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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Joshua 8

 

 

Verses 1-35

3. Capture and Destruction of Ai

Joshua 8:1-29

a. Joshua’s Stratagem against Ai

Joshua 8:1-13

1And the Lord [Jehovah] said unto Joshua: Fear not, neither be thou dismayed, [ Joshua 1:9]: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land: 2And thou shalt do unto Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.

3So [And] Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour [strong heroes] and sent them away by night 4 And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even [omit: even] behind the city; go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready: 5And I, and all the people that are with me, will approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass when they come out against us, as at the first, that 6 we will flee before them, (for [and[FN1]] they will come out after us,) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us as at the first: therefore7[and] we will flee before them. Then ye shall rise up from the ambush and seize upon the city: for the Lord [Jehovah] your God will deliver it into your hand 8 And it shall be when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire; according to the commandment [word] of the Lord [Jehovah] shall ye do. See, I have commanded you.

9Joshua therefore [And Joshua] sent them forth; and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people 10 And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered [mustered] the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai 11 And all the people, even the people [omit: even the people] of war that were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came before the city, and pitched on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley [and the valley was] between them12[him] and Ai. And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush13[as an ambush], between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of the city. And when they had set the people, even all the host [camp] that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went 1 that night into the midst of the valley.[FN2]

b. Sham Flight of the Israelites. Their Victory. Capture and Destruction of the City

Joshua 8:14-29

14And it came to pass when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a [the] time appointed [or, to the appointed place[FN3]], before the plain [Jordan-valley]: but he wist not that there were liers in ambush [was an ambush] against him behind the city 15 And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness 16 And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them; and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away[FN4] from the city 17 And there was not a man left in Ai, or Beth-el, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel.

18And the Lord [Jehovah] said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thine hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city 19 And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand; and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted, and set the city on fire 20 And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or [and] that way: and the people that fled to [had fled towards] the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers 21 And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew [smote][FN5] the men of Ai 22 And the other issued out of the city against them: so that they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape 23 And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua.

24And it came to pass when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they [had] chased them,[FN6] and when they were all fallen on [by] the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites [prop.: all Israel] returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge 25 of the sword. And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women,were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai 26 For Joshua drew not his hand back wherewith he stretched out the spear [which he had stretched out with the spear], until he had utterly destroyed [devoted] all the inhabitants of Ai 27 Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the Lord [Jehovah] which he commanded Joshua 28And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it a heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day 29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a [the] tree until even-tide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcass [corpse] down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap [גַּל, mound] of stones, that remaineth [omit: that remaineth] unto this day.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

As soon as Achan’s crime is expiated by his death God restores his favor to Joshua and the people, exhorts them to be cheerful and bold, and for the second time to undertake the expedition against Ai. This is done, and now with complete success ( Joshua 8:1-29). To the rhetorical beauty of this section we have already referred in the introduction (§ 1); the critical difficulty ( Joshua 8:12-13) will be discussed below.

a. Joshua’s Stratagem against Ai, Joshua 8:1-13. Joshua 8:1. The same encouraging address as in Joshua 1:9; now very much needed in reference to Joshua 7:5.

All the people of war. Not as in the first attempt3000 men only, Joshua 7:4.

Joshua 8:2. Only the spoil thereof .… shall ye take for prey. At the capture of Jericho, the spoil also (the property) was devoted to Jehovah; but at this time it should belong to the people to whom ample gain had been promised ( Deuteronomy 6:10 ff.)

An ambush. Concerning the question so extensively discussed by the old interpreters, Whether the employment of stratagems (wiles in war) was consistent with the dignity of God, Calvin observes briefly and convincingly: “Quod hic quœrunt nonnulli, dolonc et per insidias liceat hostes opprimere, ex crassa imperitia nascitur. Certum est non feriendo solum geri bella, sed eos censeri optimos duces, qui arte et consilio pollent magis quam impetu. Ergo si legitimum sit bellum, extra controversiam Esther, consuetis vincendi artibus patefactam esse viam: modo ne vel pactis induciis, vel alio modo fidem datam fallamus.

Joshua 8:3 does not agree with Joshua 8:13-14. Here it is said that30,000 men are placed in the ambush; according to Joshua 8:12 they are only5,000. Further, the30,000 men were, according to this verse, sent out already on the evening before; in Joshua 8:13, on the contrary, the5,000 betake themselves to their safe concealment first on the morning of the battle. These contradictory, statements taken from different sources cannot be reconciled, as Keil indeed perceives, while yet he strangely attempts to harmonize them. He takes Joshua 8:12-13 to be a “supplementary remark” to Joshua 8:3, and says: Before the וַיִּשְׁלַח לַיְלָה, Joshua 8:3, we must supply from the supplementary remark, that Joshua out of the30,000 men separated again about5,000 and sent them out by night into the ambush.”[FN7] Against this Maurer correctly says, on Joshua 8:12-13 : “Hœc repugnant iis quœvers.3–8et9–11expositu leguntur. Quam repugnantiam recte plerique repetunt ex annalibus diversis alio et alio ordine diversisque verbis scriptis, in quibus contrahendis Isaiah, qui hunc librum composuerit, non satis ad diversitatem attenderit. Confer similem locum, iv9. Alex. ver.12prorsus non exhibet, tertii decimi, maximam partem omittit; habet enim hœc tantum:καὶ τὰ ἔνεδρα τῆς πόλεως ἄπο θαλάσσης (Itala; et insidiœ erant civitati a marit), nihil amplius.” Such is the judgment of Knobel also. The30,000 might reach the neighborhood of Ai before daybreak, since the distance from Gilgal to Ai was not more than five to six hours. (Robinson, ii307–12.) Joshua still remained that night in Gilgal.

Joshua 8:4-8. Clear and exact instructions to the soldiers how they were to proceed. They must put themselves in ambush, not too far from the city, and be in readiness; he would make an attack in front and pretend to flee. Then they should break forth into the city abandoned by the enemy, and set it on fire. “See,” he concludes his address, “I have commanded it to you,” that Isaiah, “Take heed that you do well your part.”

Joshua 8:9. Between Beth-el and Ai. “Ai lay forty-five minutes southeast of Beth-el ( Joshua 12:9; Genesis 12:8); between the two places rise two rocky heights, behind which the liers in wait appear to have taken their position (Van de Velde: Narrative, ii. p280).” (Knobel.)

Joshua 8:10. In the morning Joshua leads up the rest of the army, comes before the city and encamps to the north of it, so that a valley, probably “the present Wady Mutyah,” lay between him and Ai.

Joshua 8:12-13. See above on Joshua 8:3. According to Keil, בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא means the same night as Joshua 8:9. But on that night ( Joshua 8:9) Joshua was not yet certainly before Ai, for which he started only in the morning ( Joshua 8:10). The reading וַיָּלֶן instead of ויֵּלֶךְ, originated perhaps in the same effort to harmonize Joshua 8:15 with Joshua 8:9.

b. Sham-flight of the Israelites. Their Victory, Capture and Destruction of the City ( Joshua 8:14-29). The plan succeeds admirably. The king of Ai, seeing Joshua’s army in front, leads out against him. The latter pretends to run away. The inhabitants of Ai now pursue the Israelites and leave the city standing open. Then Joshua gives the ambush a signal with his spear. They rush forth, seize the city, and set it on fire. Joshua himself with his army turns about at the same moment. The men of Ai find themselves suddenly attacked in front and rear at once, and are annihilated. The other inhabitants of Ai also, about12,000[FN8] in men and women, are slain. The city is razed to the ground, its king hanged on a tree.

Joshua 8:14. When the king of Ai saw it, namely, Joshua and his army,—pointing back, therefore, to Joshua 8:11, the continuation of which we have here. It cannot refer to Joshua 8:13 because he could not see the ambush nor have any knowledge of it, as is shown by the close of Joshua 8:11.

Joshua 8:16-17. The men of Ai in their excessive ardor recklessly leave the city, without care about covering their line of return to Ai, and without protection to the city itself which they leave open. The expression וַיִּנָּתְקוּ is striking: “they were torn away,” Van Ess; “they were cut off.”[FN9]

Joshua 8:18. A direct command of God renewed, under whose special order the whole affair proceeds.

Spear. Heb. כִּידוֹן dart, javelin, a small spear which is hurled ( Job 41:20. Eng28), distinct from the חֲנִית there mentioned in connection with it. From our passage compared with Joshua 8:26, some would conclude that the כּ׳ must have been furnished with a flag or standard. Possibly, though not necessarily, since the waving motion which Joshua made with his spear might be seen a long distance, especially if we suppose that there was a bright sunshine. As a weapon of the Babylonians and Persians, it is spoken of Jeremiah 6:23; Jeremiah 1:42. The rendering of the Vulg. by “clypeus” is erroneous.

Joshua 8:20. יָדַיִםhad no power, Vulg. non potuerunt. Others, e.g. Gesenius, explain ידים with reference to Deuteronomy 23:13; Numbers 2:17; Isaiah 17:8, as meaning place, room; but whether the dua, can mean this appears to us doubtful. We should rather approve the rendering “sides” (Keil). The first signification, however, is to be preferred, because then the thought is this, that being held fast by terror, they had no power to flee this way or that. The whole situation of the men of Ai, who saw before them the enemy, behind them the burning town, is admirably pictured in a few strokes.

Joshua 8:26. “Joshua drew not back the hand which he had stretched out with the spear, until all the inhabitants of Ai had been destroyed. The signal for attack on Ai was also a signal for the destruction of the inhabitants, and remained until its design was fulfilled” (Knobel).

Joshua 8:28. The city is made even with the ground—κατ’ ἔδαφος.

Joshua 8:29. Heap of stones, as in Joshua 7:26.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. It should not be overlooked that the spoil to be taken in Ai is given over to the Israelites, which was not the case at Jericho. Jericho was the first of the cities of Canaan captured, and belonged on this account wholly to the Lord, as the first-born of man and beast ( Exodus 13:2; Exodus 13:12; Exodus 13:15), and as the firstlings of the fruits of the field ( Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:26; Leviticus 2:12; Leviticus 23:10; Leviticus 23:17; Leviticus 23:20; Numbers 15:20-21). This was no longer so at Ai.

2. If the justice of the war is conceded, it follows that a stratagem such as was here adopted by Joshua against Ai, is likewise morally allowable, since notoriously wars are not carried on exclusively through “hard blows” (feriendo), as Calvin has well remarked. Yet stratagem, as Calvin also calls us to notice, has its limits. A treacherous termination of a truce, and the like, is morally reprehensible. Of such things there is no mention here, but simply an instance of strategy like what is witnessed in almost every great battle.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

God’s renewed call to Joshua—the same word indeed as before, but now of quite a different import, since God by it not only assures him of his support, but also gives him to understand that He is again gracious to him.—The capture and destruction of the city of Ai. (1.) Preparation. (2.) Execution.—See, I have commanded it to you—a strict military admonition, which may apply also to the spiritual conflict.—How God gives his enemies into the hands of his servants, while he (1.) blinds and disheartens the former; (2.) enlightens and strengthens the latter.

Starke: Although every victory comes from God, it is still in the order of our own fidelity and bravery.—From God alone comes the victory and He it is who can subdue and root out the peoples.

Lange: In so far as a war is justifiable, so far is stratagem therein justifiable also, provided only that it conflict not with the special agreements existing, and lead not to inhuman measures; for as much as possible, the people must be spared.

Bib. Tub.: The fortune of war is changeable, but it turns as the Lord will have.

Cranmer: Just wars are not in themselves against God. But without necessity, recklessly, and from trifling causes to begin war, is iniquitous, 2 Chronicles 35:20; 1 Kings 20:3.

4. The Altar of Blessing and of Cursing on Ebal

Joshua 8:30-35

30Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord [Jehovah] God of Israel in Mount Ebal, 31as Moses the servant of the Lord [Jehovah had] commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, An altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lifted up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt-offerings unto the Lord [Jehovah], and sacrificed peace-offerings 32 And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote [had written] in the presence of the children [sons] of Israel 33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers [overseers], and their Judges, stood on this side the ark, and on that side, before the priests the Levites, which [who] bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord [Jehovah], as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the Lord [Jehovah] had commanded before,[FN10] that they should bless the people of Israel 34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law 35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversan [the stranger that walked] among them.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

This paragraph, which contains the fulfillment of the command given by Moses, Deuteronomy 27:1 ff, breaks the connection between chaps. Joshua 8:29 and Joshua 9:1, and would appear to be in place later, perhaps after Joshua 11:23, since it is not likely that before the complete conquest of the land, Joshua could have undertaken such a celebration: and besides, we find him still, chaps, 9,10, in the south of Palestine. Keil, in his prejudiced opposition to all which is called criticism, naturally allows no weight to this, and hence seeks, among other things, to show that when ( Joshua 9:6) the camp at Gilgal is spoken of, this is not Gilgal near Jericho but another place of that name in the region of Shechem. If this were correct the author would certainly in some way have given an intimation of the fact that in Joshua 9:6 we no longer are to understand the Gilgal near Jericho but a Gilgal near Shechem. As he omits this, the whole connection points to the former, and Joshua is in the southern part, not in central Palestine.

Joshua 8:30. Ebal. On the alleged fertility of Gerizim, and barrenness of Ebal, many fables have been told by travellers and interpreters. According to Robinson (Bibl. Res. iii96–103, and Later Bibl. Res. 131, 132 [Phys. Geog. of H. L. p36 f.]), both mountains are alike desolate, while the vale of Shechem lying between them is extremely pleasant and fertile. [Comp. Dict. of the Bible, articles, Ebal, Gerizim, Shechem.] According to Deuteronomy 27:6, the altar was to be erected on Ebal, which would thus have the advantage over Gerizim, which, however, is distinguished in its turn by the fact that from it the blessing was to be pronounced. Probably Ebal had been like Sinai, like Moriah Genesis 22), an old place of sacrifice, and so rendered sacred. The name by עֵיבָל, from עבל, to strip off (leaves), signifies the naked (mountain): compare also עוֹבָל ( Genesis 10:28), a region of Joktanite Arabia. Gerizim (חַר גְּרִזִּים) Joshua 8:33 is = mount of the Gerizites. The גְּרִזִּים (from גָּרַז in Arab. to hew, to exterminate, in Heb. only in Niphal, Psalm 31:23; Psalm 86:6) are the dwellers in a barren land. Assuming this, then the desolation perceived by travellers on the mountain would be as truly countenanced by the name in the case of mount Gerizim, as in that of Ebal.

Joshua 8:31. Altar of unhewn stones over which no man had lifted up any iron. So the law required in general ( Exodus 20:25); so it had been specially ordained for this case ( Deuteronomy 27:5-6).

Joshua 8:32. Stones. Not the stones of the altar (Jos. Syr.) but the great stones whitewashed with lime, spoken of in Deuteronomy 27:2-4; Deuteronomy 27:8. For this reason the article also stands here, הַא׳. The unhewn, rough stones of the altar moreover would have been poorly adapted to this use.

A copy of the Law of Moses (מִשְׁנֵה ת׳ מ׳, properly, doubling of the law of Moses. So Genesis 43:15 they say מ׳ הַכֶּסֶף = doubling of the money. By this doubling of the law is naturally to be understood a copy of the law, in the same sense here as in Deuteronomy 17:18, as we also speak of the duplicate of a document. What now was written on the stones? Different answers are given to this, ranged according to the interpretations of Deuteronomy 27:3. (a.) The whole law (several Rabbins, Mich, Baumg.) and, according to the Talmudists in Tract. Sota, Joshua 7, in seventy languages, that all the peoples of the earth might read it; therefore the whole Thorah with all its narratives, genealogies, legal prescriptions, etc. Improbable, (b.) Particular parts of the law; (α.) the Decalogue (Grotius, Kennicott, Hasse). (β.) Deuteronomy (Gerhardt, Osiander, Geddes, Vater, Hengstenberg). (γ.) The blessings and cursings (Masius, Maurer, Rosenmüller)—against the words of Deuteronomy 27:3. (c.) Everything in the books of Moses which is law, every מִצְוָה ( Deuteronomy 27:1), which is given in them, all the words of the law ( Deuteronomy 27:3). So formerly Michaelis (Laws of Moses ii. § 60), rightly, and now Knobel on Deuteronomy 27:1 : “The language reaches to the law in general (Mischna Sota7, 5), to the Mosaic law ( Joshua 8:32). The author thinks, however, only of the commandments proper, six hundred and thirteen in number, according to the Jewish reckoning, not of all the narratives also and warnings, admonitions, discourses, reasons, and the like. So also Joshua 6:9.” The inscription itself may probably have been effected not till after the ceremony was completed, being reported here by anticipation.

Joshua 8:33-35. Proclamation of the Blessing and Curse. We must imagine the position of the people to have been such that the priests with the ark of the covenant stood in the midst of the valley, between Ebal lying on the north and Gerizim lying on the south, but the people, one half over against Gerizim (therefore on Ebal), and the other half over against Ebal (therefore on Gerizim). After this had been arranged Joshua himself read (Luther; incorrectly: “caused to be read”) all the words of the law, the blessing, and the cursing. A discrepancy which Knobel thinks he finds between this report and the directions Deuteronomy 27:9 ff. we cannot admit, because by the expression “all the words of the law” which is afterwards defined by the addition, “the blessing and the curse,” nothing more is probably to be understood than in the formulas given Deuteronomy 27:14 ff. The curses are exactly twelve, according to the number of the tribes; the blessings, see Deuteronomy 28:1-14.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. It is consistent with the divine economy of salvation in the time of the old covenant, that on the entrance of the chosen people into the promised land, not merely blessing but also curse was held up before them. A people standing so low in morality as the Israelites then did needed stern discipline, and not only might be allured by promises but must be alarmed by threats. This was a very wholesome pædagogic, which is even yet quite in place in the education of particular individuals as well as of whole nationalities, under certain circumstances. Think, for instance, of the neglected children as they are delivered to our reformatory institutions, or of rough heathen nations among whom the Christian missionaries labor. Only we must consider one thing, namely this, that the day of salvation, in which we live, must never be lost sight of, that Moses may not be again put in the place of Christ by whom grace and truth have been brought to us ( John 1:17), nor the servile spirit in place of the filial ( Romans 8:15). Unfortunately, a certain legal tendency has shown a great inclination that way, even in the evangelical church, to say nothing of Rome, whose curses, far removed from the royal power of those imprecations of the O. T. are a kind of invectives about which no one cares. The curse, to have any power, must be uttered in the name of God against unquestionable transgressions of the divine command, as conversely, the blessing only takes effect when it is bestowed upon acts well pleasing to God. According to this canonical law the curia has seldom proceeded, but often exactly in the opposite way.

2. More closely considered, the twelve curses are directed against idolatry ( Deuteronomy 27:15), contempt of parents ( Joshua 8:16), removing a neighbor’s land-mark ( Joshua 8:17), inhumanity toward the blind, strangers, orphans, widows ( Joshua 8:18-19), incest and sodomy ( Joshua 8:20-23), murder ( Joshua 8:24-25), and finally in general against the transgression of the law in any manner ( Joshua 8:26). Blessings are promised in the city and on the field ( Joshua 23:3), on all births ( Joshua 23:4), on the basket and the kneading-trough ( Joshua 23:5; Exodus 7:28; Exodus 11:36), on going out and coming in ( Deuteronomy 28:6); a blessing in particular on their arms in contest with their enemies ( Joshua 23:7), a blessing on the position of Israel among the nations ( Joshua 23:9-14). The N. T. recognizes still an entirely different blessing, the εὐλογία πνευματική in heavenly goods (ἐν το͂ις ἐπουρανίοις) in Christ ( Ephesians 1:3), the imperishable, and undefiled, and unfading inheritance which is reserved in heaven ( 1 Peter 1:3). This blessing makes rich, in the highest sense, without trouble added ( Proverbs 10:22).

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

The solemn gathering of the people on Ebal, (1) Sacrifice, (2) inscription of the law, (3) blessing and curse.—The consecrated altar.—Not only on the stones but rather on the heart should the law of God be written, Jeremiah 31:31; Jeremiah 31:34.—On the import of blessing and cursing.—Rather bless than curse, yet bless not under all circumstances.—Curse may become blessing, blessing curse.—How is it with thee, Christian congregation? Standest thou under the blessing or deservest thou the curse of thy God?—Questions to be asked, perhaps, on days of penitence and prayer.—The whole congregation should hear the word.

Starke: A Christian should not, after being delivered from need, forget gratitude also.—Not human nonsense but the holy word of God alone must be taught and preached.—My God, give us also readiness and desire to make known thy commandments, to all, friends and foes, old and young.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Joshua 8:6.—וְיָצְאוּ. The train of thought will probably be better represented by beginning the sentence anew and dropping the parenthesis, so as to connect this clause with the following. So Fay and De Wette: And they will come out after us till, etc. Zunz, however, continues from the preceding: “that they may come out,” etc.—Tr.].

FN#2 - Some Codd. read וַיָּלֶן (lodged) instead of וַיֵּלֶךְ.

FN#3 - Joshua 8:14.—So Fay, De Wette, Keil. Either way מוֹעֵד has the article. Perhaps “to the appointment,” meaning In respect either to time or to place, would represent the Hebrew with sufficient definiteness.—Tr.].

FN#4 - Joshua 8:16.—יִּבָּתְּקוּ here, “were torn away,” “completely separated.” See Exegetical Notes.—Tr.].

FN#5 - Joshua 8:21.—יַכּוּ as in the next verse—Tr.].

FN#6 - Joshua 8:24.—That Isaiah, “wherein (or whither) the men of Ai had chased the Israelites.”—Tr.]

FN#7 - Keil supposes that Joshua also, and the main army had gone from Gilgal to the neighborhood of Ai ( Joshua 8:3), that from there he sent out the ambush ( Joshua 8:3-9), and there (near Ai) he spent that night in the midst of the people ( Joshua 8:9). In Joshua 8:12-13, then he finds only a repetition with some more particularity of the statement concerning the ambush previously mentioned. The only difficulty in the way of regarding both accounts as relating to the same movement is the great difference of the numbers of the men. Here he thinks there has been simply an error of transcription, the letters representing the5,000 having been by mistake replaced in Joshua 8:3 by those denoting30,000.—Tr.]

FN#8 - But it was “all that fell that day” ( Joshua 8:25), not “the other inhabitants” that made up the12,000.—Tr.].

FN#9 - It is the same word which, Joshua 4:18, denotes the with-drawment of the priests feet from the mud of the river-bed to the dry land; “were lifted,” more exactly “plucked, up.”—Tr.].

FN#10 - Joshua 8:33.—בָּרִאשֹׁנָה qualifies rather the following clause, “to bless the people of Israel in the beginning,” or, “at first;” probably with reference to the injunction in Deuteronomy 27:2, taken literally, and so far removing the improbability that what is recorded in this paragraph should have occurred before the completion of the conquest.—Tr.].

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 8:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/joshua-8.html. 1857-84.

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