1. 'When Yahweh your God has annihilated the nations whose country Yahweh your God is going to give you, and you have dispossessed them and are living in their towns and in their houses,
2. you must set aside three towns, centrally placed in the country which Yahweh your God is giving you for your own.
3. You will keep the approaches to them in good order, dividing the area of the country which Yahweh your God is giving you as your heritage, into three parts, so that any killer can flee to these towns.
4. Here is an example of how someone may save his life by fleeing to them. 'If anyone has struck his fellow accidentally, without any previous feud with him
5. (for example, he goes with his fellow into the forest to cut wood; his arm swings the axe to fell a tree; the head slips off the handle and strikes his companion dead), that man may take refuge in one of these towns and save his life.
6. It must not be allowed that the avenger of blood, in the heat of his anger, should pursue the killer and that the length of the road should help him to overtake and wound him fatally; for the man has not deserved to die, having had no previous feud with his victim.
7. 'Hence I am giving you this order: You must set aside three towns,
8. and if Yahweh your God enlarges your territory, as he swore to your ancestors that he would, and gives you the whole country which he promised to give to your ancestors-
9. provided that you keep and observe all the commandments which I am enjoining on you today, loving Yahweh your God and always following his ways-then, to those three towns you will add three more.
10. In this way, innocent blood will not be shed in the country which Yahweh your God is going to give you as your heritage; otherwise you would incur blood-guilt.
11. 'But if it happens that a man has a feud with his fellow and lies in wait for him and attacks him and fatally wounds him and he dies, and the man takes refuge in one of these towns,
12. the elders of his own town must send there and have him taken and handed over to the avenger of blood, to be put to death.
13. You must show him no pity. You must banish the shedding of innocent blood from Israel, and then you will prosper.
14. 'You must not displace your neighbour's boundary mark, positioned by men of old in the heritage soon to be yours, in the country which Yahweh your God is about to give you.
15. 'A single witness will not suffice to convict anyone of a crime or offence of any kind; whatever the misdemeanour, the evidence of two witnesses or three is required to sustain the charge.
16. 'If someone gives false evidence against anyone, laying a charge of apostasy,
17. both parties to this dispute before Yahweh must appear before the priests and judges then in office.
18. The judges will make a careful enquiry, and if it turns out that the witness is a liar and has made a false accusation against his brother,
19. you must treat the witness as he would have treated his brother. You must banish this evil from among you.
20. The rest, hearing of this, will be afraid and never again do such an evil thing among you.
21. You must show no pity. 'Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.'