Here is the rule concerning a person who killed someone and is permitted to escape to one of these cities and live: If it is someone who killed his neighbor accidentally, without having hated that person previously;
you must choose three of your towns to be Safe Towns. Divide the land into three regions with one Safe Town near the middle of each, so that a Safe Town can be easily reached from anywhere in your land. Then, if one of you accidentally kills someone, you can run to a Safe Town and find protection from being put to death. But you must not have been angry with the person you killed.
This is the rule for someone who kills another person and runs to one of these cities in order to save his life [Ex. 21:13–14; Num. 35:6–34; Josh. 20]. But the person must have killed a neighbor ·without meaning to [accidentally; unintentionally], not out of hatred.
This is the rule for someone who kills another person. He may run to one of these cities to save his life. But he must have killed his neighbor without meaning to kill him. He did not hate his neighbor.
This is the guideline for the murderer who flees there to take refuge: He has to have killed his neighbor without premeditation and with no history of bad blood between them. For instance, a man goes with his neighbor into the woods to cut a tree; he swings the ax, the head slips off the handle and hits his neighbor, killing him. He may then flee to one of these cities and save his life. If the city is too far away, the avenger of blood racing in hot-blooded pursuit might catch him since it’s such a long distance, and kill him even though he didn’t deserve it. It wasn’t his fault. There was no history of hatred between them. Therefore I command you: Set aside the three cities for yourselves.
This shall be the law of a manslayer fleeing, whose life shall be kept. If a man smiteth unwittingly his neighbour, and which is proved to have not had any hatred against him yesterday, and the third day ago, (This shall be the law for anyone fleeing manslaughter, whose life shall be saved. If anyone unwittingly, or unintentionally, striketh down his neighbour, and is proved to have not had any hatred against him yesterday, and the third day ago,)
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