Joshua 20

Talks for Growing Christians

The Cities of Refuge

Joshua 20

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Lesson Number 28

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Christ, the true city of refuge, provides security from wrath.
  2. Christ, the true city of refuge, is readily accessible.

Practical Application

  1. Let's be clear refuge signs for the unbeliever.


  1. In Old Testament days before the giving of the law, when a person was killed by another person, who took on the responsibility of getting revenge?
  2. Is the practice of blood-revenge still carried out today?
  3. How many cities of refuge did God provide for people who had killed unintentionally or accidentally?
  4. Were cities of refuge commanded to be set up under the law?
  5. Read Deuteronomy 19:4-5. What is this an example of?
  6. How long was a manslayer safe, and under what circumstances?


  1. A near relative of the slain person.
  2. Yes, by some of the Beduoin Tribes of the Middle East.
  3. Six cities of refuge.
  4. Yes. See Numbers 35.
  5. Of an accidental killing where the manslayer flees to a city of refuge.
  6. He was safe as long as he stayed in the city of refuge and until he stood trial and until the death of the high priest. If, however, he was found guilty he received the death penalty - a life for a life.


  1. Refer to Hebrews 6:18. Here the author of Hebrews draws upon the city of refuge as an illustration of the refuge we have in Christ. Refuge from what? What does this mean to you? See also John 3:36 and Hebrews 6:18-20.
  2. Read Romans 10:13, John 3:16 and Revelation 22:17. Do you see something common in these passages? Have you drawn on the accessibility in Christ as your city of refuge?


  1. Jewish tradition says that all roads leading to the cities of refuge had to be kept in good repair and clearly marked. Are you a clear refuge sign that can point others to Christ? Do your friends and neighbors know they can turn to you in times of crisis?

Key Verses

  • "For all of the Israelites and for the stranger who dwelt among them, that whoever killed a person accidentally might flee to designated cities, and not die by the hand of the avenger"

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