Deuteronomy 20:10
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace.

New Living Translation
"As you approach a town to attack it, you must first offer its people terms for peace.

English Standard Version
“When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it.

New American Standard Bible
"When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace.

King James Bible
When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When you approach a city to fight against it, you must make an offer of peace.

International Standard Version
"When you approach a city to wage war against it, extend terms of peace.

NET Bible
When you approach a city to wage war against it, offer it terms of peace.

New Heart English Bible
When you draw near to a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace to it.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When you approach a city to attack it, offer its people a peaceful way to surrender.

JPS Tanakh 1917
When thou drawest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

New American Standard 1977
“When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace.

Jubilee Bible 2000
When thou comest near to a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

King James 2000 Bible
When you come near unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

American King James Version
When you come near to a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace to it.

American Standard Version
When thou drawest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

Douay-Rheims Bible
If at any time thou come to fight against a city, thou shalt first offer it peace.

Darby Bible Translation
When thou approachest unto a city to fight against it, thou shalt proclaim peace unto it.

English Revised Version
When thou drawest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

Webster's Bible Translation
When thou comest nigh to a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace to it.

World English Bible
When you draw near to a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace to it.

Young's Literal Translation
'When thou drawest near unto a city to fight against it, then thou hast called unto it for Peace,
Study Bible
Laws of Warfare
9"When the officers have finished speaking to the people, they shall appoint commanders of armies at the head of the people. 10"When you approach a city to fight against it, you shall offer it terms of peace. 11"If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you.…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 20:9
"When the officers have finished speaking to the people, they shall appoint commanders of armies at the head of the people.

Deuteronomy 20:11
"If it agrees to make peace with you and opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall become your forced labor and shall serve you.

Judges 21:13
Then the whole congregation sent word and spoke to the sons of Benjamin who were at the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them.

2 Samuel 20:19
"I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city, even a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?"
Treasury of Scripture

When you come near to a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace to it.

then proclaim

2 Samuel 20:18-22 Then she spoke, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, …

Isaiah 57:19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, …

Zechariah 9:10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, …

Luke 10:5,6 And into whatever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house…

Acts 10:36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace …

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus …

2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that you …

Ephesians 2:17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them …

Deuteronomy 20:10-20. SIEGES.

(10) When thou comest nigh . . . proclaim peace.--Not as the children of Dan did, who massacred the inhabitants of Laish without warning (Judges 18:27-28). Even in the wars of Joshua, the cities that "stood still in their strength" were generally spared (Joshua 11:13).

(15) Thus--i.e., sparing the women and the little ones.

(16-18) But of the cities of these people . . . thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth . . . that they teach you not to do after all their abominations.--Upon the inhabitants of these cities the Israelites executed the sentence of Jehovah. Their abominations are sufficiently indicated in Leviticus 18:24-28; Leviticus 20:23.

These verses (16-18) are parenthetical; Deuteronomy 20:19 returns to the previous subject.

(19) And thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man's life).--Literally, the passage seems rather to mean this, Is the tree of the field a man, that it should escape thee and enter into the siege? It will not run away and fight in the trenches as a man might do. What need is there to cut it down? This seems to be the view of the Targums, the LXX., and the Jewish commentators, besides modern authorities cited in the Variorum Bible. The destruction of the trees around Jerusalem was a notable feature of the Roman war.

Verses 10-20. - Directions concerning the besieging of towns. In the case of a town at a distance, not belonging to any of the Canaanitish tribes, on advancing against it they were first of all to summon the inhabitants to a peaceable surrender and submission (cf. Judges 21:13). If this was complied with, the inhabitants were to become tributary to the Israelites and serve them; but if this was refused, the town was to be besieged, and, when taken, all the males were to be slain, and the women and children, as well as all the booty that was in the place, were to be taken as the prey of the conquerors, who were to appropriate the spoil to their own use. Verse 10. - Then proclaim peace unto it; i.e. invite it peaceably to surrender. When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it,.... This is to be understood of an arbitrary war, as Jarchi observes; which they engaged in of themselves, or were provoked to by their enemies; which was their own choice, and according to their own will and pleasure; and their conduct towards their enemies in it was different from that in a war with the seven nations, commanded by the Lord, and distinguished from it, Deuteronomy 20:15.

then proclaim peace unto it; that is, offer them terms of peace; which were, that the inhabitants of it should renounce idolatry, and become their tributaries and servants. 10-20. When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it—An important principle is here introduced into the war law of Israel regarding the people they fought against and the cities they besieged. With "the cities of those people which God doth give thee" in Canaan, it was to be a war of utter extermination (De 20:17, 18). But when on a just occasion, they went against other nations, they were first to make a proclamation of peace, which if allowed by a surrender, the people would become dependent [De 20:11], and in the relation of tributaries the conquered nations would receive the highest blessings from alliance with the chosen people; they would be brought to the knowledge of Israel's God and of Israel's worship, as well as a participation of Israel's privileges. But if the besieged city refused to capitulate and be taken, a universal massacre was to be made of the males while the women and children were to be preserved and kindly treated (De 20:13, 14). By this means a provision was made for a friendly and useful connection being established between the captors and the captives; and Israel, even through her conquests, would prove a blessing to the nations.20:10-12 The Israelites are here directed about the nations on whom they made war. Let this show God's grace in dealing with sinners. He proclaims peace, and beseeches them to be reconciled. Let it also show us our duty in dealing with our brethren. Whoever are for war, we must be for peace. Of the cities given to Israel, none of their inhabitants must be left. Since it could not be expected that they should be cured of their idolatry, they would hurt Israel. These regulations are not the rules of our conduct, but Christ's law of love. The horrors of war must fill the feeling heart with anguish upon every recollection; and are proofs of the wickedness of man, the power of Satan, and the just vengeance of God, who thus scourges a guilty world. But how dreadful their case who are engaged in unequal conflict with their Maker, who will not submit to render him the easy tribute of worship and praise! Certain ruin awaits them. Let neither the number nor the power of the enemies of our souls dismay us; nor let even our own weakness cause us to tremble or to faint. The Lord will save us; but in this war let none engage whose hearts are fond of the world, or afraid of the cross and the conflict. Care is here taken that in besieging cities the fruit-trees should not be destroyed. God is a better friend to man than he is to himself; and God's law consults our interests and comforts; while our own appetites and passions, which we indulge, are enemies to our welfare. Many of the Divine precepts restrain us from destroying that which is for our life and food. The Jews understand this as forbidding all wilful waste upon any account whatsoever. Every creature of God is good; as nothing is to be refused, so nothing is to be abused. We may live to want what we carelessly waste.
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