1 »When you go to war against your enemies, you may see horses, chariots, and armies larger than yours. Do not be afraid of them for Jehovah your God, who brought you out of Egypt, will be with you.
2 »A priest must come and speak to the troops before the battle begins.
3 He should say: »Listen, Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not lose your courage! Do not be afraid. Do not tremble because of them.
4 »Jehovah your God is going with you. He will fight for you against your enemies and give you victory.
5 »The officers should speak to the army: If you have built a new house that has not been dedicated, you may go home. Otherwise, you might die in battle, and someone else will dedicate it.
6 »Have you planted a vineyard and not used its fruits? Go home to your house and vineyard. If you die in battle another man will use its fruit.
7 »Is there anyone here engaged to be married? If so, he should go home. Otherwise, if he is killed in battle, someone else will marry the woman he is engaged to.
8 »The officers will also say to the men: Is there any man here who has lost his nerve and is afraid? If so, he is to go home. Otherwise, he will destroy the morale of the others.
9 »When the officers finish speaking to the army, leaders are to be chosen for each unit.
10 »When you go to attack a city, first give its people a chance to surrender.
11 »If they open the gates and surrender, they will all become your slaves and do forced labor for you.
12 »If the people of that city choose to fight and will not surrender, surround it with your army.
13 »When Jehovah your God lets you capture the city, kill every man in it.
14 »You may take the women, the children, the livestock, and everything else in the city for yourselves. You may use everything that belongs to your enemies. Jehovah has given it to you.
15 »This is what you must do to all the cities that are far away that do not belong to the nations nearby.
16 »Do not spare anyone's life in the cities of these nations Jehovah your God is giving you as your property.
17 »You must capture the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites for Jehovah and completely destroy them. Jehovah your God commands you.
18 »Otherwise, they will teach you to do all the disgusting things they do for their gods. You will sin against Jehovah your God.
19 »This is what you must do whenever you blockade a city for a long time in order to capture it in war. Do not harm any of its fruit trees with an ax. You may eat the fruit. Never cut those trees down, because the trees of the field are not people you have come to blockade.
20 »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.