Bible class questions for Deuteronomy 20

Some of these questions are meant to have answers straight from the text while other questions are meant to encourage discussion of the text.

Questions:

  1. In the face of numerous enemies on the battlefield, who’s responsibility was it to encourage the people? (Deuteronomy 20:2)
  2. What “positive” exemptions dismissed a man from serving in Israel’s military? (Deuteronomy 20:5-7)
  3. What “negative” exemption dismissed a man from serving in Israel’s military? (Deuteronomy 20:8)
  4. What was the first avenue of action Israel was to seek if war brought them to a city that existed outside of Canaan’s borders? (Deuteronomy 20:10-11, 15)
  5. How many nations was Israel called to declare a “holy war” against? (Deuteronomy 20:17)
  6. Was God commanding Israel to be a bunch of “tree-huggers?” (Deuteronomy 20:19-20) What was the point of such a command?

Answers:

  1. The priest’s responsibility.
  2. Those who, 1) had built a house without it being dedicated, 2) planted a vineyard without being able to properly reap the harvest, and 3) were soon to become married individuals (the basic idea of being able to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor can be seen in these exemptions).
  3. Fear (like the Christian, the children of Israel’s victory came via faith – 1 John 5:4). The presence of fear would hinder and not help.
  4. They were to seek diplomatic peace and offer a “vassal treaty” (treaty of servitude/taxation) type of relationship to the people (as a side note, these instructions can help to explain Israel’s situation with the Gibeonites in Joshua 9).
  5. 6 nations (a coincidental number?). Also note, Israel’s war was not without limitations.
  6. No; Israel was not to follow a “scorched Earth” policy that often comes with war. Outside of common sense, the spiritual sense was that it reminded Israel who was calling the shots during times of life and death – they had limits (this is an important point to remember for the next chapter!)