Joshua 7:3
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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(3) 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.)

7:1-5 Achan took some of the spoil of Jericho. The love of the world is that root of bitterness, which of all others is most hardly rooted up. We should take heed of sin ourselves, lest by it many be defiled or disquieted, Heb 12:15; and take heed of having fellowship with sinners, lest we share their guilt. It concerns us to watch over one another to prevent sin, because others' sins may be to our damage. The easy conquest of Jericho excited contempt of the enemy, and a disposition to expect the Lord to do all for them without their using proper means. Thus men abuse the doctrines of Divine grace, and the promises of God, into excuses for their own sloth and self-indulgence. We are to work out our own salvation, though it is God that works in us. It was a dear victory to the Canaanites, whereby Israel was awakened and reformed, and reconciled to their God, and the people of Canaan hardened to their own ruin.The total population of Ai was about twelve thousand Joshua 8:25. It could therefore hardly muster three thousand warriors. 3. Let not all the people go up, … for they are but few—As the population of Ai amounted to twelve thousand (Jos 8:25), it was a considerable town; though in the hasty and distant reconnoitre made by the spies, it probably appeared small in comparison to Jericho; and this may have been the reason for their proposing so small a detachment to capture it. This was done by the wise contrivance of Divine Providence, that their sin might be punished, and they awakened and reformed, with as little hazard, and mischief, and reproach as might be; for if the defeat of these caused so great a consternation in Joshua, it is easy to guess what dread, and confusion, and despair it would have caused in the people, if a great host had been defeated. And they returned unto Joshua, and said unto him, let not all the people go up,.... After they had reconnoitred the place, they came back to their general, and gave it as their opinion, that there was no need for the whole army to go up against the city:

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.
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). After man and beast had been put to death, and Rahab and her relatives had been placed in security, the Israelites set the town on fire with everything in it, excepting the metals, which were taken to the treasury of the tabernacle, as had been commanded in 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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