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Cities for the Levites

35 Adonai spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho saying, “Command Bnei-Yisrael to give to the Levites from the inheritance of their possessions cities in which to live. They are also to give the Levites pasturelands around the cities. Thus they will have cities to live in and pastures for their cattle, flocks and all their livestock. The pastures you give the Levites will extend out from the walls around the cities for 1,000 cubits. You are to measure outside the cities 2,000 cubits on the east side, 2,000 cubits on the south side, on the west side 2,000 cubits, and on the north side 2,000 cubits. These are to be pasturelands for the cities.

“Six of the cities you give the Levites are to be cities of refuge, to which anyone who kills anyone may flee. Besides these, you are to give the Levites 42 more cities. In all, you are to give the Levites 48 cities with their pastures. The cities that you are to give to the Levites from the possession of Bnei-Yisrael should be proportionate to the inheritance of each tribe—give many from the one who has many and few from the one who has few.”

Adonai spoke to Moses saying, 10 “Speak to Bnei-Yisrael saying: When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 11 You are to select cities which will be cities of refuge, to which one might flee if he has killed someone by accident. 12 They are to be cities for refuge from the avenger, so the manslayer may not die before standing trial before the assembly. 13 The six cities you designate are to be your cities of refuge. 14 Designate three cities on this side of the Jordan and three in the land of Canaan as cities of refuge.

15 “These six cities of refuge are to be for Bnei-Yisrael as well as for the outsider and the visitor in their midst, for anyone killing a person by accident. 16 Now if the manslayer strikes someone with an iron object so that he dies, he is a murderer and the murderer must die. 17 If anyone has a stone in his hand that could be deadly and strikes anyone with it so that he dies, he is a murderer and the murderer must die. 18 Or if someone has a wooden object that could kill and strikes anyone so that he dies, he is a murderer and the murderer must be put to death. 19 The blood avenger himself may put the murderer to death. When he finds him, he is to kill him.

20 “If anyone pushes someone maliciously, or throws anything at him with deadly intent, 21 or with hostility hits him with his fist so that he dies, the one hitting him is a murderer. The blood avenger may put the murderer to death when he finds him. 22 But if he pushes him suddenly or throws an object at him with no intent, 23 or without seeing him should drop a stone on him resulting in his death, but he was not his enemy and intended him no harm, 24 the assembly must judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood according to these regulations. 25 The assembly must protect the manslayer from the avenger of blood. The assembly should send him back to the city of refuge to which he had fled and he is to remain there until the death of the kohen gadol who was anointed with the holy oil.

26 “But if the manslayer should go outside the city limit of his city of refuge to which he had fled, 27 and should the blood avenger find him outside the city limits of the refuge city, the blood avenger may put him to death without being guilty of his blood. 28 The manslayer must stay within the limits of his city of refuge until the kohen gadol dies, and after the death of the kohen gadol, the manslayer may return to his property.

29 “These are to be statutes of justice for your generations in all your dwelling places. 30 Everyone killing anyone shall be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of more than one witness. No one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.

31 “You are not to accept ransom for the life of a murderer. He deserves to die and he is to die. 32 Do not receive a ransom for one who has fled to his city of refuge, allowing him to return to his land before the kohen gadol’s death. 33 You are not to pollute the land in which you are. Blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for land polluted by bloodshed except by the blood of the one who sheds it. 34 You are not to defile the land where you live, where I dwell, for I dwell among Bnei-Yisrael.”