Deuteronomy 19:1-10 When the children of Israel possess the land, they shall set aside 3 cities evenly spread apart where a manslayer can flee who kills unintentionally to prevent revenge until a fair trial can be heard. If the Lord grants the Israelites more land, they shall add 3 more cities totalling 6. The purpose of the Sanctuary city is to prevent shedding of innocent blood of the manslayer outside the provided cities.
Notes: If the Israelites had been faithful in following the Lord fully, then he would have enlarged their territory to the boundaries promised in the Abrahamic Covenant. In that case, three more cities of refuge, for a total of nine, would have been needed.
Deuteronomy 19:11-14 I a guilty person that killed out of hate flees to a Sanctuary city, the elders of the city shall hand him over to the avenger so that they are put to death. They children of Israel were not to be deceptive and move the provided landmarks that sectioned off each family’s land of possession.
Notes: These “landmarks” referred to stones bearing inscriptions that identified the owner of the property. Moving a neighbor’s boundary stone was equivalent to stealing his property.
Deuteronomy 19:15-21 Two or three witnesses shall establish a charge against any wrongdoing. If a false witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties are to appear before the Lord, the priests, and the judges. If the judges determine the witness is false, that witness shall receive the punishment that would have been handed to the person accused of the particular wrongdoing. This was put in place to put fear into the people in order to discourage false witnessing. No pity for the wrong doer. Eye for an eye. Tooth for a tooth. Hand for a hand. Foot for a foot. This applies in the court of law that righteous justice is served only.
Notes: More than one witness was necessary to convict a man of a crime. This principle was to act as a safeguard against the false witness who might bring an untruthful charge against a fellow Israelite. By requiring more than one witness, greater accuracy and objectivity was gained.
a malicious witness. In some cases, there would only be one witness who brought a charge against someone. When such a case was taken to the central tribunal of priests and judges for trial, and upon investigation the testimony of the witness was found to be false, the accuser received the punishment appropriate for the alleged crime.