Deuteronomy Chapter 20

10When you approach a city to wage war against it, you shall propose peace to it.   יכִּֽי־תִקְרַ֣ב אֶל־עִ֔יר לְהִלָּחֵ֖ם עָלֶ֑יהָ וְקָרָ֥אתָ אֵלֶ֖יהָ לְשָׁלֽוֹם:
When you approach a city [to wage war against it]: Scripture is speaking of an optional war, as is explicit in the context of this section (verse 15), “Thus you will do to all the cities which are very far away [from you]….” - [Sifrei]   כי תקרב אל עיר: במלחמת הרשות הכתוב מדבר, כמו שמפורש בענין (פסוק טו) כן תעשה לכל הערים הרחוקות וגו':
11And it will be, if it responds to you with peace, and it opens up to you, then it will be, [that] all the people found therein shall become tributary to you, and they shall serve you.   יאוְהָיָה֙ אִם־שָׁל֣וֹם תַּֽעַנְךָ֔ וּפָֽתְחָ֖ה לָ֑ךְ וְהָיָ֞ה כָּל־הָעָ֣ם הַנִּמְצָא־בָ֗הּ יִֽהְי֥וּ לְךָ֛ לָמַ֖ס וַֽעֲבָדֽוּךָ:
all the people found therein [shall become tributary]: Even if you find in it people of the seven nations, whom you have been commanded to exterminate, you are permitted to spare their lives. — [Sifrei]   כל העם הנמצא בה: אפילו אתה מוצא בה משבעה אומות שנצטוית להחרימם, אתה רשאי לקיימם:
tributary [to you], and they shall serve you: [You shall fight them] until they accept upon themselves both tribute and bondage. — [Sifrei]   למס ועבדוך: עד שיקבלו עליהם מסים ושעבוד:
12But if it does not make peace with you, and it wages war against you, you shall besiege it,   יבוְאִם־לֹ֤א תַשְׁלִים֙ עִמָּ֔ךְ וְעָֽשְׂתָ֥ה עִמְּךָ֖ מִלְחָמָ֑ה וְצַרְתָּ֖ עָלֶֽיהָ:
But if it does make no peace with you, and it wages war against you: Scripture is informing you that if it does not make peace with you, then, if you let it be and go away, [this city] will ultimately wage war against you.   ואם לא תשלים עמך ועשתה עמך מלחמה: הכתוב מבשרך שאם לא תשלים עמך סופה להלחם בך אם תניחנה ותלך:
you shall besiege it: Even to starve it out, and cause them to [die of] thirst and to kill [the inhabitants of the city] through diseases. — [Sifrei]   וצרת עליה: אף להרעיבה ולהצמיאה ולהמיתה מיתת תחלואים:
13and the Lord, your God, will deliver it into your hands, and you shall strike all its males with the edge of the sword.   יגוּנְתָנָ֛הּ יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ בְּיָדֶ֑ךָ וְהִכִּיתָ֥ אֶת־כָּל־זְכוּרָ֖הּ לְפִי־חָֽרֶב:
and the Lord your God will deliver it into your hands: If you have done all that is stated in this section, the Lord will ultimately deliver it into your hands. — [Sifrei]   ונתנה ה' אלהיך בידך: אם עשית כל האמור בענין, סוף שה' נותנה בידך:
14However, the women, the children, and the livestock, and all that is in the city, all its spoils you shall take for yourself, and you shall eat the spoils of your enemies, which the Lord, your God, has given you.   ידרַ֣ק הַ֠נָּשִׁ֠ים וְהַטַּ֨ף וְהַבְּהֵמָ֜ה וְכֹל֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִֽהְיֶ֥ה בָעִ֛יר כָּל־שְׁלָלָ֖הּ תָּבֹ֣ז לָ֑ךְ וְאָֽכַלְתָּ֙ אֶת־שְׁלַ֣ל אֹֽיְבֶ֔יךָ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָתַ֛ן יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ לָֽךְ:
And the children [… you shall take for yourself]: Even the male children. But, how then, am I to explain “and you shall strike all its males”? (verse 13) It refers to adult males. — [Sifrei]   והטף: אף טף של זכרים. ומה אני מקיים (פסוק יג) והכית את כל זכורה, בגדולים:
15Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not of the cities of these nations.   טוכֵּ֤ן תַּֽעֲשֶׂה֙ לְכָל־הֶ֣עָרִ֔ים הָֽרְחֹקֹ֥ת מִמְּךָ֖ מְאֹ֑ד אֲשֶׁ֛ר לֹא־מֵֽעָרֵ֥י הַגּוֹיִֽם־הָאֵ֖לֶּה הֵֽנָּה:
16However, of these peoples' cities, which the Lord, your God, gives you as an inheritance, you shall not allow any soul to live.   טזרַ֗ק מֵֽעָרֵ֤י הָֽעַמִּים֙ הָאֵ֔לֶּה אֲשֶׁר֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לְ֖ךָ נַֽחֲלָ֑ה לֹ֥א תְחַיֶּ֖ה כָּל־נְשָׁמָֽה:
17Rather, you shall utterly destroy them: The Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites, as the Lord, your God, has commanded you.   יזכִּי־הַֽחֲרֵ֣ם תַּֽחֲרִימֵ֗ם הַֽחִתִּ֤י וְהָֽאֱמֹרִי֙ הַכְּנַֽעֲנִ֣י וְהַפְּרִזִּ֔י הַֽחִוִּ֖י וְהַיְבוּסִ֑י כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוְּךָ֖ יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ:
as [the Lord your God] has commanded you: [This is] to include the Girgashites [the seventh nation, not mentioned here, but you were commanded to destroy them]. — [Sifrei]   כאשר צוך: לרבות את הגרגשי:
18So that they should not teach you to act according to all their abominations that they have done for their gods, whereby you would sin against the Lord, your God.   יחלְמַ֗עַן אֲשֶׁ֨ר לֹֽא־יְלַמְּד֤וּ אֶתְכֶם֙ לַֽעֲשׂ֔וֹת כְּכֹל֙ תּֽוֹעֲבֹתָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשׂ֖וּ לֵאלֹֽהֵיהֶ֑ם וַֽחֲטָאתֶ֖ם לַֽיהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶֽם:
so that they will not teach you to do [like all] their abominations]: But if they repent and wish to convert, you are allowed to accept them. — [Sifrei]   למען אשר לא ילמדו: הא אם עשו תשובה ומתגיירים, אתה רשאי לקבלם:
19When you besiege a city for many days to wage war against it to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them, for you may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Is the tree of the field a man, to go into the siege before you?   יטכִּֽי־תָצ֣וּר אֶל־עִיר֩ יָמִ֨ים רַבִּ֜ים לְהִלָּחֵ֧ם עָלֶ֣יהָ לְתָפְשָׂ֗הּ לֹֽא־תַשְׁחִ֤ית אֶת־עֵצָהּ֙ לִנְדֹּ֤חַ עָלָיו֙ גַּרְזֶ֔ן כִּ֚י מִמֶּ֣נּוּ תֹאכֵ֔ל וְאֹת֖וֹ לֹ֣א תִכְרֹ֑ת כִּ֤י הָֽאָדָם֙ עֵ֣ץ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה לָבֹ֥א מִפָּנֶ֖יךָ בַּמָּצֽוֹר:
[When you besiege a city for many] days: The word “days” implies two days. [But when it says   ימים: שנים:
many: [this means] three [days]. From here our Rabbis derived [the ruling that] the siege of a heathen city may not be initiated less than three days before the Sabbath (Sifrei , Shab. 19a), and this verse teaches us that the offer of peace (verse 10) must be repeated for two or three days. Similarly, it says:“that David dwelt in Ziklag for two days” (II Sam. 1:1). Scripture is speaking here of an optional war. — [Sifrei]   רבים: שלשה. מכאן אמרו אין צרין על עיירות של נכרים פחות משלשה ימים קודם לשבת. ולמד שפותח בשלום שנים או שלשה ימים. וכן הוא אומר (שמואל ב' א, א) וישב דוד בצקלג ימים שנים, ובמלחמת הרשות הכתוב מדבר:
Is the tree of the field a man, to go into the siege before you]?: The word כִּי here means“perhaps:” Is the tree of the field perhaps a man who is to go into the siege by you, that it should be punished by the suffering of hunger and thirst like the people of the city? Why should you destroy it?   כי האדם עץ השדה: הרי כי משמש בלשון דלמא. שמא האדם עץ השדה להכנס בתוך המצור מפניך להתייסר ביסורי רעב וצמא כאנשי העיר למה תשחיתנו:
20However, a tree you know is not a food tree, you may destroy and cut down, and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until its submission.   כרַ֞ק עֵ֣ץ אֲשֶׁר־תֵּדַ֗ע כִּ֣י לֹא־עֵ֤ץ מַֽאֲכָל֙ ה֔וּא אֹת֥וֹ תַשְׁחִ֖ית וְכָרָ֑תָּ וּבָנִ֣יתָ מָצ֗וֹר עַל־הָעִיר֙ אֲשֶׁר־הִוא֙ עֹשָׂ֧ה עִמְּךָ֛ מִלְחָמָ֖ה עַ֥ד רִדְתָּֽהּ:
until its submission: Heb. רִדְתָּהּ, an expression of רִדּוּי, subjugation, [meaning] that it becomes submissive to you.   עד רדתה: לשון רדוי, שתהא כפופה לך:

Deuteronomy Chapter 21

1If a slain person be found in the land which the Lord, your God is giving you to possess, lying in the field, [and] it is not known who slew him,   אכִּֽי־יִמָּצֵ֣א חָלָ֗ל בַּֽאֲדָמָה֙ אֲשֶׁר֩ יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ נֹתֵ֤ן לְךָ֙ לְרִשְׁתָּ֔הּ נֹפֵ֖ל בַּשָּׂדֶ֑ה לֹ֥א נוֹדַ֖ע מִ֥י הִכָּֽהוּ:
2then your elders and judges shall go forth, and they shall measure to the cities around the corpse.   בוְיָֽצְא֥וּ זְקֵנֶ֖יךָ וְשֹֽׁפְטֶ֑יךָ וּמָֽדְדוּ֙ אֶל־הֶ֣עָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֖ר סְבִיבֹ֥ת הֶֽחָלָֽל:
then your elders… shall go out: the distinguished ones of your elders, [namely] the Great Sanhedrin. — [Sotah 44]   ויצאו זקניך: מיוחדים שבזקניך, אלו סנהדרי גדולה:
and they shall measure: from the place where the corpse lies.   ומדדו: ממקום שהחלל שוכב:
to the cities around the corpse: in every direction, in order to ascertain which is the nearest.   אל הערים אשר סביבות החלל: לכל צד לידע איזו קרובה:
3And it will be, [that from] the city closer to the corpse, the elders of that city shall take a calf with which work has never been done, [and] that has never drawn a yoke,   גוְהָיָ֣ה הָעִ֔יר הַקְּרֹבָ֖ה אֶל־הֶֽחָלָ֑ל וְלָֽקְח֡וּ זִקְנֵי֩ הָעִ֨יר הַהִ֜וא עֶגְלַ֣ת בָּקָ֗ר אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹֽא־עֻבַּד֙ בָּ֔הּ אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹא־מָֽשְׁכָ֖ה בְּעֹֽל:
4and the elders of that city shall bring the calf down to a rugged valley, which was neither tilled nor sown, and there in the valley, they shall decapitate the calf.   דוְהוֹרִ֡דוּ זִקְנֵי֩ הָעִ֨יר הַהִ֤וא אֶת־הָֽעֶגְלָה֙ אֶל־נַ֣חַל אֵיתָ֔ן אֲשֶׁ֛ר לֹא־יֵֽעָבֵ֥ד בּ֖וֹ וְלֹ֥א יִזָּרֵ֑עַ וְעָֽרְפוּ־שָׁ֥ם אֶת־הָֽעֶגְלָ֖ה בַּנָּֽחַל:
to a rugged valley: Heb. אֵיתָן, hard, [a valley] that was never tilled.   אל נחל איתן: קשה שלא נעבד:
shall decapitate: He breaks its neck with a hatchet [i.e., from the back]. The Holy One, blessed be He, says: Let the calf which is in its first year and has, therefore, produced no fruits, come and be decapitated at a place [the valley that was not tilled] which has not produced fruits, in order to atone for the murder of this man, whom they [the murderers] did not allow to produce fruit [i.e., to perform mitzvoth]. — [Sotah 46a]   וערפו: קוצץ ערפה בקופיץ. אמר הקב"ה תבא עגלה בת שנתה שלא עשתה פירות ותערף במקום שאינו עושה פירות, לכפר על הריגתו של זה שלא הניחוהו לעשות פירות:
5And the kohanim, the sons of Levi, shall approach, for the Lord, your God, has chosen them to serve Him and to bless in the Name of the Lord, and by their mouth shall every controversy and every lesion be [judged].   הוְנִגְּשׁ֣וּ הַכֹּֽהֲנִים֘ בְּנֵ֣י לֵוִי֒ כִּ֣י בָ֗ם בָּחַ֞ר יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֨יךָ֙ לְשָׁ֣רְת֔וֹ וּלְבָרֵ֖ךְ בְּשֵׁ֣ם יְהֹוָ֑ה וְעַל־פִּיהֶ֥ם יִֽהְיֶ֖ה כָּל־רִ֥יב וְכָל־נָֽגַע:
6And all the elders of that city, who are the nearest to the corpse, shall wash their hands over the calf that was decapitated in the valley;   ווְכֹ֗ל זִקְנֵי֙ הָעִ֣יר הַהִ֔וא הַקְּרֹבִ֖ים אֶל־הֶֽחָלָ֑ל יִרְחֲצוּ֙ אֶת־יְדֵיהֶ֔ם עַל־הָֽעֶגְלָ֖ה הָֽעֲרוּפָ֥ה בַנָּֽחַל:
7And they shall announce and say, "Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see [this crime]."   זוְעָנ֖וּ וְאָֽמְר֑וּ יָדֵ֗ינוּ לֹ֤א שָֽׁפְכוּ֙ (כתיב שפכה֙) אֶת־הַדָּ֣ם הַזֶּ֔ה וְעֵינֵ֖ינוּ לֹ֥א רָאֽוּ:
Our hands did not shed [this blood]: But would it enter one’s mind that the elders of the court are murderers? Rather, [they declare:] We [ourselves] did not see him and let him depart without food or escort [which would have indirectly caused his death, leaving this man to the elements and to robbers]. — [Sifrei ; Sotah 45a] The kohanim then say:   ידינו לא שפכה: וכי עלתה על לב שזקני בית דין שופכי דמים הם, אלא לא ראינוהו ופטרנוהו בלא מזונות ובלא לויה. והכהנים אומרים כפר לעמך ישראל:
8"Atone for Your people Israel, whom You have redeemed, O Lord, and lay not [the guilt of] innocent blood among your people Israel." And [so] the blood shall be atoned for them.   חכַּפֵּר֩ לְעַמְּךָ֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֤ל אֲשֶׁר־פָּדִ֨יתָ֙ יְהֹוָ֔ה וְאַל־תִּתֵּן֙ דָּ֣ם נָקִ֔י בְּקֶ֖רֶב עַמְּךָ֣ יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וְנִכַּפֵּ֥ר לָהֶ֖ם הַדָּֽם:
Atone for Your people Israel,… And [so] the blood will be atoned for them: Scripture informs them that from the time they complete all this, their sin is atoned. — [Sifrei]   ונכפר להם הדם: הכתוב מבשרם שמשעשו כן יכופר להם העון:
9And you shall abolish the [shedding of] innocent blood from among you, for you shall do what is proper in the eyes of the Lord.   טוְאַתָּ֗ה תְּבַעֵ֛ר הַדָּ֥ם הַנָּקִ֖י מִקִּרְבֶּ֑ךָ כִּי־תַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה הַיָּשָׁ֖ר בְּעֵינֵ֥י יְהֹוָֽה:
and you shall abolish: This tells [us] that if the murderer is found after the calf is decapitated, the murderer must be executed, and that is “what is proper in the eyes of the Lord.” - [Sotah 47b, Keth. 37b]   ואתה תבער: מגיד שאם נמצא ההורג אחר שנתערפה העגלה הרי זה יהרג, והוא הישר בעיני ה':