Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 8:8

Then it will be when you have seized the city, that you shall set the city on fire. You shall do it according to the word of the Lord . See, I have commanded you."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ambush;   Armies;   Joshua;   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;   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;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Word;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Ai;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Ye shall set the city on fire - Probably this means no more than that they should kindle a fire in the city, the smoke of which should be an indication that they had taken it. For as the spoils of the city were to be divided among the people, had they at this time set fire to the city itself, all the property must have been consumed, for the five thousand men did not wait to save any thing, as they immediately issued out to attack the men of Ai in the rear.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 8:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-8.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And it shall be, when ye have taken the city,.... Entered it and become masters of it:

that ye shall set the city on fire; not the whole city, only some outlying houses of it, to make a smoke which might be seen both by Israel and the men of Ai, for different purposes; for the spoil of the city was first to be taken before it was utterly burnt with fire:

according to the commandment of the Lord shall ye do; plunder the city, destroy the inhabitants of it, and then burn it:

see I have commanded you; delivered the command of the Lord unto them, and therefore were left without excuse, and could not plead ignorance; besides, he was their general, and he expected his orders to be obeyed, as they ought to have been.

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

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 8:8 And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, [that] ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the LORD shall ye do. See, I have commanded you.

Ver. 8. Ye shall set the city on fire.] Of this fire we may say, as Herodotus doth of Troy, set on fire by the Greeks, that the cinders and ashes thereof were set before the eyes of men, as an example of that sure rule. Great sins have great punishments from God; (a) like whereunto is that of Job, "Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?" [Job 31:3]

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

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ye shall set the city on fire, to wit, part of it, as a sign to their brethren of their success; for the whole city was not burnt now, but afterwards, as is said Joshua 8:28.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 8:8". 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 it shall be, when you have seized the city, you will set the city on fire. You will do according to the word of YHWH. See I have commanded you.”

Once the city was taken it was to be set on fire. This would both act as a signal and would begin the fulfilment of YHWH’s instruction to ‘devote’ the city and its citizens, but not the cattle (Joshua 8:2).

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

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

8.Ye shall set the city on fire — We are not to understand that the entire city is to be immediately destroyed by fire, for in that case there would be a loss of the promised spoil. A part of the city was set on fire as a signal, and the smoke was to signify to Joshua that it was time to stop the reigned retreat and return to the city. Afterwards the entire city was pillaged and destroyed.

According to the commandment of the Lord — This is found in the second verse, “as unto Jericho.”

See, I have commanded you — Be impressed with the fact that this is a momentous military order, and on your perfect obedience victory hinges.

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

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Fire. They were to set some houses on fire for a signal, but the whole city was not to be destroyed (Calmet) till the Israelites had collected the plunder. (Haydock)

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

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

See. Figure of speech Aeteriemos. App-6.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 8:8". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-8.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the LORD shall ye do. See, I have commanded you.
set the city
28; 6:24
See, I have
1:9,16; Judges 4:6; 2 Samuel 13:28
Reciprocal: Joshua 8:13 - on the west;  Joshua 11:12 - as Moses

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