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Deuteronomy 20 :: English Standard Version (ESV)

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Laws Concerning Warfare

Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:1 - “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the LORD your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:2 - And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:3 - and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them,
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:4 - for the LORD your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:5 - Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it.
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:6 - And is there any man who has planted a vineyard and has not enjoyed its fruit? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man enjoy its fruit.
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:7 - And is there any man who has betrothed a wife and has not taken her? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her.’
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:8 - And the officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘Is there any man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house, lest he make the heart of his fellows melt like his own.’
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:9 - And when the officers have finished speaking to the people, then commanders shall be appointed at the head of the people.
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:10 - “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it.
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:11 - And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you.
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:12 - But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it.
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:13 - And when the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword,
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:14 - but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as plunder for yourselves. And you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the LORD your God has given you.
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:15 - Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here.
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:16 - But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes,
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:17 - but you shall devote them to complete destruction,[fn] the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the LORD your God has commanded,
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:18 - that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the LORD your God.
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:19 - “When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you?
Unchecked Copy BoxDeu 20:20 - Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.
ESV Footnotes
That is, set apart (devote) as an offering to the Lord (for destruction)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011, 2016 by Crossway Books and Bibles, a Publishing Ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

See detailed copyright information.

For more information on this translation, see the ESV Preface.

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