Deuteronomy 20:5
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
The officers shall say to the army: "Has anyone built a new house and not yet begun to live in it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may begin to live in it.

New Living Translation
"Then the officers of the army must address the troops and say, 'Has anyone here just built a new house but not yet dedicated it? If so, you may go home! You might be killed in the battle, and someone else would dedicate your house.

English Standard Version
Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it.

New American Standard Bible
"The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, 'Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate it.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The officers are to address the army, 'Has any man built a new house and not dedicated it? Let him leave and return home. Otherwise, he may die in battle and another man dedicate it.

International Standard Version
"Furthermore, let the officials ask the army, 'Is there a man here who has built a new house but has not yet dedicated it? Let him go back home. Otherwise, he may die in battle and another man dedicate it.

NET Bible
Moreover, the officers are to say to the troops, "Who among you has built a new house and not dedicated it? He may go home, lest he die in battle and someone else dedicate it.

New Heart English Bible
The officers shall speak to the people, saying, "What man is there who has built a new house, and has not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
The officers should tell the troops, "If you have built a new house but not dedicated it, you may go home. Otherwise, you might die in battle, and someone else will dedicate it.

JPS Tanakh 1917
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.

New American Standard 1977
“The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house lest peradventure he die in the battle and another man dedicate it.

King James 2000 Bible
And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that has built a new house, and has not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.

American King James Version
And the officers shall speak to the people, saying, What man is there that has built a new house, and has not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.

American Standard Version
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.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the captains shall proclaim through every band in the hearing of the army: 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.

Darby Bible Translation
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 unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.

English Revised Version
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.

Webster's Bible Translation
And the officers shall speak to 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 should die in the battle, and another man should dedicate it.

World English Bible
The officers shall speak to the people, saying, "What man is there who has built a new house, and has not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.

Young's Literal Translation
And the authorities have spoken unto the people, saying, Who is the man that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? -- let him go and turn back to his house, lest he die in battle, and another man dedicate it.
Study Bible
Laws of Warfare
4for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.' 5"The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, 'Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate it. 6'Who is the man that has planted a vineyard and has not begun to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would begin to use its fruit.…
Cross References
Deuteronomy 20:6
'Who is the man that has planted a vineyard and has not begun to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would begin to use its fruit.

Nehemiah 12:27
Now at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought out the Levites from all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem so that they might celebrate the dedication with gladness, with hymns of thanksgiving and with songs to the accompaniment of cymbals, harps and lyres.
Treasury of Scripture

And the officers shall speak to the people, saying, What man is there that has built a new house, and has not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.

the officers

Deuteronomy 1:15 So I took the chief of your tribes, wise men, and known, and made …

Deuteronomy 16:18 Judges and officers shall you make you in all your gates, which the …

Numbers 31:14,48 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains …

1 Samuel 17:18 And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and …

dedicated

Nehemiah 12:27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites …

Psalm 30:1 I will extol you, O LORD; for you have lifted me up, and have not …

(5) And the officers.--The shterim of Deuteronomy 16:18; the civil magistrates apparently. The organisation of Israel was not military, but military leaders were to be appointed for special services, as appears by Deuteronomy 20:9, "they shall make captains of the armies." The captains of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens were called shterim (Deuteronomy 1:15).

(5-8) What man is there . . .--These questions show that, primarily, all Israelites of military age (20 to 50) were expected to attend the muster; then those who were unprepared for the campaign were suffered to depart. The only recorded instance of the observance of these rules is in Judges 7:3, at the muster of Gideon's army. The proclamation "Whosoever, is afraid let him depart," sent away 22,000 out of 32,000 on that occasion, or rather more than two-thirds of the army!

Verses 5-7. - The officers; the shoterim, the keepers of the genealogical tables (Deuteronomy 16:18). It belonged to them to appoint the men who were to serve, and to release those who had been summoned to the war, but whose domestic relations were such as to entitle them to exemption. If there was one who had built a house, but had not dedicated it, i.e. by taking possession of it and dwelling in it; or if there was one who had planted a vineyard and had not eaten of the fruit thereof; or if there was one who had betrothed a wife, but had not yet married her; - such were to be allowed to return home, lest they should die in battle, and it be left to others to consummate what they had begun. According to Josephus, this exemption was for a year, according to the analogy of Deuteronomy 24:5. Dedicated; probably formal possession was taken of the house by some solemn ceremony, followed by a festive entertainment. Vineyard. The Hebrew word (כֶּרֶם) here used designates "a field or park of the nobler plants and trees cultivated in the manner of a garden or orchard" (Ges.); so that not vineyards alone, but also olive yards and plots of the more valuable fruit trees may be intended. Hath not eaten of it; literally, hath not laid it open, made it common, i.e. begun to use it, to gather its produce for common use (cf. Deuteronomy 28:30; Jeremiah 31:5). Trees planted for food were not to be used before the fifth year of their growth (Leviticus 19:23, etc.; cf. Deuteronomy 24:5). And the officers shall speak unto the people,.... What these officers were is not easy to say; they seem not to be officers of the army, for they are distinguished from captains of the armies, Deuteronomy 20:9, unless they can be thought to be general officers; but the word for them is the same that is used of such that attended the judges and were ministers to them, Deuteronomy 16:18, and perhaps they were a sort of heralds that published and proclaimed what the anointed of war had said; and so the above writer (h) affirms, that what here follows was first spoken by him, and after that (what is said, Deuteronomy 20:3) the anointed of war speaks, saying:

what man is there,.... (to the end of Deuteronomy 20:7) thus far the anointed of war speaks, and then an officer causes all the people to hear it with an high voice, saying:

what man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? or perfected it, as the Targum of Jonathan, not quite finished it, has not, as that paraphrast says, fixed in it the door posts, or rather perhaps he means the Mezuzah, or writing, which the Jews thought themselves obliged to fasten to the door posts of their houses; see Deuteronomy 11:20 until this was done, an house was not thought to be completed; though Jarchi interprets this of inhabitation; of a man's having built a house, but has not yet dwelt in it; see Deuteronomy 28:30, so Josephus (i) explains it, of its not having been used and enjoyed by a man a full year; but there seems to be something more than all this in dedication; for though it does not signify a consecration or dedication of it to holy uses, as the dedication of the tabernacle and temple, yet there was something done, some ceremony used at entrance into a new house; a good man entered into it, no doubt, with prayer and praise, as the thirtieth psalm was composed by David at the dedication of his house; see Nehemiah 12:27 and perhaps it was usual to have their friends together, and make a cheerful entertainment on the occasion. Ben Melech on the place, assures us it was a custom to make a feast and merriment at eating the first meal in a new house:

let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it; or perfect it, as the above Targum, or dwell in it, as well as have the pleasure of entertaining his friends in it at the first opening of it; this was either a command, enjoining a man, in such a circumstance, to return, and so the rest that follow, or a permission to him, allowing him to do it if he thought fit.

(h) Hilchot Melachim, c. 7. sect. 3.((i) Antiqu. l. 4. c. 8. sect. 41. 5-8. And the officers shall speak unto the people—literally, Shoterim, who are called "scribes" or "overseers" (Ex 5:6). They might be keepers of the muster-roll, or perhaps rather military heralds, whose duty it was to announce the orders of the generals (2Ch 26:11). This proclamation (De 20:5-8) must have been made previous to the priest's address, as great disorder and inconvenience must have been occasioned if the serried ranks were broken by the departure of those to whom the privilege was granted. Four grounds of exemption are expressly mentioned: (1) The dedication of a new house, which, as in all Oriental countries still, was an important event, and celebrated by festive and religious ceremonies (Ne 12:27); exemption for a year. (2) The planting of a vineyard. The fruit of the first three years being declared unfit for use, and the first-fruits producible on the fourth, the exemption in this case lasted at least four years. (3) The betrothal of a wife, which was always a considerable time before marriage. It was deemed a great hardship to leave a house unfinished, a new property half cultivated, and a recently contracted marriage; and the exemptions allowed in these cases were founded on the principle that a man's heart being deeply engrossed by something at a distance, he would not be very enthusiastic in the public service. (4) The ground of exemption was cowardice. From the composition of the Israelitish army, which was an irregular militia, all above twenty years being liable to serve, many totally unfit for war must have been called to the field; and it was therefore a prudential arrangement to rid the army of such unwarlike elements—persons who could render no efficient service, and the contagion of whose craven spirit might lead to panic and defeat.20:1-9 In the wars wherein Israel engaged according to the will of God, they might expect the Divine assistance. The Lord was to be their only confidence. In these respects they were types of the Christian's warfare. Those unwilling to fight, must be sent away. The unwillingness might arise from a man's outward condition. God would not be served by men forced against their will. Thy people shall be willing, Ps 110:3. In running the Christian race, and fighting the good fight of faith, we must lay aside all that would make us unwilling. If a man's unwillingness rose from weakness and fear, he had leave to return from the war. The reason here given is, lest his brethren's heart fail as well as his heart. We must take heed that we fear not with the fear of them that are afraid, Isa 8:12.
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