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Numbers 35 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Cities for the Levites

35 The Lord again spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho: “Command the Israelites to give cities out of their hereditary property for the Levites to live in and pastureland around the cities. The cities will be for them to live in, and their pasturelands will be for their herds, flocks, and all their other animals. The pasturelands of the cities you are to give the Levites will extend from the city wall five hundred yards[a] on every side. Measure a thousand yards[b] outside the city for the east side, a thousand yards for the south side, a thousand yards for the west side, and a thousand yards for the north side, with the city in the center. This will belong to them as pasturelands for the cities.

“The cities you give the Levites will include six cities of refuge, which you will provide so that the one who kills someone may flee there; in addition to these, give forty-two other cities. The total number of cities you give the Levites will be forty-eight, along with their pasturelands. Of the cities that you give from the Israelites’ territory, you should take more from a larger tribe and less from a smaller one. Each tribe is to give some of its cities to the Levites in proportion to the inheritance it receives.”

Cities of Refuge

The Lord said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 11 designate cities to serve as cities of refuge for you, so that a person who kills someone unintentionally may flee there. 12 You will have the cities as a refuge from the avenger, so that the one who kills someone will not die until he stands trial before the assembly. 13 The cities you select will be your six cities of refuge. 14 Select three cities across the Jordan and three cities in the land of Canaan to be cities of refuge. 15 These six cities will serve as a refuge for the Israelites and for the alien or temporary resident among them, so that anyone who kills a person unintentionally may flee there.

16 “If anyone strikes a person with an iron object and death results, he is a murderer; the murderer must be put to death. 17 If anyone has in his hand a stone capable of causing death and strikes another person and he dies, the murderer must be put to death. 18 If anyone has in his hand a wooden object capable of causing death and strikes another person and he dies, the murderer must be put to death. 19 The avenger of blood himself is to kill the murderer; when he finds him, he is to kill him. 20 Likewise, if anyone in hatred pushes a person or throws an object at him with malicious intent and he dies, 21 or if in hostility he strikes him with his hand and he dies, the one who struck him must be put to death; he is a murderer. The avenger of blood is to kill the murderer when he finds him.

22 “But if anyone suddenly pushes a person without hostility or throws any object at him without malicious intent 23 or without looking drops a stone that could kill a person and he dies, but he was not his enemy and didn’t intend to harm him, 24 the assembly is to judge between the person who kills someone and the avenger of blood according to these ordinances. 25 The assembly is to protect the one who kills someone from the avenger of blood. Then the assembly will return him to the city of refuge he fled to, and he must live there until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil.

26 “If the one who kills someone ever goes outside the border of the city of refuge he fled to, 27 and the avenger of blood finds him outside the border of his city of refuge and kills him, the avenger will not be guilty of bloodshed, 28 for the one who killed a person was supposed to live in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest. Only after the death of the high priest may the one who has killed a person return to the land he possesses. 29 These instructions will be a statutory ordinance for you throughout your generations wherever you live.

30 “If anyone kills a person, the murderer is to be put to death based on the word of witnesses. But no one is to be put to death based on the testimony of one witness. 31 You are not to accept a ransom for the life of someone who is guilty of murder; he must be put to death. 32 Neither should you accept a ransom for the person who flees to his city of refuge, allowing him to return and live in the land before the death of the high priest.

33 “Do not defile the land where you live, for bloodshed defiles the land, and there can be no atonement for the land because of the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of the person who shed it. 34 Do not make the land unclean where you live and where I dwell; for I, the Lord, reside among the Israelites.”

Footnotes:

  1. 35:4 Lit 1,000 cubits
  2. 35:5 Lit 2,000 cubits
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

Numbers 35 New International Version (NIV)

Towns for the Levites

35 On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, the Lord said to Moses, “Command the Israelites to give the Levites towns to live in from the inheritance the Israelites will possess. And give them pasturelands around the towns. Then they will have towns to live in and pasturelands for the cattle they own and all their other animals.

“The pasturelands around the towns that you give the Levites will extend a thousand cubits[a] from the town wall. Outside the town, measure two thousand cubits[b] on the east side, two thousand on the south side, two thousand on the west and two thousand on the north, with the town in the center. They will have this area as pastureland for the towns.

Cities of Refuge

“Six of the towns you give the Levites will be cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone may flee. In addition, give them forty-two other towns. In all you must give the Levites forty-eight towns, together with their pasturelands. The towns you give the Levites from the land the Israelites possess are to be given in proportion to the inheritance of each tribe: Take many towns from a tribe that has many, but few from one that has few.”

Then the Lord said to Moses: 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 11 select some towns to be your cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone accidentally may flee. 12 They will be places of refuge from the avenger, so that anyone accused of murder may not die before they stand trial before the assembly. 13 These six towns you give will be your cities of refuge. 14 Give three on this side of the Jordan and three in Canaan as cities of refuge. 15 These six towns will be a place of refuge for Israelites and for foreigners residing among them, so that anyone who has killed another accidentally can flee there.

16 “‘If anyone strikes someone a fatal blow with an iron object, that person is a murderer; the murderer is to be put to death. 17 Or if anyone is holding a stone and strikes someone a fatal blow with it, that person is a murderer; the murderer is to be put to death. 18 Or if anyone is holding a wooden object and strikes someone a fatal blow with it, that person is a murderer; the murderer is to be put to death. 19 The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death; when the avenger comes upon the murderer, the avenger shall put the murderer to death. 20 If anyone with malice aforethought shoves another or throws something at them intentionally so that they die 21 or if out of enmity one person hits another with their fist so that the other dies, that person is to be put to death; that person is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when they meet.

22 “‘But if without enmity someone suddenly pushes another or throws something at them unintentionally 23 or, without seeing them, drops on them a stone heavy enough to kill them, and they die, then since that other person was not an enemy and no harm was intended, 24 the assembly must judge between the accused and the avenger of blood according to these regulations. 25 The assembly must protect the one accused of murder from the avenger of blood and send the accused back to the city of refuge to which they fled. The accused must stay there until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil.

26 “‘But if the accused ever goes outside the limits of the city of refuge to which they fled 27 and the avenger of blood finds them outside the city, the avenger of blood may kill the accused without being guilty of murder. 28 The accused must stay in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest; only after the death of the high priest may they return to their own property.

29 “‘This is to have the force of law for you throughout the generations to come, wherever you live.

30 “‘Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of witnesses. But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.

31 “‘Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die. They are to be put to death.

32 “‘Do not accept a ransom for anyone who has fled to a city of refuge and so allow them to go back and live on their own land before the death of the high priest.

33 “‘Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it. 34 Do not defile the land where you live and where I dwell, for I, the Lord, dwell among the Israelites.’”

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 35:4 That is, about 1,500 feet or about 450 meters
  2. Numbers 35:5 That is, about 3,000 feet or about 900 meters
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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