Lord what a seemingly complex system You dictated to the Israelites for justice.
You have told us before that the shedding of innocent blood pollutes the land, and that the blood has a voice.
You heard the voice of Abel’s blood calling to You from the ground and confronted Cain. Here, one who kills with intent is a murderer and is to be put to death by the blood avenger. The blood avenger is the male relative closest to the one who was murdered. He is to avenge the blood that was wrongly taken.
If there is a question about the motive, whether there was intention to kill or not, the one who killed can flee to a City of Refuge to stand trial, and be safe there from the blood avenger. At the trial, no one is to be put to death on the testimony of less that two witnesses.
Today, we call a ”witness” to testify as to what they “saw.” However, they have no way of judging the intent, or what was in the mind of the person accused.
But in the Hebrew culture, one teaching suggests that a “witness” is one who has already
- confronted the potentially guilty party,
- explained to them what they were doing is wrong,
- and the penalty they will bear if they proceed.
Thus, they can testify that the accused was aware that what they were doing was wrong, and that they had been warned of the penalty. If the accused proceeded with the act, it was with volition and intent.
Father, I pray You would send witnesses into my life if I begin to stray down a path leading to sin. Stop me in my tracks and confront me with the realization of where I am headed, so I can turn around before it’s too late.