Deuteronomy 20 New Life Version (NLV)
20 “When you go to battle against those who hate you and see more horses and war-wagons and soldiers than you have, do not be afraid of them. For the Lord your God, Who brought you from the land of Egypt, is with you. 2 When you are coming near the battle, the religious leader will come near and speak to the people. 3 He will say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel. Today you are going into battle against those who hate you. Do not let your hearts become weak. Do not be afraid and shake in fear before them. 4 For the Lord your God is the One Who goes with you. He will fight for you against those who hate you. And He will save you.’ 5 The leaders will speak to the people also, saying, ‘Is there anyone among you who has built a new house and has not given it to God? Let him go and return to his house or he might die in battle and another man will give it to God. 6 Is there anyone who has planted grape vines and has not begun to eat their fruit? Let him go and return to his house or he might die in the battle and another man will begin to eat the fruit. 7 Is there a man who is promised in marriage to a woman and has not married her? Let him go and return to his house or he might die in the battle and another man marry her.’ 8 Then the leaders will say to the people, ‘Is there a man here who is afraid and is weak in heart? Let him go and return to his house so he will not make his brothers’ hearts afraid like his heart.’ 9 When the leaders have finished speaking to the people, they will choose heads of the army to lead the people.
10 “When you come near a city to fight against it, ask the people of the city if they would rather have peace. 11 If they agree to make peace with you and open their gates to you, all the people who are found there will be made to work for you and serve you. 12 But if they do not make peace with you and fight against you, you must take the city in battle. 13 When the Lord your God gives the city to you, you must kill all the men in it with the sword. 14 Take for yourselves what is left, the women, the children, all the animals, and all that is in the city. Use what is left of those who fought against you, which the Lord your God has given you. 15 Do this to all the cities that are very far from you and are not of the cities of the nations that are near. 16 But in the cities of these nations that the Lord your God is giving you for your own, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Destroy everything and everyone in them, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the Lord your God has told you. 18 Then they will not teach you to do all the hated and sinful things they have done for their gods, and make you sin against the Lord your God.
19 “When you stay around a city a long time, to make war against it and take it, do not destroy its trees with the ax. You may eat from them but do not cut them down. For are trees of the field men that they should be killed? 20 You may destroy and cut down only the trees you know are not fruit trees. Then you may build walls with the trees to help you fight against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.
Deuteronomy 20 New International Version (NIV)
Going to War
20 When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2 When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3 He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. 4 For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”
5 The officers shall say to the army: “Has anyone built a new house and not yet begun to live in it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else may begin to live in it. 6 Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it. 7 Has anyone become pledged to a woman and not married her? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else marry her.” 8 Then the officers shall add, “Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.” 9 When the officers have finished speaking to the army, they shall appoint commanders over it.
10 When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. 11 If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. 12 If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. 13 When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. 14 As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. 15 This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.
16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy[a] them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.
19 When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them?[b] 20 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.