On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, the LORD said to Moses,
“Command the Israelites to give the Levites towns to live in from the inheritance the Israelites will possess. And give them pasturelands around the towns.
Then they will have towns to live in and pasturelands for the cattle they own and all their other animals.
“The pasturelands around the towns that you give the Levites will extend a thousand cubits from the town wall.
Outside the town, measure two thousand cubits on the east side, two thousand on the south side, two thousand on the west and two thousand on the north, with the town in the center. They will have this area as pastureland for the towns.
“Six of the towns you give the Levites will be cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone may flee. In addition, give them forty-two other towns.
In all you must give the Levites forty-eight towns, together with their pasturelands.
The towns you give the Levites from the land the Israelites possess are to be given in proportion to the inheritance of each tribe: Take many towns from a tribe that has many, but few from one that has few.”
Then the LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan,
select some towns to be your cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone accidentally may flee.