Numbers 35:10-34 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
10 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 11 then you shall select for yourselves cities to be your cities of refuge, so that the one who commits manslaughter by [a]killing a person unintentionally may flee there. 12 The cities shall [b]serve you as a refuge from the avenger, so that the one who commits manslaughter does not die until he stands before the congregation for [c]trial. 13 So the cities which you are to provide shall be six cities of refuge for you. 14 You shall provide three cities across the Jordan, and three cities [d]in the land of Canaan; they are to be cities of refuge. 15 These six cities shall be a refuge for the sons of Israel, for the stranger, and for the foreign resident among them; so that anyone who [e]kills a person unintentionally may flee there.
16 ‘But if he struck him with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer; the murderer must be put to death. 17 And if he struck him with a stone in the hand, by which he would die, and as a result he did die, he is a murderer; the murderer must be put to death. 18 Or if he struck him with a wooden object in the hand, by which he would die, and as a result he did die, he is a murderer; the murderer must be put to death. 19 The blood avenger himself shall put the murderer to death; he himself shall put him to death when he meets him. 20 Now if he pushed him in hatred, or he threw something at him [f]with malicious intent, and as a result he died, 21 or if he struck him with his hand with hostility, and as a result he died, the one who struck him must be put to death; he is a murderer. The blood avenger shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.
22 ‘But if he pushed him suddenly, without hostility, or threw any object at him without [g]malicious intent, 23 or had any [h]deadly stone, and without looking he dropped it on him so that he died, while he was not his enemy nor was he seeking [i]to harm him, 24 then the congregation shall judge between the one who fatally struck the victim and the blood avenger in accordance with these ordinances. 25 And the congregation shall save the one who committed manslaughter from the hand of the blood avenger, and the congregation shall return him to his city of refuge to which he fled; and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. 26 But if at any time [j]he goes beyond the border of his city of refuge to which he flees, 27 and the blood avenger finds him outside the border of his city of refuge, and the blood avenger kills [k]him, he [l]will not be guilty of bloodshed, 28 because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest the one who committed manslaughter may return to the land of his property.
29 ‘These things shall be a statutory ordinance for you throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.
30 ‘If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the [m]testimony of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. 31 Moreover, you shall not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer who is [n]condemned to death, but he must be put to death. 32 And you shall not accept a ransom for one who has fled to his city of refuge, so that he may return to live in the land [o]before the death of the priest. 33 So you shall not defile the land in which you live; for blood defiles the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. 34 So you shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the Lord am dwelling in the midst of the sons of Israel.’”
Deuteronomy 19:1-13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Cities of Refuge
19 “When the Lord your God cuts off the nations whose land the Lord your God is giving you, and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and in their houses, 2 you shall set aside for yourself three cities in the midst of your land which the Lord your God is giving you to [a]possess. 3 You shall prepare the [b]roads for yourself, and divide into three regions the territory of your land which the Lord your God will give you as an inheritance, [c]so that anyone who commits manslaughter may flee there.
4 “Now this is the case of the one who commits manslaughter, who may flee there and live: when he [d]kills his friend [e]unintentionally, [f]not hating him previously— 5 as when a person 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. 6 Otherwise, the avenger of blood might pursue [j]him [k]in the heat of his anger, and overtake him because the way is long, and [l]take his life, though he was not sentenced to death since he had not hated him previously. 7 Therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall set aside for yourself three cities.’
8 “And if the Lord your God enlarges your territory, just as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land that He [m]promised to give your fathers— 9 if you [n]carefully follow all of this commandment which I am commanding 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 is giving you as an inheritance, and guilt for bloodshed will not be on you.
11 “But if there is a person who hates his neighbor, and waits in ambush for him and rises up against him and strikes [o]him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send men and take him from there, and hand him over to the avenger of blood, so that he may die. 13 [p]You shall not pity him, but you shall eliminate the guilt for the bloodshed of the innocent from Israel, so that it may go well for you.
Joshua 20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Six Cities of Refuge
20 Then the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘[a]Designate the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you [b]through Moses, 3 so that one who commits manslaughter by [c]killing a person unintentionally, without premeditation, may flee there, and they shall become your refuge from the avenger of blood. 4 Then he shall flee to one of these cities, and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city, and state his case in the [d]presence of the elders of that city; and they shall [e]receive him into the city to them and give him a place, so that he may remain among them. 5 Now if the avenger of blood pursues him, then they are not to hand the one who committed manslaughter over to him, since he struck his neighbor without premeditation and did not hate him previously. 6 And he shall remain in that city until he stands before the congregation for judgment, until the death of the one who is high priest in those days. Then [f]he shall [g]return to his own city and to his own house, to the city from which he fled.’”
7 So they [h]set apart Kedesh in [i]Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. 8 And beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they [j]designated Bezer in the wilderness on the plain from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh. 9 These were the designated cities for all the sons of Israel and for the stranger who resides among them, so that whoever [k]kills a person unintentionally may flee there, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood until he stands before the congregation.
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