Deuteronomy 20:20
New International Version
However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.

New Living Translation
You may only cut down trees that you know are not valuable for food. Use them to make the equipment you need to attack the enemy town until it falls.

English Standard Version
Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.

Berean Study Bible
But you may destroy the trees that you know do not produce fruit. Use them to build siege works against the city that is waging war against you, until it falls.

New American Standard Bible
"Only the trees which you know are not fruit trees you shall destroy and cut down, that you may construct siegeworks against the city that is making war with you until it falls.

King James Bible
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.

Christian Standard Bible
But you may destroy the trees that you know do not produce food. You may cut them down to build siege works against the city that is waging war against you, until it falls.

Contemporary English Version
You may need wood to make ladders and towers to help you get over the walls and capture the town. But use only trees that you know are not fruit trees.

Good News Translation
You may cut down the other trees and use them in the siege mounds until the city is captured.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But you may destroy the trees that you know do not produce food. You may cut them down to build siege works against the city that is waging war against you, until it falls."

International Standard Version
However, you may cut down the trees whose fruit you know isn't edible, in order to build siege works against the city that waged war with you, until it falls."

NET Bible
However, you may chop down any tree you know is not suitable for food, and you may use it to build siege works against the city that is making war with you until that city falls.

New Heart English Bible
Only the trees of which you know that they are not trees for food, you shall destroy and cut them down; and you shall build siege works against the city that makes war with you, until it fall.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
You may destroy trees that you know are not fruit trees. You may cut them down and use them in your blockade until you capture the city.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Only the trees of which thou knowest that they are not trees for food, them thou mayest destroy and cut down, that thou mayest build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it fall.

New American Standard 1977
“Only the trees which you know are not fruit trees you shall destroy and cut down, that you may construct siegeworks against the city that is making war with you until it falls.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Only the trees which thou knowest that they are not trees for food, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that makes war with thee, until it is subdued.

King James 2000 Bible
Only the trees which you know will not be trees for food, you shall destroy and cut them down; and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until it is subdued.

American King James Version
Only the trees which you know that they be not trees for meat, you shall destroy and cut them down; and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until it be subdued.

American Standard Version
Only the trees of which thou knowest that they are not trees for food, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it fall.

Brenton Septuagint Translation
But the tree which thou knowest to be not fruit-bearing, this thou shalt destroy and cut down; and thou shalt construct a mound against the city, which makes war against thee, until it be delivered up.

Douay-Rheims Bible
But if there be any trees that are not fruitful, but wild, and fit for other uses, cut them down, and make engines, until thou take the city, which fighteth against thee.

Darby Bible Translation
Only the trees which thou knowest are not trees for meat, thou mayest destroy and cut them down, and build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it fall.

English Revised Version
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 fall.

Webster's Bible Translation
Only the trees which thou knowest that they are not trees for food, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it shall be subdued.

World English Bible
Only the trees of which you know that they are not trees for food, you shall destroy and cut them down; and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until it fall.

Young's Literal Translation
Only, the tree, which thou knowest that it is not a fruit-tree, it thou dost destroy, and hast cut down, and hast built a bulwark against the city which is making with thee war till thou hast subdued it.
Study Bible
Laws of Warfare
19When you lay siege to a city for an extended time while fighting against it to capture it, you must not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. You must not cut them down. Are the trees of the field human, that you should besiege them? 20But you may destroy the trees that you know do not produce fruit. Use them to build siege works against the city that is waging war against you, until it falls.
Cross References
Deuteronomy 20:19
When you lay siege to a city for an extended time while fighting against it to capture it, you must not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. You must not cut them down. Are the trees of the field human, that you should besiege them?

Deuteronomy 21:1
If one is found slain, lying in a field in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who killed him,

Ecclesiastes 9:14
There was a small city with few men. A mighty king came against it, surrounded it, and built large siege ramps against it.

Jeremiah 6:6
For this is what the LORD of Hosts says: "Cut down the trees and raise a siege ramp against Jerusalem. This city must be punished; there is nothing but oppression in her midst.

Treasury of Scripture

Only the trees which you know that they be not trees for meat, you shall destroy and cut them down; and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until it be subdued.

thou shalt build

Deuteronomy 1:28
Whither shall we go up? our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the sons of the Anakims there.

2 Chronicles 26:15
And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong.

Ecclesiastes 9:14
There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:

be subdued [heb] come down







Lexicon
But
רַ֞ק (raq)
Adverb
Strong's Hebrew 7535: But, even, except, howbeit howsoever, at the least, nevertheless

you may destroy
תַשְׁחִ֖ית (ṯaš·ḥîṯ)
Verb - Hifil - Imperfect - second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 7843: Perhaps to go to ruin

the trees
עֵ֣ץ (‘êṣ)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 6086: Tree, trees, wood

that
אֲשֶׁר־ (’ă·šer-)
Pronoun - relative
Strong's Hebrew 834: Who, which, what, that, when, where, how, because, in order that

you know
תֵּדַ֗ע (tê·ḏa‘)
Verb - Qal - Imperfect - second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3045: To know

do not
לֹא־ (lō-)
Adverb - Negative particle
Strong's Hebrew 3808: Not, no

produce fruit.
מַאֲכָל֙ (ma·’ă·ḵāl)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3978: An eatable

[Use them]
וְכָרָ֑תָּ (wə·ḵā·rā·tā)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Conjunctive perfect - second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3772: To cut, to destroy, consume, to covenant

to build
וּבָנִ֣יתָ (ū·ḇā·nî·ṯā)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Conjunctive perfect - second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 1129: To build

siege works
מָצ֗וֹר (mā·ṣō·wr)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4692: Something hemming in, a mound, a siege, distress, a fastness

against
עַל־ (‘al-)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 5921: Above, over, upon, against

the city
הָעִיר֙ (hā·‘îr)
Article | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5892: Excitement

that
אֲשֶׁר־ (’ă·šer-)
Pronoun - relative
Strong's Hebrew 834: Who, which, what, that, when, where, how, because, in order that

is waging
עֹשָׂ֧ה (‘ō·śāh)
Verb - Qal - Participle - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 6213: To do, make

war
מִלְחָמָ֖ה (mil·ḥā·māh)
Noun - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4421: A battle, war

against you,
עִמְּךָ֛ (‘im·mə·ḵā)
Preposition | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5973: With, equally with

until
עַ֥ד (‘aḏ)
Preposition
Strong's Hebrew 5704: As far as, even to, up to, until, while

it falls.
רִדְתָּֽהּ׃ (riḏ·tāh)
Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct | third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3381: To come or go down, descend
Verse 20. - And thou shalt build bulwarks against the city... until it be subdued; literally, That thou mayest build a siege - he, an instrument for besieging, a rampart, or bulwark - against the city, till it come down (cf. Deuteronomy 28:52).



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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