It seems like this is a good cop, bad cop scenario. The good cop is the priest, the religious leader, the pastor who encourages the troops when they go to battle. Do not be afraid for it is the Lord who gives you the victory. That sounds great and that is definitely something that I don’t mind telling the troops. I’m grateful that I wasn’t given the role of the official, who is second to talk to the troops as they prepare for battle. It seems like he has the role of the bad cop. It is almost as if the roles are reversed. The pastor gives them courage, the official gives them last rites. If any of you want to leave, now is the time, leave.
You also have rules of engagement for the towns upon which you come which need to be overtaken. First you ask them if they want to give up. If they do, then you spare them. You make them slaves, but you spare them. Secondly, and this is very curious and I’m glad to see this, the Israelites were absolutely environmentalists. They were not allowed to cut down any trees as they besieged a town, unless it had specific usage, and certainly no fruit trees were allowed to be cut down, whether they were useful or not. Look at vs.19-20 where we read this little known fact. The Israelites as environmentalists.