Numbers 35:26

Overview - Numbers 35
Eight and forty cities for the Levites, with their suburbs, and measure thereof.
Six of them are to be cities of refuge.
The laws of murder and manslaughter.
31 No satisfaction for murder.
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Numbers 35:26  (King James Version)
But if the slayer shall at any time come without the border of the city of his refuge, whither he was fled;

After the manslayer had been received into the city of refuge, the avenger of blood could only act as prosecutor; and the magistrates, in the presence of the people, were appointed to decide the cause according to the rules here laid down. Probably the accused person was tried at or near the place where the deceased had been slain, and where evidence could most easily be brought: and in case he was acquitted by the decision of the judges, and with the approbation of the people, he was conveyed back to the city of refuge, where he was protected as a kind of prisoner at large, till the death of the high priest; when the public loss, and the grief occasioned by it, might be supposed to swallow up all personal regrets and resentments: and then he was permitted to return to his house and estate. But if, in the mean while, he ventured to leave the city, and the avenger met him and slew him, he was supposed to merit his doom by thus neglecting the appointment of God for his preservation, and the avenger must not be punished. This shews that in other cases, if the avenger slew an innocent man on surmise, he was liable to the punishment of a murderer; but if, by the testimony of two credible witnesses, the man who had fled to the city of refuge was adjudged guilty, he must without fail be put to death.
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