Deuteronomy 20:3
And shall say to them, Hear, O Israel, you approach this day to battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be you terrified because of them;
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(3) Let not your hearts faint, fear not.—In these words Isaiah strengthened Ahaz (Deuteronomy 7:4): “fear not, neither be faint-hearted.”

Tremble.—As in the Margin, make haste.” (Comp. 2Samuel 4:4, and 2Kings 7:15.)

Be ye terrified.—A strong word. The idea is, “do not even be unnerved, much less alarmed, at the sight of them.”

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.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 Jeremiah 6:4, etc. "prepare ye" (literally consecrate) "war." Thus, Phinehas went with the warriors to fight against Midian (Numbers 31:6; compare 1 Samuel 4:4, 1 Samuel 4:11; 2 Chronicles 13:12). 2-4. when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people—Jewish writers say that there was a war priest appointed by a special ceremonial to attend the army. It was natural that the solemn objects and motives of religion should have been applied to animate patriotism, and so give additional impulse to valor; other people have done this. But in the case of Israel, the regular attendance of a priest on the battlefield was in accordance with their theocratic government, in which everything was done directly by God through His delegated ministers. It was the province of this priest to sound the trumpets (Nu 10:9; 31:6), and he had others under him who repeated at the head of each battalion the exhortations which he addressed to the warriors in general. The speech (De 20:3, 4) is marked by a brevity and expressiveness admirably suited to the occasion, namely, when the men were drawn up in line. Faint, Heb. be soft or tender. Softness or tenderness of heart towards God is commended, 2 Kings 22:19, but towards enemies it is condemned, here and Deu 20:8 Leviticus 26:36 2 Chronicles 13:7 Isaiah 7:4. And shall say unto them, hear, O Israel,.... Exciting their attention to what he was about to say, and which, as Jarchi observes, was spoken in the holy tongue, or in the Hebrew language:

you approach this day unto battle against your enemies; were marching or ready to march, preparing to engage with them, and a battle seemed near at hand:

let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; many words are made use of to animate them against those fears which the strength, number, and appearance of their enemies, would be apt to cause in them. Jarchi observes, that here are four exhortations, answerable to four things which the kings of the nations do (in order to inject terror into their enemies); they shake their shields, to clash them one against another, that hearing their noise they may be afraid of them and flee; they prance their horses, and make them neigh, to cause the noise of the hoofs of their horses to be heard; they shout with their voices, and blow with their trumpets: and accordingly these several clauses are so interpreted in the Misnah (e)""and let not your hearts faint"; at the neighing of the horses, and the brightness of swords: "fear not"; at the clashing of shields: "and do not tremble"; at the sound of trumpets: "neither be ye terrified" at the voice of shouting;''and no doubt but it takes in everything that has a tendency to cause fear, faintness, and dismay, which they are cautioned against.

(e) Misn. Sotah, c. 8. sect. 1.

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;
3. fear not, etc.] neither the standing phrase of Pl. nor that of Sg.: see on Deuteronomy 1:29.The two men between whom the dispute lay, the accused and the witness, were to come before Jehovah, viz., before the priests and judges who should be in those days - namely, at the place of the sanctuary, where Jehovah dwelt among His people (cf. Deuteronomy 17:9), and not before the local courts, as Knobel supposes. These judges were to investigate the case most thoroughly (cf. Deuteronomy 13:15); and if the witness had spoken lies, they were to do to him as he thought to do to his brother. The words from "behold" to "his brother" are parenthetical circumstantial clauses: "And, behold, is the witness a false witness, has he spoken a lie against his brother? Ye shall do," etc. זמם, generally to meditate evil. On Deuteronomy 19:20, see Deuteronomy 13:12.
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