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Joshua - Chapter 20

1 Yahweh said to Joshua,

2 'Speak to the Israelites and say to them, "Choose yourselves the cities of refuge of which I spoke to you through Moses,

3 to which anyone who has accidentally (unintentionally) killed someone else may flee, and which will serve you as refuge from the avenger of blood.

4 (The killer must flee to one of these towns. He will stop at the entrance to the town gate and explain his case to the town elders. These will admit him to their town and assign him a place to live among them.

5 If the avenger of blood pursues him, they must not hand the killer over to him, since he has killed his fellow unintentionally and was not motivated by long-standing hatred for him.

6 He must stay in this town) until he is brought to trial before the community (until the death of the high priest then in office. Only then may the killer go back to his own town and to his own house in the town from which he has fled)."

7 For this purpose they designated Kedesh in Galilee, in the highlands of Naphtali, Shechem in the highlands of Ephraim, and Kiriath-Arba -- now Hebron -- in the highlands of Judah.

8 On the other, eastern, side of the Jordan opposite Jericho, in the desert of the tableland, they chose Bezer of the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan of the tribe of Manasseh.

9 Such were the towns designated for all the Israelites and for foreigners living among them, so that anyone who had accidentally killed someone could flee there and might escape the hand of the avenger of blood, until brought to trial before the community.

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