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Deuteronomy

Military service.  Dt.20.1-20

1WHEN YOU TAKE THE FIELD against an enemy and are faced by horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, will be with you. 2When you are about to join battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army in these words: 3'Hear, O Israel, this day you are joining battle with the enemy; do not lose heart, or be afraid, or give way to panic in face of them; 4for the LORD your God will go with you to fight your enemy for you and give you the victory.' 5Then the officers shall address the army in these words: 'Any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it shall go back to his house; or he may die in battle and another man dedicate it. 6Any man who has planted a vineyard and has not begun to use it shall go back home; or he may die in battle and another man use it. 7Any man who has pledged himself to take a woman in marriage and has not taken her shall go back home; or he may die in battle and another man take her.' 8The officers shall further address the army: 'Any man who is afraid and has lost heart shall go back home; or his comrades will be discouraged as he is.' 9When these officers have finished addressing the army, commanders shall be appointed to lead it.

10When you advance on a city to attack it, make an offer of peace. 11If the city accepts the offer and opens its gates to you, then all the people in it shall be put to forced labour and shall serve you. 12If it does not make peace with you but offers battle, you shall besiege it, 13and the LORD your God will deliver it into your hands. You shall put all its males to the sword, 14but you may take the women, the dependants, and the cattle for yourselves, and plunder everything else in the city. You may enjoy the use of the spoil of your enemies which the LORD your God gives you. 15That is what you shall do to cities at a great distance, as opposed to those which belong to nations near at hand. 16In the cities of these nations whose land the LORD your God is giving you as a patrimony, you shall not leave any creature alive. 17You shall annihilate them—Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites—as the LORD your God commanded you, 18so that they may not teach you to imitate all the abominable things that they have done for their gods and so cause you to sin against the LORD your God.

19When you are at war, and lay siege to a city for a long time in order to take it, do not destroy its trees by taking the axe to them, for they provide you with food; you shall not cut them down. The trees of the field are not men that you should besiege them. 20But you may destroy or cut down any trees that you know do not yield food, and use them in siege-works against the city that is at war with you, until it falls.


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