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Deuteronomy

Cities of refuge.  Dt.19.1-13 - Nu.35.9-28, Jos.20.1-9.

1WHEN THE LORD YOUR GOD EXTERMINATES the nations whose land he is giving you, and you take their place and settle in their cities and houses, 2you shall set apart three cities in the land which he is giving you to occupy. 3Divide into three districts the territory which the LORD your God is giving you as patrimony, and determine where each city shall lie. These shall be places in which homicides may take sanctuary.

4This is the kind of homicide who may take sanctuary there and save his life: the man who strikes another without intent and with no previous enmity between them; 5for instance, the man who goes into a wood with his mate to fell trees, and, when cutting a tree, he relaxes his grip on the axe when ... axe: or as he swings the axe to cut a tree, the head glances off the tree, hits the other man and kills him. The homicide may take sanctuary in any one of these cities, and his life shall be safe. 6Otherwise, when the dead man's next-of-kin who had the duty of vengeance pursued him in the heat of passion, he might overtake him if the distance were great, and take his life, although the homicide was not liable to the death-penalty because there had been no previous enmity on his part. 7That is why I command you to set apart three cities.

8If the LORD your God extends your boundaries, as he swore to your forefathers, and gives you the whole land which he promised to them, 9because you keep all the commandments that I am laying down today and carry them out by loving the LORD your God and by conforming to his ways for all time, then you shall add three more cities of refuge to these three. 10Let no innocent blood be shed in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as your patrimony, or blood-guilt will fall on you.

11When one man is the enemy of another, and he lies in wait for him, attacks him and strikes him a blow so that he dies, and then takes sanctuary in one of these cities, 12the elders of his own city shall send to fetch him; they shall hand him over to the next-of-kin, and he shall die. 13You shall show him no mercy, but shall rid Israel of the guilt of innocent blood; then all will be well with you.

Boundary marks.  Dt.19.14

14Do not move your neighbour's boundary stone, fixed by the men of former times in the patrimony which you shall occupy in the land the LORD your God gives you for your possession.

Witnesses.  Dt.19.15-21

15A single witness may not give evidence against a man in the matter of any crime or sin which he commits: a charge must be established on the evidence of two or of three witnesses.

16When a malicious witness comes forward to give false evidence against a man, 17and the two disputants stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges then in office, 18if, after careful examination by the judges, he be proved to be a false witness giving false evidence against his fellow, 19you shall treat him as he intended to treat his fellow, and thus rid yourselves of this wickedness. 20The rest of the people when they hear of it will be afraid: never again will anything as wicked as this be done among you. 21You shall show no mercy: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.


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