The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Deuteronomy
When thou dost go out to war against thy enemies, never be daunted by the sight of horsemen and chariots, and a host greater than thy own arrayed against thee; the Lord thy God, who rescued thee from Egypt, fights on thy side.
When the hour of battle draws near, the high priest will take his stand there in front of the ranks, and say to the people,
Listen, Israel; as you join battle to-day with your enemies, there must be no faint hearts among you, no flinching, no yielding, no trembling here.
The Lord your God is here in the midst of you, and will fight on your side against your adversaries, to deliver you in the hour of peril.
And then, in the hearing of the whole army, each chieftain will make this proclamation to the men of his own company: Is there anyone here who has built a new house, and not yet handselled it? Let him go back home; shall he be slain in battle, and leave another to handsel it?✻
Is there anyone here who has planted a vineyard, and not shared the first vintage of it with his neighbours?✻ Let him go back home; shall he be slain in battle, and another take his place?
Is there anyone here that is betrothed to a maid, and has not taken her to himself? Let him go back home; shall he be slain in battle, and leave her to wed another?
And when so much is said, let them add this further proclamation: Is there anyone here whose spirits are daunted by terror? Let him go back home, or he will daunt the spirits of his brethren, and make them cowards too.
And now, having said their say, let the chieftains keep silent, and let each of them set about marshalling his company for battle.
When thou dost lay siege to a city, first of all thou shalt offer terms of peace.
If these are accepted, and the gates opened to thee, the lives of all the citizens shall be spared, and they shall become thy subjects, paying thee tribute.
But if they refuse to listen, and offer battle, go forward to the assault;
and when the Lord makes thee master of it, put only the men folk to the sword,
not the women and children, not the cattle or anything else that the city contains. Divide the spoil among the host, and enjoy as thou wilt all the plunder the Lord thy God has allowed thee to take from thy enemies.
All this, when thou art concerned with some city far away from thee, not one of those in which thou art to find a dwelling.
But in the cities that are to be thy own, no living thing must be left.
All of them must be put to the sword, Hethite and Amorrhite and Chanaanite and Pherezite and Hevite and Jebusite, as the Lord thy God has bidden thee;
or they will teach your race to perform such detestable worship as they perform in honour of their own gods, and be false to the Lord.
When a city must be taken by force of arms, and thou hast been a long time besieging it, do not lay waste the whole countryside with thy axe, and destroy the trees that yield food. Trees are not men, to increase the number of the city’s defenders.
Spare the fruit-trees, and be content to cut down such wild trees as are fit for other use; and so build engines to reduce the city that defies thee.✻
The Holy Bible