Justice and the Unpunished
“Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it. Do not defile the land where you live and where I dwell, for I, the LORD, dwell among the Israelites.” Numbers 35:33-34
You might wonder why God warns the people not to pollute the land by shedding blood there. He goes on to say that atonement for the land on which blood has been shed is only through the shedding of the blood of the one caused the initial shedding of blood. How does shedding more blood reduce the pollution of the land? If the shedding of blood pollutes the land, doesn’t shedding more blood, even the blood of the one who shed it, pollute the land even more? What God is emphasizing here is that murder, the shedding of blood, must not go unpunished. The murdered must be brought to justice. The unpunished murders are the ones that pollute and defile the land where God lives. God is about justice. He seeks justice toward the unpunished.