Laws of Warfare
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. When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. 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, for the Lord your God Ais the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’ 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. Who is the man that has planted a vineyard and has not 1begun to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man 1would begin to use its fruit. AAnd who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not 1married her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man 2would marry her.’ 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 1he might not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart.’ 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 1offer it terms of peace. 11  If it 1agrees 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 1men 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 1use 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 1nearby. 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 1utterly 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.
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. 1For is the tree of the field a man, that it should 2be besieged by you? 20  Only the trees which you know 1are 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.
A 20:1 Deut 3:22; 7:18; 31:6, 8; Ps 20:7; Is 31:1 B 20:1 2 Chr 32:7, 8; Ps 23:4; Is 41:10 A 20:3 Deut 20:1; Josh 23:10 A 20:4 Deut 1:30; 3:22; Josh 23:10 A 20:5 Neh 12:27 1 20:6 Lit treat(ed) it as common 1 20:6 Lit treat(ed) it as common A 20:7 Deut 24:5 1 20:7 Lit taken 2 20:7 Lit take A 20:8 Judg 7:3 1 20:8 So with Gr and other ancient versions 1 20:10 Lit call to it for peace 1 20:11 Lit answers peace A 20:11 1 Kin 9:21 A 20:13 Num 31:7 1 20:13 Lit males A 20:14 Josh 8:2 1 20:14 Lit eat 1 20:15 Lit here A 20:16 Ex 23:31-33; Num 21:2, 3; Deut 7:1-5; Josh 11:14 1 20:17 Or put them under the ban A 20:18 Ex 34:12-16; Deut 7:4; 9:5; 12:30, 31 B 20:18 Ex 23:33; 2 Kin 21:3-15; Ps 106:34-41 1 20:19 Read as interrogative with ancient versions 2 20:19 Lit come before you in the siege 1 20:20 Lit they are not trees for food