Laws Concerning Manslaughter
19:1 When the Lord> your God destroys the nations whose land he1 is about to give you and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and houses,
19:2 you must set apart for yourselves three cities2 in the middle of your land that the Lord> your God is giving you as a possession.
19:3 You shall build a roadway and divide into thirds the whole extent3 of your land that the Lord> your God is providing as your inheritance; anyone who kills another person should flee to the closest of these cities.
19:4 Now this is the law pertaining to one who flees there in order to live,4 if he has accidentally killed another5 without hating him at the time of the accident.6
19:5 Suppose he goes with someone else7 to the forest to cut wood and when he raises the ax8 to cut the tree, the ax head flies loose9 from the handle and strikes10 his fellow worker11 so hard that he dies. The person responsible12 may then flee to one of these cities to save himself.13
19:6 Otherwise the blood avenger will chase after the killer in the heat of his anger, eventually overtake him,14 and kill him,15 though this is not a capital case16 since he did not hate him at the time of the accident.
19:7 Therefore, I am commanding you to set apart for yourselves three cities.
19:8 If the Lord> your God enlarges your borders as he promised your ancestors17 and gives you all the land he pledged to them,18
19:9 and then you are careful to observe all these commandments19 I am giving20 you today (namely, to love the Lord> your God and to always walk in his ways), then you must add three more cities21 to these three.
19:10 You must not shed innocent blood22 in your land that the Lord> your God is giving you as an inheritance, for that would make you guilty.23
19:11 However, suppose a person hates someone else24 and stalks him, attacks him, kills him,25 and then flees to one of these cities.
19:12 The elders of his own city must send for him and remove him from there to deliver him over to the blood avenger26 to die.
19:13 You must not pity him, but purge out the blood of the innocent27 from Israel, so that it may go well with you.
Laws Concerning Witnesses
19:14 You must not encroach on your neighbor’s property,28 which will have been defined29 in the inheritance you will obtain in the land the Lord> your God is giving you.30
19:15 A single witness may not testify31 against another person for any trespass or sin that he commits. A matter may be legally established32 only on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
19:16 If a false33 witness testifies against another person and accuses him of a crime,34
19:17 then both parties to the controversy must stand before the Lord>, that is, before the priests and judges35 who will be in office in those days.
19:18 The judges will thoroughly investigate the matter, and if the witness should prove to be false and to have given false testimony against the accused,36
19:19 you must do to him what he had intended to do to the accused. In this way you will purge37 evil from among you.
19:20 The rest of the people will hear and become afraid to keep doing such evil among you.
19:21 You must not show pity; the principle will be a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, and a foot for a foot.38