103-1419 Chapter 19
Protecting Persons against Intemperate Wrath
The cities of refuge were for those who killed either by accident or deliberately could take refuge until his case was decided. This was to protect the refugee from the avenger of blood. If a person was killed for whatever reason, the nearest of kin to the deceased was obliged to avenge the blood of his kinsmen. Thus the cities of refuge were established as a place of safety till the case could be decided in court. But if the defendant was found to be a murderer the elders of the city were to hand him over to the avenger. But the principle is clear that people of God are to protect persons against intemperate wrath.
Respecting Property Rights
The covenant community is to respect the property rights of its members. People should not have to fear if their property will be infringed upon. Reference can be found to this principle in the eighth and tenth of the Ten Commandments.
Protecting Persons against False Witness
Throughout the Old Testament the problem of a false witness is addressed and must have been a serious problem amongst the people. A person who had been accused was protected in two ways from a malicious witness. First a single witness could not prevail against him for any crime. A person could only be convicted on the testimony of multiple witnesses. Second, a most interesting law had developed to discourage a false witness. In cases were the witness was proven to be false, “then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.” An example to the extreme would be if a man was on trial for murder and a witness against him was found to be false, the witness would be put to death. This principle was to create integrity with witnesses in the courts of law.
Preaching on Humanitarian Conduct of War
On first examination, to speak of the humanitarian conduct of a war may appear altogether inconsistent. But historically war has been subject to limitations because of humanitarian concerns. In ancient Israel holy war was central to the conquest, and the specific stipulations governing its conduct are instructive for understanding the humanitarian concern which characterized such a war,