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Numbers 35:16-28

Context

35:16 “But if he hits someone with an iron tool so that he dies, 1  he is a murderer. The murderer must surely be put to death. 35:17 If he strikes him by throwing a stone large enough that he could die, and he dies, he is a murderer. The murderer must surely be put to death. 35:18 Or if he strikes him with a wooden hand weapon so that he could die, and he dies, he is a murderer. The murderer must surely be put to death. 35:19 The avenger 2  of blood himself must kill the murderer; when he meets him, he must kill him.

35:20 “But if he strikes him out of hatred or throws something at him intentionally 3  so that he dies, 35:21 or with enmity he strikes him with his hand and he dies, the one who struck him must surely be put to death, for he is a murderer. The avenger of blood must kill the murderer when he meets him.

35:22 “But if he strikes him suddenly, without enmity, or throws anything at him unintentionally, 35:23 or with any stone large enough that a man could die, without seeing him, and throws it at him, and he dies, even though he was not his enemy nor sought his harm, 35:24 then the community must judge between the slayer and the avenger of blood according to these decisions. 35:25 The community must deliver the slayer out of the hand of the avenger of blood, and the community must restore him to the town of refuge to which he fled, and he must live there 4  until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the consecrated oil. 35:26 But if the slayer at any time goes outside the boundary of the town to which he had fled, 35:27 and the avenger of blood finds him outside the borders of the town of refuge, and the avenger of blood kills the slayer, he will not be guilty of blood, 35:28 because the slayer 5  should have stayed in his town of refuge until the death of the high priest. But after the death of the high priest, the slayer may return to the land of his possessions.

1 tn the verb is the preterite of “die.” The sentence has :“if…he strikes him and he dies.” The vav (ו) consecutive is showing the natural result of the blow.

2 tn The participle גֹּאֵל (goel) is the one who protects the family by seeking vengeance for a crime. This is the same verb used for levirate marriages and other related customs.

3 tn The Hebrew text is more vivid: “by lying in wait.”

4 tn Heb “in it.”

5 tn Heb “he.”



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