1On the flatlands of Moab, the Lord spoke to Moses. It was by the Jordan River across from Jericho. The Lord said,2“Command the people of Israel to give the Levites towns to live in. The towns must come from the shares of land the people will have as their own. Also give the Levites the grasslands that are around the towns.3Then the Levites will have towns to live in. They will also have grasslands that are for their cattle, flocks and all of their other livestock.4“The grasslands that are around each town you give them will go out to 1,500 feet from the town wall.5Outside each town, the east side will measure 3,000 feet. The south side will measure 3,000 feet. The west side will measure 3,000 feet. And the north side will measure 3,000 feet. The town must be in the center. The Levites will have the area around it as grasslands.
Cities to Go to for Safety
6“Six of the towns you give the Levites will be cities to go to for safety. A person who has killed someone can run to one of them. Also give the Levites 42 other towns.7You must give the Levites a total of 48 towns. Also give them the grasslands that are around the towns.8“The towns you give the Levites must come from the land the people of Israel have as their own. So the number you give from each tribe will depend on the size of that tribe's share. Take many towns from a tribe that has many. But take only a few towns from a tribe that has only a few.”9Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said,10“Speak to the people of Israel. Tell them, ‘You will soon go across the Jordan River. You will enter Canaan.11When you do, choose the cities to go to for safety. People who have killed someone by accident can run to one of those cities.12They will be places of safety for them. People will be safe there from those who want to kill them. Then those who are charged with murder will not die before their case has been brought to the community court.13“ ‘Six towns will be the cities you can go to for safety.14Three will be east of the Jordan River. The other three will be in Canaan.15“ ‘Those six towns will be places where the people of Israel can go for safety. Outsiders and any other people living in Israel can also go to them for safety. So anyone who has killed another person by accident can run there.16“ ‘Suppose a person uses an iron object to hit and kill someone. Then he is a murderer. He must be put to death.17Or suppose a person is holding a stone that could kill. And he uses it to hit and kill someone. Then he is a murderer. He must be put to death.18Or suppose a person is holding a wooden object that could kill. And he uses it to hit and kill someone. Then he is a murderer. He must be put to death.19“ ‘The dead person's nearest male relative should kill the murderer. When he meets him, he should kill him.20“ ‘What if a person makes evil plans against someone else? And what if that person pushes him so that he dies? Or what if that person throws something at him so that he dies?21Or what if that person hits the other person with a fist so that the other dies? Then the person who does any of those things must be put to death. He is a murderer. “ ‘The dead person's nearest male relative should kill the murderer. When he meets him, he should kill him.22“ ‘But what if a person suddenly pushes someone else without being angry? Or what if that person throws something at him without meaning to?23Or what if that person does not see him and drops a stone on him that kills him? He was not the dead person's enemy. He did not mean to harm him.24“ ‘Then the court must decide between the person who did the act and the nearest male relative of the one who was killed. Here are the rules the court must follow.25“ ‘The court must provide a safe place for the person who is charged with murder. It must keep him safe from those who want to kill him. The court must send him back to the city he ran to for safety. He must stay there until the high priest dies. The priest is the one who has been anointed with the holy oil.26“ ‘But suppose the one who has been charged with murder goes outside that city.27And suppose the dead person's nearest male relative finds that one outside the city. Then the relative can kill the one who has been charged. The relative will not be guilty of murder.28“ ‘The one who has been charged must stay in that city until the high priest dies. Only then can the one who has been charged return home.29“ ‘That is what the law requires of you for all time to come. It will apply to you no matter where you live.30“ ‘Suppose a person kills someone. That person must be put to death as a murderer. But do it only when there are witnesses who can tell what happened. Do not put anyone to death if only one witness tells what happened.31“ ‘Do not accept payment for a murderer's life. He should die. He must certainly be put to death.32“ ‘Do not accept payment for anyone who has run to a city for safety. Do not let him buy his freedom to return home. He must not go back and live on his own land before the high priest dies.33“ ‘Do not pollute the land where you are. Murder pollutes the land. Only one thing can pay to remove the pollution in the land where murder has been committed. The blood of the one who spilled another's blood must be spilled.34So do not make the land where you live “unclean.” I live there too. I live among the people of Israel. I am the Lord.’ ”
English Standard Version
Cities for the Levites
1The Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying, (Nu 22:1)2“Command the people of Israel to give to the Levites some of the inheritance of their possession as cities for them to dwell in. And you shall give to the Levites pasturelands around the cities. (Jos 14:3; Jos 21:2; Eze 45:1; Eze 48:8)3The cities shall be theirs to dwell in, and their pasturelands shall be for their cattle and for their livestock and for all their beasts.4The pasturelands of the cities, which you shall give to the Levites, shall reach from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits all around.5And you shall 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, the city being in the middle. This shall belong to them as pastureland for their cities.6“The cities that you give to the Levites shall be the six cities of refuge, where you shall permit the manslayer to flee, and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities. (Nu 35:13; De 4:41; Jos 20:2; Jos 20:7; Jos 21:3; Jos 21:13; Jos 21:21; Jos 21:27; Jos 21:32; Jos 21:36; Jos 21:38)7All the cities that you give to the Levites shall be forty-eight, with their pasturelands. (Jos 21:41)8And as for the cities that you shall give from the possession of the people of Israel, from the larger tribes you shall take many, and from the smaller tribes you shall take few; each, in proportion to the inheritance that it inherits, shall give of its cities to the Levites.” (Nu 26:54; Nu 33:54; Jos 21:3)
Cities of Refuge
9And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,10“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, (De 19:2; Jos 20:2)11then you shall select cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person without intent may flee there. (Ex 21:13)12The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation for judgment.13And the cities that you give shall be your six cities of refuge. (Nu 35:6)14You shall give three cities beyond the Jordan, and three cities in the land of Canaan, to be cities of refuge. (De 4:41; Jos 20:8)15These 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. (Nu 15:16)16“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. (Ex 21:12; Ex 21:14; Le 24:17; De 19:11)17And if he struck him down with a stone tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death.18Or if he struck him down with a wooden tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death.19The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death. (De 19:6; De 19:12; Jos 20:3; Jos 20:5)20And if he pushed him out of hatred or hurled something at him, lying in wait, so that he died, (Ex 21:14; De 19:11)21or 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. (Nu 35:19)22“But if he pushed him suddenly without enmity, or hurled anything on him without lying in wait (Ex 21:13)23or used a stone that could cause death, and without seeing him dropped it on him, so that he died, though he was not his enemy and did not seek his harm,24then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood, in accordance with these rules. (Nu 35:12; Nu 35:19; Jos 20:6)25And the congregation shall rescue the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge to which he had fled, and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. (Ex 29:7; Le 4:3; Le 21:10; Jos 20:6)26But if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the boundaries of his city of refuge to which he fled,27and 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. (Nu 35:19)28For he must remain in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest, but after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession. (Nu 35:25)29And these things shall be for a statute and rule for you throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. (Nu 27:11)30“If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. (De 17:6; De 19:15; Mt 18:16; Joh 8:17; 2Co 13:1; 1Ti 5:19; Heb 10:28)31Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death.32And you shall accept no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the high priest.33You 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. (Ge 9:6; Ps 106:38; Jer 3:1; Jer 3:9; Mic 4:11)34You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.” (Ex 29:45; Le 18:25; De 21:23)