We will begin this lesson in Deuteronomy 20:1 "When thou goest
out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots,
[and] a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy
God [is] with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt."

     This would be unusual teaching for a nation who belonged to God,
but they are about to go in and take the promised land. God wants them
to have faith in Him, and not fear the military of the countries they
are to fight. Pharaoh had a large army with horses and chariots, and
God destroyed them. They must remember that, and go out in faith to
battle. They must not be overwhelmed by the physical strength of their
enemies. They must have faith that God will fight for them.

     Deuteronomy 20:2 "And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the
battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people,"

     When the priest speaks to the people, it means this is a holy
war.  This is a war God has sent them to. God will be with them in

     Deuteronomy 20:3 "And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye
approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your
hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified
because of them;"

     This speech of the priest is to encourage the heart of Israel.
They must place their faith in God, not earthly power.

     Deuteronomy 20:4 "For the LORD your God [is] he that goeth with
you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you."

     It is such a shame that many of our later song books have removed
the song, Onward Christian Soldiers. That is exactly what Moses is
explaining to them here. They are not fighting out of hate, but as a
soldier of God. They are carrying out the will of God on the earth.
God is leading the battle. A good soldier of the cross will follow Him
into battle.

     Deuteronomy 20:5  "And the officers shall speak unto the people,
saying, What man [is there] that hath built a new house, and hath not
dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the
battle, and another man dedicate it."

     This is stating that a man who has just built a house could be
exempt from the immediate battle, to go and dedicate the home he
built. The officers were the ones who took the roles of the soldiers
available, and decided who would fight in each battle. This exemption
is for a short time, so the person could enjoy dedicating his own

     Deuteronomy 20:6 "And what man [is he] that hath planted a
vineyard, and hath not [yet] eaten of it? let him [also] go and return
unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it."

     This is the same as the house above. This exemption is for just a
short period of time, so he can enjoy his own vineyard.

     Deuteronomy 20:7 "And what man [is there] that hath betrothed a
wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house,
lest he die in the battle, and another man take her."

     In the case of the wife, he was to be exempt from war for the
period of one year. Deuteronomy 24:5  "When a man hath taken a new
wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any
business: [but] he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up
his wife which he hath taken."

     Deuteronomy 20:8 "And the officers shall speak further unto the
people, and they shall say, What man [is there that is] fearful and
fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his
brethren's heart faint as well as his heart."

     God did not want His army to include the fainthearted, or afraid.
Notice, this same situation in the following Scriptures about Gideon.
Judges 7:2 "And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that [are] with
thee [are] too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands,
lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath
saved me." Judges 7:3 "Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of
the people, saying, Whosoever [is] fearful and afraid, let him return
and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people
twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand." If we were
to read on in this book of judges, we would find that God used only
300 brave men for the battle against the thousands, and the Israelites
won. God and one is a majority.

     Deuteronomy 20:9 "And it shall be, when the officers have made an
end of speaking unto the people, that they shall make captains of the
armies to lead the people."

     The officers choose out brave men of each group to lead them in
battle. They are made captains.

     Deuteronomy 20:10  "When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight
against it, then proclaim peace unto it."

     The first thing they are to do before they enter a city is offer
them a peaceful surrender. If they will surrender, they will not die.

     Deuteronomy 20:11 "And it shall be, if it make thee answer of
peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, [that] all the people
[that is] found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall
serve thee."

     "Tributaries", in this verse means forced labor. They will be
servants to the Israelites, if they surrender peaceably.

     Deuteronomy 20:12 "And if it will make no peace with thee, but
will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:"

     If they do not surrender peaceably, then Israel shall fight
against them.

     Deuteronomy 20:13 "And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it
into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of
the sword:"

     Since they did not surrender, but chose to fight, all the men of
the city will be killed, when Israel takes the city. The LORD God will
deliver everyone of the cities to Israel.

     Deuteronomy 20:14 "But the women, and the little ones, and the
cattle, and all that is in the city, [even] all the spoil thereof,
shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine
enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee."

     The women and the children will be spared. The wealth of the land
will go into the hands of Israelite. All the spoil will belong to

     Deuteronomy 20:15 "Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities [which
are] very far off from thee, which [are] not of the cities of these

     Now, we see that the sparing of the women and the children, is
only if the cities are far away from the place of inheritance of the
Israelites. Perhaps, they would be far enough away that the Israelite
men would not take them to wife.

     Deuteronomy 20:16 "But of the cities of these people, which the
LORD thy God doth give thee [for] an inheritance, thou shalt save
alive nothing that breatheth:"

     The purpose in killing every living thing is to wipe out the
false religion in this area. Even the women would bring the worship of
false gods to the Israelites, if they were allowed to live. God wants
the land of inheritance to be a holy land.

     Deuteronomy 20:17 "But thou shalt utterly destroy them; [namely],
the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites,
the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded

     This is a list of the people of the promised land who are to be
utterly destroyed. We see in the next verse, why God commanded them to
do this.

     Deuteronomy 20:18 "That they teach you not to do after all their
abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin
against the LORD your God."
     We read of their abominations in the last lessons before this
one. They practiced things that were worse than sin. The abominations
are revolting sins in the sight of God. Israel must stay pure. They
must not worship false gods.

     Deuteronomy 20:19  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:"

     We see, in this, that the tree produces food to eat.  The tree
that produces food is a friend to man. To destroy these trees, would
not help win the war. They could certainly be useful to Israel, after
they have taken the city, and even before they take the city to
sustain them. In that sense, they are the man's life.

     Deuteronomy 20:20 "Only the trees which thou knowest that they
[be] not trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and
thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee,
until it be subdued."

     Trees that do not produce fruit, or nuts of any kind, could be
cut down to build bulwarks against the city they are at war with.
"Bulwarks", in this verse, mean hemming in. This just means they have
stopped their way of escape.

                        Deuteronomy 22 Questions

1.  Quote Deuteronomy chapter 20 verse 1.
2.  Why should they not fear?
3.  How does it help to remember Egypt?
4.  What does it mean, when the priest speaks to the people?
5.  The speech of the priest is to ___________ the people.
6.  What does the author believe is a shame about our song books?
7.  What special privilege does someone, who has just built a house,
8.  Who decided who would go into battle?
9.  How long is a man exempt from war, who has taken a wife?
10. Who else will the officer send home, and not go to war?
11. Quote Judges chapter 7 verses 2 and 3.
12. How many brave men with Gideon won the battle?
13. God and ______ is a majority.
14. Who did the officers set up as leaders?
15. What was the first thing they were to do when they came to a city?
16. What does "tributaries" mean?
17. What is Israel to do, if they do not surrender?
18. Who in the city shall be killed?
19. What is different, if the cities are those of the inheritance?
20. What was the purpose in killing every living thing?
21. Who were some of the people killed?
22. Verse 18 explains why they were utterly destroyed, why was it?
23. Abominations are ___________ ___.
24. What must they not destroy, when they besiege a city a long time?
25. Why is this true?
26. What will they do with the trees, which do not produce food?
27. What does "bulwarks" mean?