After the Promised Land had been divided among the tribes, the Lord told Joshua to create cities of refuge. A city of refuge was a place that a person could flee to if they accidentally killed someone. They could then stand trial before the elders of the city and be protected from the avenger of blood. They created six of these cities throughout Israel.
But what was an avenger of blood? In Joshua’s time they did not have police to take care of criminals so the family of the murdered person would choose an avenger. The avenger would then find the murderer and kill him. Now in our society that would be a crime, but that was the law of the land. But if it had been an accident, the avenger didn’t always want to listen to the person who had killed their family member. Thus they created places to which they could flee for safety. The person who had killed someone accidentally could then stay in the city safely until the current high priest died. At that point they could return to their homes. If they left before the death of the high priest the avenger could legally kill them.
We would think that was unfair, after all it was an accident. However, there are consequences of our actions, even mistakes. Sometimes we have to make up for what we do even if we didn’t mean to hurt anyone. In this case, a person had lost their life. Even if the person doing it had not done it on purpose, they probably should have been more careful. They probably need to learn a lesson. So remember, we are responsible for our actions, even when the results are not what we meant to happen.
Discuss how we need to take responsibility for accidents. For example: clean up spilled milk, rebuild knocked over towers, etc.