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You shall build a roadway and divide into thirds the whole extent[a] of your land that the Lord your God is providing as your inheritance; anyone who kills another person should flee to the closest of these cities. Now this is the law pertaining to one who flees there in order to live,[b] if he has accidentally killed another[c] without hating him at the time of the accident.[d] Suppose he goes with someone else[e] to the forest to cut wood and when he raises the ax[f] to cut the tree, the ax head flies loose[g] from the handle and strikes[h] his fellow worker[i] so hard that he dies. The person responsible[j] may then flee to one of these cities to save himself.[k]

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  1. Deuteronomy 19:3 tn Heb “border.”
  2. Deuteronomy 19:4 tn Heb “and this is the word pertaining to the one who kills who flees there and lives.”
  3. Deuteronomy 19:4 tn Heb “who strikes his neighbor without knowledge.”
  4. Deuteronomy 19:4 tn Heb “yesterday and a third (day)” (likewise in v. 6). The point is that there was no animosity between the two parties at the time of the accident and therefore no motive for the killing. Cf. NAB “had previously borne no malice”; NRSV “had not been at enmity before.”
  5. Deuteronomy 19:5 tn Heb “his neighbor” (so NAB, NIV); NASB “his friend.”
  6. Deuteronomy 19:5 tn Heb “and he raises his hand with the iron.”
  7. Deuteronomy 19:5 tn Heb “the iron slips off.”
  8. Deuteronomy 19:5 tn Heb “finds.”
  9. Deuteronomy 19:5 tn Heb “his neighbor.”
  10. Deuteronomy 19:5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the person responsible for his friend’s death) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  11. Deuteronomy 19:5 tn Heb “and live.”

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