Laws Concerning Cities of Refuge
"When p the Lord your God cuts off the nations whose land the Lord your God is giving you, and you dispossess them and dwell in their cities and in their houses,
q you shall set apart three cities for yourselves in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
You shall measure the distances and divide into three parts the area of the land that the Lord your God gives you as a possession, so that any manslayer can flee to them.
"This is the provision for r the manslayer, who by fleeing there may save his life. If anyone kills his neighbor unintentionally without having hated him in the past -
as when someone goes into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down a tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies - he may flee to one of these cities and live,
lest s the avenger of blood in hot anger pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and strike him fatally, though the man did not deserve to die, since he had not hated his neighbor in the past.
Therefore I command you, You shall set apart three cities.
t And if the Lord your God enlarges your territory, u as he has sworn to your fathers, and v gives you all the land that he promised to give to your fathers -
provided you are careful to keep all this commandment, which I command you today, by loving the Lord your God and by walking ever in his ways - w then you shall add three other cities to these three,
lest innocent blood be shed in your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, and so the guilt of bloodshed be upon you.
"But if anyone hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and attacks him x and strikes him fatally so that he dies, and he flees into one of these cities,
then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there, and hand him over to the avenger of blood, so that he may die.
y Your eye shall not pity him, z but you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that it may be well with you.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
When the Lord your God cuts off before you the nations whom you go in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land.
But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place to which he may flee.
Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan.
You shall give three cities beyond the Jordan, and three cities in the land of Canaan, to be cities of refuge.
Say to the people of Israel, 'Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses.
And beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they appointed Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland, from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead, from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan, from the tribe of Manasseh.
That the manslayer might flee there, anyone who kills his neighbor unintentionally, without being at enmity with him in time past; he may flee to one of these cities and save his life:
These six cities shall be for refuge for the people of Israel, and for the stranger and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills any person without intent may flee there.
That the manslayer who strikes any person without intent or unknowingly may flee there. They shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood.
And if the avenger of blood pursues him, they shall not give up the manslayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor unknowingly, and did not hate him in the past.
The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation for judgment.
The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death.
Or in enmity struck him down with his hand, so that he died, then he who struck the blow shall be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.
Numbers 35:24 - 25
Then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood, in accordance with these rules.
And the avenger of blood finds him outside the boundaries of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood kills the manslayer, he shall not be guilty of blood.
When the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he has promised you, and you say, 'I will eat meat,' because you crave meat, you may eat meat whenever you desire.
For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.
And I will set your border from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates, for I will give the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you.
Genesis 15:18 - 21
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates.
You shall set apart three cities for yourselves in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
So they set apart Kedesh in 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.
"'Cursed be anyone who strikes down his neighbor in secret.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death.
But if a man willfully attacks another to kill him by cunning, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.
Numbers 35:16 - 21
But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death.
And you shall consume all the peoples that the Lord your God will give over to you. Your eye shall not pity them, neither shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.
So you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the sight of the Lord.
You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.
1 Kings 2:31
The king replied to him, "Do as he has said, strike him down and bury him, and thus take away from me and from my father's house the guilt for the blood that Joab shed without cause.