Joshua 8:20
New International Version
The men of Ai looked back and saw the smoke of the city rising up into the sky, but they had no chance to escape in any direction; the Israelites who had been fleeing toward the wilderness had turned back against their pursuers.

New Living Translation
When the men of Ai looked behind them, smoke from the town was filling the sky, and they had nowhere to go. For the Israelites who had fled in the direction of the wilderness now turned on their pursuers.

English Standard Version
So when the men of Ai looked back, behold, the smoke of the city went up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that, for the people who fled to the wilderness turned back against the pursuers.

Berean Study Bible
When the men of Ai turned and looked back, the smoke of the city was rising into the sky. They could not escape in any direction, and the troops who had fled to the wilderness now became the pursuers.

King James Bible
And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers.

New King James Version
And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and behold, the smoke of the city ascended to heaven. So they had no power to flee this way or that way, and the people who had fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers.

New American Standard Bible
When the men of Ai turned back and looked, behold, the smoke of the city ascended to the sky, and they had no place to flee this way or that, for the people who had been fleeing to the wilderness turned against the pursuers.

NASB 1995
When the men of Ai turned back and looked, behold, the smoke of the city ascended to the sky, and they had no place to flee this way or that, for the people who had been fleeing to the wilderness turned against the pursuers.

NASB 1977
When the men of Ai turned back and looked, behold, the smoke of the city ascended to the sky, and they had no place to flee this way or that, for the people who had been fleeing to the wilderness turned against the pursuers.

Amplified Bible
When the men of Ai turned back and looked, behold, the smoke of the city was ascending toward the sky, and they had no opportunity to run this way or that way. Then the people who had been running to the wilderness turned back toward the pursuers.

Christian Standard Bible
The men of Ai turned and looked back, and smoke from the city was rising to the sky! They could not escape in any direction, and the troops who had fled to the wilderness now became the pursuers.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The men of Ai turned and looked back, and smoke from the city was rising to the sky! They could not escape in any direction, and the troops who had fled to the wilderness now became the pursuers.

American Standard Version
And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And the men of Ai turned their back and they saw the smoke of their city ascending unto Heaven, and they could not flee here or there, and the people of Israel who had fled into the wilderness turned back against its pursuers

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And when the inhabitants of Gai looked round behind them, then they saw the smoke going up out of the city to heaven, and they were no longer able to flee this way or that way.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the men of the city, that pursued after Josue, looking back and seeing the smoke of the city rise up to heaven, had no more power to flee this way or that way: especially as they that had counterfeited flight, end were going toward the wilderness, turned back most valiantly against them that pursued.

Good News Translation
When the men of Ai looked back, they saw the smoke rising to the sky. There was no way for them to escape, because the Israelites who had run toward the barren country now turned around to attack them.

International Standard Version
Then the men of Ai looked back behind them—and all of a sudden!—smoke from the city was rising into the sky. They were unable to run in any direction, because the Israelis who had fled toward the wilderness had turned around to attack their pursuers.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way; and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers.

Literal Standard Version
And the men of Ai look behind them, and see, and behold, the smoke of the city has gone up to the heavens, and there has not been power in them to flee here and there—and the people who are fleeing to the wilderness have turned against the pursuer—

New American Bible
By the time the army of Ai looked back, the smoke from the city was going up to the heavens. Escape in any direction was impossible, because the Israelites retreating toward the wilderness now turned on their pursuers;

NET Bible
When the men of Ai turned around, they saw the smoke from the city ascending into the sky and were so shocked they were unable to flee in any direction. In the meantime the men who were retreating to the desert turned against their pursuers.

New Revised Standard Version
So when the men of Ai looked back, the smoke of the city was rising to the sky. They had no power to flee this way or that, for the people who fled to the wilderness turned back against the pursuers.

New Heart English Bible
When the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and look, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way. The people who fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers.

World English Bible
When the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way. The people who fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers.

Young's Literal Translation
And the men of Ai look behind them, and see, and lo, the smoke of the city hath gone up unto the heavens, and there hath not been in them power to flee hither and thither -- and the people who are fleeing to the wilderness have turned against the pursuer, --

Additional Translations ...
Context
The Conquest of Ai
19and as soon as he did so, the men in ambush rose quickly from their position. They rushed forward, entered the city, captured it, and immediately set it on fire. 20When the men of Ai turned and looked back, the smoke of the city was rising into the sky. They could not escape in any direction, and the troops who had fled to the wilderness now became the pursuers. 21When Joshua and all Israel saw that the men in ambush had captured the city and that smoke was rising from it, they turned around and struck down the men of Ai.…

Cross References
Joshua 8:19
and as soon as he did so, the men in ambush rose quickly from their position. They rushed forward, entered the city, captured it, and immediately set it on fire.

Joshua 8:21
When Joshua and all Israel saw that the men in ambush had captured the city and that smoke was rising from it, they turned around and struck down the men of Ai.

Judges 20:38
The men of Israel had arranged a signal with the men in ambush: When they sent up a great cloud of smoke from the city,

Judges 20:40
But when the column of smoke began to go up from the city, the Benjamites looked behind them and saw the whole city going up in smoke.


Treasury of Scripture

And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers.

the smoke

Genesis 19:28
And he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

Isaiah 34:10
It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.

Revelation 18:9
And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,

and they had

Job 11:20
But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.

Psalm 48:5,6
They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away…

Psalm 76:5
The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands.

power [heb] hand











Verse 20. - And they had no power. Literally, no hands. Our version here follows the Arabic, Syriac, and Chaldee versions. The LXX. and Vulgate render no direction in which to fly. But in this case לָהֶם would seem preferable to בָהֶם. The Vulgate translates the last clause of the verse, "Praesertim cum hi, qui simulaverint fugam... fortissime restitissent." They could not flee back to the city, for it was in flames. They could not advance northward, because the Israelites had faced about and were coming to meet them. To flee in any other direction would be to cut off the last hope of saving the city. For יָד in the sense of side or direction, however, see Exodus 2:5; Deuteronomy 2:37, and especially the dual, as here, in Genesis 34:21; Isaiah 33:21.

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
When the men
אַנְשֵׁי֩ (’an·šê)
Noun - masculine plural construct
Strong's 376: A man as an individual, a male person

of Ai
הָעַ֨י (hā·‘ay)
Article | Noun - proper - feminine singular
Strong's 5857: Ai -- a Canaanite city

turned
וַיִּפְנ֣וּ (way·yip̄·nū)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine plural
Strong's 6437: To turn, to face, appear, look

and looked
וַיִּרְא֗וּ (way·yir·’ū)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine plural
Strong's 7200: To see

back,
אַחֲרֵיהֶ֜ם (’a·ḥă·rê·hem)
Preposition | third person masculine plural
Strong's 310: The hind or following part

the smoke
עֲשַׁ֤ן (‘ă·šan)
Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 6227: Smoke

of the city
הָעִיר֙ (hā·‘îr)
Article | Noun - feminine singular
Strong's 5892: Excitement

was rising
עָלָ֜ה (‘ā·lāh)
Verb - Qal - Perfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 5927: To ascend, in, actively

to the sky.
הַשָּׁמַ֔יְמָה (haš·šā·may·māh)
Article | Noun - masculine plural | third person feminine singular
Strong's 8064: Heaven, sky

They could not
וְלֹא־ (wə·lō-)
Conjunctive waw | Adverb - Negative particle
Strong's 3808: Not, no

escape
לָנ֖וּס (lā·nūs)
Preposition-l | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's 5127: To flit, vanish away

in any direction,
הֵ֣נָּה (hên·nāh)
Adverb
Strong's 2008: Hither, thither

and the troops
וְהָעָם֙ (wə·hā·‘ām)
Conjunctive waw, Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 5971: A people, a tribe, troops, attendants, a flock

who had fled
הַנָּ֣ס (han·nās)
Article | Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's 5127: To flit, vanish away

to the wilderness
הַמִּדְבָּ֔ר (ham·miḏ·bār)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 4057: A pasture, a desert, speech

now became the pursuers.
הָרוֹדֵֽף׃ (hā·rō·w·ḏêp̄)
Article | Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's 7291: To pursue, chase, persecute


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OT History: Joshua 8:20 When the men of Ai looked behind (Josh. Jos)
Joshua 8:19
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