Six Cities of Refuge

Then the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘[a]Designate the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you [b]through Moses, so that one who commits manslaughter by [c]killing a person unintentionally, without premeditation, may flee there, and they shall become your refuge from the avenger of blood. Then he shall flee to one of these cities, and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city, and state his case in the [d]presence of the elders of that city; and they shall [e]receive him into the city to them and give him a place, so that he may remain among them. Now if the avenger of blood pursues him, then they are not to hand the one who committed manslaughter over to him, since he struck his neighbor without premeditation and did not hate him previously. And he shall remain in that city until he stands before the congregation for judgment, until the death of the one who is high priest in those days. Then [f]he shall [g]return to his own city and to his own house, to the city from which he fled.’”

So they [h]set apart Kedesh in [i]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. And beyond the Jordan east of Jericho, they [j]designated Bezer in the wilderness on the plain from the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead from the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan from the tribe of Manasseh. These were the designated cities for all the sons of Israel and for the stranger who resides among them, so that whoever [k]kills a person unintentionally may flee there, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood until he stands before the congregation.


  1. Joshua 20:2 Lit Give for yourselves
  2. Joshua 20:2 Lit by the hand of
  3. Joshua 20:3 Lit striking
  4. Joshua 20:4 Lit ears of
  5. Joshua 20:4 Lit gather
  6. Joshua 20:6 Lit the one who committed manslaughter
  7. Joshua 20:6 Lit return and come
  8. Joshua 20:7 Lit sanctified
  9. Joshua 20:7 Heb Galil
  10. Joshua 20:8 Lit gave
  11. Joshua 20:9 Lit strikes