Cities for the Levites

35 (A)Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying, “Command the sons of Israel that they give to the Levites from the inheritance of their possession cities to live in; and you shall give to the Levites pasture lands around the cities. The cities shall be theirs to live in; and their pasture lands shall be for their cattle and for their herds and for all their beasts.

“The pasture lands of the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall extend from the wall of the city [a]outward a thousand cubits around. You shall also measure outside the city on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits, with the city in the center. This shall become theirs as pasture lands for the cities.

Cities of Refuge

The cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be the (B)six cities of refuge, which you shall give for the manslayer to flee to; and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities. All the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be (C)forty-eight cities, [b]together with their pasture lands. (D)As for the cities which you shall give from the possession of the sons of Israel, you shall take more from the larger and you shall take less from the smaller; each shall give some of his cities to the Levites in proportion to his possession which he inherits.”

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 (E)Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 11 (F)then you shall select for yourselves cities to be your (G)cities of refuge, that the manslayer who has [c]killed any person (H)unintentionally may flee there. 12 (I)The cities shall be to you as a refuge from the avenger, so that the manslayer will not die until he stands before the congregation for [d]trial. 13 The cities which you are to give shall be your six cities of refuge. 14 You (J)shall give three cities across the Jordan and three cities [e]in the land of Canaan; they are to be cities of refuge. 15 These six cities shall be for refuge for the sons of Israel, and for the alien and for the sojourner among them; that anyone who [f]kills a person (K)unintentionally may flee there.

16 (L)But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. 17 If he struck him down with a stone in the hand, by which he will die, and as a result he died, he is a murderer; the murderer (M)shall surely be put to death. 18 Or if he struck him with a wooden object in the hand, by which he might die, and as a result he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death. 19 The blood avenger himself shall put the murderer to death; he shall put him to death when he meets him. 20 (N)If he pushed him of hatred, or threw something at him (O)lying in wait and as a result he died, 21 or if he struck him down with his hand in enmity, and as a result he died, the one who struck him shall surely be put to death, he is a murderer; the blood avenger shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.

22 (P)But if he pushed him suddenly without enmity, or threw something at him without lying in wait, 23 or with any [g]deadly object of stone, and without seeing it dropped on him so that he died, while he was not his enemy nor seeking his injury, 24 then (Q)the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the blood avenger according to these ordinances. 25 The congregation shall deliver the manslayer from the hand of the blood avenger, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge to which he fled; and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. 26 But if the manslayer at any time goes beyond the border of his city of refuge to which he may flee, 27 and the blood avenger finds him outside the border of his city of refuge, and the blood avenger kills the manslayer, he will not be guilty of blood 28 because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest the manslayer shall return to the land of his possession.

29 ‘These things shall be for a (R)statutory ordinance to you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

30 (S)If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death at the [h]evidence of witnesses, but (T)no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness. 31 Moreover, you shall not take ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death. 32 You shall not take ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to live in the land [i]before the death of the priest. 33 (U)So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except (V)by the blood of him who shed it. 34 You shall not (W)defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which (X)I dwell; for I the Lord am dwelling in the midst of the sons of Israel.’”

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 35:4 Lit and outward
  2. Numbers 35:7 Lit them
  3. Numbers 35:11 Lit smote
  4. Numbers 35:12 Lit judgment
  5. Numbers 35:14 Lit you shall give in
  6. Numbers 35:15 Lit smites
  7. Numbers 35:23 Lit by which he may die
  8. Numbers 35:30 Lit mouth
  9. Numbers 35:32 Or until

Towns for the Levites

35 On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho,(A) the Lord said to Moses, “Command the Israelites to give the Levites towns to live in(B) from the inheritance the Israelites will possess. And give them pasturelands(C) around the towns. Then they will have towns to live in and pasturelands for the cattle they own and all their other animals.(D)

“The pasturelands around the towns that you give the Levites will extend a thousand cubits[a] from the town wall. Outside the town, measure two thousand cubits[b](E) on the east side, two thousand on the south side, two thousand on the west and two thousand on the north, with the town in the center. They will have this area as pastureland for the towns.(F)

Cities of Refuge(G)

“Six of the towns you give the Levites will be cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone may flee.(H) In addition, give them forty-two other towns. In all you must give the Levites forty-eight towns, together with their pasturelands. The towns you give the Levites from the land the Israelites possess are to be given in proportion to the inheritance of each tribe: Take many towns from a tribe that has many, but few from one that has few.”(I)

Then the Lord said to Moses: 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan,(J) 11 select some towns to be your cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone(K) accidentally(L) may flee. 12 They will be places of refuge from the avenger,(M) so that anyone accused of murder(N) may not die before they stand trial before the assembly.(O) 13 These six towns you give will be your cities of refuge.(P) 14 Give three on this side of the Jordan and three in Canaan as cities of refuge. 15 These six towns will be a place of refuge for Israelites and for foreigners residing among them, so that anyone who has killed another accidentally can flee there.

16 “‘If anyone strikes someone a fatal blow with an iron object, that person is a murderer; the murderer is to be put to death.(Q) 17 Or if anyone is holding a stone and strikes someone a fatal blow with it, that person is a murderer; the murderer is to be put to death. 18 Or if anyone is holding a wooden object and strikes someone a fatal blow with it, that person is a murderer; the murderer is to be put to death. 19 The avenger of blood(R) shall put the murderer to death; when the avenger comes upon the murderer, the avenger shall put the murderer to death.(S) 20 If anyone with malice aforethought shoves another or throws something at them intentionally(T) so that they die 21 or if out of enmity one person hits another with their fist so that the other dies, that person is to be put to death;(U) that person is a murderer. The avenger of blood(V) shall put the murderer to death when they meet.

22 “‘But if without enmity someone suddenly pushes another or throws something at them unintentionally(W) 23 or, without seeing them, drops on them a stone heavy enough to kill them, and they die, then since that other person was not an enemy and no harm was intended, 24 the assembly(X) must judge between the accused and the avenger of blood according to these regulations. 25 The assembly must protect the one accused of murder from the avenger of blood and send the accused back to the city of refuge to which they fled. The accused must stay there until the death of the high priest,(Y) who was anointed(Z) with the holy oil.(AA)

26 “‘But if the accused ever goes outside the limits of the city of refuge to which they fled 27 and the avenger of blood finds them outside the city, the avenger of blood may kill the accused without being guilty of murder. 28 The accused must stay in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest; only after the death of the high priest may they return to their own property.

29 “‘This is to have the force of law(AB) for you throughout the generations to come,(AC) wherever you live.(AD)

30 “‘Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of witnesses. But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.(AE)

31 “‘Do not accept a ransom(AF) for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die. They are to be put to death.

32 “‘Do not accept a ransom for anyone who has fled to a city of refuge and so allow them to go back and live on their own land before the death of the high priest.

33 “‘Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land,(AG) and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it. 34 Do not defile the land(AH) where you live and where I dwell,(AI) for I, the Lord, dwell among the Israelites.’”

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 35:4 That is, about 1,500 feet or about 450 meters
  2. Numbers 35:5 That is, about 3,000 feet or about 900 meters

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