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Deuteronomy 19:6-12

Context
19:6 Otherwise the blood avenger will chase after the killer in the heat of his anger, eventually overtake him, 1  and kill him, 2  though this is not a capital case 3  since he did not hate him at the time of the accident. 19:7 Therefore, I am commanding you to set apart for yourselves three cities. 19:8 If the Lord your God enlarges your borders as he promised your ancestors 4  and gives you all the land he pledged to them, 5  19:9 and then you are careful to observe all these commandments 6  I am giving 7  you today (namely, to love the Lord your God and to always walk in his ways), then you must add three more cities 8  to these three. 19:10 You must not shed innocent blood 9  in your land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, for that would make you guilty. 10  19:11 However, suppose a person hates someone else 11  and stalks him, attacks him, kills him, 12  and then flees to one of these cities. 19:12 The elders of his own city must send for him and remove him from there to deliver him over to the blood avenger 13  to die.

1 tn Heb “and overtake him, for the road is long.”

2 tn Heb “smite with respect to life,” that is, fatally.

3 tn Heb “no judgment of death.”

4 tn Heb “fathers.”

5 tn Heb “he said to give to your ancestors.” The pronoun has been used in the translation instead for stylistic reasons.

6 tn Heb “all this commandment.” This refers here to the entire covenant agreement of the Book of Deuteronomy as encapsulated in the Shema (Deut 6:4-5).

7 tn Heb “commanding”; NAB “which I enjoin on you today.”

8 sn You will add three more cities. Since these are alluded to nowhere else and thus were probably never added, this must be a provision for other cities of refuge should they be needed (cf. v. 8). See P. C. Craigie, Deuteronomy (NICOT), 267.

9 tn 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).

10 tn Heb “and blood will be upon you” (cf. KJV, ASV); NRSV “thereby bringing bloodguilt upon you.”

11 tn Heb “his neighbor.”

12 tn Heb “rises against him and strikes him fatally.”

13 tn The גֹאֵל הַדָּם (goel haddam, “avenger of blood”) would ordinarily be a member of the victim’s family who, after due process of law, was invited to initiate the process of execution (cf. Num 35:16-28). See R. Hubbard, NIDOTTE 1:789-94.



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