Joshua 8

1 God encourages Joshua.

3 The stratagem whereby Ai was taken.

29 The king thereof is hanged.

30 Joshua builds an altar;

32 writes the law on stones;

33 and pronounces the blessings and curses.

Fear not.

1:9; 7:6,7,9; De 1:21; 7:18; 31:8; Ps 27:1; 46:11; Isa 12:2; 41:10-16

Isa 43:2; Jer 46:27; Mt 8:26

take all.It would seem, from this verse, that all that were capable of bearing arms were to march out of the camp on this occasion: 30,000 formed an ambuscade in one place; and 5,000 were placed in another, who all gained their positions in the night. With the rest of the army, Joshua appeared the next morning before Ai, which the men of that city would naturally suppose was the whole of the Israelitish force and, consequently, be the more emboldened to come out and attack them. Some, however, think that 30,000 men were the whole that were employed on this occasion, 5,000 of whom were placed in ambush on the west of the city, between Bethel and Ai (ver. 12,) and, with the rest, Joshua appeared before the city in the morning. The king, seeing but about 25,000 coming against him, though he had but 12,000 persons in the whole city (ver. 25), determined to risk a battle, issued out, and was defeated by stratagem.

see, I have.

6:2; Ps 44:3; Da 2:21,37,38; 4:25,35

do to Ai.


See on ch.

6:21; 10:1,28; De 3:2

only the spoil.

27; De 20:14; Job 27:16,17; Ps 39:6; Pr 13:22; 28:20; Jer 17:11

Lu 12:20,21

lay thee.

7,9,12,14,19; Jud 20:29-33; 2Ch 13:13; 20:22; Jer 51:12

by night.

Mt 24:39,50; 25:6; 1Th 5:2; 2Pe 3:10

lie in wait.

16; Jud 9:25; 20:29,33,36; 1Sa 15:2,5; Ac 23:21

go not.

Ec 7:19; 9:16

as at.


that we will.

Jud 20:31-33; Mt 10:16

drawn. Heb. pulled.


They flee.

Ex 14:3; 15:9; Jud 20:32; Ec 8:11; 9:12

for the Lord.

1; 2Ki 5:1; Pr 21:30,31

set the city.

28; 6:24

See, I have.

1:9,16; Jud 4:6; 2Sa 13:28


12; 7:2; Ge 12:8


Ezr 2:28; Ne 7:32


Ge 32:21

rose up.

3:1; 6:12; 7:16; Ps 119:60


five thousand.


of the city. or, of Ai.

liers in wait. Heb. lying in wait.


on the west.


Ai saw it.


he wist not.

Jud 20:34-36; Ec 9:12; Isa 19:11,13; Da 4:31; Mt 24:39,50

1Th 5:1-3; 2Pe 2:3

by the way.


called together.

Jud 20:36-39

drawn away.

5,6; Jud 20:31; Ps 9:16; Eze 38:11-22; Re 16:14; 19:19-21

a man.

3,24,25; 11:20; De 2:30; Job 5:13; Isa 19:11-13

Bethel.Bethel is not mentioned in the Greek version, and some, with Houbigant and Pilkington, think it was not originally in the Hebrew; because, had the men of Bethel pursued, as well as those of Ai, it would have been said that they left the cities, and not the city, open. The principal strength of Bethel might have been previously taken into Ai, as the strongest place to make a stand in; Bethel being but about three miles westward from Ai.


7,26; Ex 8:5; 17:11; Job 15:25

the spear.The word {keedon} is rendered {clypeum,} a shield or buckler, by the Vulgate but the LXX. translate it [gaison,] which Suidas says, signifies a kind of weapon, [hoion doratos,] like a spear. It may denote a short spear, javelin, or lance; for it is evident that it signifies neither the larger spear nor the shield, because it is distinguished from both.

1Sa 17:6,41,45; Job 39:23Joshua may have had a flag or ensign at the end of the spear, which might be seen at a considerable distance when extended, which was the sign agreed upon by him and the ambush.


the smoke.

Ge 19:28; Isa 34:10; Re 18:9; 19:3

and they had.

Job 11:20; Ps 48:5,6; 76:5; Am 2:14-16; Re 6:15-17

power. Heb. hand.


let none.

6:21; 10:28; 11:11,12; De 7:2; Job 20:5; Lu 17:26-30; 1Th 5:3

29; 10:17; 1Sa 15:8; Re 19:20

returned unto Ai.This must refer to the women, children, and old persons left behind; for it seems that all the effective men had sallied out when they imagined the Israelites had fled. (ver. 16.)

10:30-41; 11:10-14; Nu 21:24


Joshua.Joshua seems to have been not only the general but the standard-bearer of the army, (ver. 18,) and continued in this employment, by holding up or extending his spear, during the whole of the battle; and did not slacken from the pursuit till the forces of Ai were utterly discomfited. Some commentators, however, understand this action in a figurative sense, like the holding up of Moses' hands, as if it implied that Joshua continued in prayer for the success of his troops, nor ceased till the armies of Ai were annihilated, and the city taken and destroyed.

drew not.

18; Ex 17:11,12

the cattle.

2; 11:4; Nu 31:22,26; Ps 50:10; Mt 20:15

he commanded.


an heap.

De 13:16; 2Ki 19:25; Isa 17:1; 25:2; Jer 9:11; 49:2; 50:26; Mic 3:12

unto this day.


the king.The kings of Canaan lay under the same curse as their subjects and probably were more deeply criminal. The reserving of the king of Ai for a solemn execution, would tend to strike terror into the other kings, contribute to the success of Israel, and give their proceedings the stamp of a judicial process, and of executing the vengeance of God upon his enemies.

10:26-28,30,33; De 21:22,23; Es 7:10; Ps 107:40; 110:5; Ac 12:23

Re 19:17,18

as soon.


a great heap.

7:26; 2Sa 18:17

built an altar.

Ge 8:20; 12:7,8

in mount Ebal.Moses himself had twice given express orders for this solemnity; once De 11:29, 30, in which he pointed out the very place where it was to be performed; and again, at the 27th chapter, there is a renewal of the instructions to Joshua, with special reference to minute particulars. It was a federal transaction: the covenant was now renewed between God and Israel upon their taking possession of the land of promise, that they might be encouraged in the conquest of it, and might know upon what terms they held it, and come under fresh obligations to obedience.


as it is.

34,35; 1:8; 2Ki 14:6; 22:8; 2Ch 25:4; 35:12; Ezr 6:18; Ne 13:1

Mt 12:26


Ex 20:24,25; De 27:5,6; 1Ki 18:31,32

and they offered.

Ex 18:12; 24:5; De 27:6,7

De 27:2,3,8

all Israel.

23:2; 24:1; De 27:12,13; 29:10,11


3:3,6,14; 4:10,18; 6:6; De 31:9,25; 1Ch 15:11-15


Ex 12:49; Le 24:22; Nu 15:16,29; De 31:12


30-32; De 11:29; 27:12

he read.

De 31:10-12; Ne 8:2,3; 9:3; 13:1


Le 26:1-46; De 27:14-26; 28:1-68; 29:20,21; 30:15-20

was not.

De 4:2; Jer 26:2; Ac 20:27


De 29:11; 31:12; Ezr 10:1; Ne 8:2; Joe 2:16; Mr 10:14; Ac 21:5



were. Heb. walked. conversant.The word conversant, from the Latin {conversor,} is here used in the classical sense of having intercourse with.
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