Deuteronomy 19

Deuteronomy 19:1-13

1. When the Lord thy God hath cut off the nations, whose land the Lord thy God giveth thee, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their cities, and in their houses;

1. Quum exciderit Jehova Deus tuus gentes quarum ipse Jehova Deus tuus dat tibi terram, et possederis eas, habitaverisque in urbibus earum et in domibus earum.

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

2. Tres urbes separabis tibi in medio terrae tuae quam Jehova Deus tuus dat tibi ut possideas eam.

3. Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither.

3. Praeparabis tibi itinera, et in tres partes divides terminum terrae tuae, quam in haereditatem daturus est tibi Jehova Deus tuus: eritque ut fugiat illuc omnis homicida.

4. And this is the case of the slayer which shall flee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbor ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past;

4. Haec autem est res homicidae. qui fugiet illuc, et vivet: qui percusserit proximum suum ignoranter, neque oderat eam ab heri et nudiustertius.

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 down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbor, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live:

5. Quicunque abierit cum proximo suo in silvam ad caedenda ligna, et impulsa fuerit manus ejus in securim ad caedendum lignum, elapsum autem fuerit ferrum e ligno, inveneritque proximum suum, et moriatur: is fugiet ad unam urbium istarum, et vivet:

6. Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.

6. Ne persequatur propinquus sanguinis homicidam illum, quum incaluerit cor ejus, et assequatur eum, quod longior fuerit via: et percutiat eum anima, quum tamen non sit reus mortis, quod non odisset eum ab heri et nudiustertius:

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

7. Idcirco ego praecipio tibi, dicendo: Tres civitates separabis tibi.

8. And if the Lord thy God enlarge thy coast, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers, and give thee all the land which he promised to give unto thy fathers;

8. Quod si dilataverit Jehova Deus tuus terminum tuum quemadmodum juravit patribus tuis, et dederit tibi universam terram quam dixit patribus tuis se daturum:

9. If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the Lord thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, besides these three:

9. Quum custodieris omnia praecepta ista, ut facias ea quae ego praecipio tibi hodie, nempe ut diligas Jehovam Deum tuum, et ambules in viis ejus omnibus diebus: tunc addes tibi adhuc tres urbes ultra tres istas:

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

10. Ut non effundatur sanguis innocens in medio terrae tuae quam Jehova Deus tuus dat tibi in haereditatem, neve sint super to sanguines.

11. But if any man hate his neigh-hour, and lie in wait for him, and rise up against him, and smite him mortally that he die, and fleeth into one of these cities;

11. At quum fuerit quispiam qui oderit proximum suum, et insidiatus fuerit ei, insurrexeritque in eum, et percusserit eum anima, et mortuus fuerit, fugerit autem ad unam urbium istarum.

12. Then the elders of his city shall send and fetch him thence, and deliver him into the hand of the avenger of blood, that he may die.

12. Tunc mittent seniores urbis illius, et abstrahent eum inde, dabuntque eum in manu propinqui sanguinis, et morietur.

13. Thine eye shall not pity him: but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.

13. Non parcet oculus tuus ei, et auferes sanguinem innocentem ex Israele, et bene erit tibi.


1. When the Lord thy God hath cut off the nations. Moses repeats the same precepts which we have just been considering, that, in regard to murders, the people should distinguish between inadvertency and crime. With this view, he assigns six cities, wherein those who have proved their innocence before the judges should rest in peace and concealment. In one word, however, he defines who is to be exempt from punishment, viz., he who has killed his neighbor ignorantly, as we have previously seen; and this is just, because the will is the sole source and cause of criminality, and therefore, where there is no malicious feeling, there is no crime. But, lest under the pretext of inadvertency those who are actually guilty should escape, a mark of distinction is added, i.e., that no hatred should have preceded; and of this an instance is given, if two friends should have gone out together into a wood, and, without any quarrel or wrangling, the head of the axe should slip out of the hand of one of them, and strike the other. God, therefore, justly commands that the motive of the crime should be investigated, and shows how it is to be ascertained, viz., if there had been any previous animosity, or if any contention should have arisen. For it is incredible that any one should be so wicked as gratuitously to rush into so abominable a sin. It must be observed, however, that there was no room for this conjecture, except in a doubtful matter; for if any should stab his neighbor with a drawn sword, or should hurl a dart into his bosom, the inquiry would be superfluous, because the guilty intention would be abundantly manifest.