Deuteronomy 20

Battle rules, God would be with them
.1 ¶ When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
.2 And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people,
.3 And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; 
 4 For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
  1 - Chariots jos1104, jg0403. Israel didn't have them until much later 2sa0804.
  2 - Priest shall approach nu3106, 2ch1312, and on the ark taken into battle see 1sa0404.
  3 - Faint Or "be tender."
  4 - Lord your God He was not the God of the heathen nations.
  4 - Goeth ... fight See is1306, jl0309, re1614.
 5 And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.
 6 And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it. 
 7 And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.
 8 And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart. 
 9 And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.
  5 - Officers Hebrew shoterim. Or "civil magistrates "who are called "scribes" or "overseers" (Ex 5:6). "They might be keepers of the muster-roll, or perhaps rather military heralds, whose duty it was to announce the orders of the generals (2Ch 26:11). This proclamation (De 20:5-8) must have been made previous to the priest's address, as great disorder and inconvenience must have been occasioned if the serried ranks were broken by the departure of those to whom the privilege was granted. Four grounds of exemption are expressly mentioned:" (JFB Commentary)
  7 - Let him go The plan strengthened security by the children given to the couple. Compaare de2405.
  8 - Fainthearted Good advice for we who take on the Christian armor lu1425, ga0609.
.10 ¶ When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.
 11 And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.
 12 And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:
  11 - Tributaries The grammar indicates this as forced labor.
.13 And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:
 14 But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. 
 15 Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.
  13 - When ... delivered ... smite Refusal to make peace v12 meant that the city was determined to maintain their form of worship along with its evil practices.
 16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
 17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:
 18 That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the LORD your God.
  16 - Cities For the cities of Canaan, there was no peace offer. Compare v10.
  16 - Save alive nothing God had warned the Israelites to spare nothing. Keeping some of the people and practices of the Caanites had been forbidden ex2331, ex3411
.19 When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man's life) to employ them in the siege: 
 20 Only the trees which thou knowest that they be not trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it be subdued.
  19 - Tree of the field The word "life" was added by translators. Compare 1sa1620.


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