New International Reader's Version

Numbers 35

The Levites Receive Their Towns

1On the plains of Moab, the Lord spoke to Moses. It was by the Jordan River across from Jericho. The Lord said, “Command the Israelites to give the Levites towns to live in. The towns must come from the shares of land the people will have as their own. Also give the Levites the grasslands around the towns. Then the Levites will have towns to live in. They will also have grasslands for their cattle and all their other livestock.

“The grasslands around each town you give them will go out to 1,500 feet from the town wall. Outside each town, the east side will measure 3,000 feet. So will the south side, the west side and the north side. The town must be in the center. And the Levites will own the grasslands around each town.

Cities to Run to for Safety

“Six of the towns you give the Levites will be cities to go to for safety. A person who has killed someone can run to one of them. Also give the Levites 42 other towns. You must give the Levites a total of 48 towns. Also give them the grasslands around those towns. The towns you give the Levites must come from the land the Israelites have as their own. So the number you give from each tribe will depend on the size of that tribe’s share. Take many towns from a tribe that has many towns. But take only a few towns from a tribe that has only a few.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites. Tell them, ‘You will soon go across the Jordan River. You will enter Canaan. 11 When you do, choose the cities to go to for safety. People who have killed someone by accident can run to one of those cities. 12 They will be places of safety for them. People will be safe there from those who want to kill them. Then anyone charged with murder will not die before their case has been brought to the community court. 13 Six towns will be the cities you can go to for safety. 14 Three will be east of the Jordan River. The other three will be in Canaan. 15 Those six towns will be places where the Israelites can go for safety. Outsiders living in Israel can also go to them for safety. So anyone who has killed another person by accident can run there.

16 “ ‘Suppose a person uses an iron object to hit and kill someone. Then that person is a murderer and must be put to death. 17 Or suppose a person is holding a stone that could kill. And they use it to hit and kill someone. Then that person is a murderer and must be put to death. 18 Or suppose a person is holding a wooden object that could kill. And they use it to hit and kill someone. Then that person is a murderer and must be put to death. 19 The dead person’s nearest male relative must kill the murderer. When he meets up with him, he must kill the murderer. 20 What if a person makes evil plans against someone else? And what if that person pushes them so that they die? Or what if that person throws something at them so that they die? 21 Or what if that person hits another person with a fist so that the other dies? Then the person who does any of those things must be put to death. That person is a murderer. The dead person’s nearest male relative must kill the murderer. When he meets up with him, he must kill the murderer.

22 “ ‘But what if a person suddenly pushes someone else without being angry? Or what if that person throws something at someone else without meaning to? 23 Or what if that person does not see the other person and drops a stone on them that kills them? He was not the dead person’s enemy. He did not mean to harm them. 24 Then the court must decide between the person who did the act and the nearest male relative of the one who was killed. Here are the rules the court must follow. 25 The court must provide a safe place for the person accused of murder. It must keep the one accused of murder safe from those who want to kill them. The court must send the accused person back to the city they ran to for safety. The accused person must stay there until the high priest dies. That priest has been anointed with holy oil.

26 “ ‘But suppose the accused person goes outside that city. 27 And suppose the dead person’s nearest male relative finds them outside the city. Then the relative can kill the accused person. The relative will not be guilty of murder. 28 The accused person must stay in that city until the high priest dies. Only then may they return home.

29 “ ‘This is what the law requires of you for all time to come. It will apply to you no matter where you live.

30 “ ‘Suppose a person kills someone. Then that person must be put to death as a murderer. But do it only when there are witnesses who can tell what happened. Do not put anyone to death if only one witness tells what happened.

31 “ ‘Do not accept payment for a murderer’s life. A murderer deserves to die. They must certainly be put to death.

32 “ ‘Do not accept payment for anyone who has run to a city for safety. Do not let them buy their freedom to return home. They must not go back and live on their own land before the high priest dies.

33 “ ‘Do not pollute the land where you are. Murder pollutes the land. Only one thing can pay to remove the pollution in the land where murder has been committed. The blood of the one who spilled another’s blood must be spilled. 34 So do not make the land where you live “unclean,” because I live there too. I, the Lord, live among the Israelites.’ ”

New International Version

Numbers 35

Towns for the Levites

1On 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[a] from the town wall. Outside the town, measure two thousand cubits[b] 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.

Cities of Refuge

“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: 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 11 select some towns to be your cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone accidentally may flee. 12 They will be places of refuge from the avenger, so that anyone accused of murder may not die before they stand trial before the assembly. 13 These six towns you give will be your cities of refuge. 14 Give three on this side of the Jordan and three in Canaan as cities of refuge. 15 These six towns will be a place of refuge for Israelites and for foreigners residing among them, so that anyone who has killed another accidentally can flee there.

16 “‘If anyone strikes someone a fatal blow with an iron object, that person is a murderer; the murderer is to be put to death. 17 Or if anyone is holding a stone and strikes someone a fatal blow with it, that person is a murderer; the murderer is to be put to death. 18 Or if anyone is holding a wooden object and strikes someone a fatal blow with it, that person is a murderer; the murderer is to be put to death. 19 The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death; when the avenger comes upon the murderer, the avenger shall put the murderer to death. 20 If anyone with malice aforethought shoves another or throws something at them intentionally so that they die 21 or if out of enmity one person hits another with their fist so that the other dies, that person is to be put to death; that person is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when they meet.

22 “‘But if without enmity someone suddenly pushes another or throws something at them unintentionally 23 or, without seeing them, drops on them a stone heavy enough to kill them, and they die, then since that other person was not an enemy and no harm was intended, 24 the assembly must judge between the accused and the avenger of blood according to these regulations. 25 The assembly must protect the one accused of murder from the avenger of blood and send the accused back to the city of refuge to which they fled. The accused must stay there until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil.

26 “‘But if the accused ever goes outside the limits of the city of refuge to which they fled 27 and the avenger of blood finds them outside the city, the avenger of blood may kill the accused without being guilty of murder. 28 The accused must stay in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest; only after the death of the high priest may they return to their own property.

29 “‘This is to have the force of law for you throughout the generations to come, wherever you live.

30 “‘Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of witnesses. But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.

31 “‘Do not accept a ransom for the life of a murderer, who deserves to die. They are to be put to death.

32 “‘Do not accept a ransom for anyone who has fled to a city of refuge and so allow them to go back and live on their own land before the death of the high priest.

33 “‘Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it. 34 Do not defile the land where you live and where I dwell, for I, the Lord, dwell among the Israelites.’”

Notas al pie

  1. Numbers 35:4 That is, about 1,500 feet or about 450 meters
  2. Numbers 35:5 That is, about 3,000 feet or about 900 meters