Deuteronomy
Chapter 19

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1 When the Lord thy God hath cut off the nations, whose lande the Lord thy God giueth thee, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their cities, and in their houses:

2 Thou shalt separate three cities for thee in the midst of thy land, which the Lord thy God giueth thee to possesse it.

3 Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and diuide the coasts of thy land (which the Lord thy God giueth thee to inherit) into three parts, that euery slayer may flee thither.

4 And this is the case of the slayer which shall flee thither, that hee may liue: who so killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past,

5 As when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbor, to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut downe the tree, and the head slippeth from the helue, and lighteth vpon his neighbour that he die, he shall flee vnto one of those cities, and liue:

6 Lest the auenger of the blood pursue the slaier, while his heart is hot, and ouertake him, because the way is long, and slay him, whereas he was not worthy of death, in as much as hee hated him not in time past.

7 Wherefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt separate three cities for thee.

8 And if the Lord thy God enlarge thy coast (as he hath sworne vnto thy fathers) and giue thee all the lande which hee promised to giue vnto thy fathers:

9 (If thou shalt keepe all these commandements to doe them, which I command thee this day, to loue the Lord thy God, and to walke euer in his wayes) then shalt thou adde three cities moe for thee, beside these three:

10 That innocent blood be not shed in thy land which the Lord thy God giueth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be vpon thee.

11 But if any man hate his neighbour and lie in wait for him, and rise vp against him, and smite him mortally that hee die, and fleeth into one of these Cities:

12 Then the Elders of his citie shall send and fetch him thence, and deliuer him into the hand of the auenger of blood, that he may die.

13 Thine eye shall not pittie him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may goe wel with thee.

14 Thou shalt not remooue thy neighbours land-marke, which they of old time haue set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherite, in the land that the Lord thy God giueth thee to possesse it.

15 One witnesse shall not rise vp against a man for any iniquitie, or for any sinne, in any sinne that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be stablished.

16 If a false witnes rise vp against any man to testifie against him that which is wrong:

17 Then both the men betweene whom the controuersie is, shall stand before the Lord, before the Priests, and the Iudges, which shall be in those dayes.

18 And the Iudges shall make diligent inquisition: and behold, if the witnesse be a false witnesse, and hath testified falsly against his brother:

19 Then shall ye doe vnto him, as he had thought to haue done vnto his brother: so shalt thou put the euil away from among you.

20 And those which remaine shall heare, and feare, and shall hencefoorth commit no more any such euill among you.

21 And thine eye shall not pitie, but life shall goe for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

Viewing the original 1611 KJV with archaic English spelling
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Commentary for Deuteronomy 19

The cities of refuge, The man-slayer, The murderer. (1-13) Landmarks not to be removed. (14) The punishment of false witnesses. (15-21)1-13 Here is the law settled between the blood of the murdered, and the blood of the murderer; provision is made, that the cities of refuge should be a protection, so that a man should not die for that as a crime, which was not his willing act. In Christ, the Lord our Righteousness, refuge is provided for those who by faith flee unto him. But there is no refuge in Jesus Christ for presumptuous sinners, who go on still in their trespasses. Those who flee to Christ from their sins, shall be safe in him, but not those who expect to be sheltered by him in their sins.

14 Direction is given to fix landmarks in Canaan. It is the will of God that every one should know his own; and that means should be used to hinder the doing and suffering of wrong. This, without doubt, is a moral precept, and still binding. Let every man be content with his own lot, and be just to his neighbours in all things.

15-21 Sentence should never be passed upon the testimony of one witness alone. A false witness should suffer the same punishment which he sought to have inflicted upon the person he accused. Nor could any law be more just. Let all Christians not only be cautious in bearing witness in public, but be careful not to join in private slanders; and let all whose consciences accuse them of crime, without delay flee for refuge to the hope set before them in Jesus Christ.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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