Ancient Israel did not have jails as we have them today. They relied on the extended clan to keep members in line regarding petty crime. For serious crime such as manslaughter, there were the cities of refuge, where people convicted of such could live productive lives with their families. They were confined to that town and so justice was given to the grieving family who lost someone.
Here we see the final allotment, the Levites being sprinkled like salt through the land, given cities within the boundaries of the other tribes.
They were the priests, to bring God’s word to His people, and so they were placed within the people.
As is always true, Jesus brings us a deeper and fuller understanding and outworking.
Jesus tells us that we are to be salt and light in this world (Matthew 5), doing the work of pointing people to Jesus in whatever situation God places us in.
Peter has a good word for us, as we think about how we live in the world.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
We are to priests scattered throughout the whole world (all of which is the Lord’s), telling people about Him who called us out of darkness and into His wonderful most marvelous light!
* Gracious Heavenly Father,
As You scattered the Levites by lot throughout Israel, please scatter us according to You will, and please strengthen and encourage us to be ever-mindful of our witness – That we might proclaim Your excellencies!
Please write Your word on our hearts Lord God.