Cities of Refuge
1“When Adonai your God cuts off the nations whose land Adonai your God is giving you, and you dispossess them and dwell in their cities and houses,
2you are to set apart three cities for yourself within the land He is giving you to possess.
3You are to prepare the way for yourself and divide into three parts the borders of your land that Adonai your God enables you to inherit, so that anyone who kills may flee there.
4Now this is the case of the one who kills, who may flee there and live—whoever kills his neighbor unintentionally and did not hate him in the past—
5as when someone goes into the forest with his neighbor to chop wood, and his hand takes a swing with the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron flies off the wood and hits his neighbor so that he dies. He may flee to one of these cities and live.
6Otherwise if the way is long, the avenger of the blood, while his heart is hot, may chase the manslayer, catch up to him and strike him dead. Yet no death sentence is on him, since he did not hate him in the past.
7Therefore I am commanding you—set apart three cities for yourself.
8“Suppose Adonai your God enlarges your territory, as He has sworn to your fathers, and He gives you all the land that He promised to give to your fathers—
9when you take care to do all this mitzvah that I am commanding you today, to love Adonai your God and to always walk in His ways. Then you are to add three more cities for yourself, besides these three.
10Then innocent blood will not be shed within your land that Adonai your God is giving you as an inheritance, and there would be blood upon you.
11“But suppose someone hates his neighbor, waits in hiding for him, rises up against him, strikes him dead, then flees to one of these cities.
12Then the elders of his hometown should send and take him from there and hand him over to the avenger of blood, to die.
13Your eye should not pity him, but you must purge the innocent blood from Israel, so that it may go well with you.
14“You must not move your neighbor’s boundary marker that the first generations marked out, in the inheritance you will receive in the land Adonai your God is giving you to possess.
15A single witness shall not rise up against a person for any offense or sin that he commits. By the word of two or three witnesses is a case to be established.
16Suppose a hostile witness rises up against someone to accuse him of wrongdoing.
17Then both people who have the dispute will stand before Adonai, before the kohanim and judges in charge at that time.
18The judges are to investigate thoroughly, and if indeed the witness is a false witness and has testified falsely against his brother,
19then you are to do to him just as he had plotted to do to his brother. So you will purge the evil from your midst.
20Those who remain will hear and be afraid, and they will no longer do such an evil thing as this in your midst.
21Your eye must not show pity—life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.