Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 8:12

And he took about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ambush;   Armies;   Strategy;   Thompson Chain Reference - Ambush;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Sieges;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ai;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ambush;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Vale;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ai;   Bethel;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ai;   Israel;   Joshua;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ai, Hai ;   Ambush, Ambushment;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ai;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   War;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Egypt;   Targum;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ai;   Battle system of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Rime;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He took - Rather “had taken;” the words refer to the ambuscade which Joshua had detached during the previous night.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-8.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush,.... This was another ambush, as both Jarchi and Kimchi observe; and the latter adds, perhaps he set them nearer the city than the former; though some are of opinion that these are the same ambush spoken of, whose number is here given, being set on the same side of the city; and they suppose that Joshua had with him but thirty thousand men in all, five thousand of which he sent to lie in ambush, and the other twenty five thousand remained with him; but it seems clear that all the men of war were to be taken, and were taken by them, and that out of them thirty thousand were sent by him to lie in wait at first, and now five thousand more:

between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city; and though they were on the same side of the city with the first and larger ambush, yet, as Abarbinel observes, they might be set nearer the city and to the army; and he supposes the first ambush was to take the city, and the second little ambush, as he calls it, was placed, that when the men of the city came out, they might make a noise and a stir, and skirmish with them, that so they might not come upon the camp suddenly.

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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 8:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-8.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And he took about five thousand men, e and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.

(e) He sent these few, that the others who lay in ambush might not be discovered.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-8.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.

And he took — Or rather, but he had taken, namely, out of the said number of thirty thousand, for this is added by way of recapitulation and farther explication of what is said in general, verse9.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-8.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 8:12 And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.

Ver. 12. Between Bethel and Ai.] Those two confederate cities, in woods and coverts, probably in the wilderness of Bethaven. [Joshua 18:12-13]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-8.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 12. And he took about five thousand men Besides the thirty thousand men whom Joshua had sent off, he detached five thousand more, either to inforce the former, or to guard the defiles, and shut up passages against those who fled. See Le Clerc and Calmet. We cannot help owning, however, that all this is far from being clear. It is reckoned, that six hundred thousand fighting men would only have occasioned perplexity on this occasion; that Joshua took only thirty thousand chosen men for this expedition; that of these thirty thousand men he detached five thousand, who, making a turn from the north to the south, by way of the east, posted themselves in the nighttime as near as possible to Ai, while the general passed that night with the twenty-five thousand men remaining, and did not advance till the morrow. Or else, some conjecture, with Calvin, that the five thousand men, who had lain in ambush under favour of the dark, formed a detachment separate from that of the thirty thousand men, who did not march till the morrow. If these accounts do not appear so wholly conformable to the text as the other, they seem to have greatly the advantage in point of arrangement. It is left to the reader to form his judgment of them. We shall only observe, that an ambuscade of thirty thousand men must have been very strong; and that the reason alleged by Bishop Patrick, to prove that the whole army of Israel marched before Ai, appears not to be substantial. "It was," says he, "in order that all the Israelites might partake of the spoil:" but then this learned prelate had forgotten what he judiciously observes elsewhere; (see Numbers 31:25; Numbers 31:54.) namely, that those who remained in the camp had a suitable proportion of the booty, as well as those who were commanded on an expedition; and that God himself had ordered matters in this manner.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". 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

And he took, or, rather, but he had taken, to wit, out of the said number of thirty thousand, for this is added by way of recapitulation and further explication of what is said in general, Joshua 8:9.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". 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 he took about five thousand men, and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.’

These were probably a further precaution rather than to increase the previous ambush. It may well have been in case of an attack from Bethel because he had recognised more clearly the threat posed by it. What he had probably not realised was that armed men from Bethel had already reinforced Ai (Joshua 8:17). (Troop deployments are often a mystery to readers when viewed without a recognition of all the factors).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-8.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12.And he took about five thousand — The Hebrew has no separate form for the pluperfect tense, hence we are justified in rendering an indefinite past tense by the pluperfect when the context requires it, as the Vulgate has rendered this — had taken and had set.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". "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 8:12. He took about five thousand men and set them to lie in ambush — Here commentators are divided. The learned Bishop Patrick, with many others, (see Le Clerc and Calmet,) has given it as his opinion, that, besides the thirty thousand whom Joshua had sent off before to lie in ambush, (Joshua 8:3-4,) he now detached five thousand more to guard the roads, and intercept such as might endeavour to save themselves by flight; or to strengthen those that were first sent and that he appeared in arms against the city; with his whole force, according to God’s express command, (Joshua 8:1,) to take all the people of war with him. And certainly the letter of the text favours this interpretation. Many, however, think, that all the people were taken only to encamp near the city, and that out of them Joshua chose thirty thousand to be employed in the action, out of which he detached five thousand to lie in ambush, which were as many, they think, as could be supposed to march without being discovered, and then, that with the remaining twenty-five thousand he made the open attack. Or else that the attack was made with the thirty thousand, and that the five thousand formed a separate detachment drawn from the rest of the people. The matter is not perfectly clear, or free from difficulty, either way; and the reader is left to form his own judgment of it from the statement now given.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Five thousand. These were part of the 30,000 mentioned above, ver. 3 . (Challoner) --- Josue had given orders to have them placed in ambush apart; (Calmet) unless, perhaps, he places these himself in some secret place. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

of the city. Another school of Massorites read "of Ai", with many codices and Aramaic.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". "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 he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-8.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
five thousand
2,3
of the city
or, of Ai.
Reciprocal: Joshua 8:1 - take all;  Joshua 8:9 - between;  Joshua 8:13 - on the west;  Judges 9:25 - General

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 8:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-8.html.