"When ADONAI your God cuts off the nations whose land ADONAI your God is giving you, and you take their place and settle in their cities and houses,
you are to set aside three cities for yourselves in your land that ADONAI your God is giving you to possess.
Divide the territory of your land, which ADONAI your God is having you inherit, into three parts; and prepare the roads, so that any killer can flee to these cities.
The killer who will live if he flees there is someone who has killed his fellow member of the community by mistake, who did not hate him in the past.
An example would be if a man goes into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood and takes a stroke with the axe to fell a tree, but the head of the axe flies off the handle, hits his neighbor and kills him. Then he is to flee to one of these cities and live there.
Otherwise the next-of-kin avenger, in the heat of his anger, may pursue the killer, overtake him because the distance [to the city of refuge] is long, and strike him dead - even though he didn't deserve to die, inasmuch as he hadn't hated him in the past.
This is why I am ordering you to set aside for yourselves three cities.
"If ADONAI your God expands your territory, as he swore to your ancestors that he would, and gives you all the land he promised to give to your ancestors -
provided you keep and observe all these mitzvot I am giving you today, loving ADONAI your God and always following his ways - then you are to add three more cities for yourselves, besides these three;
so that innocent blood will not be shed in the land ADONAI your God is giving you as an inheritance, and thus blood guilt be on you.
"However, if someone hates his fellow member of the community, lies in wait for him, attacks him, strikes him a death blow, and then flees into one of these cities;
then the leaders of his own town are to send and bring him back from there and hand him over to the next-of-kin avenger, to be put to death.
You are not to pity him. Rather, you must put an end to the shedding of innocent blood in Isra'el. Then things will go well with you.
"You are not to move your neighbor's boundary marker from the place where people put it long ago, in the inheritance soon to be yours in the land ADONAI your God is giving you to possess.
"One witness alone will not be sufficient to convict a person of any offense or sin of any kind; the matter will be established only if there are two or three witnesses testifying against him.
"If a malicious witness comes forward and gives false testimony against someone,
then both the men involved in the controversy are to stand before ADONAI, before the cohanim and the judges in office at the time.
The judges are to investigate carefully. If they find that the witness is lying and has given false testimony against his brother,
you are to do to him what he intended to do to his brother. In this way, you will put an end to such wickedness among you.
Those who remain will hear about it, be afraid and no longer commit such wickedness among you.
Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.