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 Deuteronomy 20
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The New American Standard Bible
   Book of DeuteronomyClick Verse Reference for Study Notes
    20:1-20 - Study Chapter  - Click for Chapter Audio

Laws of Warfare

1 "When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses R658 and chariots and people more numerous than you, do R659 not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. 2 "When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. 3 "He shall say to them, `Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do R660 not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, 4 for the LORD your God is R661 the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.' 5 "The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, `Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated R662 it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate it. 6 `Who is the man that has planted a vineyard and has not begun F299 to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would F299 begin to use its fruit. 7 `And R663 who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not married F300 her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would F301 marry her.' 8 "Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, `Who R664 is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that he F302 might not make his brothers' hearts melt like his heart.' 9 "When the officers have finished speaking to the people, they shall appoint commanders of armies at the head of the people.

10 "When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer F303 it terms of peace. 11 "If it agrees F304 to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced R665 labor and shall serve you. 12 "However, if it does not make peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. 13 "When the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you R666 shall strike all the men F305 in it with the edge of the sword. 14 "Only the women and the children and the R667 animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall use F306 the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God has given you. 15 "Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations nearby. F307 16 "Only R668 in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 "But you shall utterly F308 destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the LORD your God has commanded you, 18 so that they may not teach you to do according R669 to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin R670 against the LORD your God.

19 "When you besiege a city a long time, to make war against it in order to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them; for you may eat from them, and you shall not cut them down. For F309 is the tree of the field a man, that it should be F310 besieged by you? 20 "Only the trees which you know are F311 not fruit trees you shall destroy and cut down, that you may construct siegeworks against the city that is making war with you until it falls.

F299: Lit treat(ed) it as common
F299: Lit treat(ed) it as common
F300: Lit taken
F301: Lit take
F302: So with Greek and other ancient versions
F303: Lit call to it for peace
F304: Lit answers peace
F305: Lit males
F306: Lit eat
F307: Lit here
F308: Or put them under the ban
F309: Read as interrogative with ancient versions
F310: Lit come before you in the siege
F311: Lit they are not trees for food

R658: Deuteronomy 3:22; 7:18; 31:6,8; Psalms 20:7; Isaiah 31:1
R659: 2 Chronicles 32:7,8; Psalms 23:4; Isaiah 41:10
R660: Deuteronomy 20:1; Joshua 23:10
R661: Deuteronomy 1:30; 3:22; Joshua 23:10
R662: Nehemiah 12:27
R663: Deuteronomy 24:5
R664: Judges 7:3
R665: 1 Kings 9:21
R666: Numbers 31:7
R667: Joshua 8:2
R668: Exodus 23:31-33; Numbers 21:2,3; Deuteronomy 7:1-5; Joshua 11:14
R669: Exodus 34:12-16; Deuteronomy 7:4; 9:5; 12:30,31
R670: Exodus 23:33; 2 Kings 21:3-15; Psalms 106:34-41


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