Then the LORD spoke to Joshua. He said,
"Tell the people of Israel to choose the cities to go to for safety, just as I directed you through Moses.
Anyone who kills a person by accident can run there for safety. So can anyone who kills a person without meaning to. The one who is charged with murder will be kept safe from the nearest male relative of the person who was killed.
"Suppose the one who is charged runs for safety to one of those cities. Then he must stand in the entrance of the city gate. He must state his case in front of the elders of that city. They must let him come into their city. They must give him a place to live there.
"Suppose the nearest male relative of the person who was killed comes after him. Then the elders must not hand him over to that relative. That's because he didn't mean to kill his neighbor. He didn't make evil plans to do it.
"He must stay in that city until his case has been brought to the community court. He must stay there until the high priest who is serving at that time dies. Then he can go back to his own home. He can return to the town he ran away from."
So the people of Israel set apart Kedesh in Galilee. It's in the hill country of Naphtali. They set apart Shechem. It's in the hill country of Ephraim. They set apart Kiriath Arba. It's in the hill country of Judah. Kiriath Arba is also called Hebron.
On the east side of the Jordan River near Jericho they chose Bezer. It's in the desert on the high flatlands. It's in the territory of the tribe of Reuben. They chose Ramoth in Gilead. It's in the territory of the tribe of Gad. They chose Golan in the land of Bashan. It's in the territory of the tribe of Manasseh.
Suppose you kill someone by accident. Or another Israelite does it. Or an outsider who lives among you does it. Then any of you can run for safety to one of those cities that have been chosen. There you won't be killed by the nearest male relative of the person who was killed. First your case must be brought to the community court.