While reviewing the instructions that the Cohen tells people prior to going to war, as shown in Devarim 20:1-9, there seems to be an incorrect order of statements. In particular:
- Verse 3 - The Cohen makes a general statement that no one should fear the enemy.
- In verses 5-7 the judges list 3 groups of people that are exempt from fighting
- In verse 8, the judges exempt anyone who is still fearful
Question - What is the purpose of the overall proclamation of not fearing the enemy if you won't be in the army, anyway?
I'm inferring that the purpose of the initial proclamation in verse 3 is not for the general people but for the army since it says in verse 1, already, not to fear them. That seems to be addressed to everyone, overall. Verse 2 says, "When you approach the war" - that seems to be the army, as they will be the ones who will fight. Additionally, at the end of citing what the judges say, in verse 9, it says that they appoint leaders of the army.
For me, logically, the declaration of not having fear should be placed just before verse 8. I.e., first he exempts the first 3 groups (just engaged, new house, new field purchase). Then, of those left, he says, "Don't fear because G-d is fighting with you. Finally, after that, he should say (Even though you have just been told not to fear,) if you are still fearful, you are exempt.