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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 20


1 The LORD said to Joshua:


"Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of which I spoke to them through Moses,


to which one guilty of accidental and unintended homicide may flee for asylum from the avenger of blood.


To one of these cities the killer shall flee, and standing at the entrance of the city gate, he shall plead his case before the elders, who must receive him and assign him a place in which to live among them.


Though the avenger of blood pursues him, they are not to deliver up the homicide who slew his fellow man unintentionally and not out of previous hatred.


Once he has stood judgment before the community, he shall live on in that city till the death of the high priest who is in office at the time. Then the killer may go back home to his own city from which he fled."


So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the mountain region of Naphtali, Shechem in the mountain region of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the mountain region of Judah.


And beyond the Jordan east of Jericho they designated Bezer on the open tableland in the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead in the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan in the tribe of Manasseh.


These were the designated cities to which any Israelite or stranger living among them who had killed a person accidentally might flee to escape death at the hand of the avenger of blood, until he could appear before the community.


1 [1-9] The laws concerning the cities of refuge are given in Numbers 35:9-28; Deut 19:1-13; see notes on Numbers 35:16-25; Deut 19:2.

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