With the double portion Mattot-Mas’ey the Book of Numbers concludes. The sedrot deal with a variety of laws and occurrences revolving around the conquest of the Promised Land. The cities of refuge expresses the Biblical theological postulate that the divine presence cannot abide in a land so polluted by murder; the offense leads to pollution of earth and abandonment by God of His sanctuary and people. Thus, homicide and asylum are mentioned here, as issues and institutions regaining attention on the eve of entering the Promised Land. Asylum was necessary because of the prevalence of blood vengeance in the ancient Near East. The narrative of the sedrot is preoccupied with the final events preceding the entering of the Promised Land. The Israelites have to defeat their Midianite foes, slaying the Midianite men as well as those women implicated in the apostasy at Baal-peor. Spoils are divided and Trans-Jordan is occupied. This is problematic because the Tribes of Gad and Reuben wish to settle there, rather than passing the national goal of occupying and settling in the Promised Land. Moses accepts a compromise: in return for the privilege of settling in Trans-Jordan, they will serve as shock troops for the forthcoming conquest. Finally, Israel turns its attention to the conquest and apportionment of Canaan. The Divine instructions to Moses are clear and logically sequential: conquest and apportionment of the land, definition of precise boundaries, designation of chieftains, the appropriation of 45 towns for the Levites and six Levitical towns as cities of refuge. As religious functionaries, the Levites always received special dispensation, in this case receiving no permanent property, but permanent residences and pasturage for their livestock via towns and their surrounding fields.