Deuteronomy 20:19

Overview - Deuteronomy 20
The priest's exhortation to encourage the people to battle.
The officers' proclamation of who are to be dismissed from the war.
10 How to use the cities that accept or refuse the proclamation of peace.
16 What cities must be devoted.
19 Trees of man's meat must not be destroyed in the siege.
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Deuteronomy 20:19  (King James Version)
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.

to employ, etc
Hebrew to go from before thee.