Then the LORD said to Joshua:
"Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses,
so that anyone who kills a person accidentally and unintentionally1 may flee there and find protection from the avenger of blood.24
"When he flees to one of these cities, he is to stand in the entrance of the city gate3 and state his case before the elders4 of that city. Then they are to admit him into their city and give him a place to live with them.
If the avenger of blood pursues him, they must not surrender the one accused, because he killed his neighbor unintentionally and without malice aforethought.
He is to stay in that city until he has stood trial before the assembly5 and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time. Then he may go back to his own home in the town from which he fled."
So they set apart Kedesh6 in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, Shechem7 in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath Arba8 (that is, Hebron9) in the hill country of Judah.108
On the east side of the Jordan of Jerichoa they designated Bezer11 in the desert on the plateau in the tribe of Reuben, Ramoth in Gilead1213 in the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan14 in the tribe of Manasseh.
Any of the Israelites or any alien living among them who killed someone accidentally15 could flee to these designated cities and not be killed by the avenger of blood prior to standing trial before the assembly.16