Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 8:10

Now Joshua rose early in the morning and mustered the people, and he went up with the elders of Israel before the people to Ai.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ambush;   Armies;   Government;   Strategy;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Sieges;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ai;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ambush;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ai;   Bethel;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ai;   Fortification and Siegecraft;   Israel;   Joshua;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ai, Hai ;   Ambush, Ambushment;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ai;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ai;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Numbered the people - העם את ויפקד vaiyiphkod eth haam, he visited the people - inspected their ranks to see whether every thing was in perfect readiness, that in case they should be needed they might be led on to the attack. There is no doubt that Joshua had left the rest of the army so disposed and ready, part of it having probably advanced towards Ai, that he might easily receive reinforcements in case of any disaster to the thirty thousand which had advanced against the city; and this consideration will serve to remove a part of the difficulty which arises from Joshua 8:1, Joshua 8:3, Joshua 8:10, collated with other parts of this chapter. Had he brought all his troops in sight, the people of Ai would not have attempted to risk a battle, and would consequently have kept within their walls, from which it was the object of Joshua to decoy them. See the preceding observations, particularly Joshua 8:10-12; (note).

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-8.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Numbered the people - Rather, perhaps, “mustered” or “arrayed” them for their march. The distance from the camp at Gilgal to Ai is about fifteen miles. In the evening of the day after the despatch of the 5,000 liers in wait, Joshua and the host might make their appearance in the neighborhood of the city.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-8.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And Joshua arose up early in the morning, and mustered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai. And all the people, even the men of war that were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came before the city, and camped on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley between him and Ai. And he took about 5,000 men, and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city. So they set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers-in-wait that were on the west side of the city; and Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley. And it came to pass, that 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 the time appointed before the Arabah; but he knew not that there was an ambush against him behind the city. And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness. And all the people that were in the city were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city. And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel."

This passage clears up the mystery of Bethel absolutely. Bethel and Ai were ONE, having the same king, and all of the men of BOTH places engaged in the battle here, and ALL were put to death! Also, it may be doubted that Ai itself was anything more than the principal fortress of Bethel. We have no idea why the name Ai received so much more emphasis here. "The references to Bethel here are mysterious and cannot be fully explained."[16] The "king of Ai" was also the "king of Bethel." This, if not proved, is certainly made likely by the fact that the Bible flatly declares that Joshua slew the king of Bethel (Joshua 12:16), and if the occasion discussed here is not when that happened, when was it? Could there ever have been a better time for Joshua to destroy Bethel, than this occasion, when not a single man had been left alive? To understand Ai and Bethel as "A city" instead of "TWO cities" clears up everything. It explains why "not a man was left in Ai or Bethel that went not after Israel" (Joshua 8:17).

In this connection, we begin to get a glimpse of what kind of book Joshua really is. It is not a detailed record of everything that happened in the conquest. The events narrated are given for specific reasons, the religious meaning of each one being the principal reason for its inclusion. We became familiar with this characteristic of the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Numbers especially, where the history of an entire forty years for a whole nation covers only a few pages.

Before leaving this passage, we wish to express appreciation for Lilley who rejected the common critical claim of multiple sources here, saying that the problem derives from the type of "narrative method rather than sources."[17]

The dramatic picture here is that of the total armies of both Bethel and Ai rushing down the steppes to destroy what they have mistakenly supposed to be the defeated Israelites. What a foolish, headlong rush into disaster! Men wonder how such a thing could happen, but it has happened often. Look at the example of Pharaoh rushing into the sea-bed itself where a quarter of a million of his best troops along with the Pharaoh himself went "gurgling down." We must go a little further and affirm with Pink that the same thing is also going on right this very moment in sinners who have not turned to the Lord:

"Before God destroys the wicked, he gives them a spirit of madness. The rebel against God must not suppose that his previous immunity from Divine punishment has endowed him with security. They are most in danger who are least aware of it. The king of Ai was blind to his own interests; is not the sinner the same? The king failed to take the most obvious precautions. Are not sinners also guilty of the same folly, hastening unto eternity utterly unprepared to meet God?"[18]

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/joshua-8.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people,.... To see if there were any wanting, and to put them in proper order for their march:

and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai; these elders were either the seventy elders who went with Joshua as council to him; or it may be rather they were inferior officers, who went at the head of their respective corps under them.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-8.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and d numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.

(d) That is, viewed or mustered them and set them in array.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-8.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

numbered the people — that is, the detachment of liers-in-wait; he did this, to be furnished with clear evidence afterwards, that the work had been done without any loss of men, whereby the people‘s confidence in God would be strengthened and encouragement given them to prosecute the war of invasion with vigor.

he and the elders of Israel — the chief magistrates and rulers, whose presence and official authority were necessary to ensure that the cattle and spoil of the city might be equally divided between the combatants and the rest of the people (Numbers 31:27) - a military rule in Israel, that would have been very liable to be infringed, if an excited soldiery, eager for booty, had been left to their own will.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-8.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.

The people — Heb. that people, not all the people of Israel; which was needless, and required more time than could now be spared; but the rest of that host of thirty thousand, whereof five thousand were sent away; the remainder are numbered, to see whether some of them had not withdrawn themselves, taking the advantage of the night, and of the design of laying an ambush; and that it might be evident, this work was done without any loss of men, whereby they might be encouraged to trust in God, and to proceed resolutely in their work.

The elders of Israel — The chief magistrates and rulers of Israel under Joshua; and these, I suppose, went with Joshua, and with the army, to take care that the cattle and the spoil of the city, which was given by God to all Israel for a prey, verse2,27, might be justly and equally divided between those that went to battle, and the rest of the people.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-8.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 8:10 And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.

Ver. 10. And Joshua rose up early in the morning.] He is much noted for his early rising: his vigilancy being equal to his valour.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-8.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 10. Joshua—numbered the people That is to say, he ordered the officers to see if all their men were ready, and to begin their march by day-break, accompanied by the heads of their tribes, or judges of the people, who served him as his council of war, and were authorized, by their calling, to assist him with their advice when necessary.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-8.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The people, Heb. that people, not all the people of Israel, which was needless, and required more time than could now be spared; but the rest of that host of thirty thousand, whereof five thousand were sent away; and now the remainder are numbered, partly to see whether some of them had not withdrawn themselves, taking the advantage of the night, and of the design of laying an ambush; and partly that it might be evident that this work was done without any loss of men, and thereby they might be encouraged to trust in God, and to proceed vigorously and resolutely in their work.

The elders of Israel; either,

1. The military elders, the chief commanders of his army. But they seem to be included in the thirty thousand, Joshua 8:3, which are supposed to be furnished and led by their several commanders; and such persons are scarce ever called the

elders of Israel. Or rather,

2. The chief magistrates and rulers of Israel under Joshua, who are commonly so called; and these, I suppose, went with Joshua, and with the army, to take care that the cattle and the spoil of the city, which was given by God to all Israel for a prey, Joshua 8:2,27, might be justly and equally divided between those that went to battle, and the rest of the people, according to the example and prescript, Numbers 31:27; and that they who were present and assistant in the taking of that city, might not engross the whole to themselves, as is usual for soldiers in those cases to do.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-8.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and mustered (numbered) the people, and he and the elders of Israel went up before the people to Ai.’

As usual he rose early. There was a hard climb and they wanted an early start. Then the troops were mustered and set in their units. Then Joshua and his captains led the way up to a point near Ai, followed by their troops. ‘People’ here clearly means men of war (Joshua 8:11).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-8.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10.And Joshua rose up early — This must be regarded as a repetition of Joshua 8:3, after the custom of oriental historians.

Numbered the people — Reviewed the troops (thirty thousand) with whom he intended to capture Ai.

Went up — From the Ghor, or Jordanic Valley, to the interior of Palestine. there is a steep ascent. Compare note on Luke 10:30. Ai was distant from Jericho about fifteen English miles.

And the elders — As a council of war. Joshua’s impetuous and rapid movements were attended by a wise senate.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-8.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 8:10. Joshua — numbered the people — Not all the people, which was needless, and would now have required more time than could have been spared, but that part of the army which he designed to take with him. And this, it seems, he did, that it might be evident the conquest of Ai was effected without any loss of men, and that they might be encouraged hereby to trust in God, and proceed resolutely and boldly in the work of subduing the Canaanites. The elders of Israel — Their chief magistrates and rulers under Joshua. These, it is probable, went with Joshua and the army to take care that the cattle and the spoil of the city, which were given by God to all Israel for a prey, might be justly and equally divided between those that went to battle, and the rest of the people.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ancients, who had a command in the army, and assisted Josue with their counsel. They gave him an account of the state and numbers of the army. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

numbered = inspected or mustered.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-8.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.

Joshua ... numbered the people - i:e., the detachment of liers-in-wait; he did this, to be furnished with clear evidence afterward, that the work had been done without any loss of men, whereby the people's confidence in God would be strengthened, and encouragement given them to prosecute the war of invasion with vigour.

He and the elders of Israel - the chief magistrates and rulers, whose presence and official authority were necessary to ensure that the cattle and spoil of the city might be equally divided between the combatants and the rest of the people (Numbers 31:27) - a military rule in Israel that would have been very liable to be infringed if an excited soldiery, eager for booty, had been left to their own will.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-8.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
rose up
3:1; 6:12; 7:16; Psalms 119:60
Reciprocal: 2 Samuel 18:1 - numbered

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 8:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-8.html.