Deuteronomy 19:1-13

Rules about safe cities

1 The Lord your God will destroy the nations who now live in the land that he is giving to you. You will chase them out and you will live in their cities and in their houses. 2-3 Make the land into three separate regions. Then choose three special cities, one city in each region. Build good roads to each city so that people can easily travel to them. Then anyone who kills a person can run to one of these cities to be safe.

19:2-3See Joshua 20:7-9.

4 This is the rule when anyone has killed another person: If it was a mistake, he can run to a safe city. He can do that if he has killed someone that he did not already hate. 5 For example, two men may go to the forest to cut wood. As one man cuts wood with his axe, the metal part of the axe flies off. It hits the other man and it kills him. Then the killer can run to the nearest of the three cities. He will be safe there.

6 If there was no safe city near enough, the killer might not escape safely. The dead person's relative might chase him, catch him and kill him. But the killer did not deserve to die. He had made a mistake. He had killed someone that he did not already hate. 7 So I command you to choose three cities to be safe cities for yourselves.

19:6‘The dead person's relative’ is the man from the dead person's family who has to get justice.
19:7Moses had already chosen three cities on the east side of the Jordan River. So there would be six safe cities.

8 The Lord your God promised your ancestors to give you more land to live in. When all that land belongs to you, 9 you must continue to obey all the commands that I am giving you today. You must continue to love the Lord your God and live in a way that pleases him. Then, when your land becomes bigger, you must choose three more cities to be safe cities. 10 You must not punish with death people who are not guilty. That would make you guilty yourselves. That must not happen in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

11 But perhaps somebody does hate another person. He may hide himself so that he can catch his enemy. Then he may attack him and kill him. After that, he may run to one of the safe cities. 12 If he does that, the leaders of his own town must fetch him back. They must bring him to the dead person's relative. He must die as his punishment. 13 Do not be sorry for him. You must punish murderers with death. Then Israel will not be guilty of evil acts. If you do that, everything will be well for you.