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Compare Translations for Deuteronomy 20:19

Deuteronomy 20:19 ASV
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 wielding an axe against them; for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of thee?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 BBE
If in war a town is shut in by your armies for a long time, do not let its trees be cut down and made waste; for their fruit will be your food; are the trees of the countryside men for you to take up arms against them?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 CEB
Now if you have been attacking a city for some time, fighting against it and trying to conquer it, don't destroy its trees by cutting them down with axes. You can eat from those trees; don't cut them down! Do you think a tree of the field is some sort of warrior to be attacked by you in battle?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 CJB
"When, in making war against a town in order to capture it, you lay siege to it for a long time, you are not to destroy its trees, cutting them down with an axe. You can eat their fruit, so don't cut them down. After all, are the trees in the field human beings, so that you have to besiege them too?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 RHE
When thou hast besieged a city a long time, and hath compassed it with bulwarks, to take it, thou shalt not cut down the trees that may be eaten of, neither shalt thou spoil the country round about with axes: for it is a tree, and not a man, neither can it increase the number of them that fight against thee.
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Deuteronomy 20:19 ESV
"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?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 GW
This is what you must do whenever you blockade a city for a long time in order to capture it in war. Don't harm any of its fruit trees with an ax. You can eat the fruit. Never cut those trees down, because the trees of the field are not people you have come to blockade.
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Deuteronomy 20:19 GNT
"When you are trying to capture a city, do not cut down its fruit trees, even though the siege lasts a long time. Eat the fruit, but do not destroy the trees; the trees are not your enemies.
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Deuteronomy 20:19 HNV
When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy the trees of it by wielding an ax against them; for you may eat of them, and you shall not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of you?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 CSB
"When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can get food from them. You must not cut them down. Are trees of the field human, to come under siege by you?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 KJV
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 :
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Deuteronomy 20:19 LEB
"If you besiege a town [for] many days to make war against it [in order to] seize it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them, for you may eat from them, and [so] you must not cut them down. Are the trees of the field humans that they should come in siege {against you}?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 NAS
"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. For is the tree of the field a man, that it should be besieged by you?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 NCV
If you surround and attack a city for a long time, trying to capture it, do not destroy its trees with an ax. You can eat the fruit from the trees, but do not cut them down. These trees are not the enemy, so don't make war against them.
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Deuteronomy 20:19 NIRV
Suppose you surround a city and get ready to attack it. And suppose you fight against it for a long time in order to capture it. Then don't chop its trees down and destroy them. You can eat their fruit. So don't cut them down. The trees of the field aren't people. So why should you attack them?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 NIV
When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees of the field people, that you should besiege them?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 NKJV
"When you besiege a city for a long time, while making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them; if you can eat of them, do not cut them down to use in the siege, for the tree of the field is man's food.
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Deuteronomy 20:19 NLT
"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!
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Deuteronomy 20:19 NRS
If you besiege a town for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you must not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them. Although you may take food from them, you must not cut them down. Are trees in the field human beings that they should come under siege from you?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 RSV
"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; for you may eat of them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field men that they should be besieged by you?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 DBY
When thou shalt besiege a city many days, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by lifting up an axe against them; for thou canst eat of them; and thou shalt not cut them down, for is the tree of the field a man that it should be besieged?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 MSG
When you mount an attack on a town and the siege goes on a long time, don't start cutting down the trees, swinging your axes against them. Those trees are your future food; don't cut them down. Are trees soldiers who come against you with weapons?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 WBT
When thou shalt besiege a city a long time in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees of it by forcing an ax 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:
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Deuteronomy 20:19 TMB
"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 ax against them, for thou mayest eat of them; and thou shalt not cut them down to employ them in the seige, for the tree of the field is man's life.
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Deuteronomy 20:19 TNIV
When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 TYN
When thou hast beseged a citie longe tyme in makinge warre agenst it to take it. destroye not the trees thereof, that thou woldest thrust an axe vnto them. For thou mayst eate of the, and therfore destroye them not. For the trees of the feldes are no men, that they myght come agenst the to besege the.
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Deuteronomy 20:19 WEB
When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy the trees of it by wielding an ax against them; for you may eat of them, and you shall not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of you?
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Deuteronomy 20:19 WYC
When thou hast besieged a city by long time, and thou hast compassed it with strongholds that thou overcome it, thou shalt not cut down the trees, of which men may eat/of which fruit may be eaten, neither thou shalt waste the country(side) about with axes; for it is a tree, and not a man, neither it may increase the number of fighters against thee. (When thou hast besieged a city for a long time, and thou hast surrounded it with strongholds so that thou can overcome it, thou shalt not cut down the trees, from which men can eat/whose fruit can be eaten, nor shalt thou destroy all the countryside about with axes; for it is a tree, and not a man, and it cannot increase the number of fighters against thee.)
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Deuteronomy 20:19 YLT
`When thou layest siege unto a city many days, to fight against it, to capture it, thou dost not destroy its trees to force an axe against them, for of them thou dost eat, and them thou dost not cut down -- for man's [is] the tree of the field -- to go in at thy presence in the siege.
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Deuteronomy 20 Commentary - Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Concise)

Chapter 20

Exhortation and proclamation respecting those who went to war. (1-9) Peace to be offered, What cities were to be devoted. (10-20)

Verses 1-9 In the wars wherein Israel engaged according to the will of God, they might expect the Divine assistance. The Lord was to be their only confidence. In these respects they were types of the Christian's warfare. Those unwilling to fight, must be sent away. The unwillingness might arise from a man's outward condition. God would not be served by men forced against their will. Thy people shall be willing, ( Psalms 110:3 ) . In running the Christian race, and fighting the good fight of faith, we must lay aside all that would make us unwilling. If a man's unwillingness rose from weakness and fear, he had leave to return from the war. The reason here given is, lest his brethren's heart fail as well as his heart. We must take heed that we fear not with the fear of them that are afraid, Isa. 8:12 .

Verses 10-12 The Israelites are here directed about the nations on whom they made war. Let this show God's grace in dealing with sinners. He proclaims peace, and beseeches them to be reconciled. Let it also show us our duty in dealing with our brethren. Whoever are for war, we must be for peace. Of the cities given to Israel, none of their inhabitants must be left. Since it could not be expected that they should be cured of their idolatry, they would hurt Israel. These regulations are not the rules of our conduct, but Christ's law of love. The horrors of war must fill the feeling heart with anguish upon every recollection; and are proofs of the wickedness of man, the power of Satan, and the just vengeance of God, who thus scourges a guilty world. But how dreadful their case who are engaged in unequal conflict with their Maker, who will not submit to render him the easy tribute of worship and praise! Certain ruin awaits them. Let neither the number nor the power of the enemies of our souls dismay us; nor let even our own weakness cause us to tremble or to faint. The Lord will save us; but in this war let none engage whose hearts are fond of the world, or afraid of the cross and the conflict. Care is here taken that in besieging cities the fruit-trees should not be destroyed. God is a better friend to man than he is to himself; and God's law consults our interests and comforts; while our own appetites and passions, which we indulge, are enemies to our welfare. Many of the Divine precepts restrain us from destroying that which is for our life and food. The Jews understand this as forbidding all wilful waste upon any account whatsoever. Every creature of God is good; as nothing is to be refused, so nothing is to be abused. We may live to want what we carelessly waste.

Deuteronomy 20 Commentary - Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

CHAPTER 20

Deuteronomy 20:1-20 . THE PRIESTS' EXHORTATION TO ENCOURAGE THE PEOPLE TO BATTLE.

1. When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies--In the approaching invasion of Canaan, or in any just and defensive war, the Israelites had reason to expect the presence and favor of God.

2-4. when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people--Jewish writers say that there was a war priest appointed by a special ceremonial to attend the army. It was natural that the solemn objects and motives of religion should have been applied to animate patriotism, and so give additional impulse to valor; other people have done this. But in the case of Israel, the regular attendance of a priest on the battlefield was in accordance with their theocratic government, in which everything was done directly by God through His delegated ministers. It was the province of this priest to sound the trumpets ( Numbers 10:9 , 31:6 ), and he had others under him who repeated at the head of each battalion the exhortations which he addressed to the warriors in general. The speech ( Deuteronomy 20:3 Deuteronomy 20:4 ) is marked by a brevity and expressiveness admirably suited to the occasion, namely, when the men were drawn up in line.

4. your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you--According to Jewish writers, the ark was always taken into the field of combat. But there is no evidence of this in the sacred history; and it must have been a sufficient ground of encouragement to be assured that God was on their side.

5-8. And the officers shall speak unto the people--literally, Shoterim, who are called "scribes" or "overseers" ( Exodus 5:6 ). They might be keepers of the muster-roll, or perhaps rather military heralds, whose duty it was to announce the orders of the generals ( 2 Chronicles 26:11 ). This proclamation ( Deuteronomy 20:5-8 ) must have been made previous to the priest's address, as great disorder and inconvenience must have been occasioned if the serried ranks were broken by the departure of those to whom the privilege was granted. Four grounds of exemption are expressly mentioned: (1) The dedication of a new house, which, as in all Oriental countries still, was an important event, and celebrated by festive and religious ceremonies ( Nehemiah 12:27 ); exemption for a year. (2) The planting of a vineyard. The fruit of the first three years being declared unfit for use, and the first-fruits producible on the fourth, the exemption in this case lasted at least four years. (3) The betrothal of a wife, which was always a considerable time before marriage. It was deemed a great hardship to leave a house unfinished, a new property half cultivated, and a recently contracted marriage; and the exemptions allowed in these cases were founded on the principle that a man's heart being deeply engrossed by something at a distance, he would not be very enthusiastic in the public service. (4) The ground of exemption was cowardice. From the composition of the Israelitish army, which was an irregular militia, all above twenty years being liable to serve, many totally unfit for war must have been called to the field; and it was therefore a prudential arrangement to rid the army of such unwarlike elements--persons who could render no efficient service, and the contagion of whose craven spirit might lead to panic and defeat.

9. they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people--When the exempted parties have withdrawn, the combatants shall be ranged in order of battle.

10-20. When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it--An important principle is here introduced into the war law of Israel regarding the people they fought against and the cities they besieged. With "the cities of those people which God doth give thee" in Canaan, it was to be a war of utter extermination ( Deuteronomy 20:17 Deuteronomy 20:18 ). But when on a just occasion, they went against other nations, they were first to make a proclamation of peace, which if allowed by a surrender, the people would become dependent ( Deuteronomy 20:11 ), and in the relation of tributaries the conquered nations would receive the highest blessings from alliance with the chosen people; they would be brought to the knowledge of Israel's God and of Israel's worship, as well as a participation of Israel's privileges. But if the besieged city refused to capitulate and be taken, a universal massacre was to be made of the males while the women and children were to be preserved and kindly treated ( Deuteronomy 20:13 Deuteronomy 20:14 ). By this means a provision was made for a friendly and useful connection being established between the captors and the captives; and Israel, even through her conquests, would prove a blessing to the nations.

19. thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them--In a protracted siege, wood would be required for various purposes, both for military works and for fuel. But fruit-bearing trees were to be carefully spared; and, indeed, in warm countries like India, where the people live much more on fruit than we do, the destruction of a fruit tree is considered a sort of sacrilege.

20. thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee--It is evident that some sort of military engines were intended; and accordingly we know, that in Egypt, where the Israelites learned their military tactics, the method of conducting a siege was by throwing up banks, and making advances with movable towers, or with the testudo [WILKINSON].