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Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, [1834], at

Deuteronomy Chapter 20

Deuteronomy 20:1

deu 20:1

Horses, and chariots - The most formidable elements of an Oriental host, which the Canaanites possessed in great numbers; compare Jos 17:16; Jdg 4:3; Sa1 13:5. Israel could not match these with corresponding forces (compare Deu 17:16 note and references), but, having the God of battles on its side, was not to be dismayed by them; the assumption being that the war had the sanction of God, and was consequently just.

Deuteronomy 20:2

deu 20:2

The priest - Not the high priest, but one appointed for the purpose, and called, according to the rabbis, "the anointed of the war": hence, perhaps the expression of Jer 6:4, etc. "prepare ye" (literally consecrate) "war." Thus, Phinehas went with the warriors to fight against Midian (Num 31:6; compare Sa1 4:4, Sa1 4:11; Ch2 13:12).

Deuteronomy 20:5

deu 20:5

The officers dedicated it - See Exo 5:6 note.

Compare the marginal references. The expression is appropriate, because various ceremonies of a religious kind were customary among the Jews on taking possession of a new house. The immunity conferred in this verse lasted, like that in Deu 20:7 (compare Deu 24:5), for one year.

Deuteronomy 20:6

deu 20:6

See the margin and references. The fruit of newly-planted trees was set apart from common uses for four years.

Deuteronomy 20:9

deu 20:9

The meaning is that the "officers" should then subdivide the levies, and appoint leaders of the smaller divisions thus constituted.

Deuteronomy 20:10

deu 20:10

Directions intended to prevent wanton destruction of life and property in sieges.

Deu 20:16

Forbearance, however, was not to be shown toward the Canaanite nations, which were to be utterly exterminated (compare Deu 7:1-4). The command did not apply to beasts as well as men (compare Jos 11:11, Jos 11:14).

Deu 20:19

The parenthesis may he more literally rendered "for man is a tree of the field," i. e., has his life from the tree of the field, is supported in life by it (compare Deu 24:6). The Egyptians seem invariably to have cut down the fruit-trees in war.

Next: Deuteronomy Chapter 21