8. (a) Why would there be no bloodguilt on the avenger of blood for taking the life of a manslayer? (b) Would there be bloodguilt on the avenger of blood if he took the life of an unintentional manslayer? How might the land have become polluted in such a circumstance?
8 If the avenger of blood were to overtake such a killer, then no bloodguilt would result from his execution of the murderer because, in fact, he would be making atonement for the innocent blood that would otherwise cause the land to be polluted. (Num. 35:33) But what if the killing had been accidental and there had been no malice or intent? In such a case the taking of the life would have been unintentional, without seeking the injury of the slain one. If the avenger of blood were to overtake this unintentional manslayer and kill him in the heat of anger, then, since the manslayer was innocent of premeditated murder, his own next of kin might indignantly rise up against the executioner of his kinsman and another innocent life would be taken, because the first avenger of blood did have the legal right to fall upon the unintentional slayer. This could easily give rise to a blood feud with one innocent life after another being lost, and the land would have been bathed in blood.
9. What means of asylum was made for the unintentional manslayer?
9 To prevent this pollution of the land, and as an act of mercy, Jehovah required that cities be placed as an asylum in Israel where the unwitting manslayer could find a refuge from the avenger of blood. “And the cities must serve you as a refuge from the blood avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the assembly for judgment. And the cities that you will give, the six cities of refuge, will be at your service. Three cities you will give on this side of the Jordan, and three cities you will give in the land of Canaan. As cities of refuge they will serve. For the sons of Israel and for the alien resident and for the settler in the midst of them these six cities will serve as a refuge, for anyone to flee there that fatally strikes a soul unintentionally.” (Num. 35:10-15;
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Cities of Refuge