Deuteronomy 20 Commentary—A Sword in One Hand, A Tree in the Other

Deuteronomy 20

Deuteronomy 20:1, Battle against your enemies. Scripture tells us to oppose the enemies of YHVH, who should also be our enemies. Today, our enemies are spiritual (2 Cor 10:3–5; Eph 6:12). This is because every physical enemy is an evil spiritual entity. Let’s face it, we are living in a time when the forces of evil are attacking and attempting to eradicate any vestiges of righteousness everywhere. Do you have the will to fight for what is right? 

The Bible calls us to be warriors—spiritual warriors. Paul talks about the spiritual battle in which we are all engaged (ibid.). One aspect of this battle is to cry aloud for the sake of truth, to be like a light on a hill, and to be a watchman on the wall warning those around you about what is coming. What are you doing in this regard or who are you in some way supporting those who are? One way to accomplish this is to support those who are trying to get the truth out, who are in the front lines fighting evil while attempting to promote righteousness. You can do this by helping them financially and through your prayers.

Deuteronomy 20:19, Do not destroy its trees. In its commentary on this passage, A Torah Commentary For Our Times states, “While the commandment deals specifically with cutting down trees during a siege, Jewish interpreters extend it to cover all forms of wasteful destruction under the principle of bal tashchit, or ‘do not destroy’…[all w]asteful destruction is condemned. ‘Anyone who deliberately breaks dishes, tears clothing, wrecks a building, clogs up a fountain, or wastes food violates the law of bal tashchit’” (various rabbinical sources are cite vol. 3, p. 143). 

In Genesis 2:15, Elohim commissioned Adam and Eve to “tend [or dress] and keep the garden.” The word tend literally means “to serve, work, dress, labor”in the sense of a servant or steward. The word keep means “to observe, guard, watch over, or preserve.” This was one of Elohim’s first Torah-commands to humans—to take care of or nurture the planet. Gardening is the oldest and noblest profession and was given to man by Elohim. Caring for trees and plants is a major aspect of this.

Do you view yourself as a steward with a divine mandate to help preserve, watch over, and guard all that YHVH has given you responsibility over including your body, your marriage, your children, your gifts and talents, your car, your job, your home and garden and everything else in your life? Do you view doing this as a good witness to those around you, as leaving a legacy for future generations, and as glorifying your Father in heaven?


2 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 20 Commentary—A Sword in One Hand, A Tree in the Other

  1. Vandalism is not part of Elohim’s economy. Revelation 11:18 says;”…..It is also the time for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
    Blessings, Sonja

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