The cities chosen as Cities of Refuge were Kedesh of Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali; Shechem, in the hill country of Ephraim; and Kiriath-arba (also known as Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. The Lord also instructed that three cities be set aside for this purpose on the east side of the Jordan River, across from Jericho. They were Bezer, in the wilderness of the land of the tribe of Reuben; Ramoth of Gilead, in the territory of the tribe of Gad; and Golan of Bashan, in the land of the tribe of Manasseh. These Cities of Refuge were for foreigners living in Israel as well as for the Israelis themselves, so that anyone who accidentally killed another man could run to that place for a trial and not be killed in revenge. –Joshua 20:7-9 Living Bible (TLB)
Ramoth: The Fifth City of Refuge.
Ramoth was situated in Gilead, within the tribe of Gad, and somewhere near the banks of the brook Jabbok, where, as you know, Jacob wrestled in prayer with the angel. It must have occupied a commanding position among the beautifully wooded glens of Gilead, and, like Bezer, been strongly fortified. We infer this latter from the many sieges it had undergone. Being not only, like the other, a border town of Palestine, but situated in the direct route taken by the invading Syrian armies, it must have been constantly exposed to hostile attacks.
You can think of Ramoth, then, among the hills and slopes on the other side of the Jordan, with their forests of native oak, which the famous “bulls of Bashan” (herds of wild cattle) roamed at large; while more peaceful flocks browsed on the meadows which fringed the mountain streams.
What does the name Ramoth tell us regarding Christ?
Ramoth literally means Exaltation. Jesus is the true Ramoth: He is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour! “He was once lowly, despised, rejected, crucified, slain. He compares Himself to a poor outcast and exile amid these forests of Gilead: “Many bulls have compassed me: strong hulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.” But having been exalted on the cross as a suffering Saviour, He is now exalted on the throne as a glorious King, “God hath highly exalted Him –angels exalt Him –seraphs adore Him –saints praise Him –the Church on earth magnifies Him –the Church redeemed in heaven will magnify and exalt Him for ever and ever!
My friend, may I recommend that you delight often to mentally walk around the walls of Ramoth, and think of Jesus “exalted at God’s right hand.” He is there pleading your cause. Though exalted, He has not forgotten the lowest or humblest of His people. He is the Greatest of all Beings, but He is the kindest of all too.
The first time after His exaltation when He came down to earth to speak: to the aged apostle John, John wondered if the glories of heaven had altered His love and tenderness. He remembered how often before he used to lean on His bosom. When he looked, however, now, upon the glorious Being that stood before him in His lustrous garment, with ” His eyes like a flame of fire,” he fell down at His feet like one dead.” But the same gentle hand touched him, the same gentle voice he was wont to hear so often in past years, said to him, “Fear not!” How sweet for us to think that we have exalted on the highest throne of the universe an unchanged and unchanging Savior, an ever-living,never-dying Friend.
“Though now ascended up on high,
He bends on earth a brother’s eye.”
Jesus is exalted in heaven, and exalted by all the glorious family of heaven. But alas, there is one place where He is often not exalted, but rather cast down, and that is the human heart. That heart has been too truly compared to the inn of Bethlehem, where there was room for every guest but the Lord of glory! Ye, whom Christ loved so much on earth –whom He fondled in His arms of mercy; see that it is not so with you. “My son,” He says, “give me thine heart.” See that He is enthroned, there as Lord of all. Exalt Him in everything: in your thoughts, in your words, in your deeds. Welcome Him, as the children of the temple welcomed Him to Jerusalem of old. Take up their song, and sing, “Hosannah to the Son of David! Hosannah in the highest!”
Written by John Ross Macduff.
Published in 1865.
Edited for thought and sense.
Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: John Ross Macduff (23 May 1818 – 30 April 1895) was a Scottish divine and a prolific author of religious essays. Born in Bonhard, Scone, Perthshire, Macduff was educated at the University of Edinburgh, and was ordained as minister of Kettins, a parish in Forfarshire in 1843. He returned to St Madoes, a parish in Perthshire in 1849, which he left to take charge of Sandyford, a new church in Glasgow. He preached there for fifteen years (until 1870), and then went to live in Chislehurst, Kent, in order to focus entirely on writing. His best known books were: “The Prophet of Fire”; “Memories of Bethany”: “Memories of Gennesaret”; “The Shepherd and His Flock “: “Sunset on the Hebrew Mountains “; “Comfort Ye”; “The Golden Gospel”; “Morning and Night Watches”; “The Bow in the Cloud”; “The Story of a Dewdrop”; and “The Story of a Shell.” Macduff died in Chislehurst.