20 Then the Lord told Joshua, 2 “Tell the people of Israel to set apart cities of refuge about which I spoke to you through Moses, 3 so that anyone who kills a person unintentionally and without premeditation may run there and be protected from closely related[a] avengers. 4 He may run to one of those cities, stand at the entrance to the city gate, and tell his side of the story to the elders of the city. They are to bring him inside the city with them and provide him a place to live among them. 5 Now if the closely related[b] avenger pursues him, then they are not to hand the killer over to him, because he killed his neighbor without premeditation and without hating him beforehand. 6 He is to live in that city until he stands trial before the community, until the death of the one who is high priest at that time. Then the killer may return to his own city and to his own home, that is, to the city from which he fled.”
7 So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (also known as Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. 8 East of Jericho beyond the Jordan River, they reserved Bezer in the wilderness on the plain from the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh. 9 These were appointed to be cities for all the Israelis and for the foreigner who lives among them, so that whoever kills anyone unintentionally may run there and not die at the hands of a closely related[c] avenger until he stands for trial before the community.
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