Deuteronomy 20 ©
The priest's exhortation before the battle. The officers' proclamation signifying who are to be dismissed. How the cities that accept or refuse the proclamation of peace are to be treated. The cities of the seven nations are devoted to utter destruction. Trees good for food must not be cut down in the siege.
WHEN thou agoest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest bhorses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, cbe not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is dwith thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts 1faint, fear not, and do not 2tremble, fneither be ye terrified because of them;
And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet 3eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it.
And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, that they shall make captains of the armies 5to lead the people.
Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.
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:
¶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 (7for the tree of the field is man's life) 8to employ them in the siege:
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 9it be subdued.