Three Cities of Refuge
1“When the Lord your God #Deut. 12:29has cut 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, 2#Ex. 21:13; Num. 35:10–15; Deut. 4:41; Josh. 20:2you shall separate three cities for yourself in the midst of your land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess. 3You shall prepare roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, that any manslayer may flee there.
4“And #Num. 35:9–34; Deut. 4:42this is the case of the manslayer who flees there, that he may live: Whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally, not having hated him in time past— 5as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies—he shall flee to one of these cities and live; 6#Num. 35:12lest the avenger of blood, while his anger is hot, pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and kill him, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated the victim in time past. 7Therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall separate three cities for yourself.’
8“Now if the Lord your God #Deut. 12:20enlarges your territory, as He swore to #Gen. 15:18–21your fathers, and gives you the land which He promised to give to your fathers, 9and if you keep all these commandments and do them, which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and to walk always in His ways, #Josh. 20:7–9then you shall add three more cities for yourself besides these three, 10#Num. 35:33; Deut. 21:1–9lest innocent blood be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and thus guilt of bloodshed be upon you.
11“But #Num. 35:16, 24; Deut. 27:24; (1 John 3:15)if anyone hates his neighbor, lies in wait for him, rises against him and strikes him mortally, so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, 12then the elders of his city shall send and bring him from there, and deliver him over to the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13#Deut. 13:8Your eye shall not pity him, #Num. 35:33, 34; 1 Kin. 2:31but you shall put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with you.
14#Deut. 27:17; Job 24:2; Prov. 22:28; Hos. 5:10“You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
The Law Concerning Witnesses
15#Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6; Matt. 18:16; John 8:17; 2 Cor. 13:1; 1 Tim. 5:19; Heb. 10:28“One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established. 16If a false witness #Ex. 23:1; Ps. 27:12; 35:11rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, 17then both men in the controversy shall stand before the Lord, #Deut. 17:8–11; 21:5before the priests and the judges who serve in those days. 18And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, 19#Prov. 19:5; Dan. 6:24then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so #Deut. 13:5; 17:7; 21:21; 22:21you shall put away the evil from among you. 20#Deut. 17:13; 21:21And those who remain shall hear and fear, and hereafter they shall not again commit such evil among you. 21#Deut. 19:13Your eye shall not pity: #Ex. 21:23, 24; Lev. 24:20; Matt. 5:38, 39life shall be for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.