1. Yahweh spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab, near the Jordan opposite Jericho. He said:
2. "Tell the people of Israel to give to the Levites, out of the property they possess, towns in which to live and pasture land around the towns.
3. They will live in the towns and the surrounding pasture land is to be for their cattle and all their animals.
4. The pasture land surrounding the towns that you give to the Levites shall extend from the walls of the towns 500 yards in each direction,
5. so that there is a square area measuring 1,000 yards on each side, with the town in the middle.
6. The towns you give to the Levites will be the six towns of refuge to which a person can escape who causes another's death; and you are to give them forty-two more towns.
7. Altogether you will give forty-eight towns to the Levites, towns together with their pasture lands.
8. You will take these towns from the property of the sons of Israel, taking more towns from the tribes who own more, and less from tribes who own less. Every tribe will give towns to the Levites in proportion to the land they themselves have received."
9. Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:
10. "Say this to the people of Israel: When you cross the Jordan River and reach the land of Canaan,
11. you are to select towns which you will make into towns of refuge to which a person who has killed someone accidentally may escape.
12. In these towns they will be safe from the dead person's relative who wants revenge, so that the killer may not die without being brought to trial before the community.
13. The towns you give will serve you as six cities of refuge:
14. the three that you give beyond the Jordan and the three that you give in the land of Canaan are to be cities of refuge.
15. These six towns will be a refuge for the people of Israel as well as for the stranger and the foreigner among you, where anyone who has killed accidentally may find safety.
18. But if the killer has struck someone with an iron object, or with a stone or wooden instrument and has killed that person, he is a murderer and must be put to death.
19. The dead person's nearest relative must put the murderer to death. When he finds him he must kill him.
20. If a person hates someone and causes his death by pushing him down or by throwing something at him
21. or by hitting him with his fist, he is a murderer and is to be put to death. The dead person's nearest relative must put him to death when he finds him.
22. If, however, a person has accidentally killed someone whom he does not hate, either by pushing him down or throwing him down or throwing something at him
23. or, without looking, has thrown a stone that kills someone,
24. then the community shall judge in favor of the one who caused death rather than in favor of the dead person's relative who seeks revenge.
25. They will send the person who killed someone accidentally back to the city of refuge where he went for safety, and there he must stay until the death of the high priest.
26. If the killer should leave the city of refuge to which he had gone for safety
27. and the dead person's nearest relative meets him outside the city of refuge, the relative may kill him without fear of punishment
28. since the killer should stay in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest. Only after the death of the high priest is he free to go back to his own home.
29. These regulations are for you and your descendants wherever you may be.
30. In case of murder, the accused may be found guilty and put to death only on the evidence of two or more witnesses; the evidence of only one witness is not enough to uphold an accusation of murder.
31. You shall not accept payment to save the life of a murderer condemned to death; he must die.
32. Nor are you to accept payment from anyone who wishes to leave his city of refuge to return and live in his own home before the death of the high priest.
33. You must not defile the land you live in. Murder defiles the land and there is no other atonement for the land where blood has been shed than through the blood of the murderer.
34. You must not defile the land you live in, the land in which I live; for I, Yahweh, live among the people of Israel."