Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 8:13

So they stationed the people, all the army that was on the north side of the city, and its rear guard on the west side of the city, and Joshua spent that night in the midst of the valley.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ambush;   Armies;   Strategy;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Sieges;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ai;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ambush;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Shuthelah;   Vale;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ai;   Bethel;   Joshua, the Book of;   Valley;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ai;   Israel;   Joshua;   Vale, Valley;   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;  

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Joshua went down by night into the valley where He would be seen at daylight by the men of Ai, and was accompanied no doubt by a picked body of troops. The king of Ai, in the morning, would see neither the ambush in his rear, nor the whole of the great host of Israel among the hills away to the north on his left; but supposing, as it appears, that the Israelites before him were a body detached as on the former occasion to assail his city, he sallied out promptly to attack them.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 8:13". "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 when they had set the people,.... In battle array, as in 1 Kings 20:12; that is, Joshua and the officers of the army:

even all the host that was on the north of the city; where Joshua and the main army were:

and the liers in wait on the west of the city: both the first and second ambush; when all, were prepared and got ready by their several officers, to act the part they were to do:

Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley; according to Ben Gersom, to see whether the guards or sentinels which were placed there were awake or asleep, lest the men of Ai should come suddenly upon them and smite them; but perhaps it might be to pray and meditate.

Copyright Statement
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 8:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-8.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And when they had set the people, [even] all the host that [was] on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the f midst of the valley.

(f) To the intent that they in the city more easily discover his army.
Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 8:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-8.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley — The deep and steep-sided glen to the north of Tell-el-hajar, into which one looks down from the tell, fully agrees with this account [Van De Velde]. Joshua himself took up his position on the north side of “the ravine” - the deep chasm of the wady El-Murogede; “that night” - means, while it was dark, probably after midnight, or very early in the morning (John 20:1). The king of Ai, in the early dawn, rouses his slumbering subjects and makes a hasty sally with all his people who were capable of bearing arms, once more to surprise and annihilate them.

Copyright Statement
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 8:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-8.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.

Joshua went — Namely, accompanied with a small part of the host now mentioned, that is, very early in the morning, when it was yet dark, as is said in a like case, John 20:1, whence it is here called night, though it was early in the morning, as is said, Joshua 8:10, for it seems most probable, that all was done in one night's space, and in this manner; Joshua sends away the ambush by night, verse3, and lodgeth that night with twenty-five thousand men, verse9, not far from the city. But not able or willing to sleep all night, he rises very early, verse10, and numbers his men, which by the help of the several officers was quietly done, and so immediately leads them towards Ai; and while it was yet duskish or night, he goes into the midst of the valley, verse13, and when the day dawns he is discovered by the king and people of Ai, who thereupon rose up early to fight with them, verse14.

The valley — Which was near the city, thereby to allure them forth.

Copyright Statement
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 8:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-8.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 8:13 And when they had set the people, [even] all the host that [was] on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.

Ver. 13. Joshua went that night.] That is, very early in the morning, [Joshua 8:9-10] with a small company, that he might provoke the citizens to sally out, which they did the rather, because they saw the Israelites in the midst of the valley, iniquo loco, in a place of disadvantage.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-8.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 13. And when they had set the people, &c.—on the north Or, on the north-east. The meaning here is, that the whole army of Israel posted itself to the north or northeast of Ai, in the mountains, while the thirty or thirty-five thousand men in ambush turned behind the city to the west, and all these troops remained in this position the rest of the day and the night following: or else, this verse must be considered to express briefly what follows; namely, that Joshua, who went in the night from his camp at Gilgal at the head of thirty thousand men, took his station to the north of Ai, in a valley, where he lay under covert; that the skirt of one of his wings turned off west of the place, and that from thence he sent the five thousand, who also went and lay in ambush on the west, but lower down, between Ai and Beth-el. Now we may very well suppose, that all this was done in one night. Joshua went out in the evening; when he came to the place where he had determined to stop, and whence he detached the five thousand men, it was dark night; but after taking some little repose, he renewed his march before day, and, the day breaking, the enemy perceived and attacked them.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 8:13". 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

To wit, accompanied with a small part of the host now mentioned, i.e. very early in the morning, when it was yet dark, as is said in a like case, John 20:1, whence it is here called night, though it was early in the morning, as is said Joshua 8:10; for it seems most probable that all was done in one night’s space, and in this manner: Joshua sends away the ambush by night, Joshua 8:3, and lodgeth that night with twenty-five thousand men, Joshua 8:9, not far from the city. But not able nor willing to sleep all night, he rises very early, Joshua 8:10, and numbers his men, which by the help of the several officers was quickly done, and so immediately leads them towards Ai; and while it was yet duskish or night, he goes into the midst of the valley, Joshua 8:13; and when the day dawns he is discovered by the king and people of Ai, who thereupon rose up early to fight with them, Joshua 8:14. Though others conceive this was the second night, and so the ambush had lain hid a night and a day together. But then there might be danger of their being discovered, although that danger may seem to be the less, because Ai might be shut up, that none might go out nor come in, but by order, and upon necessity, because of the nearness of their enemies, as Jericho formerly was for the same reason, Joshua 6:1. Into the midst of the valley; which was near the city, thereby to allure them forth.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 8:13". 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 they set the people, all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait (literally ‘their heel’) who were on the west of the city. And Joshua moved that night into the midst of the valley.’

This probably refers to the officers putting the main army in order ready for battle, and the preparing of the group of five eleph. It is clear that we are to see the thirty eleph as remaining in secret and therefore not at this stage involved in operations. Then the main army moved down into the valley during the night. Their ‘heel’, the five eleph, were set by their officers for whatever was to be their part in the battle. ‘Heel’ may indicate a rearguard, or those who would provide reinforcements when needed.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 8:13". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-8.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13.Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley — That is, the valley on the north of Ai. Joshua 8:11, note. This movement was executed very late in the night, probably just before the dawn of day, when he was descried by the watchmen approaching the city in front.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 8:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-8.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Night. He spent the forepart of it at Galgal, to prevent any suspicion, ver. 9. But setting out very early, (ver. 10,) he arrived at Hai before sun-rise.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 8:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

went. Some codices, with three early printed editions, read "lodged in".

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 8:13". "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 when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.

Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley. The deep and steep-sided glen to the north of Tell-el-hajar, into which one looks down from the Tell, fully agrees with this account (Van de Velde). Joshua himself took up his position on the north side of 'the ravine'-the deep chasm of the Wady El-Murogede: "that night" means, while it was dark, probably after midnight, or very early in the morning (John 20:1). The king of Ai, in the early dawn, rouses his slumbering subjects, and makes a hasty sally with all his people who were capable of bearing arms, once more to surprise and annihilate them.

Copyright Statement
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 8:13". "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

(13) Joshua went that night into the. . . . valley (Emek).—Not the ravine (or Gai) before mentioned (Joshua 8:11), but a wider and more open part of the valley, probably a little further to the south;· the object being to draw the men of Ai into a pursuit in the direction of the road to Gilgal.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.
liers in wait
Heb. lying in wait.
on the west
8,12
Reciprocal: Judges 9:25 - General

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 8:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-8.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

13.Joshua went that night, etc It is not probable that all were called out from the camp, but the army was composed of those who were more accustomed to war. That it was sufficiently numerous appears from the fact, that five thousand were withdrawn from it for ambuscade. At first thirty-five thousand appear to be enumerated, but it is clear from the context that the number was not so great. I am rather inclined to conjecture that thirty thousand were led out for open fight, and that five thousand were specially set apart for an ambuscade. Joshua hastens to execute the task assigned to him, commencing his march in the morning, and in this haste we see how effectual the promise had proved. Had not the mind of all been freed from fear he never could have found them so prompt to obey.

Apparently, indeed, little prudence is shown in sending so large a body to proceed by hidden paths to a place suitable for ambuscade. For with whatever silence and composure they might proceed, the mere movement of their feet must have caused a considerable noise. Should any one say that there was nobody to meet them, as all the inhabitants of the district had deserted the fields and taken refuge in the city, we will find it mentioned shortly after, that before the Israelites came near to the city their arrival was known by the king of Ai; and this could scarcely have been without scouts. But granting that they met no one in the fields, it was certainly a difficult matter to pass by, to select a suitable place during night for an ambuscade, and to take possession of it without giving some indication of their presence. With regard to the procedure of Joshua, though he might see that the business could be accomplished by a smaller force, he seems to have been compelled by the recent trepidation of the people to be very careful not to engage them in any enterprise of danger. For had only a few of the army been dispatched they would perhaps have declined a part by which they were to be particularly exposed.

The Lord meanwhile displays the greatest indulgence to his people in delivering up an enemy that was to be so easily conquered. His wonderful favor especially appears in blinding all of them, so that they have no suspicion of the ambuscade. I have no doubt that when it is said they knew not of it, the writer of the history means to draw attention to the rare and extraordinary kindness of God in so covering, as it were, with the shadow of his hand, first, the thirty thousand who accompanied Joshua, and then the five thousand, that they all escaped the notice of the enemy. When mention is now made of five thousand, I do not understand it to mean that Joshua furnished a new ambuscade, as if the number, already excessive, were not sufficient, but that the writer now merely shows how the thirty-five thousand whom Joshua had armed were distributed. For to what end would so small a reinforcement have been given to so great a multitude? Besides, the place where they are ordered to halt is the same as that which had been previously pointed out; this could not apply to two separate bodies of troops.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-8.html. 1840-57.