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Chinese6/9/2005English
經文:民數記卅五至卅六章
鑰節:「你們不可玷污所住之地,就是我住在其中之地,因為我耶和華住在以色列人中間。」(35:34)
提要

        利未人不像其他支派可以在迦南地承受產業,但上帝為他們在迦南全地預備了四十八座城供他們和家人居住,他們還可以得著每座城邑四圍的郊野放牧牲畜。在約書亞記廿一章,我們讀到上帝透過摩西頒佈的這個命令已經實現,雖然摩西在有生之年沒有親眼目睹。頒佈這個命令的理由可能是要保持利未人在迦南全地的屬靈影響力。

        賜給利未人的四十八座城中,其中六座被指定作為「逃城」。這是上帝仁慈的預備,保護嫌犯在接受公平審訊(35:12)之前不致遭報。與被殺之人關係最密切的親戚才有責任為他的親屬報血仇:這樣可防止大規模的家族械鬥及許多不必要的傷亡。負有報血仇之責的親戚也要作他親人的贖主。他要贖回或買回被賣為奴的親戚,或贖回他親人的產業。這一切都是為了維護家庭的尊嚴。

        如果殺人的行為純屬意外,誤殺人的兇手可以逃往逃城,便得庇護。這些逃城分別座落在迦南全地,是有其美意的,好使人可以在短時間之內到達一座逃城。上帝也很仁慈的讓三座逃城座落在約但河東,以保護留在那堛漸H色列人,其他的三座逃城則在迦南地。雖然殺人致死可能是無心之過,但誤殺人的畢竟還是流了人的血,必須留在逃城內,因為他如果出城,報血仇之人就可以殺他。不過一旦大祭司死了,他就得著赦免,可以平安的回家,此時,任何報復的行為都不合法。如果兇手被發現是蓄意用堅硬物體或武器謀殺(35:16~18),經由一個以上的見證人證實有罪,報血仇的人就可以殺他,沒有任何人能庇護他。

        以上及其他以色列人從上帝承受的律法,使她與異教的鄰邦比較起來,有最高的公義準則。他們對生命有高度的尊重,因為人是按照上帝的形像造的。殺人、流人的血是十分嚴重的事,會污穢所住之地,而上帝居住的地方必須保持潔淨。以色列人要尊敬上帝也要尊敬其他的人。

        民數記最後一章也對西羅非哈五個沒有兄弟的女兒(27:1~11)作了後續的報導。他們支派的人考慮到婦女繼承權可能造成的結果。如果她們嫁給別支派的人怎麼辦呢﹖她們承受的土地就會從原主人的手堿y失。摩西再次尋求上帝的答覆。上帝回答,如果任何女子得了產業,她必須只嫁給同支派堛漱H,使家族的產業不致「從這支派歸到那支派」(36:9)。我們看到西羅非哈可敬的女兒都遵守了上帝的命令。回想民數記記載了這麼多的悖逆事件,這個愉快的句點更令人感到欣慰。

禱告

        上帝啊,您是我們的避難所。謝謝您在耶穌堿飢畯拊w備了安全的居所,使我們不怕遭害。奉主耶穌基督聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Numbers 35 & 36
Key Verse:“therefore do not defile the land which you inhabit… for I the Lord dwell among the children of Israel.”(Numbers 35:34 )
Overview

        Since the Levites were not to receive any inheritance of land like the other tribes, God made provision for them with the allotment of forty-eight cities scattered throughout the land wherein they could live with their families. They were also to receive land wherein they could life with their families. They were also to receive land surrounding each of the cities for their livestock. In Joshua chapter 21, we read of the fulfillment of this command that the Lord gave to Moses, even though Moses Himself would not live to see it. The reason behind this command was probably to keep a spiritual influence felt in all the land.

        Six of the forty-eight cities were to be designated as “cities of refuge”. This was a gracious provision from God to protect a suspected murderer from the “avenger” until he could come to a fair trial (35:12). A close relative of the deceased was expected to take upon himself the responsibility for avenging the blood of his kinsmen. This would prevent large family feuds that might cause the unnecessary deaths of several. The same person who was the blood avenger was also to be the kinsman redeemer. He would redeem, or buy back, a relative sold into slavery, or redeem a lost inheritance of his kinsmen. All this would be done to maintain the honor of the family.

        If the death was found to be accidental, the slayer could flee for safety to one of the cities of refuge. These were located strategically throughout the land so that one could be reached within a short period of time. God graciously allowed for three of the cities to be located in Transjordan to protect those who had remained there; the other three were in the land of Canaan. Though a death might have been caused unintentionally, the slayer had still spilt a man’s blood and was to remain in the city of refuge, for if he left he was fair game for the avenger of blood. However, upon the death of the high priest, he was granted pardon and could safely return to his home, and any avenging would be unlawful. If the slayer was found guilty of willful murder by using a hard item or weapon (35:16-18), with the testimony of more than one witness he was to be put to death by the avenger of blood and not afforded any protection.

        With these laws and others, Israel had the highest form of justice compared with their heathen neighbors. They had a high regard for the sanctity of life, since they knew they had been made in God’s image. It was such a serious thing to kill and shed the blood of a man that it would bring defilement upon the land; and the land in which the Lord dwelt was to remain pure. They were to respect God and other people as well.

        The last chapter of the book of Numbers wraps up the account of the five brothers less daughters of Zelophehad (27:1-11). The men of their tribe were considering the ramifications of the women’s rights to the inheritance. What would happen if they married outside of the tribe? The land would then be lost to its original inheritors. Moses again sought the Lord’s answer; He responded that if any woman became an heiress, she was obliged to marry a man from within her own tribe, so the family allotments would not “change hands from one tribe to another” (36:9). We read that the noble daughters of Zelophehad did as the Lord commanded. Considering all the occasions of disobedience in the book of Numbers, this is a happy not upon which to end.

Prayer

        We flee unto You for refuge, O God. Thank You for Your provision of a safe place in Jesus where we fear no evil.


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