You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the people of Israel. And these things shall be for a statute and rule for you throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. Numbers 35:29-35.
God is giving the Israelites both a command and a rationale. Superficial minds, or those wanting to discredit the Bible, might say, “look how contradictory this is, if God is saying blood pollutes the land and yet commands shedding even more blood.” Reading the entire Bible, not taking a few verses out of context, will show that it isn’t blood per se that pollutes. And if he pushed him out of hatred or hurled something at him, lying in wait, so that he died, or in enmity struck him down with his hand, so that he died, then he who struck the blow shall be put to death. He is a murderer. Numbers 35:20-21. Note, it is blood shed in enmity or hatred that pollutes. It further says that if the bloodshed was accidental, there is an out for that. This command is also a statute throughout generations in all dwelling places. For the Israelites alone, you say? No, for a people who want God to dwell among them. Apparently, God doesn’t want to dwell where there’s pollution. But not only unjust shedding of blood pollutes. Because the root of murderous thoughts is pride.
Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. Proverbs 18:11. Pride leads to destruction, not just of the individual either. Pride also sees what others get away with, and says “why not me too?” Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. Ecclesiastes 8:12. The Israelites were directed to be not only just in their sentence against a murderer, requiring more than one eyewitness, but swift. Murderers did not get endless appeals. Both the eyewitness and the swiftness requirements are much needed for our own justice system.
Along with bloodshed in enmity, another thing polluting our land is exalting feelings above truth. No one who ever lived was kinder than Jesus Christ, but He told the truth! No matter how disappointing it was to the hearer. This young man asked Jesus “what must I do to attain to eternal life” expecting that his righteousness in keeping the Jewish law, in surpassing his friends, would be enough. “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” – Mark 10:21-22. Learn to love by telling the truth!