|New International Version (©2011)|
select some towns to be your cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone accidentally may flee.
New Living Translation (©2007)
designate cities of refuge to which people can flee if they have killed someone accidentally.
English Standard Version (©2001)
then you shall select cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person without intent may flee there.
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
then you shall select for yourselves cities to be your cities of refuge, that the manslayer who has killed any person unintentionally may flee there.
King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares.
Holman Christian Standard Bible (©2009)
designate cities to serve as cities of refuge for you, so that a person who kills someone unintentionally may flee there.
International Standard Version (©2012)
they are to designate some towns of refuge so that anyone who kills someone inadvertently may flee there.
NET Bible (©2006)
you must then designate some towns as towns of refuge for you, to which a person who has killed someone unintentionally may flee.
GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
select certain cities to be places of refuge. Anyone who unintentionally kills another person may run to them.
King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
Then you shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee there, who kills any person unintentionally.
American King James Version
Then you shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which kills any person at unawares.
American Standard Version
then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer that killeth any person unwittingly may flee thither.
Determine what cities shall be for the refuge of fugitives, who have shed blood against their will.
Darby Bible Translation
then ye shall appoint for yourselves cities: cities of refuge shall they be for you; that a manslayer may flee thither, who without intent smiteth a person mortally.
English Revised Version
then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the manslayer which killeth any person unwittingly may flee thither.
Webster's Bible Translation
Then ye shall appoint for you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, who killeth any person at unawares.
World English Bible
then you shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person unwittingly may flee there.
Young's Literal Translation
and have prepared to yourselves cities -- cities of refuge they are to you -- then fled thither hath a man-slayer, smiting a person unawares,
|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
35:9-34 To show plainly the abhorrence of murder, and to provide the more effectually for the punishment of the murderer, the nearest relation of the deceased, under the title of avenger of blood, (or the redeemer of blood,) in notorious cases, might pursue, and execute vengeance. A distinction is made, not between sudden anger and malice aforethought, both which are the crime of murder; but between intentionally striking a man with any weapon likely to cause death, and an unintentional blow. In the latter case alone, the city of refuge afforded protection. Murder in all its forms, and under all disguises, pollutes a land. Alas! that so many murders, under the name of duels, prize-fights, &c. should pass unpunished. There were six cities of refuge; one or other might be reached in less than a day's journey from any part of the land. To these, man-slayers might flee for refuge, and be safe, till they had a fair trial. If acquitted from the charge, they were protected from the avenger of blood; yet they must continue within the bounds of the city till the death of the high priest. Thus we are reminded that the death of the great High Priest is the only means whereby sins are pardoned, and sinners set at liberty. These cities are plainly alluded to, both in the Old and New Testament, we cannot doubt the typical character of their appointment. Turn ye to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope, saith the voice of mercy, Zec 9:12, alluding to the city of refuge. St. Paul describes the strong consolation of fleeing for refuge to the hope set before us, in a passage always applied to the gracious appointment of the cities of refuge, Heb 6:18. The rich mercies of salvation, through Christ, prefigured by these cities, demand our regard. 1. Did the ancient city rear its towers of safety on high? See Christ raised up on the cross; and is he not exalted at the right hand of his Father, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins? 2. Does not the highway of salvation, resemble the smooth and plain path to the city of refuge? Survey the path that leads to the Redeemer. Is there any stumbling-block to be found therein, except that which an evil heart of unbelief supplies for its own fall? 3. Waymarks were set up pointing to the city. And is it not the office of the ministers of the gospel to direct sinners to Him? 4. The gate of the city stood open night and day. Has not Christ declared, Him that cometh unto me I will in nowise cast out? 5. The city of refuge afforded support to every one who entered its walls. Those who have reached the refuge, may live by faith on Him whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed. 6. The city was a refuge for all. In the gospel there is no respect of persons. That soul lives not which deserves not Divine wrath; that soul lives not which may not in simple faith hope for salvation and life eternal, through the Son of God.
Verse 11. - Ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you. God had already announced that he would appoint a place whither one guilty of unpremeditated manslaughter might flee for safety (Exodus 21:18). The expression there used does not point to more than one "place," but it is not inconsistent with several. Probably the right of sanctuary has been recognized from the earliest times in which any local appropriation of places to sacred purposes has been made. It is an instinct of religion to look upon one who has escaped into a sacred enclosure as being under the personal protection of the presiding deity. It is certain that the right was largely recognized in Egypt, where the priestly caste was so powerful and ambitious; and this is no doubt the reason (humanly speaking) for the promise in Exodus 21:13, and for the command in the following verse. Inasmuch as the whole of Canaan was the Lord's, any places within it might he endowed with rights of sanctuary, but it was obviously suitable that they should be Levitical cities; the Divine prerogative of mercy could nowhere be better exercised, nor would any citizens be better qualified to pronounce and to uphold the rightful decision in each case.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then ye shall appoint your cities to be cities of refuge for you,.... And, according to the Jewish writers (i), these were neither to be made large nor little, but middling; and they appointed them where there were markets and fairs, at which goods were to be sold; and where there was plenty of water, and a multitude of people; and where there were but few, they fetched others from other places; and they neither made nets for hunting, nor twisted ropes in them, nor sold any warlike instruments, lest the avenger of blood should use himself to come thither, under pretence of buying such things, and kill the manslayer:
that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares; or through error (k), or mistake, not on purpose, with design, or through malice and enmity, as is afterwards more largely explained.
(i) Maimon. Rotzeach, c. 8. sect. 8. Vid. T. Bab. Maccot, fol. 10. 1.((k) "per errorem", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "per imprudentiam", Tigurine version: Vatablus; "in ignorantia", Montanus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares—The practice of Goelism, that is, of the nearest relation of an individual who was killed being bound to demand satisfaction from the author of his death, existed from a very remote antiquity (Ge 4:14; 27:45). It seems to have been an established usage in the age of Moses; and although in a rude and imperfect state of society, it is a natural and intelligible principle of criminal jurisprudence, it is liable to many great abuses; the chief of the evils inseparable from it is that the kinsman, who is bound in duty and honor to execute justice, will often be precipitate—little disposed, in the heat of passion or under the impulse of revenge, to examine into the circumstances of the case, to discriminate between the premeditated purpose of the assassin and the misfortune of the unintentional homicide. Moreover, it had a tendency, not only to foster a vindictive spirit, but in case of the Goel being unsuccessful in finding his victim, to transmit animosities and feuds against his descendants from one generation to another. This is exemplified among the Arabs in the present day. Should an Arab of one tribe happen to kill one of another tribe, there is "blood" between the tribes, and the stain can only be wiped out by the death of some individual of the tribe with which the offense originated. Sometimes the penalty is commuted by the payment of a stipulated number of sheep or camels. But such an equivalent, though offered, is as often refused, and blood has to be repaid only by blood. This practice of Goelism obtained among the Hebrews to such an extent that it was not perhaps expedient to abolish it; and Moses, while sanctioning its continuance, was directed, by divine authority, to make some special regulations, which tended both to prevent the unhappy consequences of sudden and personal vengeance, and, at the same time, to afford an accused person time and means of proving his innocence. This was the humane and equitable end contemplated in the institution of cities of refuge. There were to be six of these legalized asyla, three on the east of Jordan, both because the territory there was equal in length, though not in breadth, to Canaan, and because it might be more convenient for some to take refuge across the border. They were appointed for the benefit, not of the native Israelites only, but of all resident strangers.
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