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Numbers 35:12

    Numbers 35:12 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    And they shall be to you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    And the cities shall be unto you for refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation for judgment.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    In these towns you may be safe from him who has the right of punishment; so that death may not overtake the taker of life till he has been judged by the meeting of the people.

    Webster's Revision

    And the cities shall be unto you for refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation for judgment.

    World English Bible

    The cities shall be to you for refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer not die, until he stands before the congregation for judgment.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    And the cities shall be unto you for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation for judgment.

    Clarke's Commentary on Numbers 35:12

    Until he stand before the congregation in judgment - So one of these cities was not a perpetual asylum; It was only a pro tempore refuge, till the case could be fairly examined by the magistrates in the presence of the people, or the elders their representatives; and this was done in the city or place where he had done the murder, Joshua 20:4, Joshua 20:6. If he was found worthy of death, they delivered him to the avenger that he might be slain, Deuteronomy 19:12; if not, they sent him back to the city of refuge, where he remained till the death of the high priest, Numbers 35:25. Before the cities of refuge were appointed, the altar appears to have been a sanctuary for those who had killed a person unwittingly; see on Exodus 21:13 (note), and Exodus 21:14 (note).

    Barnes' Notes on Numbers 35:12

    The avenger - Hebrew גאל gā'al, a term of which the original import is uncertain. The very obscurity of its etymology testifies to the antiquity of the office which it denotes. That office rested on the principle of Genesis 9:6, "whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." The unwritten code of the East conceded to the nearest kinsman of a murdered man the right of avenging the blood that had been shed. Such rude justice necessarily involved grave evils. It gave no opportunity to the person charged with crime of establishing is innocence; it recognized no distinction between murder, manslaughter, and accidental homicide; it perpetuated family blood-feuds, the avenger of blood being liable to be treated in his turn as a murderer by the kinsman of the man whom he had slain. These grievances could not be removed as long as there was no central government, but they might be mitigated; and to do this was the object of the institution in the text (compare Exodus 21:13).

    Among the Arab tribes, who are under the control of no central authority, the practice of blood-revenge subsists in full force to the present day.

    The congregation - i. e. local court, consisting of the elders of the city Joshua 20:4.

    Wesley's Notes on Numbers 35:12

    35:12 From the avenger - Heb. from the redeemer, or, from the next kinsman, to whom by the law belonged the right of redemption of the lands of; and vindication of the injury done to, the person deceased. Die not - Be not killed by the avenger meeting him in some other place. Before the congregation - Before the judges or elders who were appointed in every city for the decision of criminal causes, who were to examine, and that publickly before the people, whether the murder was wilful or casual.