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The Cities to Be a Safe Place

19 “The Lord your God will destroy the nations whose land the Lord your God gives you. You will take their place and live in their cities and in their houses. At that time you should set apart three cities for yourself in the land the Lord your God gives you for your own. Make the roads good that lead to these cities. Divide into three parts the land the Lord your God gives you for your own. Any man who kills another may run to a city and be safe.

“This is the law of the person who kills another and runs to a city to save his life. He might have killed his friend without meaning to, a friend he did not hate in the past. He could have gone among the trees with his friend to cut wood. As he was using his ax to cut down a tree, the ax head could have come off the stick and hit his friend, killing him. Then he may run to one of these cities and live. Or else the one who is angry will want to punish him for the killing, and will catch him and kill him. But the killer should not be put to death, because he had not hated the man in the past. So I tell you, ‘Set apart three cities for yourself.’ The Lord your God will give you even more land, as He has promised your fathers. He will give you all the land which He promised to give your fathers, if you are careful to obey all the Laws I tell you today. Love the Lord your God. Walk in His ways always. Then you will add three other cities to these three. 10 So the person without guilt will not be put to death in the land the Lord your God gives you as a gift. And you will not be guilty of blood.

11 “But there might be a man who hates his neighbor, lies in wait for him, goes against him, and hurts him so that he dies. After this he might run to one of these cities. 12 Then the leaders of his city should send men to take him from there and bring him to the one who wants to punish him for the killing that he may die. 13 Do not pity him. In Israel be free from the blood of those that are not guilty. Then it will go well with you.

14 “Do not move your neighbor’s land-mark which the fathers of long ago have set in the land the Lord your God gives you for your own.

15 “One person will not prove the guilt of a sin another man may have done. It will take two or three people who know about the sin to prove the man’s guilt. 16 If an angry person speaks against a man, saying that he did something wrong, 17 then both men who are arguing should stand before the Lord, in front of the religious leaders and the judges who are at work at that time. 18 The judges will choose careful questions to ask about the problem. If the man lied who said his brother is guilty, 19 then you should do to him just what he wanted to do to his brother. In this way you will get rid of the sin among you. 20 The rest of the people will hear and be afraid. They will never do such a sinful thing among you again. 21 Do not pity him. It will be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.