1 In the plainsI of MoabII by the JordanIII opposite Jericho,IV
the LordV spokeVI to Moses,VII saying,
2 “CommandVIII the IsraelitesIX to give,X
from the inheritanceXI that they possess,XII townsXIII
for the LevitesXIV to liveXV in; you shall also give to the Levites pasturelandsXVI surroundingXVII the towns.
3 The towns shall beXVIII theirs to live in, and their pasturelands shall be for their cattle,XIX for their livestock,XX and for allXXI their animals.XXII
4 The pasture lands of the towns, which you shall give to the Levites, shall reach from the wallXXIII of the town outwardXXIV a thousandXXV cubitsXXVI all around.XXVII
5 You shall measure,XXVIII outsideXXIX the town, for the eastXXX sideXXXI two thousand cubits, for the southXXXII side two thousand cubits,
for the westXXXIII side two thousand cubits, and for the northXXXIV side two thousand cubits, with the town in the middle;XXXV this shall belongXXXVI to them as pastureland for their towns.
6 “The towns that you give to the Levites shall include the sixXXXVII citiesXXXVIII of refuge,XXXIX where you shall permitXL a slayerXLI to flee,XLII
and in addition to them you shall give fortyXLIII-twoXLIV towns. 7 The towns that you give to the Levites shall totalXLV forty-eight,XLVI with their pasturelands.
8 And as for the towns that you shall give from the possessionXLVII of the Israelites, from the largerXLVIII tribes you shall take many,XLIX and from the smallerL tribes
you shall take few;LI each,LII in proportionLIII to the inheritance that it obtains,LIV shall give of its towns to the Levites.”
9 The LordLV spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: When you crossLVI the Jordan into the landLVII of Canaan,LVIII
11 then you shall selectLIX cities to be cities of refuge for you, so that a slayer who killsLX a personLXI without intentLXII may flee there.
12 The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger,LXIII so that the slayer may not dieLXIV until there isLXV a trialLXVI
beforeLXVII the congregation.LXVIII
13 “The cities that you designateLXIX shall be six cities of refuge for you: 14 you shall designate threeLXX cities beyondLXXI the Jordan, and three cities in the land of Canaan, to be cities of refuge.
15 These six cities shall serveLXXII as refuge for the Israelites, for the residentLXXIII or transient alienLXXIV amongLXXV them, so that anyoneLXXVI who kills a person without intent may flee there.
16 “But anyone who strikesLXXVII another with an ironLXXVIII object,LXXIX
and death ensues,LXXX is a murderer;LXXXI the murdererLXXXII shall be put to death.LXXXIII
17 Or anyone who strikes another with a stoneLXXXIV in handLXXXV that could cause death,LXXXVI and death ensues, is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.LXXXVII
18 Or anyone who strikes another with a weaponLXXXVIII of woodLXXXIX in hand that could cause death, and death ensues, is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.XC
19 The avenger of bloodXCI is the one who shall put the murderer to death; when they meet,XCII the avenger of bloodXCIII shall execute the sentence.XCIV
20 Likewise, if someone pushesXCV another from hatredXCVI or hurlsXCVII something at another, lying in wait,XCVIII and death ensues, 21 or in enmityXCIX strikes another with the hand, and death ensues, then the one who struck the blow shall be put to death;C that person is a murderer; the avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when they meet.
22 “But if someone pushes another suddenlyCI without enmity or hurls anyCII object without lying in wait, 23 or, while handling any stone that could cause death, unintentionallyCIII dropsCIV it on another and death ensues,
though they were not enemiesCV and no harmCVI was intended,CVII
24 then the congregationCVIII shall judgeCIX betweenCX the slayerCXI andCXII the avenger of blood, in accordance with these ordinances,CXIII
25 and the congregation shall rescueCXIV the slayerCXV from theCXVI avenger of blood. Then the congregation shall send the slayer backCXVII to the originalCXVIII city of refuge.
The slayer shall live in it until the deathCXIX of the highCXX priestCXXI
who was anointedCXXII with the holyCXXIII oil.CXXIV
26 But if the slayerCXXV shall at any time go outsideCXXVI the boundsCXXVII of the original city of refuge
27 and is foundCXXVIII by the avenger of blood outside the bounds of the city of refuge and is killedCXXIX by the avenger, no bloodguiltCXXX shall be incurred. 28 For the slayer must remainCXXXI in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest,
but afterCXXXII the death of the high priest the slayerCXXXIII may returnCXXXIV to his property.CXXXV
29 “These things shall be a statuteCXXXVI and ordinance for you throughout your generationsCXXXVII whereverCXXXVIII you live.CXXXIX
30 “If anyone killsCXL another,CXLI the murderer shall be put to deathCXLII on the evidenceCXLIII of witnesses,CXLIV
but no oneCXLV shall be put to deathCXLVI on the testimonyCXLVII of a singleCXLVIII witness.
31 Moreover you shall acceptCXLIX no ransomCL for the lifeCLI of a murderer who is subject to the death penalty; a murderer must be put to death.CLII
32 Nor shall you accept ransom for one who has fled to a city of refuge, enabling the fugitive to return to liveCLIII in the land before the death of the high priest. 33 You shall not polluteCLIV the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no expiation can be madeCLV for the land for the blood that is shedCLVI in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.
34 You shall not defileCLVII the land in which you live,CLVIII inCLIX which I also dwell,CLX for I the LordCLXI dwell among the Israelites.”
Image credit: “Glowing and Disintegrating” by readerwalker, 2016.