Laws Concerning Manslaughter1 When the Lord your God destroys the nations whose land he ▼
▼ Heb “the Lord your God.” The pronoun has been used in the translation for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.is about to give you and you dispossess them and settle in their cities and houses, 2 you must set apart for yourselves three cities ▼ in the middle of your land that the Lord your God is giving you as a possession. 3 You shall build a roadway and divide into thirds the whole extent ▼
▼ Heb “border.”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. 4 Now this is the law pertaining to one who flees there in order to live, ▼
▼ Heb “and this is the word pertaining to the one who kills who flees there and lives.”if he has accidentally killed another ▼
▼ Heb “who strikes his neighbor without knowledge.”without hating him at the time of the accident. ▼ 5 Suppose he goes with someone else ▼
▼ Heb “his neighbor” (so NAB, NIV); NASB “his friend.”to the forest to cut wood and when he raises the ax ▼
▼ Heb “and he raises his hand with the iron.”to cut the tree, the ax head flies loose ▼
▼ Heb “the iron slips off.”from the handle and strikes ▼
▼ Heb “finds.”his fellow worker ▼
▼ Heb “his neighbor.”so hard that he dies. The person responsible ▼
▼ Heb “he”; the referent (the person responsible for his friend’s death) has been specified in the translation for clarity.may then flee to one of these cities to save himself. ▼
▼ Heb “and live.”6 Otherwise the blood avenger will chase after the killer in the heat of his anger, eventually overtake him, ▼
▼ Heb “and overtake him, for the road is long.”and kill him, ▼
▼ Heb “smite with respect to life,” that is, fatally.though this is not a capital case ▼
▼ Heb “no judgment of death.”since he did not hate him at the time of the accident. 7 Therefore, I am commanding you to set apart for yourselves three cities. 8 If the Lord your God enlarges your borders as he promised your ancestors ▼
▼ Heb “fathers.”and gives you all the land he pledged to them, ▼
▼ Heb “he said to give to your ancestors.” The pronoun has been used in the translation instead for stylistic reasons.9 and then you are careful to observe all these commandments ▼ I am giving ▼
▼ Heb “commanding”; NAB “which I enjoin on you today.”you today (namely, to love the Lord your God and to always walk in his ways), then you must add three more cities ▼ to these three. 10 You must not shed innocent blood ▼
▼ Heb “innocent blood must not be shed.” The Hebrew phrase דָּם נָקִי (dam naqiy) means the blood of a person to whom no culpability or responsibility adheres because what he did was without malice aforethought (HALOT 224 s.v דָּם 4.b).in your land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, for that would make you guilty. ▼
▼ Heb “and blood will be upon you” (cf. KJV, ASV); NRSV “thereby bringing bloodguilt upon you.”11 However, suppose a person hates someone else ▼
▼ Heb “his neighbor.”and stalks him, attacks him, kills him, ▼
▼ Heb “rises against him and strikes him fatally.”and then flees to one of these cities. 12 The elders of his own city must send for him and remove him from there to deliver him over to the blood avenger ▼ to die. 13 You must not pity him, but purge out the blood of the innocent ▼ from Israel, so that it may go well with you.
Laws Concerning Witnesses14 You must not encroach on your neighbor’s property, ▼
▼ Heb “border.” Cf. NRSV “You must not move your neighbor’s boundary marker.”which will have been defined ▼
▼ Heb “which they set off from the beginning.”in the inheritance you will obtain in the land the Lord your God is giving you. ▼
▼ The Hebrew text includes “to possess it.” This phrase has been left untranslated to avoid redundancy.
15 A single witness may not testify ▼ against another person for any trespass or sin that he commits. A matter may be legally established ▼
▼ Heb “may stand.”only on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 16 If a false ▼
▼ Heb “violent” (חָמָס, khamas). This is a witness whose motivation from the beginning is to do harm to the accused and who, therefore, resorts to calumny and deceit. See I. Swart and C. VanDam, NIDOTTE 2:177–80.witness testifies against another person and accuses him of a crime, ▼
▼ Or “rebellion.” Rebellion against God’s law is in view (cf. NAB “of a defection from the law”).17 then both parties to the controversy must stand before the Lord, that is, before the priests and judges ▼ who will be in office in those days. 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, ▼
▼ Heb “his brother” (also in the following verse).19 you must do to him what he had intended to do to the accused. In this way you will purge ▼ evil from among you. 20 The rest of the people will hear and become afraid to keep doing such evil among you. 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. ▼
▼ This kind of justice is commonly called lex talionis or “measure for measure” (cf. Exod 21:23–25; Lev 24:19–20). It is likely that it is the principle that is important and not always a strict application. That is, the punishment should fit the crime and it may do so by the payment of fines or other suitable and equitable compensation (cf. Exod 22:21; Num 35:31). See T. S. Frymer-Kensky, “Tit for Tat: The Principle of Equal Retribution in Near Eastern and Biblical Law,” BA 43 (1980): 230-34.
Copyright information for NETfull
Welcome to STEP Bible
From Tyndale House, Cambridge UK
Use the search box to find Bibles, commentaries, passages, search terms, etc. Here are some examples:
This shows how to quickly lookup a passage.
Looking up a passage in three different translations is also easy.
This asks STEP to search for the Greek word for 'brother' and show the results in the ESV.
This example runs both a 'Hebrew word search' and a 'Text' search and shows the results in both the NIV and ESV.
You can mix most searches. This finds any word translated as 'throne' in the Prophets and the New Testament, but only in verses concerning the topic 'David'. This excludes verses which refer to a 'throne' in other contexts.
Interlinear Hebrew & Greek is available for some translations with grammar (and more soon). To reverse the interlinear order, click on a version abbreviation under the verse number.
© Tyndale House, Cambridge, UK - 2018