The remaining three Cities of Refuge are listed today, three of six. (With six in the Bible being the number of lost mankind! Human beings, who sinned against God, were created on the sixth day! The number of the coming anti-Christ is six hundred and sixty and six! And many more instances are available! Lucid proof that God loves sinners and has provided for their salvation!)
Yes, Joshua 20:8 informs us: “And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.”
This verse “drips” with mercy, God’s Mercy!
“The other side” Jordan?
Ideally no one would have lived there. Israel was originally asked (commanded) to “cross” the Jordan and live in the Land of Canaan. But some of the (I think half-hearted) Tribes begged Moses: “Bring us not over Jordan.” Numbers 32:5, settling for “less” than God’s Best in their lives!
Yet still, IN MERCY, God is giving those people Cities of Refuge as well!
And “given” is the right word, too. Because unlike the first three Cities … which were “sanctified” (in our King James Bible “appointed,” spelled “qadash” in Hebrew) unto the Jews … verse 8’s “assigned” simply translates the verb “nathan” in Hebrew, generally rendered as “to give” in our Bibles, in fact nearly 1,100 times so!
God “gave” to some undeserving people … Cities of Refuge as well … tokens of His Amazing Grace!
But to the names of these three Cities now, Cities of Safety, Salvation, Refuge! “They assigned BEZER in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and RAMOTH in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and GOLAN in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.”
“Bezer” means “fortified,” or “a fortified place.” May I say this? Jesus IS our Fortress! Unto HIM we are to flee for salvation! As in Nahum 1:7 … “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” Amen! Or in beautiful Psalm 91:2 … “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” And one of my favorites, Psalm 18:2 … “The LORD is my rock, and MY FORTRESS, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Yes!
Next was the City of “Ramoth,” located in hard, rocky uninviting Gilead! And Ramoth means “heights,” the “high places” of the land! Is this Jesus? Oh yes, we Christians (right now) are the subject of Ephesians 2:6 … “And (God) hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in HEAVENLY PLACES in Christ Jesus.” High places for sure, “heavenly places!” One more verse, God and high places … “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto THE MOST HIGH.” Psalm 50:14 (And God can sometimes be seen as the very “most high” when we are in the harsh, “hard places” of life!)
Lastly was given the City of “Golan,” meaning (some say “exultation”) but I can only find “captivity” as its definition, background! And does that “ruin” our uniform six “Pictures” of Jesus? No indeed. Who came to me when I was a lost sinner (in captivity to wickedness) and set me free? Jesus, of course! “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
(And even if “Golan” means “exultation” or “joy,” as some Bible teachers say, still Jesus is in view. “But we also JOY in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Romans 5:11)
What names … all six Cities now … Kedesh (Holy Place) and Shechem (back shoulder, thus our Strength) and Kirjatharba (Perfectly Proportioned) also known as Hebron (Fellowship)! Then on the other side of Jordan, eastward, Bezer (Fortification) and Ramoth (the High Place) and Golan (Liberation or Joyful Exultation)!
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!
— Dr. Mike Bagwell
Who could say more?