Deuteronomy 20

Deuteronomy 20

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1 "When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The LORD your God, who brought you safely out of Egypt, is with you!

2 Before you go into battle, the priest will come forward to speak with the troops.

3 He will say, `Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight today! Do not lose heart or panic.

4 For the LORD your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!'

5 "Then the officers of the army will address the troops and say, `Has anyone just built a new house but not yet dedicated it? If so, go home! You might be killed in the battle, and someone else would dedicate your house!

6 Has anyone just planted a vineyard but not yet eaten any of its fruit? If so, go home! You might die in battle, and someone else would eat from it!

7 Has anyone just become engaged? Well, go home and get married! You might die in the battle, and someone else would marry your fianc´┐Że.'

8 Then the officers will also say, `Is anyone terrified? If you are, go home before you frighten anyone else.'

9 When the officers have finished saying this to their troops, they will announce the names of the unit commanders.

10 "As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace.

11 If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor.

12 But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town.

13 When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town.

14 But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

15 But these instructions apply only to distant towns, not to the towns of nations nearby.

16 "As for the towns of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as a special possession, destroy every living thing in them.

17 You must completely destroy* the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, just as the LORD your God has commanded you.1

18 This will keep the people of the land from teaching you their detestable customs in the worship of their gods, which would cause you to sin deeply against the LORD your God.

19 "When you are besieging a town and the war drags on, do not destroy the trees. Eat the fruit, but do not cut down the trees. They are not enemies that need to be attacked!

20 But you may cut down trees that you know are not valuable for food. Use them to make the equipment you need to besiege the town until it falls.

Read Deuteronomy 21


1: The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the LORD, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering.

New Living Translation Bible and Notes used with permission Tyndale House Publishers.

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