Things or persons seized in warfare were placed under a ban, that is regarded as out of bounds for Israelites and wholly dedicated to God. Objects not necessarily taken in battle might also be dedicated to God and might be destroyed by fire (Lev. 27: 28) or set aside for the priests (Lev. 27: 21 f.). Possibly it was feared that diseases could be caught from enemy possessions and the ban was designed to prevent infection, though a religious meaning was ascribed to it. Achan was destroyed for having plundered forbidden booty (Josh. 7) and Saul was rebuked by the prophet Samuel for not destroying the most valuable possessions of the Amalekites (1 Sam. 15: 23).
Subjects: Biblical Studies.