1Yahweh spoke to Moses on the Plains of Moab, near the Jordan by Jericho, and said: 2'Order the Israelites, from the heritage they possess, to give the Levites towns in which to live andpasture land round the towns. You wil give these to the Levites. 3The towns must be their homes and the surrounding pasture land must be for their cattle, theirpossessions and all their animals. 4The pasture land surrounding the towns which you give to the Levites wil extend, from the wal s ofthe towns, for a thousand cubits al round. 5'Outside the town, measure two thousand cubits to the east, two thousand cubits to the south, twothousand cubits to the west and two thousand cubits to the north, the town lying in the centre; such wil be thepasture lands of these towns. 6The towns you give to the Levites wil be six cities of refuge, ceded by you as sanctuary for those whocommit manslaughter; and you will give forty-two towns in addition. 7Altogether you wil give the Levites forty-eight towns, with their pasture lands. 8Of the towns which you give from the Israelites' possessions, you wil give more from those who havemore, and less from those who have less. Each wil give some of his towns to the Levites, in proportion to theheritage he himself has received.' 9Yahweh spoke to Moses and said: 10'Speak to the Israelites and say: "Once you have crossed the Jordan into Canaan, 11you wil find towns, some of which you wil make into cities of refuge where those who haveaccidental y committed manslaughter can take sanctuary. 12These towns wil afford you refuge from the avenger of blood, so that the kil er will not be put todeath before standing trial before the community. 13Of the towns you give, six wil serve you as cities of refuge: 14as cities of refuge, you wil give three towns on the other side of the Jordan and wil give three townsin Canaan. 15These six towns wil serve as refuge for the Israelites, for the foreigner and for the resident alien,where anyone who has accidental y kil ed someone can take sanctuary. 16"But if he has struck the person with an iron object so as to cause death, he is a murderer. Themurderer wil be put to death. 17If he has struck him with a stone meant for kil ing, and has kil ed him, he is a murderer. Themurderer wil be put to death. 18Or if he has struck him with a wooden instrument meant for kil ing, and has kil ed him, he is amurderer. The murderer will be put to death. 19The avenger of blood wil put the murderer to death. Whenever he finds him, he wil put him todeath. 20"If the killer has maliciously manhandled his victim, or thrown some lethal missile to strike him down, 21or out of enmity dealt him the death-blow with his fist, then he who struck the blow wil be put todeath; he is a murderer; the avenger of blood wil put him to death whenever he finds him. 22If, however, he has manhandled his victim by chance, without malice, or thrown some missile at himnot meaning to hit him 23or, without seeing him, dropped on him a stone meant for kil ing and so kil ed him, so long as hebore him no malice and wished him no harm, 24then the community will decide in accordance with these rules between the one who struck the blowand the avenger of blood, 25and wil save the kil er from the clutches of the avenger of blood. They will send him back to the cityof refuge where he had taken sanctuary, and there he wil stay until the death of the high priest who has beenanointed with the holy oil. 26Should the kil er leave the bounds of the city of refuge in which he has taken sanctuary 27and the avenger of blood encounter him outside the bounds of his city of refuge, the avenger ofblood may kil him without fear of reprisal; 28since the kil er should stay in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest; only after the deathof the high priest is he free to go back to his own piece of property. 29Such wil be the legal rule for you and your descendants, wherever you may live. 30"In any case of homicide, the evidence of witnesses wil determine whether the kil er must be put todeath; but a single witness is not enough to sustain a capital charge. 31You wil not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer condemned to death; he must die. 32Nor wil you accept a ransom for anyone who, having taken sanctuary in his city or refuge, wishes tocome back and live at home before the death of the high priest. 33Do not profane the country you live in. Blood profanes the country and, for the country, the onlyexpiation for the blood shed in it is the blood of the man who shed it. 34So do not defile the country which you live in and where I live; for I, Yahweh, live among theIsraelites." '
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