Study Guide

Book of Deuteronomy Chapter 20

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Chapter 20

Call of Duty: Rules for War

  • Be brave when you go to war. (Duh?)
  • The priest will address the people and offer the following exemptions from military service: (1) building a new house, but not having dedicated it; (2) being engaged, but not married; (3) being afraid to fight.
  • A little different than the modern draft exemptions, wouldn't you say?
  • Did you notice that in Exodus, we only get descriptions like "They went to war"? Deuteronomy has a different agenda than just telling a story. It's taking the older stories and adding to them many layers of law.
  • Speaking of law, when you approach a city, offer a peace treaty. If they don't accept it… attack.
  • Kill all of the males on the opposing side. In the towns that are farther from you, take women, children, livestock, and their stuff. The Bible calls this booty.
  • How do we reconcile this with the Ten Commandments?
  • If it takes a long time to conquer a city, don't destroy the fruit trees. You can, however, use the trees that don't produce fruit to help you siege the city. Battering rams, anyone?

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