Add parallel Print Page Options

20 ¶ And the LORD spoke unto Joshua, saying,

Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke unto you by the hand of Moses,

so that the manslayer who kills any person in error and without knowledge may flee there, and they shall be your refuge from the avenger[a] of blood.

And he that flees unto one of these cities shall present himself at the entering of the gate of the city and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city; they shall receive him into the city among them and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.

And when the avenger[b] of blood pursues after him, they shall not deliver the manslayer up into his hand because he smote his neighbour by error, nor did he have enmity with him before.

And he shall dwell in that city until he stands before the congregation for judgment and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days; then shall the manslayer return, and come unto his own city and unto his own house unto the city from where he fled.

¶ Then they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in the mountain of Naphtali and Shechem in the mountain of Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah.

And on the other side of the Jordan of Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.

These were the cities appointed for all the sons of Israel and for the stranger that sojourns among them that anyone who kills any person by error might flee there and not die by the hand of the avenger[c] of blood until he stands before the congregation.


  1. Joshua 20:3 Heb. redeemer
  2. Joshua 20:5 Heb. redeemer
  3. Joshua 20:9 Heb. redeemer

Cities of Refuge(A)

20 Then the Lord said to Joshua: “Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses, so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally(B) may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood.(C) When they flee to one of these cities, they are to stand in the entrance of the city gate(D) and state their case before the elders(E) of that city. Then the elders are to admit the fugitive into their city and provide a place to live among them. If the avenger of blood comes in pursuit, the elders must not surrender the fugitive, because the fugitive killed their neighbor unintentionally and without malice aforethought. They are to stay in that city until they have stood trial before the assembly(F) and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time. Then they may go back to their own home in the town from which they fled.”

So they set apart Kedesh(G) in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem(H) in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba(I) (that is, Hebron(J)) in the hill country of Judah.(K) East of the Jordan (on the other side from Jericho) they designated Bezer(L) in the wilderness on the plateau in the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead(M) in the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan(N) in the tribe of Manasseh. Any of the Israelites or any foreigner residing among them who killed someone accidentally(O) could flee to these designated cities and not be killed by the avenger of blood prior to standing trial before the assembly.(P)

Bible Gateway Sponsors