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Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary - Deuteronomy 20:1-9

Israel was at this time to be considered rather as a camp than as a kingdom, entering upon an enemy's country, and not yet settled in a country of their own; and, besides the war they were now entering upon in order to their settlement, even after their settlement they could neither protect nor enlarge their coast without hearing the alarms of war. It was therefore needful that they should have directions given them in their military affairs; and in these verses they are directed in managing,... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Deuteronomy 20:9

And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people ,.... By reciting what the anointed of war said unto them, and by speeches of their own framing, to encourage to the battle; and all were dismissed that had leave to depart, and chose to take it: that they shall make captains of armies to lead on the people ; on to battle; that is, either the officers should do this, which may seem to confirm what has been hinted, that they might be generals of the army, who... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Deuteronomy 20:1-9

Military service to be voluntary. In war, forced service is worse than useless; it is a source of weakness—a cause of defeat. For successful warfare, all the skill and energy of every soldier is demanded; and unless the hearts of the warriors are in the conflict, no triumph can be anticipated. I. TO BE LOYAL FRIENDS OF GOD , WE MUST SOMETIMES TREAT MEN AS FOES . If we are truly God's children, we must count God's friends to be our friends, God's foes to be our... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Deuteronomy 20:1-20

EXPOSITION DIRECTIONS CONCERNING WARFARE IN GENERAL , AND FOR THE BESIEGING OF CITIES IN PARTICULAR . The instructions in this chapter are peculiar to Deuteronomy. As the people of God, Israel was not a warlike nation; they were rather to abstain from warfare, and as a general rule to cultivate the arts of peace. But they had before them at this time the prospect of a serious and protracted conflict before they could occupy the land which God had assigned to... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Deuteronomy 20:1-20

Wars to be regulated by Divine precepts. The directions given by Moses in this chapter may serve to show the spirit in which wars should, if undertaken at all, be entered on and prosecuted. We are not called upon here to moot the question whether war is under any circumstances justifiable; since the principle on which the Hebrew lawgiver proceeds is that of tolerating for a while certain socially accepted customs, mitigating whatever in them is evil, and gradually educating people out of... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Deuteronomy 20:1-20

Religious wars. We have in this chapter an instructive direction about the prosecution of a religious war. For, after all, war may be the only way of advancing the interests of nations. Disputes become so entangled, and great principles become so staked in the disputes, that war is welcomed as the one way to peace and progress. It is an awful expedient, but there are worse things than war. "Cowardice," said Rev. F. W. Robertson, of Brighton, "is worse. And the decay of enthusiasm and... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Deuteronomy 20:5-10

Exemptions. Three classes were exempted from service in war, and one class was forbidden to take part in it. The exempted classes were: 1. He who had built a house, but had not dedicated it. 2. He who had planted a vineyard, but had not eaten of its fruit. 3. He who had betrothed a wife, but had not married her. The class forbidden to engage in the war was the class of cowards ( Deuteronomy 20:8 ). These regulations— I. HAD AN IMPORTANT BEARING ON THE ... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Deuteronomy 20:9

The next thing the shoterim had to do was to appoint captains to head the people who were going to war. The army was divided into bands or companies, and over each of these a captain was placed, whose it was to command and lead (cf. Numbers 31:14 , Numbers 31:48 ; 1 Samuel 8:12 ; 1 Samuel 22:7 ; 2 Samuel 18:1 ). Captains of the armies. The phrase, "captain of a host" ( שַׂר צָבָא ), usually designates the general or commander-in-chief of the entire army ( Genesis 21:22 ... read more

Albert Barnes

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible - Deuteronomy 20:9

The meaning is that the “officers” should then subdivide the levies, and appoint leaders of the smaller divisions thus constituted. read more

Joseph Benson

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments - Deuteronomy 20:9

Deuteronomy 20:9. They shall make captains Or rather, as the Hebrew is, they shall set or place the captains of the armies in the head or front of the people under their charge, that they may conduct them, and, by their example, encourage their soldiers. It is not likely they had their captain to make when they were just going to battle. read more

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