|Deuteronomy 20 |
1 [Moses speaking]. "When you go out to battle against your enemies and you see horses, chariots, and a people greater in number than you, do not be afraid of them because with you is the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
2 And it shall be, when you have come near to the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people,
3 And shall say to them, 'Hear, O Israel, you approach this day to battle against your enemies; do not let your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be terrified because of them;
4 For the LORD your God is he that goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.'
5 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.
6 And what man is he that has planted a vineyard, and has not yet eaten of it? Let him also go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it.
7 And what man is there that has betrothed a wife, and has not taken her? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.'
8 And the officers shall speak further to the people, and they shall say, 'What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, for feat that [he will make] his brothers's heart fearful as well as his heart.'
9 And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking to the people that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.
10 When you come near to a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace to it.
11 And it shall be, if the city makes an answer of peace and opens to you, then it shall be that all the people that are found in it shall be your tributaries [making payments for peace and protection], and they shall serve you.
12 And if the city will not make peace with you, but chooses to make war against you, then you shall besiege it.
13 And when the LORD your God has delivered it into your hands, you shall kill every male of it with the edge of the sword.
14 But the women, the little ones, the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all its goods, shall be taken by you for yourself; and you shall use the goods of your enemies, which the LORD your God has given you.
15 Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far off from you, which are not of the cities of these [close by] nations.
16 But of the cities of these [close by] people, which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall leave alive nothing that breathes.
17 But you shall utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD your God has commanded you;
18 So that they will not teach you to follow after all their abominations, which they have done to their gods, and so you should not sin against the LORD your God.1
19 When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy the trees of it by forcing an axe against them; if you can eat from the trees, you shall not cut them down, (for the tree of the field is man's life), to use them in the siege.
20 You shall destroy and cut down only the trees that you know are not trees that yield food; you shall destroy and cut them down, and you shall build siege mounds against the city that makes war with you, until it is subdued."
Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
1 The Quakers in the late 1700's, (100 years after the death of George Fox and the other giants of the early Quakers), could not understand how God could have ordered war; and so they concluded that the Bible was a lie. They could not resolve the Lord of the Old Testament with Jesus of the New Testament. The Old Testament is a deliberately created indelible physical allegory to the spiritual journey that each man must make to kill all his enemies within his heart, preparatory to entering the Kingdom (the promise land) and the rest (from fighting enemies). Hebrews states several, but there are many, many more. Whatever loss people experienced to create that indelible allegory will be made up by a perfectly just God. And remember, God knows the future. He knows if a people will do nothing but go deeper into evil. Normally, he lets them dig themselves as deep as they choose, until the time of the normal death. But if he knows they will have to go through Hell after death, with no hope of being reconciled with God while alive, and if it suits His broader purpose, their deaths can be merciful. Merciful because they cease digging themselves deeper into the pit of evil, which they will have to dig themselves out of in the next life, called Hell. See Is There Hope for All for the details.
Do not mistake what I write here. Since the new covenant of Christ, the Light has replaced the old Law, in no circumstances would a true Christian ever be ordered by God to kill, but clearly the times of the Old Testament were different, with a different standard. The Old Testament's eye for an eye, has been permanently replaced by love your enemies.
Previous Chapter | Next Chapter