Numbers 35
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Forty-Eight Cities for the Levites
(Joshua 21:1–45; 1 Chronicles 6:54–81)

1And the Lord also spoke these things to Moses in the plains of Moab, above the Jordan, opposite Jericho: 2“Instruct the sons of Israel, so that they may give to the Levites, from their possessions, 3cities as dwelling places, with their surrounding suburbs, so that they may lodge in the towns, and so that the suburbs may be for cattle and beasts of burden.

4The suburbs shall extend from the outer walls of the cities, all around, for the space of one thousand steps. 5Facing the east, there shall be two thousand cubits, and facing the south, similarly, there shall be two thousand cubits. Toward the sea, also, which looks out toward the west, there shall be the same measure, and the northern region shall be bounded by equal limits. And the cities shall be in the center, and the suburbs shall be outside.

6Now, from the towns which you shall give to the Levites, six shall be separated for the assistance of fugitives, so that he who has shed blood may flee to them. And, aside from these, there shall be forty-two other towns, 7that is, all together forty-eight with their suburbs. 8And concerning these cities, which shall be given from the possessions of the sons of Israel: from those who have more, more shall be taken, and from those who have less, less shall be taken. Each shall give towns to the Levites according to the measure of their inheritance.”

Six Cities of Refuge
(Deuteronomy 4:41–43; Deuteronomy 19:1–14; Joshua 20:1–9)

9The Lord said to Moses: 10“Speak to the sons of Israel, and you shall say to them: When you will have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 11discern which cities ought to be for the protection of fugitives who have shed blood unwillingly. 12And when a fugitive is in these, the kinsman of the deceased shall not be able to kill him, until he stands in the sight of the multitude and his case is judged. 13Then, among those cities which are separated for relief to fugitives, 14three shall be across the Jordan, and three in the land of Canaan, 15as much for the sons of Israel as for newcomers and sojourners, so that anyone who has shed blood unwillingly may flee to these places.

16If anyone will have struck someone with iron, and he who was struck will have died, then he shall be guilty of homicide, and he himself shall die. 17If he will have thrown a stone, and he who has been struck lies dead, then he shall be punished similarly. 18If he who has been struck with wood passes away, he shall be avenged by the blood of the one who struck him. 19The close relative of the deceased shall put to death the murderer; as soon as he apprehends him, he shall put him to death. 20If, out of hatred, anyone assaults a man, or throws anything at him with ill intent, 21or, while being his enemy, strikes him with his hand, and so he has died, the attacker shall be guilty of murder. The kinsman of the deceased, as soon as he finds him, shall cut his throat.

22But if by chance, and without hatred 23or animosity, he will have done any of these things, 24and this has been proven in the hearing of the people, and the questions have been aired, between the one who struck and the close relative, 25then the innocent one shall be freed from the hand of the revenger, and he shall be returned by this judgment into the city to which he had fled, and he shall stay there until the high priest, who has been anointed with the holy oil, dies. 26If the one who has killed has been found beyond the limits of the cities which have been assigned to the exiled, 27and he has been struck by him who is avenging blood, he who killed him shall not be harmed. 28For the fugitive ought to have resided in the city, until the death of the high priest. Then, after he is dead, the one who has killed shall be returned to his own land.

29These things shall be a perpetual ordinance in all your habitations.

30The punishment of a murderer shall be based upon testimony; but no one shall be condemned upon the testimony of only one person. 31You shall not accept money from him who is guilty of blood, and he shall be put to death promptly. 32Exiles and fugitives, prior to the death of the high priest, are by no means able to be returned to their own cities. 33Do not pollute the land of your habitation, so as to stain it with the blood of the innocent; neither is it able to be expiated in any way other than by the blood of him who has shed the blood of another. 34And so shall your possession be cleansed, while I myself am abiding with you. For I am the Lord, who lives among the sons of Israel.”

Catholic Public Domain Version

Section Headings Courtesy Berean Bible

Numbers 34
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