Cities for the Levites
1Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying, 2“Command the sons of Israel that they give to the Levites from the inheritance of their possession cities to live in; and you shall give to the Levites pasture lands around the cities. 3The cities shall be theirs to live in; and their pasture lands shall be for their cattle and for their herds and for all their beasts.
4“The pasture lands of the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall extend from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits around. 5You shall also measure outside the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits, with the city in the center. This shall become theirs as pasture lands for the cities.
Cities of Refuge
6The cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be the six cities of refuge, which you shall give for the manslayer to flee to; and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities. 7All the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be forty-eight cities, together with their pasture lands. 8As for the cities which you shall give from the possession of the sons of Israel, you shall take more from the larger and you shall take less from the smaller; each shall give some of his cities to the Levites in proportion to his possession which he inherits.”
9Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 11then you shall select for yourselves cities to be your cities of refuge, that the manslayer who has killed any person unintentionally may flee there. 12The cities shall be to you as a refuge from the avenger, so that the manslayer will not die until he stands before the congregation for trial. 13The cities which you are to give shall be your six cities of refuge. 14You shall give three cities across the Jordan and three cities in the land of Canaan; they are to be cities of refuge. 15These six cities shall be for refuge for the sons of Israel, and for the alien and for the sojourner among them; that anyone who kills a person unintentionally may flee there.
16‘But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. 17If he struck him down with a stone in the hand, by which he will die, and as a result he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. 18Or if he struck him with a wooden object in the hand, by which he might die, and as a result he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. 19The blood avenger himself shall put the murderer to death; he shall put him to death when he meets him. 20If he pushed him of hatred, or threw something at him lying in wait and as a result he died, 21or if he struck him down with his hand in enmity, and as a result he died, the one who struck him shall surely be put to death, he is a murderer; the blood avenger shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.
22‘But if he pushed him suddenly without enmity, or threw something at him without lying in wait, 23or with any deadly object of stone, and without seeing it dropped on him so that he died, while he was not his enemy nor seeking his injury, 24then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the blood avenger according to these ordinances. 25The congregation shall deliver the manslayer from the hand of the blood avenger, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge to which he fled; and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. 26But if the manslayer at any time goes beyond the border of his city of refuge to which he may flee, 27and the blood avenger finds him outside the border of his city of refuge, and the blood avenger kills the manslayer, he will not be guilty of blood 28because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest the manslayer shall return to the land of his possession.
29‘These things shall be for a statutory ordinance to you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
30‘If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the evidence of witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. 31Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. 32You shall not take ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to live in the land before the death of the priest. 33So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it. 34You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the Lord am dwelling in the midst of the sons of Israel.’ ”