Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 8:15

Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
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 - Arms;   Lot (1);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ai;   Bethel;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ai;   Israel;   Joshua;   Make;   War;   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;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Make;   Natural Features;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ai;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Wilderness;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them,.... Or smitten, as some of them might be in the pursuit:

and fled by the way of the wilderness; not a barren desert, but, according to Kimchi and Ben Melech, a place for the pasture of cattle; though perhaps it is the same with the wilderness of Bethaven, Joshua 18:12. EpiphaniusF23Contr. Haeres. l. 1. tom. 2. makes mention of the wilderness of Bethel and Ephraim as near Jericho.

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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 8:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-8.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Joshua and all Israel g made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.

(g) As they who pretended to flee for fear.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 8:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-8.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.

Made as if they were beaten — That is, fled from them, as it were for fear of a second blow.

The wilderness — Which lay between Ai and Jericho, whither they now seemed to flee.

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 8:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-8.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 8:15 And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.

Ver. 15. Made as if they were beaten.] See Joshua 8:2. So Solomon made as if he would divide the living child. Our Saviour "made as if he would have gone farther." [Luke 24:28 Genesis 19:2 1 Kings 3:24]

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-8.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 15. And Joshua and all Israel, &c.— As soon as the king of Ai appeared in the field, Joshua executed his plan; he caused his men to give ground, who fled (as Mr. Chais renders it) towards the wilderness, or to the plain which separated Ai from Jericho, as if afraid to face the garrison.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 8:15". 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

Made as if they were beaten before them, i.e. fled from them, as it were for fear of a second blow; and peradventure some of them might be wounded, though none were killed, and might make that the pretence of their fleeing away.

The wilderness lay between Ai and Jericho, whither they now seemed to flee.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 8:15". 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 and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.’

Joshua wanted them well away from their strongpoint and so he and the army pretended to be beaten, probably after a minor skirmish, and retreated into barren land, probably the rugged territory between Ai and the Jordan valley. The text reads ‘they were beaten before them.’ This was the appearance of what happened from the point of view of the men of Ai. This probably took the king of Ai by surprise. He had expected stronger resistance. But it made him recognise that the people he was attacking had no stomach for a fight. It was a repeat of what had happened before all over again.

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Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 8:15". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-8.html. 2013.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Afraid. Hebrew, "made as if they were beaten before them, and fled." Thus they drew on the king of Hai, so as to leave the ambush in his rear. (Calmet)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 8:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

made as if they were beaten. The only form of the verb in the Hebrew Bible.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 8:15". "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 and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.

Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them. The pretended flight in the direction of the wilderness - i:e., southeast, into the Ghor, the desert valley of the Jordan-decoyed all the inhabitants of Ai out of the city, while the people of Beth-el hastened to participate in the expected victory. It is supposed by some, from "the city," and not 'cities,' being spoken of, that the effective force of Beth-el had been concentrated in Ai, as the two places were closely contiguous, and Ai the larger of the two (see the note at Joshua 12:16). It may be remarked, however, that the words or "Beth-el" are not in the Septuagint, and are rejected by some eminent scholars, as an interpolation not found in the most ancient manuscripts.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 8:15". "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 and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
by the way
18:12
Reciprocal: Joshua 16:1 - the water;  Judges 20:32 - Let us flee;  Judges 20:36 - for the men

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 8:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-8.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

15.And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten, etc This is another stratagem. By pretending flight they draw off the enemy to a distance, leaving them no retreat afterwards into the city, which was in flames before they suspected that any disaster was to be apprehended in their rear. Hence, while the king of Ai pursues the Israelites as vanquished, the part of the army which lay hid towards Bethel had sufficient time to take the city, and make it too late for the inhabitants to perceive that they were utterly undone. For after they had been already repulsed, and were everywhere slaughtered, they were overwhelmed with despair on beholding the flames of the city, and so completely surrounded that not an individual could escape.

The question here asked by some, as to whether it is lawful to overcome an enemy by wiles and stratagem, originates in gross ignorance. First, it is certain that wars are carried on not merely by striking blows; for those are considered the best commanders who accomplish more by art and counsel than by mere violence; and secondly, the longer any one has served so as to acquire experience, the better soldier he makes. If war, then, is lawful, it is beyond all controversy that the usual methods of conquering may be lawfully employed, provided always that there be no violation of faith once pledged either by truce or in any other way.

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Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-8.html. 1840-57.