John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible
- The exhortation of the priest to them who were going to battle, verse 1-4.
- The dismission of them who were engaged in business, or faint-hearted, verse 5-9.
- How they were to treat distant cities, verse 10-15.
- The cities of the Canaanites, verse 16-18.
- Fruit-trees not to be destroyed, verse 19, 20.
Speak unto the people - Probably to one regiment of the army after another.
What man - This and the following exceptions are to be understood only of a war allowed by God, not in a war commanded by God, not in the approaching war with the Canaanites, from which even the bridegroom was not exempted, as the Jewish writers note.
A vineyard - This and the former dispensation were generally convenient, but more necessary in the beginning of their settlement in Canaan, for the encouragement of those who should build houses or plant vineyards, which was chargeable to them, and beneficial to the common-wealth. Eaten of it - Heb. made it common, namely, for the use of himself and family and friends, which it was not, 'till the fifth year.
Make captains - Or rather, as the Hebrew hath it, they shall set or place the captains of the armies in the head or front of the people under their charge, that they may conduct them, and by their example encourage their soldiers. It is not likely they had their captains to make when they were just going to battle.
Nothing - No man. For the beasts, some few excepted, were given them for a prey.
Thou shalt not destroy - Which is to be understood of a general destruction of them, not of the cutting down some few of them, as the conveniency of the siege might require. Man's life - The sustenance or support of his life.