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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 8:29

He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening; and at sunset Joshua gave command and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the city gate, and raised over it a great heap of stones that stands to this day.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The king of Ai he hanged on a tree - He had gone out at the head of his men, and had been taken prisoner, Joshua 8:23; and the battle being over, he was ordered to be hanged, probably after having been strangled, or in some way deprived of life, as in the case mentioned Joshua 10:26, for in those times it was not customary to hang people alive.

As soon as the sun was down - It was not lawful to let the bodies remain all night upon the tree. See the note on Deuteronomy 21:23. The Septuagint say the king of Ai was hanged επι ξυλον διδυμον, upon a double tree, which probably means a forked tree, or something in the form of a cross. The tree on which criminals were hanged among the Romans was called arbor infelix, and lignum infelix, the unfortunate, ill-fated, or accursed tree.

Raise thereon a great heap of stones - This was a common custom through all antiquity in every country, as we have already seen in the case of Achan, Joshua 7:20.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-8.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Compare Deuteronomy 21:22-23 notes.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-8.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide,.... By way of terror to other kings in the land of Canaan, that should refuse to submit unto him:

and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcass down from the tree; according to the law in Deuteronomy 21:23; and that the land might not be defiled:

and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city; this was done, according to Ben Gersom and Abarbinel, that it might be publicly known to the rest of the kings of the nations, that they might be afraid to fight with Israel:

and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day; as a sepulchral monument, showing that there was a person lay interred there; whether there was any inscription on the stone, showing who he was, does not appear; it looks as if it was only a rude heap of stones; and such kind of sepulchral monuments were common in former times in other countries.


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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 Rightes 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

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-8.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded m that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, [that remaineth] unto this day.

(m) According as it was commanded, (Deuteronomy 21:23).

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-8.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Joshua 8:29. The king hanged.

The king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide — that is, gibbeted. In ancient, and particularly Oriental wars, the chiefs, when taken prisoners, were usually executed. The Israelites were obliged, by the divine law, to put them to death. The execution of the king of Ai would tend to facilitate the conquest of the land, by striking terror into the other chiefs, and making it appear a judicial process, in which they were inflicting the vengeance of God upon His enemies.

take his carcass down … and raise thereon a great heap of stones — It was taken down at sunset, according to the divine command (Deuteronomy 21:23), and cast into a pit dug “at the entering of the gate,” because that was the most public place. An immense cairn was raised over his grave - an ancient usage, still existing in the East, whereby is marked the sepulchre of persons whose memory is infamous.


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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.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-8.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.

Hanged on a tree — He dealt more severely with the kings of Canaan than with the people, because the abominable wickedness of that people was not restrained and punished (as it should have been) but countenanced and encouraged by their evil examples; and because they were the principal authors of the destruction of their own people, by engaging them in an obstinate opposition against the Israelites.

Down from the tree — According to God's command in that case, Deuteronomy 21:22.

The gate of the city — Which place he chose either as most commodious, now especially when all the city within the gate was already turned in to an heap of stones and rubbish; or because this was the usual place of judgment; and therefore proper to bear the monument of God's just sentence against him, not without reflection upon that injustice which he had been guilty of in that place.


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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.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-8.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

29.And the king of Ai he hanged, etc Though he seems to have treated the king with great severity in order to satisfy the hatred of the people, I cannot doubt that he studied faithfully to execute the divine judgment. Conquerors, indeed, are wont to spare captive kings, because their rank seems to carry something venerable along with it, but the condition of kings was different among those nations in which God wished particularly to show how greatly he detested the wickedness which he had so long tolerated. For while all were doomed to destruction, the divine vengeance justly displayed itself with greater sternness and severity on the leaders, with whom the cause of destruction originated.

We may add, that the ignominious punishment inflicted on the king rendered it still less necessary to deal leniently with the common people, and thus prevented the Israelites from indulging an unseasonable mercy, which might have made them more sluggish or careless in executing the work of universal extermination.

God purposely delivered the king alive into the hand of Joshua, that his punishment might be more marked and thus better adapted for an example. Had he fallen in the conflict promiscuously with others, he would have been exempted from this special mark of infamy; but now even after his death, the divine vengeance pursues his corpse. Nay, after being hung, he is thrown forth at the gate of the city where he had sat on his throne in judgment, and a monument is erected for the purpose of perpetuating his ignominy to posterity. His burial, however, is mentioned to let us know that nothing was done through tumultuous impetuosity, as Joshua carefully observed what Moses had prescribed in the Law, (Deuteronomy 21:23) namely, that those hung on gibbets should be taken down before sunset, as a spectacle of the kind was held in abomination. And, certainly, while it is humane to bury the dead under ground, it is inhumanly cruel to cast them forth to be torn by wild beasts or birds. Therefore, that the people might not be accustomed to barbarity, God allowed criminals to be hung, provided they did not hang unburied for more than one day. And that the people might be more attentive to this duty, which otherwise might readily have been neglected, Moses declares that every one who hangs on a tree is accursed; as if he had said, that the earth is contaminated by that kind of death, if the offensive object be not immediately taken away.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-8.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 8:29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, [that remaineth] unto this day.

Ver. 29. And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree,] i.e., Either on a gallows, or cross. The Septuagint has it, upon a double tree, (a) intimating the cross, propter dua ligna quae se invicem intersecant, because of the two pieces standing across, as the threads in the woof and warp; whence the Jews at this day, in derision of Christ crucified, call him the woof and warp, (b) because these two make the figure of the cross.

That they should take his carcass down from the tree.] Ab arbore infelici, as the Latins call it. This was according to the law; [Deuteronomy 21:23] but it was otherwise in the case of Saul and his sons. [2 Samuel 21:9-10] God may dispense with his own law as he pleaseth.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-8.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 29. And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree An end worthy of a prince who, doubtless, had by his example encouraged his subjects to resist the commands of God, and so to fill up the measure of their guilt.

Until even-tide See the law, Deuteronomy 21:22-23.

The king of Ai alone survived the general slaughter, and he was only spared to meet a more ignominious doom. He is hanged in terrorem, that the kings of Canaan may hear and tremble; and on his corpse a monument is raised in the gate of the desolate city, to warn all beholders of the end of those who fight against God. Let wicked kings, who oppress God's people, still look to this heap, and remember that the same avenging God lives and reigns. The people of the city, to the number of twelve thousand, are sacrificed to the divine justice, and the spoil divided among the host, as an encouragement to them to go on boldly in fighting the Lord's battles. Note; They who endure hardships, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, shall find to their comfort, that they who do his work shall reap his wages. The spear of Joshua now, like Moses's arm, is no longer lifted up. Note; In death, the believer shall no longer need to lift up the banner of war, nor to wield the sword of the spirit; but retire, to enjoy the fruit of his victories among the saints triumphant in the camp of the Lord of Hosts.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-8.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He dealt more severely with the kings of Canaan than with the people, partly because the abominable wickedness of that people was not restrained and punished, (as it should have been,) but countenanced and encouraged by their evil examples and administrations; and partly because they were the principal authors of the destruction of their own people, by engaging them in an obstinate opposition against the Israelites.

That they should take his carcass down from the tree, according to God’s command in that case, Deuteronomy 21:22,23. He chose

the entering of the gate of the city, either as most commodious, now especially when all the city within the gate was already turned into a heap of stones and rubbish; or because this was the usual place of judgment, and therefore proper to bear the monument of God’s just sentence against him, not without reflection upon that injustice which he had been guilty of in that place.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-8.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until the evening, and at the going down of the sun Joshua gave a command, and they took his carcase down from the tree and tossed it down at the entering of the gate of the city, and raised on it a great heap of stones to this day.’

The king of Ai was hanged on a tree. He may well have been killed first, compare Joshua 10:26; Deuteronomy 21:22; 2 Samuel 4:12. This was the token of a criminal and one who was accursed (Deuteronomy 21:22). It demonstrated why Ai had been ‘devoted’, because it was a sinful city full of all the abominations of the Canaanites. But the body could not remain there after nightfall lest it bring defilement on the land (Deuteronomy 21:23) and so at the going down of the sun it was taken down and given an ignominious burial. The pile of stones heaped on it were a permanent witness to YHWH’s victory and to the end of sinners. Everyone who passed by that heap of ruins would see the pile of stones and would remember what YHWH had done for Israel and what He had done to the king of Ai.


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Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-8.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

29. The king of Ai he hanged — For the reason, see note on Joshua 8:23.

On a tree — The Septuagint says, on a double tree, which the Vulgate renders, a fork-shaped gibbet.

Until eventide — This was in accordance with the law, (Deuteronomy 21:23,) “that the land be not defiled.” Among the ancient Israelites hanging alive seems not to have been practiced, but, as Deuteronomy 21:22, implies, the victim was first slain and then hanged. Comp. Joshua 10:26; 2 Samuel 4:12.

At the entering of the gate — Probably the dead body was cast into a pit. Thus the Septuagint translates this passage.

A great heap of stones — See note on Joshua 7:26.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-8.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 8:29. The king of Ai he hanged on a tree — He dealt more severely with the kings of Canaan than with the people, because the abominable wickedness of that people was not restrained and punished, (as it ought to have been,) but countenanced and encouraged by their evil examples; and because they were the principal authors of the destruction of their own people, by engaging them in an obstinate opposition against the Israelites. Down from the tree — According to God’s command in that case, Deuteronomy 21:22. The gate of the city — Which place he chose either as most commodious, now especially, when all the city within the gate was already turned into a heap of stones and rubbish; or because this was the usual place of judgment, and therefore proper to bear the monument of God’s just sentence against him, not without reflection upon that injustice which he had been guilty of in that place.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-8.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Gibbet. Septuagint, "a cross." Some say that the king was first killed; but that assertion is destitute of proof. The corpse was taken down before night, Deuteronomy xxi. 22.


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-8.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

as soon as. Compare Deuteronomy 21:22, Deuteronomy 21:23 and Joshua 10:27, that remaineth. Figure of speech Parenthesis (relative). App-6.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-8.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.

The king of Ai he hanged on a tree - i:e., gibbetted. In ancient, and particularly Oriental wars, the chiefs, when taken prisoners, were usually executed-first slain by the sword, and then exposed on a gibbet for a time. The Israelites were obliged by the divine law (Deuteronomy 21:22, etc.) to put them to death. The execution of the king of Ai would tend to facilitate the conquest of the land, by striking terror into the other chiefs, and making it appear a judicial process, in which they were inflicting the vengeance of God upon his enemies.

Take his carcass down ... and raise thereon a great heap of stones , [ gal (Hebrew #1530), a cairn]. It was taken down at sunset, according to the divine command (Deuteronomy 21:23), and cast into a pit dug "at the entering of the gate," because that was the most public place. An immense cairn was raised over his grave-an ancient usage still existing in the East, whereby is marked the sepulchre of persons whose memory is infamous (see the note at Joshua 7:26).


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-8.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(29) And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree.—(See Note on Deuteronomy 21:22-23.) Heb., on the tree. Why “the tree”? It would appear from Joshua 8:2; Joshua 10:1, that the king of Jericho was also hanged; possibly both were hanged on the same tree, and were exhibited, each in turn, as “the curse of God.” But when we read of this treatment of the enemies of Joshua, we cannot but be reminded of the greater Joshua, who fulfilled the curse of God in His own person, and made a show of the “principalities and powers” by triumphing over them in His cross. (Comp. also Esther 9:10; Esther 9:13.)

Jericho and Ai are the only cities of Canaan of which the capture by Joshua is recorded in detail. Their capture stands in the narrative, as it was in fact, a specimen of the whole conquest of the Canaanite cities. Two campaigns in like manner are recorded as specimens of Joshua’s battles with the enemy in the open field. In the capture of Jericho and in the southern campaign, the hand of God is more especially manifested. In the capture of Ai and in the northern campaign, the labour of Israel in the conflict is more prominent. The whole work is thus presented to us in a twofold aspect, as the work of Israel and the work of God.

A great heap of stones.—Not only the death, but the burial of the king of Ai is recorded, as also the burial of the five kings in Joshua 10:27. The same thing was done to Achan (Joshua 7:26), and to Absalom (2 Samuel 18:17). This kind of burial is another form of the curse, and is a fitting sequel to the hanging of the body upon the tree.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-8.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.
the king
The kings of Canaan lay under the same curse as their subjects and probably were more deeply criminal. The reserving of the king of Ai for a solemn execution, would tend to strike terror into the other kings, contribute to the success of Israel, and give their proceedings the stamp of a judicial process, and of executing the vengeance of God upon his enemies.
10:26-28,30,33; Deuteronomy 21:22,23; Esther 7:10; Psalms 107:40; 110:5; Acts 12:23; Revelation 19:17,18
as soon
10:27
a great heap
7:26; 2 Samuel 18:17

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 8:29". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-8.html.


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