Deuteronomy 20:19,20 (NIV) states:

When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees people, that you should besiege them?[b] 20 However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.

However, just before that, the context of Deuteronomy 20 states (in verses 16-18):

16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17 Completely destroy[a] them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. 18 Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.

Since Deuteronomy 20 explicitly mentions Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, etc. which were the idolaterous nations preventing Israelites from inhabiting the Holy Land and were hostile towards them. However, if Jews living oustide of the Holy Land, end up fighting a war outside/unrelated to the Holy Land, let's say as a defense and they know that they will never be left alone by that nation, are they permitted to destroy their fruit trees and the cattle, because Deut. 20 seems to specifically talk about the Holy Land-related wars?


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