When the LORD thy God hath cut off the nations, whose land the LORD thy God giveth thee, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their cities, and in their houses;
Heb. inheritest, or possessest.
Thou shalt separate three cities for thee in the midst of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.
separate three cities
Unquestionably in imitation of these cities, the heathen had their asyla, and the Roman Catholics their privileged altars: and similar traditions seem to obtain in many barbarous nations, for "the North American Indian nations have most of them either a house or town of refuge, which is a sure asylum to protect a manslayer, or the unfortunate captive, if he once enter it. In almost every Indian nation, there are several towns, which are called old beloved, ancient, holy, or white towns, (white being their fixed emblem of peace, friendship, prosperity, happiness, purity, etc.) They seem to have been formerly towns of refuge; for it is not in the memory of the oldest people that human blood was shed in them."
Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither.
And this is the case of the slayer, which shall flee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past;
in time past
Heb. from yesterday the third day.
As when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live:
Heb. wood. lighteth. Heb. findeth. he shall flee.
Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.
Heb. smite him in life. not worthy.
in time past
Heb. from yesterday the third day.
And if the LORD thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers;
If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three:
If thou shalt
then shalt thou
That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.
But if any man hate his neighbour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities:
But if any
Heb. in life.
Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.
Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.
Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.
shalt not remove
Before the extensive use of fences, landed property was marked out by stones or posts, set up so as to ascertain the divisions of family estates. It was easy to remove one of these landmarks, and set it in a different place; and thus a dishonest man might enlarge his own estate by contracting that of his neighbour. Hence it was a matter of considerable importance to prevent this crime among the Israelites; among whom, removing them would be equivalent to forging, altering, destroying, or concealing the title-deeds of an estate among us. Accordingly, by the Mosaic law, it was not only prohibited in the commandment against covetousness, but we find a particular curse expressly annexed to it in ch. 27:17. Josephus considers this law a general prohibition, intended not only to protect private property, but also to preserve the boundaries of kingdoms and countries inviolable.
One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
at the mouth
If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;
a false witness
that which is wrong
or, falling away.
Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days;
And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;
Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.
And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.
And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.