NASB — Deuteronomy 20 — KJV

Laws of Warfare

1 “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see ahorses and chariots [and] people more numerous than you, bdo 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. aDo not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, 4 for the LORD your God ais 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 adedicated 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 Ibegun to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man Iwould begin to use its fruit. 7 aAnd who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not Imarried her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man IIwould marry her.’ 8 Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, ‘aWho is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that Ihe 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.

[1] aDt 3:22; 7:18; 31:6, 8; Ps 20:7; Is 31:1 b2Ch 32:7, 8; Ps 23:4; Is 41:10
[3] aDt 20:1; Jsh 23:10
[4] aDt 1:30; 3:22; Jsh 23:10
[5] aNe 12:27
[6] ILit treat(ed) it as common
[7] ILit taken IILit take aDt 24:5
[8] ISo with Gr and other ancient versions aJg 7:3

10 ¶ “When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall Ioffer it terms of peace. 11 If it Iagrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your aforced 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, ayou shall strike all the Imen in it with the edge of the sword. 14 Only the women and the children and athe animals and all that is in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall Iuse 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 Inearby. 16 aOnly 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 Iutterly 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 aaccording to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would bsin against the LORD your God.

[10] ILit call to it for peace
[11] ILit answers peace a1K 9:21
[13] ILit males aNu 31:7
[14] ILit eat aJsh 8:2
[15] ILit here
[16] aEx 23:31-33; Nu 21:2, 3; Dt 7:1-5; Jsh 11:14
[17] IOr put them under the ban
[18] aEx 34:12-16; Dt 7:4; 9:5; 12:30, 31 bEx 23:33; 2K 21:3-15; Ps 106:34-41

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. IFor is the tree of the field a man, that it should IIbe besieged by you? 20 Only the trees which you know Iare 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.

[19] IRead as interrogative with ancient versions IILit come before you in the siege
[20] ILit they are not trees for food


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The priest's exhortation to encourage the people to battle.

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] Gn 26:3; Nu 23:21; Dt 2:7; 3:21; 7:1; 31:6, 8; Jsh 1:5, 9; 10:5; 11:4, 9; Jg 4:3; 6:12; 2Ch 14:11; 20:12; 32:7; Ps 20:7; 33:16; 46:7, 11; 118:6; Is 7:14; 8:9; 31:1; 37:24; 43:2; Ro 8:31.
[2] Nu 10:8; 31:6; Jg 20:27; 1S 14:18; 30:7; 2Ch 13:12.
[3] Ps 3:6; 27:1; Is 8:12; 28:16; 35:3; 41:10; 57:7; Mt 8:26; 10:16, 28, 31; Mk 16:6, 18; Ac 18:9; 27:24; Ep 6:11; 1Th 5:15; 1Ti 6:12; He 12:12; 13:6; Rv 2:10.
[4] Ex 14:14; Dt 1:30; 3:22; 11:25; 32:30; Jsh 10:42; 23:10; 2Ch 13:12; 32:7; Ps 144:1; Ro 8:37.

The officers' proclamation who are to be dismissed from the war.

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] Nu 31:14, 48; Dt 1:15; 16:18; 1S 17:18; Ne 12:27; Ps 30:1.
[6] Lv 19:23; Dt 28:1; Is 65:22; Jr 31:5; Zp 1:13.
[7] Dt 22:23; 24:5; 28:30; Mt 1:18; Lk 14:18; 2Ti 2:4.
[8] Ex 15:15; Nu 13:31; 14:1; 32:9; Dt 1:28; 23:9; Jg 7:3; Lk 9:62; Ac 15:37; 1Co 15:33; Rv 3:16; 21:8.
[9] Dt 20:9.

How to use the cities that accept or refuse the proclamation of peace.

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: 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.

[10] 2S 20:18; Is 57:19; Zc 9:10; Lk 10:5; Ac 10:36; 2Co 5:18; 6:1; Ep 2:17.
[11] Lv 25:42; Jsh 9:22, 27; 11:19; 16:10; Jg 1:28, 30; 1K 9:21; Ps 120:7; Lk 19:14.
[13] Nu 31:7, 17; 1K 11:15; Ps 2:6; 21:8; 110:1; Lk 19:27; 2Th 1:7.
[14] Nu 31:9, 12, 18, 35; Jsh 8:2; 11:14; 22:8; 2Ch 14:13; 20:25; Ps 68:12; Ro 8:37.

What cities must be devoted.

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] Nu 21:2, 35; 33:52; Dt 7:1, 16; Jsh 6:17; 9:24, 27; 10:28, 40; 11:11, 14.
[17] Dt 7:1; Is 34:5; Jr 48:10; 50:35; Ezk 38:21; Rv 19:18.
[18] Ex 23:33; Dt 7:4; 12:30; 18:19; Jsh 23:13; Jg 2:3; Ps 106:34; 1Co 15:33; 2Co 6:17; Ep 5:11; 2Th 3:14; 1Ti 6:5; 2Ti 2:17; Rv 18:3.

Trees of man's meat must not be destroyed in the siege.

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] Dt 26:6; Mt 3:10; 7:15; 21:19; Lk 13:7; Jn 15:2.
[20] Dt 1:28; 2Ch 26:15; Ec 9:14; Is 37:33; Jr 6:6; 33:4; Ezk 17:17.


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