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Deuteronomy 20:1-4

Context
Laws Concerning War with Distant Enemies

20:1 When you go to war against your enemies and see chariotry 1  and troops 2  who outnumber you, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, is with you. 20:2 As you move forward for battle, the priest 3  will approach and say to the soldiers, 4  20:3 “Listen, Israel! Today you are moving forward to do battle with your enemies. Do not be fainthearted. Do not fear and tremble or be terrified because of them, 20:4 for the Lord your God goes with you to fight on your behalf against your enemies to give you victory.” 5 

1 tn Heb “horse and chariot.”

2 tn Heb “people.”

3 sn The reference to the priest suggests also the presence of the ark of the covenant, the visible sign of God’s presence. The whole setting is clearly that of “holy war” or “Yahweh war,” in which God himself takes initiative as the true commander of the forces of Israel (cf. Exod 14:14-18; 15:3-10; Deut 3:22; 7:18-24; 31:6, 8).

4 tn Heb “and he will say to the people.” Cf. NIV, NCV, CEV “the army”; NRSV, NLT “the troops.”

5 tn Or “to save you” (so KJV, NASB, NCV); or “to deliver you.”



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