth and plain path to the city of refuge? Survey the path that leads to the Redeemer. Is there any stumbling-block to be found therein, except that which an evil heart of unbelief supplies for its own fall? 3. Waymarks were set up pointing to the city. And is it not the office of the ministers of the gospel to direct sinners to Him? 4. The gate of the city stood open night and day. Has not Christ declared, Him that cometh unto me I will in nowise cast out? 5. The city of refuge afforded support to every one who entered its walls. Those who have reached the refuge, may live by faith on Him whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed. 6. The city was a refuge for all. In the gospel there is no respect of persons. That soul lives not which deserves not Divine wrath; that soul lives not which may not in simple faith hope for salvation and life eternal, through the Son of God.No satisfaction - Rather, ransom (see Exodus 21:30). The permission to demand pecuniary compensation for murders (expressly sanctioned by the Koran) undoubtedly mitigates, in practice, the system of private retaliation; but it does so by sacrificing the principle named in Numbers 35:12, Numbers 35:33. 29-34. these things shall be for a statute of judgment unto you throughout your generations—The law of the blood-avenger, as thus established by divine authority, was a vast improvement on the ancient practice of Goelism. By the appointment of cities of refuge, the manslayer was saved, in the meantime, from the blind and impetuous fury of vindictive relatives; but he might be tried by the local court, and, if proved guilty on sufficient evidence, condemned and punished as a murderer, without the possibility of deliverance by any pecuniary satisfaction. The enactment of Moses, which was an adaptation to the character and usages of the Hebrew people, secured the double advantage of promoting the ends both of humanity and of justice. No intercession nor ransom shall be accepted to save his life, or procure him a pardon. Moreover, ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer,.... Though he would give all his wealth and substance, all his estates and possessions, and whatever he is worth in the world; for all that a man has he will give for his life; but these are not to be taken, nor anything, and everything his friends may offer for him; all is to be rejected, the life of such a man is not to be saved on any consideration:

which is guilty of death; as he is who kills a man willingly and purposely; but one may be guilty of killing another, and yet not be deserving of death, when it is done ignorantly and accidentally with respect to him, for which reason this clause is added: but he shall be surely put to death; by the order of the civil magistrate; and if this is not done either through want of evidence, or the fault of the judge, or the criminal clemency of the chief governor, God sooner or later will take vengeance on such a person.

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

(m) Who purposely committed murder.

31, 32. The murderer’s life may not be ransomed. And the man who has committed accidental homicide may not pay a ransom in lieu of detention in the city of refuge. These prohibitions emphasize the extreme value of human life.Verse 31. - Ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer. The passion for vengeance is both bad and good, and is therefore to be carefully purified and restrained; but when the desire for vengeance can be appeased by a money payment, it has become wholly bad, and is only a despicable form of covetousness which insults the justice it pretends to invoke. Such payments or "ransoms" are permitted by the Koran, and have been common among most semi-civilized peoples, notably amongst our old English ancestors. In such a case as this, the congregation was to judge between the slayer and the avenger of blood, according to the judgments before them. They were to rescue the innocent man from the avenger of blood, to bring him back to his (i.e., the nearest) city of refuge to which he had fled, that he might dwell there till the death of the high priest, who had been anointed with the holy oil.
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