Devarim (Deuteronomy): Shoftim > Ch 19

Create 6 cities for those committing involuntary manslaughter to hide

  • When the Lord, your G-d, cuts off the nations, whose land the Lord, your G-d, is giving you, and you inherit them, and dwell in their cities and in their houses, you shall separate three cities for yourself in the midst of your land, which the Lord, your G-d, is giving you to possess. Prepare the road for yourself and divide into three parts the boundary of your land, which the Lord, your G-d, is giving you as an inheritance, and it will be for every killer to flee there. And this is the case of the killer who will flee there, so that he may live: Whoever strikes his fellow [to death] unintentionally, whom he did not hate in times past. As when a man goes with his fellow into the forest to chop wood, and his hand swings the ax to cut down the tree, and the iron flies off the handle, and it reaches his fellow, and he dies he shall flee to one of these cities, and live. Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the killer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and he strikes him to death, whereas he was not deserving of death, for he had not hated him in times past. Therefore, I command you, saying, "You shall separate for yourself three cities." And when the Lord, your G-d, expands your boundary, as He swore to your forefathers, and He gives you all the land of which He spoke to give to your forefathers; if you will keep all this commandment to perform it, which I command you this day, to love the Lord, your G-d, and to walk in His ways all the days, you shall add three more cities for yourself, in addition to these three, so that innocent blood will not be shed in the midst of your land which the Lord, your G-d, gives you for an inheritance which would deem you guilty of [having shed this] blood.

Those committing murder may not hide in these cities

  • But if a man hates his fellow, lies in wait for him, rises up against him, and strikes him mortally, and he flees to one of these cities, the elders of his city shall send and take him from there and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of the blood, that he may die. And you shall not pity him, but you shall abolish [the shedding of] the blood of the innocent from Israel, and it will be good for you. You shall not pull back your neighbor's landmark, which the earlier ones have set as borders in your inheritance, which you will inherit in the land that the Lord, your G-d gives you, to possess. One witness shall not rise up against any person for any iniquity or for any sin, regarding any sin that he will sin. By the mouth of two witnesses, or by the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be confirmed.

Bearer of false testimony shall be punished by what he plotted for the other person

  • If a false witness rises up against a man, to bear perverted testimony against him, Then the two men between whom the controversy exists shall stand before the Lord, before the kohanim and the judges who will be in those days. And the judges shall inquire thoroughly, and behold, the witness is a false witness; he has testified falsely against his brother; then you shall do to him as he plotted to do to his brother, and you shall [thus] abolish evil from among you. And those who remain shall listen and fear, and they shall no longer continue to commit any such evil thing among you.

Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

  • You shall not have pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

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