Joshua 8:1
And the LORD said to Joshua, Fear not, neither be you dismayed: take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
VIII.

(1) Fear not, neither be thou dismayed.—See Joshua 1:9; Joshua 10:25. In Joshua 1:9, “For the Lord thy God is with thee.” These words indicate the return of Jehovah to the host of Israel, for the prosecution of the war.

Take all the people.—Not merely “two or three thousand,” as before.

Ai.—In Hebrew, Hâ-ai. Ai is intended for one syllable, not two as often sounded in English. It means “the heap” (of ruins apparently). In Joshua 8:28 we read that Joshua made it “an heap for ever” (Tel-ôlâm in Hebrew). Thus its first and last names agree. It is remarked that whereas Palestine is full of “Tels” with other names appended to them (as Tell-es Sultan, and some ten others near Jericho alone), the place called et-Tel by Bethel has no other appendage. It is not the heap of anything, but simply the heap, to this day; and this fact, which is apparently without parallel, seems to fix the site of Ai at et-Tel. (See Note on Joshua 7:2.)

And his land.—The capture of Ai was not simply the capture of a town or fortress, but of the chief town of a territory, the extent of which we are not told. If we knew the circumstances of the time more precisely, we might apprehend the strategical reasons which made it desirable to obtain possession of Ai in particular at this stage of the campaign.

Joshua 8:1. And the Lord said unto Joshua — Who, it is probable, now consulted God about the progress of the war, which he had omitted to do before, thinking himself, it seems, sufficiently authorised to proceed according to his own judgment, by what God had often said to him, and his success against Jericho. Take all the people of war with thee — This order may seem strange, since the people themselves thought that two or three thousand men would be sufficient, if God were with and not against them. But God would have them all to share in the spoil of Ai, the first spoil of the country, that they might be encouraged to go on with the work, and that they, who had obeyed him in abstaining from taking any thing in Jericho, might now be rewarded by the prey of the city.8:1,2 When we have faithfully put away sin, that accursed thing which separates between us and God, then, and not till then, we may look to hear from God to our comfort; and God's directing us how to go on in our Christian work and warfare, is a good evidence of his being reconciled to us. God encouraged Joshua to proceed. At Ai the spoil was not to be destroyed as at Jericho, therefore there was no danger of the people's committing such a trespass. Achan, who caught at forbidden spoil, lost that, and life, and all; but the rest of the people, who kept themselves from the accursed thing, were quickly rewarded for their obedience. The way to have the comfort of what God allows us, is, to keep from what he forbids us. No man shall lose by self-denial.God rouses Joshua from his dejection Joshua 7:6, and bids him lmarch against Ai with the main body. Though Ai was but a small city (compare Joshua 8:25 and Joshua 7:3), yet the discouragement of the people rendered it inexpedient to send a second time a mere detachment against it; and the people of Ai had, as appears from Joshua 8:17, help from Bethel, and possibly from other places also. It was fitting too that all the people should witness with their own eyes the happy consequences of having faithfully put away the sin which had separated them from God. CHAPTER 8

Jos 8:1-28. God Encourages Joshua.

1, 2. The Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not—By the execution of justice on Achan, the divine wrath was averted, the Israelites were reassured, defeat was succeeded by victory; and thus the case of Ai affords a striking example of God's disciplinary government, in which chastisements for sin are often made to pave the way for the bestowment of those temporal benefits, which, on account of sin, have been withdrawn, or withheld for a time. Joshua, who had been greatly dispirited, was encouraged by a special communication promising him (see Jos 1:6; De 31:6-8) success in the next attempt, which, however, was to be conducted on different principles.

take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai—The number of fighting men amounted to six hundred thousand, and the whole force was ordered on this occasion, partly because the spies, in their self-confidence, had said that a few were sufficient to attack the place (Jos 7:3), partly to dispel any misgivings which the memory of the late disaster might have created, and partly that the circumstance of the first spoil obtained in Canaan being shared among all, might operate both as a reward for obedience in refraining from the booty of Jericho, and as an incentive to future exertions (De 6:10). The rest of the people, including the women and children, remained in the camp at Gilgal. Being in the plains of Jericho, it was an ascent to Ai, which was on a hill.

I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land … lay thee an ambush for the city—God assured Joshua of Ai's capture, but allowed him to follow his own tactics in obtaining the possession.God puts new courage into Joshua; commands him to go and besiege Ai, promising he should take it, Joshua 8:1,2. The stratagem whereby it is taken; it is burnt, Joshua 8:3-22. The king is taken prisoner; the inhabitants are put to the sword; the cattle and goods spoiled; the king is hanged, Joshua 8:23-29. Joshua builds an altar, Joshua 8:30; offers thereon, Joshua 8:31; writes the law on stones, Joshua 8:32. It and its blessings and curses are read before the people, Joshua 8:33-35.

Take all the people of war with thee; partly to strengthen them against those fears which their late defeat had wrought in them; and partly that all of them might be partakers of this first spoil, and thereby be encouraged to proceed in their work. The weak multitude were not to go, because they might have hindered them in the following stratagem; and it was but fit that the military men who run the greatest hazards, should have the precedency and privilege in the spoils.

And the Lord said unto Joshua,.... Immediately after the execution of Achan, the fierceness of his anger being turned away:

fear not, neither be thou dismayed; on account of the defeat of his troops he had sent to take Ai:

take all the people of war with thee; all above twenty years of age, which, with the forty thousand of the tribes on the other side Jordan he brought over with him, must make an arm, five hundred thousand men; these Joshua was to take with so much to animate and encourage him, or to terrify the enemy, nor because such a number was necessary for the reduction of Ai, which was but a small city; but that all might have a part in the spoil and plunder of it, which they were denied at Jericho, and chiefly to draw all the men out of the city, seeing such a numerous host approaching:

and arise, go up to Ai; which lay high, and Joshua being now in the plains of Jericho; see Gill on Joshua 7:2,

see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land; this city, though a small one, had a king over it, as most cities in the land of Canaan had; the number of his people in it were twelve thousand, and his land were the fields about it; all which were given to Joshua by the Lord, and were as sure as if he had them already in his hand.

And the LORD said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ch. Joshua 8:1-29. The Capture of Ai

1. And the Lord said unto Joshua] The same encouraging address, and one much needed after all that had taken place, is now given as that recorded in Joshua 1:9. The sin of Israel having been removed, the Almighty once more assures Joshua of His presence to give success in the reduction of Ai.

all the people of war] Not three thousand men only as at the first attempt.Verse 1. - Fear not. Joshua was down cast at his former failure, and well he might. "Treacherous Israelites are to be dreaded more than malicious Canaanites" (Matthew Henry). Take all the people of wax with thee. Not, as has been before stated, because 3,000 men were too few to take the city, for the capture of Jericho was a far greater marvel than that of Ai with this number of men. The true reason is indicated by Calvin, and is indeed suggested by the words "Fear not, neither be thou dismayed." It was to reassure the people, whose hearts had "melted and become as water." Sometimes God calls upon His people for a display of faith, as when He led them through the Jordan, or commanded them to compass Jericho seven days. But in days of despondency He compassionates their weakness and permits them to rely upon visible means of support (see also below, ver. 3). Matthew Henry thinks that a tacit rebuke is here administered to Joshua for sending so few men to Ai on the frowner occasion. He ought to have permitted all to have shared the toil and glory. I have given into thy hand. The work, let man do his best, is God's after all. The king. For the political condition of Palestine before the Israelitish invasion see Introduction. And his land. As in the case of the early Germanic peoples, there was a certain portion of their land in the neigbourhood attached to each city which was used for agricultural purposes (see Introduction; also Joshua 13:28; Joshua 14:4). Achan then acknowledge his sin, and confessed that he had appropriated to himself from among the booty a beautiful Babylonish cloak, 200 shekels of silver, and a tongue of gold of 50 shekels weight. The form ואראה is not to be abbreviated into וארא, according to the Keri, as the form is by no means rare in verbs ה.ל "A Babylonish cloak" (lit. a cloak of Shinar, or Babylon) is a costly cloak, artistically worked, such as were manufactured in Babylon, and distributed far and wide through the medium of commerce.

(Note: Plinius h. n. viii. 48: Colores diversos picturae vestium intexere Babylon maxime celebravit et nomen imposuit. (See Heeren Ideen. i. 2, pp. 205ff., and Movers Phnizier, ii. 3, pp. 258ff.) The Sept. rendering is ψιλή ποικίλη, i.e., a Babylonian cloak ornamented with pictures. It is called ψιλή because it was cut smooth, and ποικίλη because it was covered with coloured figures, either of men or animals, sometimes woven, at other times worked with the needle (Fischer. graec de vers. libr. V. T. pp. 87-8).)

Two hundred shekels of silver was about 25. "A tongue of gold" (according to Luther, "ornaments made in the shape of tongues") was certainly a golden ornament in the form of a tongue, the use of which is unknown; it was of considerable size, as it weighed 50 shekels, i.e., 13,700 grains. It is not necessary to suppose that it was a golden dagger, as many do, simply because the ancient Romans gave the name lingula to an oblong dagger formed in the shape of a tongue. Achan had hidden these things in the ground in the midst of his tent, and the silver "under it," i.e., under these things (the suffix is neuter, and must be understood as referring to all the things with the exception of the silver). The Babylonish cloak and the tongue of gold were probably placed in a chest; at any rate they would be carefully packed up, and the silver was placed underneath. The article in האהלי, which occurs twice, as it also does in Joshua 8:33; Leviticus 27:33; Micah 2:12, is probably to be explained in the manner suggested by Hengstenberg, viz., that the article and noun became so fused into one, that the former lost its proper force.

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