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The Conquest of Ai. The Covenant confirmed upon Mt. Ebal
1-29. The Taking of Ai. Edersheim explains that Joshua detailed a corps of 30,000 men, of whom 5,000 were placed W. of Ai in a wood. The 25,000 pitched K of Ai, and subsequently moved forward into the valley below the city. Then came the feigned attack and retreat eastward, the signal from Joshua, and the assault by the ambush from the rear. It should be noted, however, that there are two accounts of the ambush, one in Joshua 8:3, Joshua 8:9, in which 30,000 are said to have been concealed, and the other in Joshua 8:10-12, in which only 5,000 are said to have been in hiding. These discrepancies in figures are very common.
15. By the way of the wilderness] i.e. toward the Jordan valley.
17. Or Bethel] omit, as LXX.
30-35. The Covenant confirmed upon Mt. Ebal, near Shechem. At the first opportunity the law of Jehovah is proclaimed as the law of the land.
31. As Moses.. commanded] see Deuteronomy 11:29, and, more fully, Deuteronomy 27. An altar of white stones] see Exodus 20:25. Burnt offerings] representing entire oblation of the offerer to God: wholly consumed on the altar. Peace offerings] representing communion with God. God was the Host, and the offerer and his friends feasted with Him at His table.
32. The stones] i.e. the stones when plastered: see Deuteronomy 27:2-4. A copy of the law] Obviously not the whole Pentateuch, or even the legislative matter contained in it; but the Law of the Blessings and Cursings: see Deuteronomy 27.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany