The LORD said to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho,
"Command the people of Israel, that they give to the Levites, from the inheritance of their possession, cities to dwell in; and you shall give to the Levites pasture lands round about the cities.
The cities shall be theirs to dwell in, and their pasture lands shall be for their cattle and for their livestock and for all their beasts.
The pasture lands of the cities, which you shall give to the Levites, shall reach from the wall of the city outward a thousand cubits all round.
And you shall measure, outside the city, for the east side two thousand cubits, and for the south side two thousand cubits, and for the west side two thousand cubits, and for the north side two thousand cubits, the city being in the middle; this shall belong to them as pasture land for their cities.
The cities which you give to the Levites shall be the six cities of refuge, where you shall permit the manslayer to flee, and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities.
All the cities which you give to the Levites shall be forty-eight, with their pasture lands.
And as for the cities which you shall give from the possession of the people of Israel, from the larger tribes you shall take many, and from the smaller tribes you shall take few; each, in proportion to the inheritance which it inherits, shall give of its cities to the Levites."
And the LORD said to Moses,
"Say to the people of Israel, When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan,
then you shall select cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person without intent may flee there.
The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation for judgment.
And the cities which you give shall be your six cities of refuge.
You shall give three cities beyond the Jordan, and three cities in the land of Canaan, to be cities of refuge.
These six cities shall be for refuge for the people of Israel, and for the stranger and for the sojourner among them, that any one who kills any person without intent may flee there.
"But if he struck him down with an instrument of iron, so that he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.
And if he struck him down with a stone in the hand, by which a man may die, and he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.
Or if he struck him down with a weapon of wood in the hand, by which a man may die, and he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death.
The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death.
And if he stabbed him from hatred, or hurled at him, lying in wait, so that he died,
or in enmity struck him down with his hand, so that he died, then he who struck the blow shall be put to death; he is a murderer; the avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death, when he meets him.
"But if he stabbed him suddenly without enmity, or hurled anything on him without lying in wait,
or used a stone, by which a man may die, and without seeing him cast it upon him, so that he died, though he was not his enemy, and did not seek his harm;
then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood, in accordance with these ordinances;
and the congregation shall rescue the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge, to which he had fled, and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil.
But if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the bounds of his city of refuge to which he fled,
and the avenger of blood finds him outside the bounds of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood slays the manslayer, he shall not be guilty of blood.
For the man must remain in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest; but after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession.
"And these things shall be for a statute and ordinance to you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
If any one kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses; but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.
Moreover you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death; but he shall be put to death.
And you shall accept no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the high priest.
You shall not thus pollute the land in which you live; for blood pollutes the land, and no expiation can be made for the land, for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of him who shed it.
You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell; for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the people of Israel."
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Revised Standard Version - Holy Bible)