Deuteronomy 19

Sunday Evening Bible Study

November 29, 1998


The name Deuteronomy means "second law". It is Mosesí final address to the people. It covers the last 1 Ĺ months of Mosesí life. Heís 120 years old. Itís Godís "review" for the people to make sure they understand His ways before they go into the land.

Deuteronomy 19

:2 separate three cities for thee in the midst of thy land

Thesevp are the cities of refuge.

They had already set up three cities of refuge on the eastern side of the Jordan river, Golan, Ramoth Gilead, and Bezer.

When they came across the Jordan and conquered the rest of the land, they were to set up three more cities, which would be: Kedesh, Shechem, and Kiraith Arba.

This was to stop the "blood feuds" that developed in these ancient times. If you killed a relative of mine, even if it was an accident, I would be bound by my familyís honor to kill you. The killings went back and forth. Instead, when a person was killed by accident, they were allowed to flee to the nearest city of refuge (never more than a good dayís run away). As long as it was truly an accident (determined by a trial), then you were allowed to stay there and be protected from the "blood avenger", which a member of the dead personís family.

:6 the avenger of the blood

This was the person in the family who was sent to kill you if you accidentally killed a member of their family.

:6 while his heart is hot

If there werenít any hot heads in the world, something like this wouldnít be necessary. Itís our anger that gets us into trouble.


Take care of the anger.

(James 1:19-20 KJV) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: {20} For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.


John Killinger tells about the manager of a minor league baseball team who was so disgusted with his center fielder's performance that he ordered him to the dugout and assumed the position himself. The first ball that came into center field took a bad hop and hit the manager in the mouth. The next one was a high fly ball, which he lost in the glare of the sun--until it bounced off he forehead. The third was a hard line drive that he charged with outstretched arms; unfortunately, it flew between his hands and smacked his eye.

Furious, he ran back to the dugout, grabbed the center fielder by the uniform, and shouted, "You idiot! You've got center field so messed up that even I can't do a thing with it!"

-- Craig Brian Larson, Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, Baker, 1993, p. 16.


In his autobiography, Number 1, Billy Martin told about hunting in Texas with Mickey Mantle. Mickey had a friend who would let them hunt on his ranch. When they reached the ranch, Mickey told Billy to wait in the car while he checked in with his friend. Mantle's friend quickly gave them permission to hunt, but he asked Mickey a favor. He had a pet mule in the barn who was going blind, and he didn't have the heart to put him out of his misery. He asked Mickey to shoot the mule for him.

When Mickey came back to the car, he pretended to be angry. He scowled and slammed the door. Billy asked him what was wrong, and Mickey said his friend wouldn't let them hunt. "I'm so mad at that guy," Mantle said, "I'm going out to his barn and shoot one of his mules!" Mantle drove like a maniac to the barn. Martin protested, "We can't do that!" But Mickey was adamant. "Just watch me," he shouted.

When they got to the barn, Mantle jumped out of the car with his rifle, ran inside, and shot the mule. As he was leaving, though, he heard two shots, and he ran back to the car. He saw that Martin had taken out his rifle, too. "What are you doing, Martin?" he yelled. Martin yelled back, face red with anger, "We'll show that son of a gun! I just killed two of his cows!" Anger can be dangerously contagious. As Proverbs puts it, "Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man ... or you may learn his ways" (Prov. 22:24-25).

What do we do with anger?


Thomas Jefferson said "When angry, count to 10; when very angry count to 100." Mark Twain changed it and said, "When angry, count to 4; when very angry, swear."


The great Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini was legendary for his fits of rage. The librarian of one of Toscanini's orchestras was particularly vexed by the maestro's habit of throwing valuable musical scores at the musicians when angry. Watching closely, the librarian observed that Toscanini's first act when enraged was to take his baton in both hands and try to break it. If the baton snapped, Toscanini usually calmed down and rehearsal continued. If the baton did not break, he began hurling scores. The librarian's solution? He made sure the conductor had a generous supply of flimsy batons on hand for rehearsal!

Paul wrote,

(Eph 4:26-32 KJV) Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: {27} Neither give place to the devil. {28} Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. {29} Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. {30} And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. {31} Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: {32} And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

Itís not a matter of learning to count or breaking things, itís a matter of learning to put anger away and learning to do the kind things.

:11 if any man hate his neighbour

Premeditated murder. A murderer was not allowed refuge. The trial would take place in the city of refuge.

:12 deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood,

In this case, the avenger of blood was allowed to actually put the person to death, when they were already proven guilty.

:14 Thou shalt not remove thy neighbourís landmark

This is another way of saying that you canít steal your neighborís land. Boundaries would be determined by record of certain landmarks. If you moved the big rock at the corner of the property to make your farm bigger, you were guilty.

:15 One witness shall not rise up

We follow this rule of law today. It takes more than one witness to convict a person.

:18 the judges shall make diligent inquisition

Make sure of the facts when you make a decision. Donít make decisions based on heresay. Be careful about believing gossip.

:19 ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother

If he accused you of murder, and claims to have witnessed you doing it, but heís found lying, then he must pay the penalty.

:20 those which remain shall hear, and fear,

The punishment of crime ought to strike fear into the heart of the potential criminal and act as a deterrent.

:21 life shall go for life

This was intended to be the rule of punishment for civil law. (see also Lev. 24:20)

The law of retaliation, lex talionis, provided for exact justice, not revenge, and concerned public justice, not private vengeance.