Deuteronomy 20:19
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
“When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you?

King James Bible
When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man's life) to employ them in the siege:

American Standard Version
When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by wielding an axe against them; for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of thee?

Douay-Rheims Bible
When thou hast besieged a city a long time, and hath compassed it with bulwarks to take it, thou shalt not cut down the trees that may be eaten of, neither shalt thou spoil the country round about with axes: for it is a tree, and not a man, neither can it increase the number of them that fight against thee.

English Revised Version
When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by wielding an axe against them; for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of thee?

Webster's Bible Translation
When thou shalt besiege a city a long time in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees of it by forcing an ax against them; for thou mayest eat of them: and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man's life) to employ them in the siege:

Deuteronomy 20:19 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

If the hostile town, however, did not make peace, but prepared for war, the Israelites were to besiege it; and if Jehovah gave it into their hands, they were to slay all the men in it without reserve ("with the edge of the sword," see at Genesis 34:26); but the women and children and all that was in the city, all its spoil, they were to take as prey for themselves, and to consume (eat) the spoil, i.e., to make use of it for their own maintenance.

Deuteronomy 20:19 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

thou shalt not

Matthew 3:10 And now also the ax is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down...

Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves...

Matthew 21:19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said to it...

Luke 13:7-9 Then said he to the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none...

John 15:2-8 Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, he purges it...

for the tree, etc. or, for, O man, the tree of the field is to be employed in the siege. The original is exceedingly difficult. The LXX. has it, `Is the tree in the field a man, to enter the trench before thee?' The Latin Vulgate:`For it is a tree, and not a man, neither can it increase the number of those who war against thee;' Onkelos, `For the tree of the field is not as a man, that it should come against thee in the siege;' and to the same purpose the Arabic, Philo, and Josephus who say, `If trees could speak, they would cry out, that it is unjust that they, who were no cause of the war, should suffer the miseries of it.' However rendered, the sense is sufficiently clear: and it is a merciful provision to spare all the fruit trees for the support of both the besieged and besiegers.

Deuteronomy 26:6 And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid on us hard bondage:

to employ, etc. [heb] to go from before thee

Cross References
Deuteronomy 20:18
that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 20:20
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.

Jeremiah 6:6
For thus says the LORD of hosts: "Cut down her trees; cast up a siege mound against Jerusalem. This is the city that must be punished; there is nothing but oppression within her.

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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