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Bible Reference

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The Cities of Refuge

1Then the Lord said to Joshua, 2“Say to the people of Israel, ‘Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, 3that the manslayer who strikes any person without intent or unknowingly may flee there. They shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood. 4He shall flee to one of these cities and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and explain his case to the elders of that city. Then they shall take him into the city and give him a place, and he shall remain with them. 5And if the avenger of blood pursues him, they shall not give up the manslayer into his hand, because he struck his neighbor unknowingly, and did not hate him in the past. 6And he shall remain in that city until he has stood before the congregation for judgment, until the death of him who is high priest at the time. Then the manslayer may return to his own town and his own home, to the town from which he fled.’”

7So they set apart Kedesh in Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali, and Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. 8And beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they appointed Bezer in the wilderness on the tableland, from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead, from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan, from the tribe of Manasseh. 9These were the cities designated for all the people of Israel and for the stranger sojourning among them, that anyone who killed a person without intent could flee there, so that he might not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, till he stood before the congregation.

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Cities and Pasturelands Allotted to Levi

1Then the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites came to Eleazar the priest and to Joshua the son of Nun and to the heads of the fathers' houses of the tribes of the people of Israel. 2And they said to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, “The Lord commanded through Moses that we be given cities to dwell in, along with their pasturelands for our livestock.” 3So by command of the Lord the people of Israel gave to the Levites the following cities and pasturelands out of their inheritance.

4The lot came out for the clans of the Kohathites. So those Levites who were descendants of Aaron the priest received by lot from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, thirteen cities.

5And the rest of the Kohathites received by lot from the clans of the tribe of Ephraim, from the tribe of Dan and the half-tribe of Manasseh, ten cities.

6The Gershonites received by lot from the clans of the tribe of Issachar, from the tribe of Asher, from the tribe of Naphtali, and from the half-tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, thirteen cities.

7The Merarites according to their clans received from the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad, and the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities.

8These cities and their pasturelands the people of Israel gave by lot to the Levites, as the Lord had commanded through Moses.

9Out of the tribe of the people of Judah and the tribe of the people of Simeon they gave the following cities mentioned by name, 10which went to the descendants of Aaron, one of the clans of the Kohathites who belonged to the people of Levi; since the lot fell to them first. 11They gave them Kiriath-arba (Arba being the father of Anak), that is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, along with the pasturelands around it. 12But the fields of the city and its villages had been given to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as his possession.

13And to the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasturelands, Libnah with its pasturelands, 14Jattir with its pasturelands, Eshtemoa with its pasturelands, 15Holon with its pasturelands, Debir with its pasturelands, 16Ain with its pasturelands, Juttah with its pasturelands, Beth-shemesh with its pasturelands—nine cities out of these two tribes; 17then out of the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with its pasturelands, Geba with its pasturelands, 18Anathoth with its pasturelands, and Almon with its pasturelands—four cities. 19The cities of the descendants of Aaron, the priests, were in all thirteen cities with their pasturelands.

20As to the rest of the Kohathites belonging to the Kohathite clans of the Levites, the cities allotted to them were out of the tribe of Ephraim. 21To them were given Shechem, the city of refuge for the manslayer, with its pasturelands in the hill country of Ephraim, Gezer with its pasturelands, 22Kibzaim with its pasturelands, Beth-horon with its pasturelands—four cities; 23and out of the tribe of Dan, Elteke with its pasturelands, Gibbethon with its pasturelands, 24Aijalon with its pasturelands, Gath-rimmon with its pasturelands—four cities; 25and out of the half-tribe of Manasseh, Taanach with its pasturelands, and Gath-rimmon with its pasturelands—two cities. 26The cities of the clans of the rest of the Kohathites were ten in all with their pasturelands.

27And to the Gershonites, one of the clans of the Levites, were given out of the half-tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan with its pasturelands, the city of refuge for the manslayer, and Beeshterah with its pasturelands—two cities; 28and out of the tribe of Issachar, Kishion with its pasturelands, Daberath with its pasturelands, 29Jarmuth with its pasturelands, En-gannim with its pasturelands—four cities; 30and out of the tribe of Asher, Mishal with its pasturelands, Abdon with its pasturelands, 31Helkath with its pasturelands, and Rehob with its pasturelands—four cities; 32and out of the tribe of Naphtali, Kedesh in Galilee with its pasturelands, the city of refuge for the manslayer, Hammoth-dor with its pasturelands, and Kartan with its pasturelands—three cities. 33The cities of the several clans of the Gershonites were in all thirteen cities with their pasturelands.

34And to the rest of the Levites, the Merarite clans, were given out of the tribe of Zebulun, Jokneam with its pasturelands, Kartah with its pasturelands, 35Dimnah with its pasturelands, Nahalal with its pasturelands—four cities; 36and out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer with its pasturelands, Jahaz with its pasturelands, 37Kedemoth with its pasturelands, and Mephaath with its pasturelands—four cities; 38and out of the tribe of Gad, Ramoth in Gilead with its pasturelands, the city of refuge for the manslayer, Mahanaim with its pasturelands, 39Heshbon with its pasturelands, Jazer with its pasturelands—four cities in all. 40As for the cities of the several Merarite clans, that is, the remainder of the clans of the Levites, those allotted to them were in all twelve cities.

41The cities of the Levites in the midst of the possession of the people of Israel were in all forty-eight cities with their pasturelands. 42These cities each had its pasturelands around it. So it was with all these cities.

43Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. 44And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. 45Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.