XXIII. (128) Therefore the lawgiver enjoins that the man who has committed an unintentional murder should flee to some one of the cities which this tribe has received as its inheritance, in order to comfort him and to teach him not to despair of any sort of safety; but to make him, while safe through the privilege of the place, remember and consider that not only on certain occasions is forgiveness allowed to those who have designedly slain any person, but that even great and preeminent honours and excessive happiness is bestowed on them. And if such honours can ever be allowed to those who have slain a man voluntarily, how much more must there be allowance made for those who have done so not with any design, so that, even if no honour be bestowed on them, they may at least not be condemned to be put to death in retaliation. By which injunctions the lawgiver intimates that every kind of homicide is not blameable, but only that which is combined with injustice; and that of other kinds some are even praiseworthy which are committed out of a desire and zeal for virtue; and that which is unintentional is not greatly to be blamed. (129) This, then, may be enough to say about the first cause; and we must now explain the second. The law thinks fit to preserve the man who, without intending it, has slain another, knowing that in his intention he was not guilty, but that with his hands he has been ministering to that justice which presides over all human affairs. For the nearest relations of the dead man are lying in wait for him in a hostile manner seeking his death, while others, out of their excessive compassion and inconsolable brief for the dead, are eager for their revenge; in their unreasoning impetuosity not regarding either the truth or the justice of nature. (130) Therefore, the law directs a man who has committed a homicide under these circumstances not to flee to the temple, inasmuch as he is not yet purified, nor yet into any place which is neglected and obscure, lest, being despised, he should be without resistance given up to his enemies; but to flee to the sacred city, which lies on the borders between the holy and profane ground, being in a manner a second temple; for the cities of those who are consecrated to the priesthood are more entitled to respect than the others, in the same proportion, I think, as the inhabitants are more venerable than the inhabitants of other cities; for the lawgiver’s intention is by means of the privilege belonging to the city which has received them to give more complete security to the fugitives. (131) Moreover, I said before, he has appointed a time for their return, the death of the high priest, for the following Reason.{11}{#nu 35:25.} As the relations of each individual who has been slain treacherously lie in wait to secure themselves revenge and justice upon those who treacherously slew him; in like manner the high priest is the relation and nearest of kin to the whole nation; inasmuch as he presides over and dispenses justice to all who dispute in accordance with the laws, and offers up prayers and sacrifices every day on behalf of the whole nation, and prays for blessings for the people as for his own brethren, and parents, and children, that every age and every portion of the nation, as if it were one body, may be united into one and the same society and union, devoted to peace and obedience to the law. (132) Therefore, let every one who has slain a man unintentionally fear him, as the champion and espouser of the cause of those who have been slain, and let him keep himself close within the city to which he has fled for refuge, no longer venturing to advance outside of the walls, if he has any regard for his own safety, and for keeping his life out of the reach of danger. (133) When, therefore, the law says, let not the fugitive return till the high priest is dead, it says something equivalent to this: Until the high priest is dead, who is the common relation of all the people, to whom alone it is committed to decide the affairs of those who are living and those who are dead.