Joshua 8:6
(For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
8:3-22 Observe Joshua's conduct and prudence. Those that would maintain their spiritual conflicts must not love their ease. Probably he went into the valley alone, to pray to God for a blessing, and he did not seek in vain. He never drew back till the work was done. Those that have stretched out their hands against their spiritual enemies, must never draw them back.Thirty thousand men - comparing Joshua 8:3 and Joshua 8:12 ("five thousand men"), there is probably a mistake in the numbers of this verse, where an early copyist may have written the sign for 30,000 instead of that for 5,000.

Sent them away by night - The selected 5,000 would accordingly post themselves in the main ravine between Ai and Bethel in the night and early morning. The neighhorhood in which Ai was situated is described as "a wild entanglement of hill and valley;" and amidst its recesses the detachment could easily shelter itself from observation until Joshua's other measures were taken.

4. behind the city—is rendered (Jos 8:9), "on the west side of Ai." No text from Poole on this verse.

For they will come out after us,.... Of which there could be no doubt, when they should see them run from them:

till we have drawn them from the city; some distance from it, that they could not return soon enough to save it from the ambush, or prevent their entrance into it, and burning it:

for they will say, they will flee before us, as at the first; they run away as they did before, and let us pursue them and smite them as we did then:

therefore we will flee before them; to draw them out of the city, and make your way easy to get into it,

(For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 6. - For they will come. Literally, "and they will come." We have drawn. Literally, caused to pluck away (see note on Joshua 4:18). Luther translates well by reissen, and the LXX. by ἀποσπάσωμεν. Joshua 8:6Accordingly Joshua set out with all the people of war against Ai, and selected 30,000 brave men, and sent them out in the night, with instructions to station themselves as an ambuscade behind the town, and at no great distance from it. As the distance from Gilgal to Ai was about fifteen miles, and the road runs pretty straight in a north-westerly direction from Jericho through the Wady Faran, the detachment sent forward might easily accomplish the distance in a night, so as to arrive on the western side of Ai before the break of day. They were then to hold themselves in readiness to fight. He (Joshua) himself would approach the town with the people of war that remained with him; and if the inhabitants of Ai should come out against him as they did before, they would flee before them till they had drawn them quite away from their town (Joshua 8:5). This was to be expected; "for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: and we will flee before them" (Joshua 8:6). When this was done, the warriors were to come forth from their ambush, fall upon the town, and set it on fire (Joshua 8:7, Joshua 8:8). Having been sent away with these instructions, the 30,000 men went into ambush, and posted themselves "between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai" (Joshua 8:9), i.e., according to Strauss, in the Wady es Suweinit, to the north-west of Ai, where it forms almost a perpendicular wall, near to which the ruins of Chai are to be found, though "not near enough to the rocky wady for it to be possible to look down its almost perpendicular wall" (Ritter, Erdk. xvi. p. 528). Joshua remained for the night in the midst of the people, i.e., in the camp of that portion of the army that had gone with him towards Ai; not in Gilgal, as Knobel supposes.
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