GOD'S WORD® Translation
1The LORD your God will destroy all the nations that are living in the land that he's giving you. You will force them out and live in their cities and houses. 2When all this is done, set aside three cities in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. 3Provide a route to each of these cities and divide the land that the LORD your God is giving you into three regions. Whoever kills someone may run to one of these cities.
4A person who unintentionally kills someone he never hated in the past may run to one of these cities to save his life. 5Suppose two people go into the woods to cut wood. As one of them swings the ax to cut down a tree, the head flies off the handle, hits, and kills the other person. The one who accidentally killed the other person may run to one of these cities and save his life. 6Otherwise, in a rage the relative who has the authority to avenge the death will pursue him. If the place is too far away, the relative may catch up with him and take his life even though he didn't deserve the death penalty, because in the past he never hated the person he killed. 7This is why I'm commanding you to set aside three cities for yourselves.
8The LORD your God may expand your country's borders as he promised your ancestors with an oath. He may give you the whole land he promised to give them. 9He may do this because you faithfully obey all these commands I am now giving you-to love the LORD your God and follow his directions as long as you live. If this happens, you may add three more cities of refuge to these three. 10That way, innocent people won't be killed in the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you won't be guilty of murder.
11Suppose someone hates another person, waits in ambush for him, attacks him, takes his life, and runs to one of these cities. 12If someone does this, the leaders of your city must send for that person. They must take him from that city and hand him over to the relative who has the authority to avenge the death. He must die. 13They must have no pity on him. The guilt of murdering an innocent person must be removed from Israel. Then things will go well for Israel.
14Never move your neighbor's original boundary marker on any property in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
15One witness is never enough to convict someone of a crime, offense, or sin he may have committed. Cases must be settled based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 16This is what you must do whenever a witness takes the stand to accuse a person falsely of a crime. 17The two people involved must stand in the LORD's presence, in front of the priests and judges who are serving at that time. 18The judges must make a thorough investigation. If it is found that the witness lied when he testified against the other Israelite, 19then do to him what he planned to do to the other person. You must get rid of this evil. 20When the rest of the people hear about this, they will be afraid. Never again will such an evil thing be done among you. 21Have no pity on him: [Take] a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, and a foot for a foot.