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When the manslayer arrived at the city of refuge a trial was held by the "congregation," doubtless in the persons of their representatives, the elders (Num. 35:24-25). If the man were found guilty of murder, he was taken even from the very altar of God (1 Kings 2:28ff., Rev. 6:9-10, 9:13-14), and turned over to his hometown elders (Deut. 19:12) for execution at the hands of the avenger of blood. If the man were found innocent of murder, he had to remain in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest. Blood, even blood spilled accidentally, pollutes the land (Num. 35:32-34, cf. Gen. 4:10-11).
- James Jordan, The Law of the Covenant 98-99 (1984), at http://www.garynorth.com/freebooks/: HTML, DjVu.