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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Deuteronomy 20

 

 

Introduction
1The priest's exhortation to encourage the people to battle.
5The officers' proclamation of who are to be dismissed from the war.
10How to use the cities that accept or refuse the proclamation of peace.
16What cities must be devoted.
19Trees of man's meat must not be destroyed in the siege.

Verse 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.
goest out
3:21,22; 7:1
horses
Joshua 10:5-8; 11:4-6,9; Judges 4:3-9; 2 Chronicles 14:11; 20:12; Psalms 20:7; Psalms 33:16,17; Isaiah 31:1; 37:24,25
the Lord
2:7; 31:6,8; Genesis 26:3; Numbers 23:21; Joshua 1:5,9; Judges 6:12; 2 Chronicles 32:7,8; Psalms 46:7,11; 118:6; Isaiah 7:14; 8:9,10; 43:2; Romans 8:31

Verse 2
And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people,
Numbers 10:8,9; 31:6; Judges 20:27,28; 1 Samuel 14:18; 30:7,8; 2 Chronicles 13:12

Verse 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;
let not
Psalms 27:1-3; Isaiah 35:3,4; 41:10-14; Matthew 10:16,28,31; Ephesians 6:11-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; Hebrews 12:12,13; Revelation 2:10
faint
Heb. be tender. tremble. Heb. make haste.
Isaiah 28:16
be ye terrified
Psalms 3:6; Isaiah 8:12,13; 57:7,8; Matthew 8:26; Mark 16:6,18; Acts 18:9,10; 27:24; 1 Timothy 6:12; Hebrews 13:6

Verse 4
For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.
to fight
1:30; 3:22; 11:25; 32:30; Exodus 14:14; Joshua 10:42; 23:10; 2 Chronicles 13:12; 2 Chronicles 32:7,8; Psalms 144:1,2; Romans 8:37

Verse 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.
the officers
1:15; 16:18; Numbers 31:14,48; 1 Samuel 17:18
dedicated
Nehemiah 12:27; Psalms 30:1; *title

Verse 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.
eaten of it
Heb. made it common.
28:1-30; Leviticus 19:23-25; Jeremiah 31:5
lest he die
Isaiah 65:22; Zephaniah 1:13

Verse 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.
betrothed a wife
It was customary among the Jews to contract matrimony, espouse, or betroth, and for a considerable time to leave the parties in the houses of the respective parents; and when the bridegroom had made proper preparations, then the bride was brought home to his house, and the marriage consummated. The provisions in this verse refer to a case of this kind; though the Jews extend it to him who had newly consummated his marriage, and even to him who had married his brother's wife. It was deemed a peculiar hardship for a person to be obliged to go to battle, who had left a house unfinished, newly purchased land half tilled, or a wife with whom he had just contracted marriage.
22:23-25; 24:5; Matthew 1:18
lest he die
28:30; Luke 14:18-20; 2 Timothy 2:4

Verse 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.
fearful
1:28; 23:9; Judges 7:3; Luke 9:62; Acts 15:37,38; Revelation 3:16; 21:8
lest his brethren's
Numbers 13:31-33; 14:1-3; 32:9; 1 Corinthians 15:33
faint
Heb. melt.
1:28; *marg:; Exodus 15:15

Verse 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.
to lead the people
Heb. to be in the head of the people.

Verse 10
When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.
then proclaim
2 Samuel 20:18-22; Isaiah 57:19; Zechariah 9:10; Luke 10:5,6; Acts 10:36; 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; 6:1; Ephesians 2:17

Verse 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.
tributaries
Leviticus 25:42-46; Joshua 9:22,23,27; 11:19,20; 16:10; Judges 1:28,30-35; 1 Kings 9:21,22; Psalms 120:7; Luke 19:14

Verse 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:
thou shalt smite
Numbers 31:7-9,17,18; 1 Kings 11:15,16; Psalms 2:6-12; 21:8,9; 110:1; Luke 19:27; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

Verse 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.
the women
Numbers 31:9,12,18,35-54; Joshua 8:2; 11:14; 2 Chronicles 14:13-15; 20:25; Psalms 68:12; Romans 8:37
take unto thyself
Heb. spoil. thou shalt eat.
Joshua 22:8

Verse 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:
7:1-4,16; Numbers 21:2,3,35; 33:52; Joshua 6:17-21; 9:24,27; 10:28,40; Joshua 11:11,12,14

Verse 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:
thou shalt
Isaiah 34:5,6; Jeremiah 48:10; 50:35-40; Ezekiel 38:21-23; Revelation 19:18
the Hittites
7:1

Verse 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.
7:4,5; 12:30,31; 18:19; Exodus 23:33; Joshua 23:13; Judges 2:3; Psalms 106:34-40; 1 Corinthians 15:33; 2 Corinthians 6:17; Ephesians 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:14; 1 Timothy 6:5; 2 Timothy 2:17,18; Revelation 18:3-5

Verse 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:
thou shalt not
Matthew 3:10; 7:15-20; 21:19; Luke 13:7-9; John 15:2-8
for the tree, etc
or, for, O man, the tree of the field is to be employed in the siege. The original is exceedingly difficult. The LXX. has it, "Is the tree in the field a man, to enter the trench before thee?" The Latin Vulgate: "For it is a tree, and not a man, neither can it increase the number of those who war against thee;" Onkelos, "For the tree of the field is not as a man, that it should come against thee in the siege;" and to the same purpose the Arabic, Philo, and Josephus who say, "If trees could speak, they would cry out, that it is unjust that they, who were no cause of the war, should suffer the miseries of it." However rendered, the sense is sufficiently clear: and it is a merciful provision to spare all the fruit trees for the support of both the besieged and besiegers.
26:6
to employ, etc
Heb. to go from before thee.

Verse 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.
thou shalt build
1:28; 2 Chronicles 26:15; Ecclesiastes 9:14; Isaiah 37:33; Jeremiah 6:6; 33:4; Ezekiel 17:17
be subdued
Heb. come down.

 


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Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 20:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/deuteronomy-20.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, December 13th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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