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Deuteronomy 20:19 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by wielding an axe against them; for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of thee?
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field [is] man's [life]) to employ [them] in the siege:
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— “When you besiege a city a long time, to make war against it in order to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them; for you may eat from them, and you shall not cut them down. For is the tree of the field a man, that it should be besieged by you?
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— When thou shalt besiege a city a long time in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees of it by forcing an ax against them; for thou mayest eat of them: and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field [is] man's [life]) to employ [them] in the siege:
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— When thou shalt besiege a city many days, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by lifting up an axe against them; for thou canst eat of them; and thou shalt not cut them down, for is the tree of the field a man that it should be besieged?
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— When thou shalt besiege a city for many days, to fight against it, to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof, by wielding against them an axe, when, of them, thou mightest eat, them, therefore, shalt thou not cut down,—for, Is the tree of the field, a man, that it should enter, because of thee, into the siege?
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— 'When thou layest siege unto a city many days, to fight against it, to capture it, thou dost not destroy its trees to force an axe against them, for of them thou dost eat, and them thou dost not cut down—for man's [is] the tree of the field—to go in at thy presence in the siege.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— When thou hast besieged a city a long time, and hath compassed it with bulwarks, to take it, thou shalt not cut down the trees that may be eaten of, neither shalt thou spoil the country round about with axes: for it is a tree, and not a man, neither can it increase the number of them that fight against thee.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— When thou shalt besiege a citie a long time, in making warre against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof, by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eate of them, and thou shalt not cut them downe (for the tree of the field is mans [life]) to employ them in the siege.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And if thou shouldest besiege a city many days to prevail against it by war to take it, thou shalt not destroy its trees, by applying an iron tool to them, but thou shalt eat of it, and shalt not cut it down: Is the tree that is in the field a man, to enter before thee into the work of the siege?
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field [is] man's [life]) to employ [them] in the siege:

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
When x3588
(3588) Complement
כִּי
kiy
{kee}
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
thou shalt besiege 6696
{6696} Prime
צוּר
tsuwr
{tsoor}
A primitive root; to cramp, that is, confine (in many applications, literally and figuratively, formative or hostile).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
x413
(0413) Complement
אֵל
'el
{ale}
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
a city 5892
{5892} Prime
עִיר
`iyr
{eer}
From H5782 a city (a place guarded by waking or a watch) in the widest sense (even of a mere encampment or post).
a long 7227
{7227} Prime
רַב
rab
{rab}
By contraction from H7231; abundant (in quantity, size, age, number, rank, quality).
time, 3117
{3117} Prime
יוֹם
yowm
{yome}
From an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literally (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or figuratively (a space of time defined by an associated term), (often used adverbially).
in making war 3898
{3898} Prime
לָחַם
lacham
{law-kham'}
A primitive root; to feed on; figuratively to consume; by implication to battle (as destruction).
z8736
<8736> Grammar
Stem - Niphal (See H8833)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 240
against x5921
(5921) Complement
עַל
`al
{al}
Properly the same as H5920 used as a preposition (in the singular or plural, often with prefix, or as conjugation with a particle following); above, over, upon, or against (yet always in this last relation with a downward aspect) in a great variety of applications.
it to take 8610
{8610} Prime
תָּפַשׂ
taphas
{taw-fas'}
A primitive root; to manipulate, that is, seize; chiefly to capture, wield; specifically to overlay; figuratively to use unwarrantably.
z8800
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
it, thou shalt not x3808
(3808) Complement
לֹא
lo'
{lo}
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
destroy 7843
{7843} Prime
שָׁחַת
shachath
{shaw-khath'}
A primitive root; to decay, that is, (causatively) ruin (literally or figuratively).
z8686
<8686> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 4046
x853
(0853) Complement
אֵת
'eth
{ayth}
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
the trees 6086
{6086} Prime
עֵץ
`ets
{ates}
From H6095; a tree (from its firmness); hence wood (plural sticks).
thereof by forcing 5080
{5080} Prime
נָדַח
nadach
{naw-dakh'}
A primitive root; to push off; used in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively (to expel, mislead, strike, inflict, etc.).
z8800
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
an axe 1631
{1631} Prime
גַּרְזֶן
garzen
{gar-zen'}
From H1629; an axe.
against x5921
(5921) Complement
עַל
`al
{al}
Properly the same as H5920 used as a preposition (in the singular or plural, often with prefix, or as conjugation with a particle following); above, over, upon, or against (yet always in this last relation with a downward aspect) in a great variety of applications.
them: for x3588
(3588) Complement
כִּי
kiy
{kee}
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
thou mayest eat 398
{0398} Prime
אָכַל
'akal
{aw-kal'}
A primitive root; to eat (literally or figuratively).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
of x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
them, and thou shalt not x3808
(3808) Complement
לֹא
lo'
{lo}
lo; a primitive particle; not (the simple or abstract negation); by implication no; often used with other particles.
cut them down 3772
{3772} Prime
כָּרַת
karath
{kaw-rath'}
A primitive root; to cut (off, down or asunder); by implication to destroy or consume; specifically to covenant (that is, make an alliance or bargain, originally by cutting flesh and passing between the pieces).
z8799
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
x853
(0853) Complement
אֵת
'eth
{ayth}
Apparently contracted from H0226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely).
(for x3588
(3588) Complement
כִּי
kiy
{kee}
A primitive particle (the full form of the prepositional prefix) indicating causal relations of all kinds, antecedent or consequent; (by implication) very widely used as a relative conjugation or adverb; often largely modified by other particles annexed.
the tree 6086
{6086} Prime
עֵץ
`ets
{ates}
From H6095; a tree (from its firmness); hence wood (plural sticks).
of the field 7704
{7704} Prime
שָׂדֶה
sadeh
{saw-deh'}
From an unused root meaning to spread out; a field (as flat).
[is] man's 120
{0120} Prime
אָדָם
'adam
{aw-dawm'}
From H0119; ruddy, that is, a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.).
[life]) to employ 935
{0935} Prime
בּוֹא
bow'
{bo}
A primitive root; to go or come (in a wide variety of applications).
z8800
<8800> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Infinitive (See H8812)
Count - 4888
x4480
(4480) Complement
מִן
min
{min}
For H4482; properly a part of; hence (prepositionally), from or out of in many senses.
x6440
(6440) Complement
פָּנִים
paniym
{paw-neem'}
Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פָּנֶה paneh, {paw-neh'}; from H6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.).
[them] in the siege: 4692
{4692} Prime
מָצוֹר
matsowr
{maw-tsore'}
From H6696; something hemming in, that is, (objectively) a mound (of besiegers), (abstractly) a siege, (figuratively) distress; or (subjectively) a fastness.
y6440
[6440] Standard
פָּנִים
paniym
{paw-neem'}
Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פָּנֶה paneh, {paw-neh'}; from H6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

See commentary on Deuteronomy 20:10-20.


Deuteronomy 20:19

_ _ thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them — In a protracted siege, wood would be required for various purposes, both for military works and for fuel. But fruit-bearing trees were to be carefully spared; and, indeed, in warm countries like India, where the people live much more on fruit than we do, the destruction of a fruit tree is considered a sort of sacrilege.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

See commentary on Deuteronomy 20:10-20.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Deuteronomy 20:19

Thou shalt not destroy — Which is to be understood of a general destruction of them, not of the cutting down some few of them, as the conveniency of the siege might require. Man's life — The sustenance or support of his life.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Deuteronomy 20:19

When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the (g) tree of the field [is] man's [life]) to employ [them] in the siege:

(g) Some read: For man shall be instead of the tree of the field, to come out in the siege against you.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
thou shalt not:

Matthew 3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. ... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Matthew 21:19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
Luke 13:7-9 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? ... And if it bear fruit, [well]: and if not, [then] after that thou shalt cut it down.
John 15:2-8 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. ... Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

for the tree:
etc. or, for, O man, the tree of the field is to be employed in the siege, The original is exceedingly difficult. The LXX has it, "Is the tree in the field a man, to enter the trench before thee?" The Latin Vulgate: "For it is a tree, and not a man, neither can it increase the number of those who war against thee;" Onkelos, "For the tree of the field is not as a man, that it should come against thee in the siege;" and to the same purpose the Arabic, Philo, and Josephus who say, "If trees could speak, they would cry out, that it is unjust that they, who were no cause of the war, should suffer the miseries of it." However rendered, the sense is sufficiently clear, and it is a merciful provision to spare all the fruit trees for the support of both the besieged and besiegers.
Deuteronomy 26:6 And the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage:

to employ:
etc. Heb. to go from before thee
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Dt 26:6. Mt 3:10; 7:15; 21:19. Lk 13:7. Jn 15:2.

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