Joshua 8:10
And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Joshua 8:10. Joshua — numbered the people — Not all the people, which was needless, and would now have required more time than could have been spared, but that part of the army which he designed to take with him. And this, it seems, he did, that it might be evident the conquest of Ai was effected without any loss of men, and that they might be encouraged hereby to trust in God, and proceed resolutely and boldly in the work of subduing the Canaanites. The elders of Israel — Their chief magistrates and rulers under Joshua. These, it is probable, went with Joshua and the army to take care that the cattle and the spoil of the city, which were given by God to all Israel for a prey, might be justly and equally divided between those that went to battle, and the rest of the people.8:3-22 Observe Joshua's conduct and prudence. Those that would maintain their spiritual conflicts must not love their ease. Probably he went into the valley alone, to pray to God for a blessing, and he did not seek in vain. He never drew back till the work was done. Those that have stretched out their hands against their spiritual enemies, must never draw them back.Numbered the people - Rather, perhaps, "mustered" or "arrayed" them for their march. The distance from the camp at Gilgal to Ai is about fifteen miles. In the evening of the day after the despatch of the 5,000 liers in wait, Joshua and the host might make their appearance in the neighborhood of the city. 10. Joshua … numbered the people—that is, the detachment of liers-in-wait; he did this, to be furnished with clear evidence afterwards, that the work had been done without any loss of men, whereby the people's confidence in God would be strengthened and encouragement given them to prosecute the war of invasion with vigor.

he and the elders of Israel—the chief magistrates and rulers, whose presence and official authority were necessary to ensure that the cattle and spoil of the city might be equally divided between the combatants and the rest of the people (Nu 31:27)—a military rule in Israel, that would have been very liable to be infringed, if an excited soldiery, eager for booty, had been left to their own will.

The people, Heb. that people, not all the people of Israel, which was needless, and required more time than could now be spared; but the rest of that host of thirty thousand, whereof five thousand were sent away; and now the remainder are numbered, partly to see whether some of them had not withdrawn themselves, taking the advantage of the night, and of the design of laying an ambush; and partly that it might be evident that this work was done without any loss of men, and thereby they might be encouraged to trust in God, and to proceed vigorously and resolutely in their work.

The elders of Israel; either,

1. The military elders, the chief commanders of his army. But they seem to be included in the thirty thousand, Joshua 8:3, which are supposed to be furnished and led by their several commanders; and such persons are scarce ever called the

elders of Israel. Or rather,

2. The chief magistrates and rulers of Israel under Joshua, who are commonly so called; and these, I suppose, went with Joshua, and with the army, to take care that the cattle and the spoil of the city, which was given by God to all Israel for a prey, Joshua 8:2,27, might be justly and equally divided between those that went to battle, and the rest of the people, according to the example and prescript, Numbers 31:27; and that they who were present and assistant in the taking of that city, might not engross the whole to themselves, as is usual for soldiers in those cases to do. And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people,.... To see if there were any wanting, and to put them in proper order for their march:

and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai; these elders were either the seventy elders who went with Joshua as council to him; or it may be rather they were inferior officers, who went at the head of their respective corps under them.

And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and {d} numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.

(d) That is, viewed or mustered them and set them in array.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. numbered the people] Rather, mustered or arrayed them. The day after the despatch of the ambush would be naturally occupied with the marshalling of the army, and the march from Gilgal to Ai, where they would arrive in the evening.Verse 10. - And numbered the people. Or reviewed, or mustered. The word is frequently translated visited in Scripture. It then came to mean a visit for the sake of inspection. The elders of Israel. Joshua's council, alike of war and of peace. Before the people. Literally, in their sight (ford πρόσωπον, LXX), i.e., at their head. Accordingly Joshua set out with all the people of war against Ai, and selected 30,000 brave men, and sent them out in the night, with instructions to station themselves as an ambuscade behind the town, and at no great distance from it. As the distance from Gilgal to Ai was about fifteen miles, and the road runs pretty straight in a north-westerly direction from Jericho through the Wady Faran, the detachment sent forward might easily accomplish the distance in a night, so as to arrive on the western side of Ai before the break of day. They were then to hold themselves in readiness to fight. He (Joshua) himself would approach the town with the people of war that remained with him; and if the inhabitants of Ai should come out against him as they did before, they would flee before them till they had drawn them quite away from their town (Joshua 8:5). This was to be expected; "for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: and we will flee before them" (Joshua 8:6). When this was done, the warriors were to come forth from their ambush, fall upon the town, and set it on fire (Joshua 8:7, Joshua 8:8). Having been sent away with these instructions, the 30,000 men went into ambush, and posted themselves "between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai" (Joshua 8:9), i.e., according to Strauss, in the Wady es Suweinit, to the north-west of Ai, where it forms almost a perpendicular wall, near to which the ruins of Chai are to be found, though "not near enough to the rocky wady for it to be possible to look down its almost perpendicular wall" (Ritter, Erdk. xvi. p. 528). Joshua remained for the night in the midst of the people, i.e., in the camp of that portion of the army that had gone with him towards Ai; not in Gilgal, as Knobel supposes.
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