Cities of Refuge

19 (A)When the Lord your God cuts off the nations, whose land the Lord your God gives you, and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and in their houses, (B)you shall set aside three cities for yourself in the midst of your land, which the Lord your God gives you to [a]possess. You shall prepare the [b]roads for yourself, and divide into three parts the territory of your land which the Lord your God will give you as a possession, [c]so that any manslayer may flee there.

(C)Now this is the case of the manslayer who may flee there and live: when he [d]kills his friend [e]unintentionally, [f]not hating him previously— as when a man goes into the forest with his friend to cut wood, and his hand [g]swings the axe to cut down the tree, and the iron head slips off the [h]handle and [i]strikes his friend so that he dies—he may flee to one of these cities and live; otherwise the avenger of blood might pursue the manslayer [j]in the heat of his anger, and overtake him, because the way is long, and [k]take his life, though he was not deserving of death, since he had not hated him previously. Therefore, I command you, saying, ‘You shall set aside three cities for yourself.’

“If the Lord your God (D)enlarges your territory, just as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land which He [l]promised to give your fathers— if you [m]carefully observe all this commandment which I command you today, (E)to love the Lord your God, and to walk in His ways always—(F)then you shall add three more cities for yourself, besides these three. 10 So innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and (G)bloodguiltiness be on you.

11 “But (H)if there is a man who hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and rises up against him and strikes [n]him so that he dies, and he flees to one of these cities, 12 then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die. 13 [o](I)You shall not pity him, but (J)you shall purge the blood of the innocent from Israel, that it may go well with you.

Laws of Landmark and Testimony

14 (K)You shall not move your neighbor’s boundary mark, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God gives you to [p]possess.

15 (L)A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin [q]which he has committed; on the [r]evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. 16 (M)If a malicious witness rises up against a man to [s]accuse him of [t]wrongdoing, 17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand (N)before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. 18 The judges (O)shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has [u]accused his brother falsely, 19 then (P)you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you. 20 (Q)The rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you. 21 Thus [v](R)you shall not show pity: (S)life for life, (T)eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.


  1. Deuteronomy 19:2 Lit possess it
  2. Deuteronomy 19:3 Lit road
  3. Deuteronomy 19:3 Lit and it shall be for every manslayer to flee there
  4. Deuteronomy 19:4 Lit smites
  5. Deuteronomy 19:4 Lit without knowledge
  6. Deuteronomy 19:4 Lit and he was not hating him previously
  7. Deuteronomy 19:5 Lit is thrust with
  8. Deuteronomy 19:5 Lit wood
  9. Deuteronomy 19:5 Lit finds
  10. Deuteronomy 19:6 Lit while his heart is hot
  11. Deuteronomy 19:6 Lit smite him in the soul
  12. Deuteronomy 19:8 Lit spoke
  13. Deuteronomy 19:9 Lit do it
  14. Deuteronomy 19:11 Lit him in the soul
  15. Deuteronomy 19:13 Lit Your eye
  16. Deuteronomy 19:14 Lit possess it
  17. Deuteronomy 19:15 Lit in any sin, which he sins
  18. Deuteronomy 19:15 Lit mouth of two witnesses, or by the mouth of three
  19. Deuteronomy 19:16 Lit testify against
  20. Deuteronomy 19:16 Lit turning aside
  21. Deuteronomy 19:18 Lit testified against
  22. Deuteronomy 19:21 Lit your eye

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