And they returned to Joshua, and said to him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labor thither; for they are but few.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Make not all the people to labour thither.—In these words we see, by a sort of side-glance, the (not unnatural) comment of Israel on the seven days’ march round Jericho. They thought it useless labour, and were unable to appreciate the lesson which it taught. Again our attention is directed to the peculiar character of the warfare. It was not that kind of war which men would naturally have been disposed to wage. But the narrative is consistent throughout. (See Note on Joshua 2:1.)Joshua 8:25. It could therefore hardly muster three thousand warriors.
but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; such a number they judged were sufficient to take it:
and make not all the people to labour thither; carrying their tents, bearing their armour, and going up hill:
for they are but few; the inhabitants of Ai, men and women making but twelve thousand; Joshua 8:25.And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labor thither; for they are but few.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 3. - Make not all the people to labour thither; or, weary not the people with the journey thither. "Good successe lifts up the heart with too much confidence" (Bp. Hall). Joshua 6:19. On the conquest of the other towns of Canaan the inhabitants only were put to death, whilst the cattle and the rest of the booty fell to the conquerors, just as in the case of the conquest of the land and towns of Sihon and Og (compare Joshua 8:26-27; Joshua 10:28, with Deuteronomy 2:34-35, and Deuteronomy 3:6-7), as it was only the inhabitants of Canaan that the Lord had commanded to be put under the ban (Deuteronomy 7:2; Deuteronomy 20:16-17). In the case of Jericho, on the contrary, men, cattle, and booty were all put under the ban, and the town itself was to be laid in ashes. This was because Jericho was the first town of Canaan which the Lord had given up to His people. Israel was therefore to sacrifice it to the Lord as the first-fruits of the land, and to sanctify it to Him as a thing placed under the ban, for a sign that they had received the whole land as a fief from his hand, and had no wish to grasp as a prey that which belonged to the Lord.
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