Chapter 6ו׳
1 א

אֵין עוֹשִׂין מִלְחָמָה עִם אָדָם בָּעוֹלָם עַד שֶׁקּוֹרְאִין לוֹ שָׁלוֹם. אֶחָד מִלְחֶמֶת הָרְשׁוּת וְאֶחָד מִלְחֶמֶת מִצְוָה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כ, י) "כִּי תִקְרַב אֶל עִיר לְהִלָּחֵם עָלֶיהָ וְקָרָאתָ אֵלֶיהָ לְשָׁלוֹם". אִם הִשְׁלִימוּ וְקִבְּלוּ שֶׁבַע מִצְוֹת שֶׁנִּצְטַוּוּ בְּנֵי נֹחַ עֲלֵיהֶן אֵין הוֹרְגִין מֵהֶן נְשָׁמָה וַהֲרֵי הֵן לְמַס. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כ, יא) "יִהְיוּ לְךָ לָמַס וַעֲבָדוּךָ". קִבְּלוּ עֲלֵיהֶן הַמַּס וְלֹא קִבְּלוּ הָעַבְדוּת אוֹ שֶׁקִּבְּלוּ הָעַבְדוּת וְלֹא קִבְּלוּ הַמַּס. אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לָהֶם עַד שֶׁיְּקַבְּלוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם. וְהָעַבְדוּת שֶׁיְּקַבְּלוּ הוּא שֶׁיִּהְיוּ נִבְזִים וּשְׁפָלִים לְמַטָּה וְלֹא יָרִימוּ רֹאשׁ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל אֶלָּא יִהְיוּ כְּבוּשִׁים תַּחַת יָדָם. וְלֹא יִתְמַנּוּ עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל לְשׁוּם דָּבָר שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם. וְהַמַּס שֶׁיְּקַבְּלוּ שֶׁיִּהְיוּ מוּכָנִים לַעֲבוֹדַת הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּגוּפָם וּמָמוֹנָם. כְּגוֹן בִּנְיַן הַחוֹמוֹת. וְחֹזֶק הַמְּצוּדוֹת. וּבִנְיַן אַרְמוֹן הַמֶּלֶךְ וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א ט, טו) "וְזֶה דְבַר הַמַּס אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלָה הַמֶּלֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה לִבְנוֹת אֶת בֵּית ה' וְאֶת בֵּיתוֹ וְאֶת הַמִּלּוֹא וְאֵת חוֹמַת יְרוּשָׁלָםִ" (מלכים א ט, יט) "וְאֵת כָּל עָרֵי הַמִּסְכְּנוֹת אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ לִשְׁלֹמֹה" (מלכים א ט, כ) "כָּל הָעָם הַנּוֹתָר מִן הָאֱמֹרִי" (מלכים א ט, כא) "וַיַּעֲלֵם שְׁלֹמֹה לְמַס עֹבֵד עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה" (מלכים א ט, כב) "וּמִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא נָתַן שְׁלֹמֹה עָבֶד כִּי הֵם אַנְשֵׁי הַמִּלְחָמָה וַעֲבָדָיו וְשָׂרָיו וְשָׁלִישָׁיו וְשָׂרֵי רִכְבּוֹ וּפָרָשָׁיו":

War is not conducted against anyone in the world until they are first offered peace (and refuse it), whether this is a Discretionary War or a War of Mitzvoh, as it says, “when you come close to the city to fight with it, you shall call to it to make peace” (Deut. 20:10). If they make peace and accept the Seven Commandments incumbent upon the Sons of Noah (Gentiles), none of them are killed, but they must pay us tribute, as it says, “and they shall be for you a tributary, and they shall serve you” (Deut. 20:11). If they propose to accept upon themselves the payment of the tribute but not servitude to us or they accept servitude but not the tribute, we ignore their proposal until they accept both. The servitude referred to here is one of disgrace and is demeaning. They are not to raise their heads up to Israel for any reason. They must be subjugated to us and may never be assigned to a Position over us. The tribute they must pay shall be for service of the king, with their bodies and their money, such as the building of the walls37Of Jerusalem. and the strengthening of fortresses and the building of the royal palace and similar, as it says, “And this is the account of the levy which King Solomon raised to build the Temple of G-d, and his palace, and Milo, and the wall of Jerusalem…and all the store-cities which Solomon had…the Emorites who remained…and Solomon imposed a head-tax, until this very day. And of the Children of Israel, Solomon made none a bondsman; but they were the soldiers and his servants and his officers and his captains and those in charge of his chariots and his horsemen” (I Kings 9:15-22).

2 ב

וְיֵשׁ לַמֶּלֶךְ לְהַתְנוֹת עִמָּהֶם שֶׁיִּקַּח חֲצִי מָמוֹנָם אוֹ הַקַּרְקָעוֹת וְיַנִּיחַ כָּל הַמִּטַּלְטְלִין אוֹ הַמִּטַּלְטְלִים וְיַנִּיחַ הַקַּרְקָעוֹת כְּפִי מַה שֶּׁיַּתְנֶה:

The king may make a deal with them that he can take half of their money or land and leave all their moveable goods or take their moveable goods38Or, chattel. and leave their lands. This is all in accordance with whatever arrangement he makes with them.

3 ג

וְאָסוּר לְשַׁקֵּר בִּבְרִיתָם וּלְכַזֵּב לָהֶם אַחַר שֶׁהִשְׁלִימוּ וְקִבְּלוּ שֶׁבַע מִצְוֹת:

It is forbidden for us to lie to them in their peace treaty or deceive them after they have made peace and have accepted the Seven Commandments.

4 ד

וְאִם לֹא הִשְׁלִימוּ אוֹ שֶׁהִשְׁלִימוּ וְלֹא קִבְּלוּ שֶׁבַע מִצְוֹת. עוֹשִׂין עִמָּהֶם מִלְחָמָה וְהוֹרְגִין כָּל הַזְּכָרִים הַגְּדוֹלִים. וּבוֹזְזִין כָּל מָמוֹנָם וְטַפָּם. וְאֵין הוֹרְגִין אִשָּׁה וְלֹא קָטָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כ, יד) "וְהַנָּשִׁים וְהַטָּף" זֶה טַף שֶׁל זְכָרִים. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּמִלְחֶמֶת הָרְשׁוּת שֶׁהוּא עִם שְׁאָר הָאֻמּוֹת. אֲבָל שִׁבְעָה עֲמָמִין וַעֲמָלֵק שֶׁלֹּא הִשְׁלִימוּ אֵין מַנִּיחִין מֵהֶם נְשָׁמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כ, טו) "כֵּן תַּעֲשֶׂה לְכָל" וְגוֹ' (דברים כ, טז) "רַק מֵעָרֵי הָעַמִּים" (דברים כ, טז) "לֹא תְחַיֶּה כָּל נְשָׁמָה". וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר בַּעֲמָלֵק (דברים כה, יט) "תִּמְחֶה אֶת זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק". וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר אֶלָּא בְּאֵלּוּ שֶׁלֹּא הִשְׁלִימוּ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע יא, יט) "לֹא הָיְתָה עִיר אֲשֶׁר הִשְׁלִימָה אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּלְתִּי הַחִוִּי ישְׁבֵי גִבְעוֹן אֶת הַכּל לָקְחוּ בַמִּלְחָמָה" (יהושע יא, כ) "כִּי מֵאֵת ה' הָיְתָה לְחַזֵּק אֶת לִבָּם לִקְרַאת הַמִּלְחָמָה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמַעַן הַחֲרִימָם". מִכְלַל שֶׁשָּׁלְחוּ לָהֶם לְשָׁלוֹם וְלֹא קִבְּלוּ:

If they do not come to peaceful terms or they make peace but do not accept the Seven Commandments, we engage in war against them and slay all their adult males. We take all their money and children as spoils. We do not kill the women or minors, as it says, “the women and the children” (see Deut. 20:14 and 2:34) which means the male children. To what do we refer? To a Discretionary War with one of the other nations. However, with one of the Seven Nations or with Amalek who do not make peace, we leave no soul alive, as it says, “so you shall do with everyone…only of the cities of the nations…do not leave alive any soul” (Deut. 20:15-16), and regarding Amalek it says, “erase the memory of Amalek” (Deut. 25:19). How do we know that this is referring to those who do not make peace with us? For it says, “there was no city which came to peace with the Children of Israel except the Chivites, dwellers of Givon. Everything, they took in the war. For from G-d their hearts were strengthened to the call of war with Israel, so that they may be destroyed.” (Joshua 11:19-20). They were offered peace, and refused.

5 ה

שְׁלֹשָׁה כְּתָבִים שָׁלַח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ עַד שֶׁלֹּא נִכְנַס לָאָרֶץ. הָרִאשׁוֹן שָׁלַח לָהֶם מִי שֶׁרוֹצֶה לִבְרֹחַ יִבְרַח. וְחָזַר וְשָׁלַח מִי שֶׁרוֹצֶה לְהַשְׁלִים יַשְׁלִים. וְחָזַר וְשָׁלַח מִי שֶׁרוֹצֶה לַעֲשׂוֹת מִלְחָמָה יַעֲשֶׂה. אִם כֵּן מִפְּנֵי מָה הֶעֱרִימוּ יוֹשְׁבֵי גִּבְעוֹן. לְפִי שֶׁשָּׁלַח לָהֶם בַּכְּלָל וְלֹא קִבְּלוּ. וְלֹא יָדְעוּ מִשְׁפַּט יִשְׂרָאֵל וְדִמּוּ שֶׁשּׁוּב אֵין פּוֹתְחִין לָהֶם לְשָׁלוֹם. וְלָמָּה קָשָׁה הַדָּבָר לַנְּשִׂיאִים וְרָאוּ שֶׁרָאוּי לְהַכּוֹתָם לְפִי חֶרֶב לוּלֵי הַשְּׁבוּעָה. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁכָּרְתוּ לָהֶם בְּרִית וַהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר (דברים ז, ב) "לֹא תִכְרֹת לָהֶם בְּרִית" אֶלָּא הָיָה דִּינָם שֶׁיִּהְיוּ לְמַס עֲבָדִים. וְהוֹאִיל וּבְטָעוּת נִשְׁבְּעוּ לָהֶן בְּדִין הָיָה שֶׁיֵּהָרְגוּ עַל שֶׁהִטְעוּם לוּלֵי חִלּוּל הַשֵּׁם:

Joshua dispatched three communiqués before entering the Land. The first one he sent read, “Whoever wishes to flee, may flee”. The next read, “Whoever wishes to make peace, let him make peace”. The next read, “Whoever wishes to make war, make war”. If so, why did the residents of Givon go and deceive us39Saying, “we are from a distant land” when they could have simply made peace with us (Joshua 9:9).? He had sent the (first) letter to them, and they did not accept it. Being unaware of the Laws of Israel, they thought that we won’t again be offering them peace40After the first time, i.e., they would not have a second chance.. So, why was this matter difficult for the Heads41Of the Tribes., and they saw that it would have been proper to smite them by sword were it not for the oath42That they made with the Givonites.? Because they made a treaty with them, and it says, “make no peace treaty with them” (Deut. 7:2). Thus, their verdict was that they were to be serfs. Now, since we, in error, made an oath with them, by law, they should have been killed because they deceived us, were it not for the disgrace doing so would have caused to G-d’s Name.

6 ו

עַמּוֹן וּמוֹאָב אֵין שׁוֹלְחִין לָהֶם לְשָׁלוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כג, ז) "לֹא תִדְרשׁ שְׁלֹמָם וְטֹבָתָם כָּל יָמֶיךָ". אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים לְפִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כ, י) "וְקָרָאתָ אֵלֶיהָ לְשָׁלוֹם" יָכוֹל עַמּוֹן וּמוֹאָב כֵּן. תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר לֹא תִדְרשׁ שְׁלֹמָם וְטֹבָתָם. לְפִי שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כג, יז) "עִמְּךָ יֵשֵׁב בְּקִרְבְּךָ" (דברים כג, יז) "בַּטּוֹב לוֹ לֹא תּוֹנֶנּוּ". יָכוֹל עַמּוֹן וּמוֹאָב כֵּן תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר וְטֹבָתָם. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין שׁוֹאֲלִים בִּשְׁלוֹמָם אִם הִשְׁלִימוּ מֵעַצְמָם תְּחִלָּה מְקַבְּלִין אוֹתָן:

We do not extend offers of peace neither to Ammon nor to Moab, as it says, “do not seek as to their peace or their prosperity all your days” (Deut. 23:7). Our Sages have said that from what it says, “and you shall call upon her (the city) to peace” (Deut. 20:10) we might have thought that we can offer Ammon and Moab peace, were it not to say “do not seek their peace”. From the phrase, “With you he shall dwell…and you shall not wrong him” (Deut. 23:17) one would think that we can offer peace to Ammon and Moab. However, from the phrase, “and for their prosperity” we learn that although we do not offer them peace if they, on their own, make peace, we accept them.

7 ז

כְּשֶׁצָּרִין עַל עִיר לְתָפְשָׂהּ. אֵין מַקִּיפִין אוֹתָהּ מֵאַרְבַּע רוּחוֹתֶיהָ אֶלָּא מִשָּׁלֹשׁ רוּחוֹתֶיהָ. וּמַנִּיחִין מָקוֹם לַבּוֹרֵחַ וּלְכָל מִי שֶׁיִּרְצֶה לְהִמָּלֵט עַל נַפְשׁוֹ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר לא, ז) "וַיִּצְבְּאוּ עַל מִדְיָן כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה ה' אֶת משֶׁה". מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁבְּכָךְ צִוָּהוּ:

When we besiege a city which we want to capture, we do not encircle it from all four sides, but only on three. We leave one side open for them to flee. Anyone who wishes to escape with his life may so do, as it says, “and you shall deploy against Midian, as G-d had commanded Moses” (Numbers 31:7). By Tradition we have learned that this is what was meant.

8 ח

אֵין קוֹצְצִין אִילָנֵי מַאֲכָל שֶׁחוּץ לַמְּדִינָה וְאֵין מוֹנְעִין מֵהֶם אַמַּת הַמַּיִם כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּיבְשׁוּ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כ, יט) "לֹא תַשְׁחִית אֶת עֵצָהּ". וְכָל הַקּוֹצֵץ לוֹקֶה. וְלֹא בְּמָצוֹר בִּלְבַד אֶלָּא בְּכָל מָקוֹם כָּל הַקּוֹצֵץ אִילַן מַאֲכָל דֶּרֶךְ הַשְׁחָתָה לוֹקֶה. אֲבָל קוֹצְצִין אוֹתוֹ אִם הָיָה מַזִּיק אִילָנוֹת אֲחֵרִים. אוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמַּזִּיק בִּשְׂדֵה אֲחֵרִים. אוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁדָּמָיו יְקָרִים. לֹא אָסְרָה תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא דֶּרֶךְ הַשְׁחָתָה:

Fruit-bearing trees must not be cut down outside of the city43Under siege in order to pain them. nor do we block their irrigation water causing the trees to dry up, as it says, “do not destroy her trees” (Deut. 20:19). Anyone who cuts down a tree receives lashes. This is not only at times of a siege, but anyone at anytime who chops down a fruit-bearing tree by for destructive purposes receives stripes. The tree may be cut down if it is damaging other trees or it is damaging another’s field, or because the tree is more valuable for its wood than its fruit. The Torah only forbids wanton destruction.

9 ט

כָּל אִילַן סְרָק מֻתָּר לָקֹץ אוֹתוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לוֹ. וְכֵן אִילַן מַאֲכָל שֶׁהִזְקִין וְאֵינוֹ עוֹשֶׂה אֶלָּא דָּבָר מוּעָט שֶׁאֵינוֹ רָאוּי לִטְרֹחַ בּוֹ מֻתָּר לָקֹץ אוֹתוֹ. וְכַמָּה יְהֵא הַזַּיִת עוֹשֶׂה וְלֹא יְקֻצֶּנּוּ. רֹבַע הַקַּב זֵיתִים. וְדֶקֶל שֶׁהוּא עוֹשֶׂה קַב תְּמָרִים לֹא יְקֻצֶּנּוּ:

It is permitted to cut down a non-fruit-bearing tree even if the tree itself is not needed. Similarly, an old fruit-bear tree which only produces a small yield and is not worth the effort to maintain can be cut down. And how much olive yield must an olive tree produce for it not to be cut down? A quarter of a Kav of olives. A palm tree which produces a Kav of dates may not be cut down.

10 י

וְלֹא הָאִילָנוֹת בִּלְבַד. אֶלָּא כָּל הַמְשַׁבֵּר כֵּלִים. וְקוֹרֵעַ בְּגָדִים. וְהוֹרֵס בִּנְיָן. וְסוֹתֵם מַעְיָן. וּמְאַבֵּד מַאֲכָלוֹת דֶּרֶךְ הַשְׁחָתָה. עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַשְׁחִית. וְאֵינוֹ לוֹקֶה אֶלָּא מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם:

And not only regarding trees, but even one who destructively breaks vessels or rips up clothing or tears down a building or seals up a spring or wastes food violates the Negative Commandment of “Do not destroy”. However, he only receives stripes for disobedience, in accordance with the Rabbis.

11 יא

צָרִין עַל עֲיָרוֹת שֶׁל עַכּוּ''ם שְׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים קֹדֶם הַשַּׁבָּת וְעוֹשִׂין עִמָּהֶם מִלְחָמָה בְּכָל יוֹם וְיוֹם וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּשַׁבָּת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כ, כ) "עַד רִדְתָּהּ" וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּשַׁבָּת. בֵּין מִלְחֶמֶת מִצְוָה בֵּין מִלְחֶמֶת רְשׁוּת:

We may besiege a non-Jewish city (even) on Shabbos44Other versions read: “but may not begin within three days before Shabbos” so as not to violate Shabbos. and we may make war with them even on Shabbos, as it says, “until it falls” (Deut. 20:20). We do battle on Shabbos whether it is a War of Mitzvoh or a Discretionary War.

12 יב

כְּשֶׁחוֹנִין חוֹנִין בְּכָל מָקוֹם. וּמִי שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג בַּמִּלְחָמָה בַּמָּקוֹם שֶׁיִּפּל שָׁם יִקָּבֵר. קוֹנֶה מְקוֹמוֹ כְּמֵת מִצְוָה:

We may encamp anywhere. One who is killed in battle is buried wherever he falls, for he acquires that spot, as would a Meis Mitzvoh45An abandoned corpse..

13 יג

אַרְבָּעָה דְּבָרִים פָּטְרוּ בַּמַּחֲנֶה. אוֹכְלִים הַדְּמַאי. וּפְטוּרִים מֵרְחִיצַת יָדַיִם בַּתְּחִלָּה. וּמְבִיאִין עֵצִים מִכָּל מָקוֹם. וַאֲפִלּוּ מְצָאָן תְּלוּשִׁים וִיבֵשִׁים אֵין מַקְפִּידִין עַל כָּךְ בַּמַּחֲנֶה. וְכֵן פְּטוּרִין מִלְּעָרֵב עֵרוּבֵי חֲצֵרוֹת בַּמַּחֲנֶה אֶלָּא מְטַלְטְלִין מֵאֹהֶל לְאֹהֶל וּמִסֻּכָּה לְסֻכָּה וְהוּא שֶׁיַּקִּיפוּ כָּל הַמַּחֲנֶה מְחִצָּה גְּבוֹהָה עֲשָׂרָה טְפָחִים כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּהְיֶה רְשׁוּת יָחִיד כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּהִלְכוֹת שַׁבָּת. וְאֵין מְחִצָּה פְּחוּתָה מֵעֲשָׂרָה. וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁפְּטוּרִין מִכָּל אֵלּוּ בַּהֲלִיכָתָן כָּךְ פְּטוּרִין בַּחֲזִירָתָן:

Four things were exempt in the military camp:1) D’mai46Foods which we do not know if Ma’aser [tithes] or Terumah were taken. may be eaten;2) The requirement to ritually wash one’s hands before eating (a meal) is waived;3) Wood could be collected from anywhere47And it would not be considered theft. even if it was found unattached from a tree and dry. We are not concerned about any of these matters in the camp, and 4) They are exempt from erecting an Eruv Chatzeiros48Device to commingle two courtyards and, thus, permit carrying between them on Shabbos. in the camp. Rather, one may carry from tent to tent and hut to hut. This, as long as the entire camp is encircled with a barrier ten handbreadths high so that it legally becomes a Private Domain, as we have explained in the Laws of Shabbos, since there is no such thing as a camp49Some version have “divider”. of less than ten50For “camp” this would mean ten people, for “divider” this would mean ten handbreadths high.. Just as the soldiers are exempt from these matters when going out to war, they are exempt from them within the camp when returning51From the battle, for they are still in danger..

14 יד

וְאָסוּר לְהִפָּנוֹת בְּתוֹךְ הַמַּחֲנֶה אוֹ עַל פְּנֵי הַשָּׂדֶה בְּכָל מָקוֹם. אֶלָּא מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לְתַקֵּן שָׁם דֶּרֶךְ מְיֻחֶדֶת לְהִפָּנוֹת בָּהּ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כג, יג) "וְיָד תִּהְיֶה לְךָ מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה":

It is forbidden to relieve oneself within the camp or just anywhere in the field. Rather, it is a Positive Commandment to set up a latrine where the people may go and relieve themselves, as it says, “and you shall have a place outside of the camp” (Deut. 23:13).

15 טו

וְכֵן מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה לִהְיוֹת יָתֵד לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד תְּלוּיָה עִם כְּלֵי מִלְחַמְתּוֹ. וְיֵצֵא בְּאוֹתָהּ הַדֶּרֶךְ וְיַחְפֹּר בָּהּ וְיִפָּנֶה וִיכַסֶּה. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כג, יד) "וְיָתֵד תִּהְיֶה לְךָ עַל אֲזֵנֶךָ" וְגוֹ'. וּבֵין שֶׁיֵּשׁ עִמָּהֶן אָרוֹן וּבֵין שֶׁאֵין עִמָּהֶן אָרוֹן כָּךְ הֵם עוֹשִׂים תָּמִיד. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כג, טו) "וְהָיָה מַחֲנֶיךָ קָדוֹשׁ":

Similarly, it is a Positive Commandment that everyone carries a shovel52Or, spade. along with the rest of his weaponry so that when he goes to the latrine he can dig a hole where to relieve himself and cover over53His excrement. with soil, as it says, “you must have a shovel with you, with your weaponry” (Deut. 23:14). This must always be done whether the Holy Ark is with them or not, as it says, “and your camp shall be holy” (Deut. 23:15).