And they shall be unto you cities of refuge from the avenger,
&c.] Or near kinsman; for as the right of redemption of an estate that was mortgaged belonged to such an one, so of revenging the blood of any one that was killed:
that the manslayer die not;
by the hand of the avenger, who in the heat of his passion would, could he come at him, fall upon him, and slay him, to avenge the death of his relation on him:
until he stand before the congregation in judgment;
before the court of judicature, to be examined, tried, and judged, whether the murder was committed knowingly and willingly, or whether through mistake and at unawares: this was done either before the court of judicature in the city of refuge, who took cognizance of such cases directly, that they might know whom to harbour and protect, and whom not; or before the court in the place where the act was committed: interpreters are divided about this; and Calmet F12 is of opinion that he was examined in both courts, first more strictly in the city of refuge, and then more slightly in the place where it was done, which is not improbable; however, this seems manifest from ( Numbers 35:25 ) , that the court where it was committed had power to fetch him from the city of refuge, and set him before them, and examine into the case; and, if an innocent person, restored him to the city of refuge, whither he had fled.
F12 Dictionary, on the word "Refuge".