Yahweh spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, saying,
"Command the children of Israel that they give to the Levites of the inheritance of their possession cities to dwell in; and you shall give suburbs for the cities around them to the Levites.
The cities shall they have to dwell in; and their suburbs shall be for their livestock, and for their substance, and for all their animals.
"The suburbs of the cities, which you shall give to the Levites, shall be from the wall of the city and outward one thousand cubits around it.
You shall measure outside of the city for the east side two thousand cubits, and for the south side two thousand cubits, and for the west side two thousand cubits, and for the north side two thousand cubits, the city being in the midst. This shall be to them the suburbs of the cities.
"The cities which you shall give to the Levites, they shall be the six cities of refuge, which you shall give for the manslayer to flee to: and besides them you shall give forty-two cities.
All the cities which you shall give to the Levites shall be forty-eight cities together with their suburbs.
Concerning the cities which you shall give of the possession of the children of Israel, from the many you shall take many; and from the few you shall take few: everyone according to his inheritance which he inherits shall give of his cities to the Levites."
Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
"Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, 'When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan,
then you shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person unwittingly may flee there.
The cities shall be to you for refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer not die, until he stands before the congregation for judgment.
The cities which you shall give shall be for you six cities of refuge.
You shall give three cities beyond the Jordan, and you shall give three cities in the land of Canaan; they shall be cities of refuge.
For the children of Israel, and for the stranger and for the foreigner living among them, shall these six cities be for refuge; that everyone who kills any person unwittingly may flee there.
"'But if he struck him with an instrument of iron, so that he died, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.
If he struck him with a stone in the hand, by which a man may die, and he died, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.
Or if he struck him with a weapon of wood in the hand, by which a man may die, and he died, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.
The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death: when he meets him, he shall put him to death.
If he thrust him of hatred, or hurled at him, lying in wait, so that he died,
or in enmity struck him with his hand, so that he died; he who struck him shall surely be put to death; he is a murderer: the avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death, when he meets him.
"'But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or hurled on him anything without lying in wait,
or with any stone, by which a man may die, not seeing him, and cast it on him, so that he died, and he was not his enemy, neither sought his harm;
then the congregation shall judge between the striker and the avenger of blood according to these ordinances;
and the congregation shall deliver the manslayer out of the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge, where he was fled: and he shall dwell therein until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil.
"'But if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the border of his city of refuge, where he flees,
and the avenger of blood find him outside of the border of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood kill the manslayer; he shall not be guilty of blood,
because he should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest: but after the death of the high priest the manslayer shall return into the land of his possession.
"'These things shall be for a statute [and] ordinance to you throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
"'Whoever kills any person, the murderer shall be slain at the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person that he die.
"'Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death; but he shall surely be put to death.
"'You shall take no ransom for him who is fled to his city of refuge, that he may come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest.
"'So you shall not pollute the land in which you are: for blood, it pollutes the land; and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him who shed it.
You shall not defile the land which you inhabit, in the midst of which I dwell: for I, Yahweh, dwell in the midst of the children of Israel.'"