When a man hath taken a new wife
A wife he has lately married, new to him, though a widow, as Jarchi observes; but the Targum of Jonathan says a virgin; however this is opposed to his old wife, and divorced; for this, as Jarchi and Ben Melech say, excepts the return of a divorced wife, who cannot be said to be a new one:
he shall not go out to war;
this is to be understood of a man that had not only betrothed, but married a wife; a man that had betrothed a wife, and not married her, who went out to war, might return if he would, ( Deuteronomy 20:7 ) ; but one that had married a wife was not to go out to war:
neither shall be charged with any business;
as betrothed ones were; they, though they had a liberty of returning, yet they were to provide food and drink for the army, and to prepare or mend the highways, as Jarchi observes; but these were not obliged to such things, nor even to keep watch on the walls of the city, or to pay taxes, as Maimonides F2 writes:
[but] he shall be free at home one year;
not only from all tributes and taxes, and everything relative to the affairs of war, but from public offices and employments, which might occasion absence from home. Jarchi remarks, that his house or home comprehends his vineyard; and so he thinks that this respects his house and his vineyard, that if he had built a house and dedicated it, or planted a vineyard and made it common, yet was not to remove from his house because of the necessities of war:
and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken;
or rejoice with his wife which he hath taken, and solace themselves with love; and thereby not only endear himself to her, but settle his affections on her, and be so confirmed in conjugal love, that hereafter no jealousies may arise, or any cause of divorce, which this law seems to be made to guard against. So it is said F3, that Alexander after the battle of Granicus sent home to Macedonia his newly married soldiers, to winter with their wives, and return at spring; which his master Aristotle had taught him, and as he was taught by a Jew.
F2 Hilchot Melachim, c. 7. sect. 10, 11.
F3 Arrian. Expedit Alex. l. 1.