Then you shall rise up from the ambush, and seize on the city: for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.Ye shall rise up from the ambush, to wit, upon the signal given, of which Joshua 8:18. Joshua 8:18; and when their watch, they might set in a proper place, should see Israel flee, and the men of Ai at a distance from their city, pursuing, and give notice of it to the ambush:
and seize upon the city; enter into it, and take possession of it, its fortresses, and secure its passes:Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Joshua 8:1, Joshua 8:2. After the ban which rested upon the people had been wiped away, the Lord encouraged Joshua to make war upon Ai, promising him that the city should be taken, and giving him instructions what to do to ensure the success of his undertaking. With evident allusion to Joshua's despair after the failure of the first attack, the Lord commences with these words, "Fear not, neither be thou dismayed" (as in Deuteronomy 1:21; Deuteronomy 31:8), and then commands him to go against Ai with all the people of war. By "all the people of war" we are hardly to understand all the men out of the whole nation who were capable of bearing arms; but as only a third of these were contributed by the two tribes and a half to cross over into Canaan and take part in the war, the other tribes also are not likely to have levied more than a third, say about 160,000, which would form altogether an army of about 200,000 men. But even such an army as this seems out of all proportion to the size of Ai, with its 12,000 inhabitants (Joshua 8:25). On the other hand, however, we must bear in mind that the expression "all the people of war" simply denotes the whole army, in contrast with the advice of the spies that only a portion of the army should be sent (Joshua 7:3), so that we are not warranted in pressing the word "all" to absolutely;
(Note: "As we have just before seen how their hearts melted, God consulted their weakness, by putting no heavier burden upon them than they were able to bear, until they had recovered from their alarm, and hearkened readily to His commands." - Calvin.)
and also that this command of God was not given with reference to the conquest of Ai alone, but applied at the same time to the conquest of the whole land, which Joshua was not to attempt by sending out detachments only, but was to carry out with the whole of the force at his command. עלה, to go up, is applied to the advance of an army against a hostile town, independently of the question whether the town was situated upon an eminence or not, as every town that had to be taken was looked upon as a height to be scaled, though as a fact in this instance the army had really to ascend from Jericho to Ai, which was situated up in the mountains (On Joshua 8:1, see Joshua 6:2.) "His land" is the country round, which belonged to the town and was under its king.
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