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19 “When Yahweh your God has exterminated[a] the nations concerning whom Yahweh your God is giving to you their land, and you have dispossessed them, and you have settled in their towns and in their houses, you shall set apart three cities for you in the midst of your land that Yahweh your God is giving to you to take possession of it. You shall prepare the roads[b] for yourselves, and you shall divide the regions of your land into thirds that Yahweh your God gives you as a possession, so that it will be available for any manslayer to flee there.[c]

“Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live there who has killed his neighbor unintentionally,[d] and he did not hate him previously.[e] For example,[f] when somebody goes with his neighbor into the forest to cut wood, and the iron head slips from the handle of the tool and strikes his neighbor and he dies, then he may flee to one of these cities, and so he may live. He does this lest the avenger of blood might pursue after the killer, because he is hot with anger[g] and he overtakes him, because it is a long distance to the city of refuge, and so he kills him,[h] but he did not deserve a death sentence,[i] because he was not hating him before.[j] Therefore I am commanding you, saying,[k] ‘You shall set apart three cities.’ Then if Yahweh your God enlarges your territory just as he swore to your ancestors[l] and gives[m] to you all the land that he promised[n] to give to your ancestors,[o] then if you diligently observe this entire commandment[p] that I am commanding you today[q] by loving Yahweh your God and by going[r] in his ways at all times,[s] then you shall add three more cities for yourselves to these three. 10 Do this so that innocent blood will not be shed[t] in the midst of your land that Yahweh your God is giving to you as an inheritance and thereby bloodguilt would be on you.[u]

11 But if someone hates[v] his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up[w] against him and murders him,[x] and the murderer flees to one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there, and they shall give him into the hand of the avenger of blood, and he shall be put to death. 13 Your eye shall not take pity on him, and you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that good will be directed toward you.[y]

14 “You shall not move the boundary marker of your neighbor that former generations[z] set up on your property in the land that Yahweh your God is giving to you to take possession of it. 15 The testimony of a single witness may not be used to convict[aa] with respect to any crime and for any wrongdoing in any offense that a person[ab] committed; on the evidence[ac] of two witnesses or on the evidence[ad] of three witnesses a charge shall be sustained.[ae] 16 If a malicious witness[af] gets up to accuse[ag] anyone to testify against him falsely, 17 then the two men to whom the legal dispute pertains[ah] shall stand before[ai] Yahweh, before[aj] the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. 18 Then judges shall make a thorough inquiry, and if it turns out[ak] that the witness is a false witness and he testified falsely against his brother, 19 then you shall do to him as he meant[al] to do to his brother, and so you shall purge the evil from your midst. 20 And the rest[am] shall hear and shall fear, and they shall not continue to do such a thing again[an] as this evil thing in your midst. 21 You must show no pity:[ao] life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”


  1. Deuteronomy 19:1 Literally “cut off”
  2. Deuteronomy 19:3 Hebrew “road”
  3. Deuteronomy 19:3 Literally “it shall be to flee there all/anyone killing”
  4. Deuteronomy 19:4 Literally “with no knowledge”
  5. Deuteronomy 19:4 Literally “from yesterday and the day before”
  6. Deuteronomy 19:5 Literally “And as”
  7. Deuteronomy 19:6 Literally “is hot his heart”
  8. Deuteronomy 19:6 Literally “he strikes him down as to his life/soul”
  9. Deuteronomy 19:6 Literally “for him there was not a judgment of death”
  10. Deuteronomy 19:6 Literally “from yesterday and the day before”
  11. Deuteronomy 19:7 Literally “to say”
  12. Deuteronomy 19:8 Or “fathers”
  13. Deuteronomy 19:8 Hebrew “will give”
  14. Deuteronomy 19:8 Literally “spoke”
  15. Deuteronomy 19:8 Or “fathers”
  16. Deuteronomy 19:9 Literally “if you observe all of the commandment the this to do it”
  17. Deuteronomy 19:9 Literally “the day”
  18. Deuteronomy 19:9 Or “walking”
  19. Deuteronomy 19:9 Literally “all of the days”
  20. Deuteronomy 19:10 Hebrew “is not shed”
  21. Deuteronomy 19:10 Hebrew “shall be on you,” but conditional sense of imperfect is clear
  22. Deuteronomy 19:11 Hebrew “is hating”
  23. Deuteronomy 19:11 Or “gets up”
  24. Deuteronomy 19:11 Literally “and strikes him mortally with regard to his life and he dies”
  25. Deuteronomy 19:13 Literally “and good shall be for you” or “it shall be good for you”
  26. Deuteronomy 19:14 Literally “the first settlers/ancestors”
  27. Deuteronomy 19:15 Literally “Not shall get up only a single witness against a man”
  28. Deuteronomy 19:15 Hebrew “he”
  29. Deuteronomy 19:15 Literally “mouth”
  30. Deuteronomy 19:15 Literally “mouth”
  31. Deuteronomy 19:15 Literally “shall be established a case/charge”
  32. Deuteronomy 19:16 Literally “a witness of violence”
  33. Deuteronomy 19:16 Literally “against”
  34. Deuteronomy 19:17 Literally “who for them are the legal dispute”
  35. Deuteronomy 19:17 Literally “to the face of”
  36. Deuteronomy 19:17 Literally “to the face of”
  37. Deuteronomy 19:18 Or “in fact”
  38. Deuteronomy 19:19 Or “planned”
  39. Deuteronomy 19:20 Literally “and those remaining”
  40. Deuteronomy 19:20 Literally “and they shall not do again to do again”
  41. Deuteronomy 19:21 Literally “And not take pity your eye”