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Deuteronomy 19 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Cities of Refuge

19 When the Lord your God cuts off the nations, whose land the Lord your God gives you, and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and in their houses, you shall set aside three cities for yourself in the midst of your land, which the Lord your God gives you to [a]possess. You shall prepare the [b]roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the Lord your God will give you as a possession, [c]so that any manslayer may flee there.

Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live: when he [d]kills his friend [e]unintentionally, [f]not hating him previously— as when a man goes into the forest with his friend to cut wood, and his hand [g]swings the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron head slips off the [h]handle and [i]strikes his friend so that he dies—he may flee to one of these cities and live; otherwise the avenger of blood might pursue the manslayer [j]in the heat of his anger, and overtake him, because the way is long, and [k]take his life, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated him previously. Therefore, I command you, saying, ‘You shall set aside three cities for yourself.’

“If the Lord your God enlarges your territory, just as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land which He [l]promised to give your fathers— if you [m]carefully observe all this commandment which I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in His ways always—then you shall add three more cities for yourself, besides these three. 10 So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and bloodguiltiness be on you.

11 “But if there is a man who hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up against him and strikes [n]him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13 [o]You shall not pity him, but you shall purge the blood of the innocent from Israel, that it may go well with you.

Laws of Landmark and Testimony

14 You shall not move your neighbor’s boundary mark, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God gives you to [p]possess.

15 A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin [q]which he has committed; on the [r]evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. 16 If a malicious witness rises up against a man to [s]accuse him of [t]wrongdoing, 17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. 18 The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has [u]accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. 20 The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. 21 Thus [v]you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Footnotes:

  1. Deuteronomy 19:2 Lit possess it
  2. Deuteronomy 19:3 Lit road
  3. Deuteronomy 19:3 Lit and it shall be for every manslayer to flee there
  4. Deuteronomy 19:4 Lit smites
  5. Deuteronomy 19:4 Lit without knowledge
  6. Deuteronomy 19:4 Lit and he was not hating him previously
  7. Deuteronomy 19:5 Lit is thrust with
  8. Deuteronomy 19:5 Lit wood
  9. Deuteronomy 19:5 Lit finds
  10. Deuteronomy 19:6 Lit while his heart is hot
  11. Deuteronomy 19:6 Lit smite him in the soul
  12. Deuteronomy 19:8 Lit spoke
  13. Deuteronomy 19:9 Lit keep...to do it
  14. Deuteronomy 19:11 Lit him in the soul
  15. Deuteronomy 19:13 Lit Your eye
  16. Deuteronomy 19:14 Lit possess it
  17. Deuteronomy 19:15 Lit in any sin, which he sins
  18. Deuteronomy 19:15 Lit mouth of two witnesses, or by the mouth of three
  19. Deuteronomy 19:16 Lit testify against
  20. Deuteronomy 19:16 Lit turning aside
  21. Deuteronomy 19:18 Lit testified against
  22. Deuteronomy 19:21 Lit your eye
New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Deuteronomy 19 New International Version (NIV)

Cities of Refuge

19 When the Lord your God has destroyed the nations whose land he is giving you, and when you have driven them out and settled in their towns and houses, then set aside for yourselves three cities in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess. Determine the distances involved and divide into three parts the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, so that a person who kills someone may flee for refuge to one of these cities.

This is the rule concerning anyone who kills a person and flees there for safety—anyone who kills a neighbor unintentionally, without malice aforethought. For instance, a man may go into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and as he swings his ax to fell a tree, the head may fly off and hit his neighbor and kill him. That man may flee to one of these cities and save his life. Otherwise, the avenger of blood might pursue him in a rage, overtake him if the distance is too great, and kill him even though he is not deserving of death, since he did it to his neighbor without malice aforethought. This is why I command you to set aside for yourselves three cities.

If the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he promised on oath to your ancestors, and gives you the whole land he promised them, because you carefully follow all these laws I command you today—to love the Lord your God and to walk always in obedience to him—then you are to set aside three more cities. 10 Do this so that innocent blood will not be shed in your land, which the Lord your God is giving you as your inheritance, and so that you will not be guilty of bloodshed.

11 But if out of hate someone lies in wait, assaults and kills a neighbor, and then flees to one of these cities, 12 the killer shall be sent for by the town elders, be brought back from the city, and be handed over to the avenger of blood to die. 13 Show no pity. You must purge from Israel the guilt of shedding innocent blood, so that it may go well with you.

14 Do not move your neighbor’s boundary stone set up by your predecessors in the inheritance you receive in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess.

Witnesses

15 One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

16 If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse someone of a crime, 17 the two people involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the Lord before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. 18 The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, 19 then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you. 20 The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. 21 Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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