When the LORD your God has destroyed the nations whose land he is giving you, and when you have driven them out and settled in their towns and houses,
then set aside for yourselves three cities centrally located in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess.
Build roads to them and divide into three parts the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, so that anyone who kills a man may flee there.
This is the rule concerning the man who kills another and flees there to save his life--one who kills his neighbor unintentionally, without malice aforethought.
For instance, a man may go into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and as he swings his ax to fell a tree, the head may fly off and hit his neighbor and kill him. That man may flee to one of these cities and save his life.
Otherwise, the avenger of blood might pursue him in a rage, overtake him if the distance is too great, and kill him even though he is not deserving of death, since he did it to his neighbor without malice aforethought.
This is why I command you to set aside for yourselves three cities.
If the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as he promised on oath to your forefathers, and gives you the whole land he promised them,
because you carefully follow all these laws I command you today--to love the LORD your God and to walk always in his ways--then you are to set aside three more cities.
Do this so that innocent blood will not be shed in your land, which the LORD your God is giving you as your inheritance, and so that you will not be guilty of bloodshed.
But if a man hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him, assaults and kills him, and then flees to one of these cities,
the elders of his town shall send for him, bring him back from the city, and hand him over to the avenger of blood to die.
Show him no pity. You must purge from Israel the guilt of shedding innocent blood, so that it may go well with you.
Do not move your neighbor's boundary stone set up by your predecessors in the inheritance you receive in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess.
One witness is not enough to convict a man accused of any crime or offense he may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse a man of a crime,
the two men involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the LORD before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time.
The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against his brother,
then do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from among you.
The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you.
Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.
When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army.
He shall say: "Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them.
For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory."
The officers shall say to the army: "Has anyone built a new house and not dedicated it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may dedicate it.
Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it.
Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her."
Then the officers shall add, "Is any man afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his brothers will not become disheartened too."
When the officers have finished speaking to the army, they shall appoint commanders over it.
When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace.
If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you.
If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city.
When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it.
As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies.
This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.
However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.
Completely destroy them--the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites--as the LORD your God has commanded you.
Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the LORD your God.
When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees of the field people, that you should besiege them?
However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.
Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand;
beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud:
"To you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind.
You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding.
Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right.
My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness.
All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse.
To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge.
Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
"I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion.
To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power.
By me kings reign and rulers make laws that are just;
by me princes govern, and all nobles who rule on earth.
I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.
My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver.
I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice,
bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full.
"The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old;
I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.
When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water;
before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth,
before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world.
I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence,
rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.
"Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways.
Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it.
Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.
For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.
But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death."
Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.
You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.
Thus is the man blessed who fears the LORD.
May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
and may you live to see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel.