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Numbers 35

1 The LORD spoke to Moses in Moab. Moab was by the River Jordan. Jericho was across the river. 2 He said, ‘Tell the people this. They must give the Levites towns to live in. They must also give them land round the towns. 3 The Levites must have towns to live in and land for their animals.

4 And you must give the fields of grass round the towns to the Levites. That must include every field that is less than 500 metres (1500 feet) from the town's walls. 5 You must also measure outside the town on the east side 1000 metres (3000 feet), and on the south side. And you must measure 1000 metres on the west side and on the north side. So the town will be in the centre. Those fields of grass will become theirs for their towns.

6 Six (6) of the towns must be places in which a person can hide. He can hide there if he kills another person. They must also have another 42 towns. 7 The Levites must have 48 towns and land for their animals. 8 When the tribes give the towns to the Levites they must take many towns from the big tribes. They must take few towns from the small tribes.’ 9 The LORD said to Moses, 10 ‘Tell the Israelites this. When they cross the River Jordan, they will go into Canaan. 11 They must choose some towns in which a person can hide. He can hide there if he kills another person. 12 And those cities will be places where someone can be safe from the blood-avenger. So the mankiller will not die before all the people in the town have judged him. 13 They must choose 6 towns. 14 Three towns must be in Canaan and three towns must be on the other side of the River Jordan. 15 Those towns are places to hide in for the Israelites and for all the people who live with them.

35:15Verses 16-24 describe the difference between a murderer and a mankiller.

16 A man might hit a person with a thing that someone made out of iron. If the person dies, the man is a murderer. He must die. 17 A man might hit a person with a stone. If the person dies, the man is a murderer. He must die. 18 A man might hit a person with a thing that someone made out of wood. If the person dies, the man is a murderer. He must die. 19 The blood-avenger himself must kill the murderer. He must kill him when he meets him. 20 A man might push another person and kill him. The man must die. A man might throw something at another person and kill him. The man must die. 21 Or a man might hit a person with his hand because he hates him. If the person dies as a result you must kill the man. You must kill the man who hit the other person. He is a murderer. The blood-avenger must kill the murderer when he meets him.

22 If a man pushes another person, it might be a mistake. Or if he throws something at another person, it might be a mistake. 23 Or a man might be holding a stone that could cause death. He might drop it on a person that he did not see. The person might die as a result but the man did not hate the person. The man did not want to hurt the person. 24 If that happens all the people in the town must judge. They must say whether the mankiller or the blood-avenger is right. They must use these rules to judge. 25 And all the people will save the mankiller from the blood-avenger. And all the people must send him back to the safe city that he ran to. And he will live there until the death of the most important priest that someone put the holy oil on.

26 But the mankiller might at some time go outside the border of the safe city that he ran to. 27 If he does that, the blood-avenger might find him outside the border of his safe city. If the blood-avenger kills the mankiller in that place, the blood-avenger will not be guilty of murder. 28 That is because he should have stayed in his safe city until the death of the most important priest. But after the death of the most important priest, the mankiller can return to his own home.

29 These are the rules from God for now and for all future time.

30 Other people might see a man kill another person. The man must die. But perhaps only one person saw the man kill another person. Then the man must not die.

31 A person must not give money to keep a murderer alive.

32 A person must not give money to a man who killed another person. He must not help the man leave a city that is safe before the death of the most important priest.

33 Do not make the country bad. If you kill people, you make the country bad. The country is bad because men kill other people. You can make the country good. You must kill the man who kills another person. 34 You must not make the country where you live bad. It is the country where I also live. That is because I, the LORD, live among the Israelites.’