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Deuteronomy 19:1 - 19:10

Statutes About Cities of Refuge

“When Yahweh your God cuts off the nations, whose land Yahweh your God gives you, and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and in their houses,
2 you shall set apart three cities for yourself in the midst of your land, which Yahweh your God gives you to possess. 3 You shall prepare the roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which Yahweh your God will give you to inherit, so that any manslayer may flee there. 4 “Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live: when he strikes down his friend without premeditation, not hating him previously— 5 as when a man goes into the forest with his friend to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron head slips off the handle and strikes his friend so that he dies—he may flee to one of these cities and live; 6 lest the avenger of blood pursue the manslayer when his heart is angry, and overtake him, because the way is long, and strike down his life, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated him previously. 7 Therefore, I am commanding you, saying, ‘You shall set apart three cities for yourself.’ 8 “Now if Yahweh your God enlarges your territory, just as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land which He promised to give to your fathers— 9 if you be careful to do all this commandment which I am commanding you today, to love Yahweh your God and to walk in His ways all your days—then you shall add three more cities for yourself, besides these three. 10 So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which Yahweh your God gives you as an inheritance, and bloodguiltiness be on you.