Joshua 7:4
So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) They fled before the men of Ai.—A very natural reaction from overweening confidence to utter dismay is exhibited in this incident and its effect (Joshua 7:5), “the heart of the people melted and became as water.” The demoralisation of Israel was a suitable penalty for their assumption, quite apart from its supernatural cause. It was absolutely necessary that the character of the conquest of Canaan should be vindicated, at whatever cost.

Joshua 7:4. They fled before the men of Ai — Not having courage, it seems, to strike a stroke, a plain evidence that God had forsaken them, and an instructive event, to show them what they were when God left them; that they did not gain their victories by their own valour, but that it was God that gave the Canaanites into their hands. And may we not hence conclude, however little it may be thought of, that victory or superiority in war between different nations, depends more upon the will of God than upon any other circumstance; and that a nation that goes to battle loaded with its crimes, has but little reason to hope for final victory or lasting success!

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. 4, 5. they fled before the men of Ai—An unexpected resistance, and the loss of thirty-six of their number diffused a panic, which ended in an ignominious rout. Not having their usual courage to strike a stroke, which was a plain evidence that God had forsaken them; and a useful instruction, to show them what weak and inconsiderable creatures they were when God left them; and that it was God, not their own valour, that gave the Canaanites and their land into their hands.

So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men,.... Joshua detached from the army the largest number proposed, that there might be strength enough to take the place; and those he sent under proper officers to Ai, who went up to the very gate of the city, as appears from Joshua 7:5,

and they fled before the men of Ai; for upon their appearing at the gate of their city, they came out with all their forces against them, and as soon as they did, the children of Israel durst not face them, but without engaging with them fled at once: God having forsaken them, their courage failed, the dread of their enemies falling on them.

So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Joshua 7:4The anger of God, which Achan had brought upon Israel, was manifested to the congregation in connection with their attempt to take Ai. This town was situated near Bethaven, on the east of Bethel. Bethel was originally called Luz (see at Genesis 28:19), a place on the border of Ephraim and Benjamin (Joshua 16:2; Joshua 18:13). It is frequently mentioned, was well known at a later time as the city in which Jeroboam established the worship of the calves, and was inhabited again even after the captivity (see v. Raumer, Pal. pp. 178, 179). It has been preserved, in all probability, in the very extensive ruins called Beitin (see Robinson, Pal. ii. pp. 126ff.), about four hours' journey on horseback to the north of Jerusalem, and on the east of the road which leads from Jerusalem to Sichem (Nablus).

(Note: The statement of the Onomasticon of Eusebius s. v. Aggai' agree with this: Κεῖται Βαιθὴλ ἀπίοντων εἰς Αἰλίαν ἀπὸ Νεηεμιαήας πόλεως ἐν λαιοῖς τῆς ὁδοῦ ἀμφὶ τὸ δωδέκατον ἀπ ̓ Αἰλίας σημεῖον. Also s. v. Βαιθήλ: καὶ νῦν ἐστὶ κώμη, Αἰλίας ἄποθεν σημείοις ιβ ́ (twelve Roman miles are four or five hours' journey).)

No traces have ever been discovered of Bethaven. According to Joshua 18:12-13, the northern boundary of the tribe of Benjamin, which ran up from Jericho to the mountains on the west, passed on to the desert of Bethaven, and so onwards to Luz (Bethel). If we compare with this the statement in 1 Samuel 13:5, that the Philistines who came against Israel encamped at Michmash before (in front of) Bethaven, according to which Bethaven was on the east or north-east of Michmash (Mukhmas), the desert of Bethaven may very possibly have been nothing more than the table-land which lies between the Wady Mutyah on the north and the Wadys Fuwar and Suweinit (in Robinson's map), or Wady Tuwr (on Van de Velde's map), and stretches in a westerly direction from the rocky mountain Juruntel to Abu Sebah (Subbah). Bethaven would then lie to the south or south-east of Abu Sebah. In that case, however, Ai (Sept. Gai or Aggai, Genesis 12:8) would neither be found in the inconsiderable ruins to the south of the village of Deir Diwan, as Robinson supposes (Pal. ii. pp. 312ff.), nor on the site of the present Tell el Hajar, i.e., stone hill, three-quarters of an hour to the S.E. of Beitin, on the southern side of the deep and precipitous Wady Mutyah, as Van de Velde imagines; but in the ruins of Medinet Chai or Gai, which Krafft

(Note: Topograph. v. Jerusalem, p. ix.)

and Strauss

(Note: Sinai u. Golgoth. pp. 326-7.)

discovered on the flat surface of a mountain that slopes off towards the east, about forty minutes on the eastern side of Geba (Jeba), where "there are considerable ruins surrounded by a circular wall, whilst the place is defended on the south by the valley of Farah, and on the north by the valley of Es Suweinit, with steep shelving walls of rock" (Strauss: vid., C. Ritter Erdk. xvi. pp. 526-7). On the advice of the men who were sent out to explore the land, and who described the population on their return as small ("they are but few"), Joshua did not send the whole of the fighting men against Ai, but only about 3000 men. As there were not more than 12,000 inhabitants (Joshua 8:25), there could hardly have been 3000 fighting men, who might easily have been beaten by 3000 Israelitish warriors. But when the Israelites attacked the town they fled before its inhabitants, who slew about thirty-six men, and pursued them before the gate, i.e., outside the town, to the stone quarries, and smote them on the sloping ground. The Shebarim, from sheber, a breach or fracture, were probably stone quarries near the slope on the east of the town. Nothing more can be decided, as the country has not been thoroughly explored by travellers. On account of this repulse the people lost all their courage. "The hearts of the people melted" (see Joshua 2:15): this expression is strengthened still further by the additional clause, "and became as water."

Links
Joshua 7:4 Interlinear
Joshua 7:4 Parallel Texts


Joshua 7:4 NIV
Joshua 7:4 NLT
Joshua 7:4 ESV
Joshua 7:4 NASB
Joshua 7:4 KJV

Joshua 7:4 Bible Apps
Joshua 7:4 Parallel
Joshua 7:4 Biblia Paralela
Joshua 7:4 Chinese Bible
Joshua 7:4 French Bible
Joshua 7:4 German Bible

Bible Hub






Joshua 7:3
Top of Page
Top of Page