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Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary - Joshua 8:3-22

We have here an account of the taking of Ai by stratagem. The stratagem here used, we are sure, was lawful and good; God himself appointed it, and we have no reason to think but that the like is lawful and good in other wars. Here was no league broken, no treaty of peace, that the advantage was gained; no, these are sacred things, and not to be jested with, nor used to serve a turn; truth, when once it is plighted, becomes a debt even to the enemy. But in this stratagem here was no untruth... read more

John Gill

John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary - Joshua 8:18

And the Lord said unto Joshua, stretch out the spear that is in thy hand towards Ai ,.... On which was a flag, as Abarbinel and Ben Melech think; and which is not improbable, and served for a signal for the ambush to come out and seize the city, as both they and Jarchi observe, as well as a signal also to the army of Israel to prepare to turn and face about, and engage with the enemy; though they did not actually do this until they saw the smoke of the city, Joshua 8:21 , for I will... read more

Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible - Joshua 8:18

Stretch out the spear - It is very probable that Joshua had a flag or ensign at the end of his spear, which might be easily seen at a considerable distance; and that the unfurling or waving of this was the sign agreed on between him and the ambush. (see Joshua 8:13 , and the preceding observations on Joshua 8:1 ; (note), observation 6); and on seeing this flag or ensign unfurled, the men who lay in ambush arose and entered the city, making the fire previously agreed on. See Joshua... read more

John Calvin

John Calvin's Commentary on the Bible - Joshua 8:18

Verse 18 18.And the Lord said unto Joshua, etc This passage shows, that owing either to the strong fortifications of the city, or the valor of its inhabitants, or the trepidation of the Israelites, the victory was difficult, since God promises that he himself would take it by the lifting up of a spear. Had success been beyond doubt, the symbol would have been superfluous; their minds must therefore have been anxious and perplexed, since the Lord, to prevent them from fainting, raises up a... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Joshua 8:1-29

Renewed effort after disaster. The Christian warfare, whether from an individual or from a general point of view, is no record of invariable success. The career of each Christian, as of the Christian Church, is a chequered course. It has its periods of triumph and its moments of disaster. We learn here many valuable lessons as to our conduct under adverse circumstances. I. WE ARE NOT TO INDULGE DESPONDENCY . II. WE MUST GIVE HONOUR WHERE HONOUR IS DUE .... read more

Spence, H. D. M., etc.

The Pulpit Commentary - Joshua 8:18

The spear. כִידוֹן , a kind of long and slender lance, probably, like those of our lancers, with a flag attached. It is thus described by Kimchi. Jahn, in his 'Archesologia Biblica,' takes this view. But the Vulgate here, followed apparently by Grotius and Masius, suppose it to be a shield, though the LXX . render by γαῖσος . In 1 Samuel 17:6 the LXX . render by ἄσπις , and our version by target. It is to be distinguished from the lighter חנית or flexible javelin... read more

Albert Barnes

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible - Joshua 8:18

No doubt Joshua had ascended the heights, most likely those to the north of the valley, so as to separate himself from the flying Israelites on the lower ground, and to be visible to the men in ambush behind the city. He now, at the command of God, gives the appointed signal to the ambush. read more

Joseph Benson

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments - Joshua 8:18

Joshua 8:18. Stretch out thy spear Probably a long spear, with a flag or streamer at the top of it, for a signal to the liers in wait, as well as for a sign to his host present to stop their flight, and make head against the pursuers, and as a token of God’s presence and assistance with them, and of their victory. The Hebrew word כידון , kidon, however, here rendered spear, also signifies a shield, and is so interpreted in the Vulgate. This, if made of polished brass or steel, might be... read more

Donald C. Fleming

Bridgeway Bible Commentary - Joshua 8:1-35

Victory in central Canaan (8:1-9:27)Now that the Israelites had removed the cause of their defeat, God promised Joshua victory over Ai. He added that on this occasion the Israelites could keep the plunder for themselves (8:1-2).Even with God’s assurance of victory, Joshua planned the attack thoroughly. One company of soldiers was to draw the men of Ai out of the city to fight, then a second company would come out of hiding to attack Ai from the rear (3-9). The plan worked perfectly. When the... read more

James Burton Coffman

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible - Joshua 8:18

"And Jehovah said unto Joshua, Stretch out the javelin that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thy hand. And Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. And the ambush rose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand, and entered the city, and took it; and they hasted and set the city on fire. 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... read more

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