Joshua Chapter Eight
New King James Version (NKJV)
INTRODUCTION TO JOSHUA 8
Joshua is encouraged to go up and take Ai, and is directed what method to make use of, Joshua 8:1; accordingly he set an ambush on the west side of it, and, he and the rest of the army went up before it, Joshua 8:3; which, when the king of Ai saw, he and all his forces came cut against them, and the Israelites making a feint as if they were beaten, drew on the men of Ai to pursue them, upon which the ambush arose and entered the city and set fire to it, Joshua 8:14; the smoke of which being observed by Joshua and Israel, they turned back upon the pursuers, and the ambush sallying out of the city behind them, made an entire destruction of them, then slew all the inhabitants, took the spoil, burnt the city, and hanged the king of it, Joshua 8:20; after this Joshua built an altar at Ebal, wrote the law on stones, and read the blessings and curses in it before all Israel, Joshua 8:30.
Joshua 8:1 Now the Lord said to Joshua: “Do not be afraid, nor be 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, his people, his city, and his land.
YLT 1And Jehovah saith unto Joshua, `Fear not, nor be affrighted, take with thee all the people of war, and rise, go up to Ai; see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land,
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.
Joshua 8:2 2 And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its cattle you shall take as booty for yourselves. Lay an ambush for the city behind it.”
YLT 2and thou hast done to Ai and to her king as thou hast done to Jericho and to her king; only, its spoil and its cattle ye spoil for yourselves; set for thee an ambush for the city at its rear.'
And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst to Jericho and her king,.... Burn the one and slay the other:
only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves; which they were not allowed to do at Jericho:
lay thee an ambush for the city behind it; at the west side of it: some have called in question the lawfulness of the ambush, but, as this was appointed by the Lord, there is no room for it.
Joshua 8:3 3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai; and Joshua chose thirty thousand mighty men of valor and sent them away by night.
YLT 3And Joshua riseth, and all the people of war, to go up to Ai, and Joshua chooseth thirty thousand men, mighty ones of valour, and sendeth them away by night,
So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai,.... As the Lord had commanded him:
and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour; out of all the men of war; these were a select company, picked men, not the whole army, as some have thought, for he was ordered to take all the people of war, as he did:
and sent them away by night; from the main army, that they might pass the city and get behind it undiscovered, for they were sent for an ambush; and of these some were to take the city, and be left in it to burn it, and some to smite the men of Ai, as Abarbinel notes.
Joshua 8:4 4 And he commanded them, saying: “Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind the city. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you be ready.
YLT 4and commandeth them, saying, `See, ye are liers in wait against the city, at the rear of the city, ye go not very far off from the city, and all of you have been prepared,
And he commanded them, saying,.... At the time he sent them away:
behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city; that is, on the west side of it, Joshua 8:9,
go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready; to enter into it, as soon as the forces are drawn out eastward to meet the army of Israel.
Joshua 8:5 5 Then I and all the people who are with me will approach the city; and it will come about, when they come out against us as at the first, that we shall flee before them.
YLT 5and I and all the people who [are] with me draw near unto the city, and it hath come to pass when they come out to meet us as at the first, and we have fled before them,
And I and all the people that are with me will approach unto the city,.... That is, Joshua with the main body of the army would march up to the city the next morning, in order to draw out the inhabitants of it to fight them:
and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first; as they had done before, when the three thousand were sent against them, Joshua 7:4,
that we will flee before them; as the three thousand did, which would animate them to pursue them with the greater eagerness, and to a distance from their city.
Joshua 8:6 6 For they will come out after us till we have drawn them from the city, for they will say, ‘They are fleeing before us as at the first.’ Therefore we will flee before them.
YLT 6and they have come out after us till we have drawn them out of the city, for they say, They are fleeing before us as at the first, and we have fled before them,
For they will come out after us,.... Of which there could be no doubt, when they should see them run from them:
till we have drawn them from the city; some distance from it, that they could not return soon enough to save it from the ambush, or prevent their entrance into it, and burning it:
for they will say, they will flee before us, as at the first; they run away as they did before, and let us pursue them and smite them as we did then:
therefore we will flee before them; to draw them out of the city, and make your way easy to get into it,
Joshua 8:7 7 Then you shall rise from the ambush and seize the city, for the Lord your God will deliver it into your hand.
YLT 7and ye rise from the ambush, and have occupied the city, and Jehovah your God hath given it into your hand;
Then ye shall rise up from the ambush,.... When they should see a signal made, that in Joshua 8:18; and when their watch, they might set in a proper place, should see Israel flee, and the men of Ai at a distance from their city, pursuing, and give notice of it to the ambush:
and seize upon the city; enter into it, and take possession of it, its fortresses, and secure its passes:
for the Lord your God will deliver it into your hand; Joshua expresses himself with great confidence, having the promise of God, and relying on it.
Joshua 8:8 8 And it will be, when you have taken the city, that you shall set the city on fire. According to the commandment of the Lord you shall do. See, I have commanded you.”
YLT 8and it hath been, when ye capture the city, ye burn the city with fire, according to the word of Jehovah ye do, see, I have commanded you.'
And it shall be, when ye have taken the city,.... Entered it and become masters of it:
that ye shall set the city on fire; not the whole city, only some outlying houses of it, to make a smoke which might be seen both by Israel and the men of Ai, for different purposes; for the spoil of the city was first to be taken before it was utterly burnt with fire:
according to the commandment of the Lord shall ye do; plunder the city, destroy the inhabitants of it, and then burn it:
see I have commanded you; delivered the command of the Lord unto them, and therefore were left without excuse, and could not plead ignorance; besides, he was their general, and he expected his orders to be obeyed, as they ought to have been.
Joshua 8:9 9 Joshua therefore sent them out; and they went to lie in ambush, and stayed between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai; but Joshua lodged that night among the people.
YLT 9And Joshua sendeth them away, and they go unto the ambush, and abide between Bethel and Ai, on the west of Ai; and Joshua lodgeth on that night in the midst of the people.
Joshua therefore sent them forth,.... The thirty thousand chosen men:
and they went to lie in ambush; as they were ordered, Joshua 8:2,
and abode between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai; for as Ai was on the east of Bethel, Joshua 7:2. Bethel must be on the west of Ai, as Jarchi notes:
but Joshua lodged that night among the people; the main body of the army, to direct them in the affair of war, how they should behave the next day, when they came to fight; and to inspire them with courage and confidence, that they might not be afraid, because of their having been smitten before by this people, so Ben Gersom; or rather that he and they might be ready in the morning to march towards Ai, as Jarchi and Kimchi.
Joshua 8:10 10 Then Joshua rose up early in the morning and mustered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
YLT 10And Joshua riseth early in the morning, and inspecteth the people, and goeth up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai;
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.
Joshua 8:11 11 And all the people of war who were with him went up and drew near; and they came before the city and camped on the north side of Ai. Now a valley lay between them and Ai.
YLT 11and all the people of war who [are] with him have gone up, and draw nigh and come in over-against the city, and encamp on the north of Ai; and the valley [is] between him and Ai.
And all the people, even the people of war that were with him, and went up, and drew nigh,.... To the city of Ai:
and came before the city; as if they intended to besiege it, storm it, or force an entrance into it:
and pitched on the north side of Ai; which was judged fittest for the purpose:
now there was a valley between them and Ai; which the Rabbins call the valley of Halacah, as Jarchi says; so that they were upon a hill, at least on rising ground, and might the more easily be seen by the inhabitants of Ai, whom they wanted to draw out of their city.
Joshua 8:12 12 So he took about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
YLT 12And he taketh about five thousand men, and setteth them an ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west of the city;
And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush,.... This was another ambush, as both Jarchi and Kimchi observe; and the latter adds, perhaps he set them nearer the city than the former; though some are of opinion that these are the same ambush spoken of, whose number is here given, being set on the same side of the city; and they suppose that Joshua had with him but thirty thousand men in all, five thousand of which he sent to lie in ambush, and the other twenty five thousand remained with him; but it seems clear that all the men of war were to be taken, and were taken by them, and that out of them thirty thousand were sent by him to lie in wait at first, and now five thousand more:
between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city; and though they were on the same side of the city with the first and larger ambush, yet, as Abarbinel observes, they might be set nearer the city and to the army; and he supposes the first ambush was to take the city, and the second little ambush, as he calls it, was placed, that when the men of the city came out, they might make a noise and a stir, and skirmish with them, that so they might not come upon the camp suddenly.
Joshua 8:13 13 And when they had set the people, all the army that was on the north of the city, and its rear guard on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley.
YLT 13and they set the people, all the camp which [is] on the north of the city, and its rear on the west of the city, and Joshua goeth on that night into the midst of the valley.
And when they had set the people,.... In battle array, as in 1 Kings 20:12; that is, Joshua and the officers of the army:
even all the host that was on the north of the city; where Joshua and the main army were:
and the liers in wait on the west of the city: both the first and second ambush; when all, were prepared and got ready by their several officers, to act the part they were to do:
Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley; according to Ben Gersom, to see whether the guards or sentinels which were placed there were awake or asleep, lest the men of Ai should come suddenly upon them and smite them; but perhaps it might be to pray and meditate.
Joshua 8:14 14 Now it happened, when the king of Ai saw it, that the men of the city hurried and rose early and went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at an appointed place before the plain. But he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city.
YLT 14And it cometh to pass, when the king of Ai seeth [it], that hasten, and rise early, and go out do the men of the city to meet Israel for battle, he and all his people, at the appointed season, at the front of the plain, and he hath not known that an ambush [is] against him, on the rear of the city.
And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it,.... Not the ambush on the west side, but the host or army on the north side, or, however, some of his people gave him notice of it:
that they hasted and rose up early; or made haste to rise out of their beds, on the alarm given of Israel's near approach:
and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle; being raised out of their beds and accoutred with armour, and put into a military order, they marched out with their king at the head of them, to give Israel battle:
he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; which was before the city, the same with the valley mentioned, Joshua 8:11; the city was built on an eminence, and this plain or valley lay at the bottom of it; and on an eminence on the other side of the valley the army of Israel was pitched; wherefore the king of Ai and all his men of war went out hither to attack Israel, and this is said to be at an appointed time; it is difficult to say what is meant by it, when they seem to have hurried out as best as they could, as soon as they perceived the Israelites were near them: Ben Gersom and Abarbinel think it was the same time of the day they went out at first, which the king might choose as lucky, being before successful, and to encourage the men, that as they conquered then they should now; which seems not amiss, though perhaps it rather designs an appointed place, as their rendezvous, and where to attack Israel, and where they had been before victorious:
but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city; that he knew nothing of, and therefore took no precaution against them to prevent their design.
Joshua 8:15 15 And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
YLT 15And Joshua and all Israel [seem] stricken before them, and flee the way of the wilderness,
And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them,.... Or smitten, as some of them might be in the pursuit:
and fled by the way of the wilderness; not a barren desert, but, according to Kimchi and Ben Melech, a place for the pasture of cattle; though perhaps it is the same with the wilderness of Bethaven, Joshua 18:12. EpiphaniusF23Contr. Haeres. l. 1. tom. 2. makes mention of the wilderness of Bethel and Ephraim as near Jericho.
Joshua 8:16 16 So all the people who were in Ai were called together to pursue them. And they pursued Joshua and were drawn away from the city.
YLT 16and all the people who [are] in the city are called to pursue after them, and they pursue after Joshua, and are drawn away out of the city,
And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them,.... Because the host of Israel was very numerous, it was judged proper that all the people in Ai should assist in pursuing them, not only to kill the more in the pursuit, but to carry off the spoil and prisoners they should take; or rather the sense is, that all the people in Ai, which were come out with the king to battle, when they saw Israel flee, "cried"F24וזעקו "vociferantes", V. L. "vociferati sunt", Pagninus, Montanus. , or shouted, as soldiers do when victorious, "in" or "while pursuing"F25לרדף "persequendo", Pagninus, Montanus. after them:
and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city; at some considerable distance from it; which was the design to be answered by feigning a flight.
Joshua 8:17 17 There was not a man left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. So they left the city open and pursued Israel.
YLT 17and there hath not been left a man in Ai and Bethel who hath not gone out after Israel, and they leave the city open, and pursue after Israel.
And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel that went not out after Israel,.... For as these two places were very near to each other, but a mile apart, they were in confederacy, and acted together, and could easily be called to the help of each other when required: though there is a difficulty how the men of Bethel could join those of Ai, when the ambush lay between them both, Joshua 8:12; they either went another way, or the ambush purposely let them pass, for fear of a discovery by a skirmish with them, and that Bethel as well as Ai might be cleared of its armed inhabitants, and so fall an easy prey to them as well as Ai: this must be understood only of men of war; for otherwise there were inhabitants left, as old men, and such as were unfit for war, afterwards slain, Joshua 8:24,
and they left the city open: they did not stay to shut the gates, nor left porters or any guards about, to take care of, protect, and defend the city:
and pursued after Israel; with great eagerness and vehemence, not having the least apprehension of their city being in any danger.
Joshua 8:18 18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Stretch out the spear that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” And Joshua stretched out the spear that was in his hand toward the city.
YLT 18And Jehovah saith unto Joshua, `Stretch out with the javelin which [is] in thy hand towards Ai, for into thy hand I give it;' and Joshua stretcheth out with the javelin which [is] in his hand toward the city,
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 give it into thine hand; of which the stretching out of his spear seems also to be a confirming sign to him, and which he kept stretched out until all the inhabitants of Ai were destroyed, Joshua 8:26,
and Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city: and therefore must turn himself towards it; and it is highly probable that at the same time there was a full stop of the army, and that they immediately turned or prepared to turn about.
Joshua 8:19 19 So those in ambush arose quickly out of their place; they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand, and they entered the city and took it, and hurried to set the city on fire.
YLT 19and the ambush hath risen [with] haste, out of its place, and they run at the stretching out of his hand, and go into the city, and capture it, and hasten, and burn the city with fire.
And the ambush arose quickly out of their place,.... As soon as the sentinels set in proper places observed the signal, and gave them notice of it, which was the stretching out of the spear, as appears by what follows:
and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand; and the spear in his hand; from whence it is plain, that though the Lord is said to bid Joshua do this now, he had orders from him for it before and the ambush must have been made acquainted with it before they were sent away; and this was only a renewal of the order from the Lord, and which pointed out the proper time, the very crisis, when it should be stretched out:
and they entered into the city; without any difficulty, the gates being open:
and took it; took possession of it, and the strong holds in it:
and hasted and set the city on fire; that is, they made haste to set some houses on fire as the signal to the army of Israel to return.
Joshua 8:20 20 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.
YLT 20And 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, --
And when the men of Ai looked behind them,.... On some account or another, perhaps observing that the army of Israel made a full stop and was gazing at the city:
they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven; from whence they concluded an enemy was there, and had set fire to it:
and they had no power to flee this way or that way; for if they turned back to their city there was an enemy, how powerful they knew not, possessed of it, and whom they might expect would meet them; and if they pushed forward, there was the whole army of Israel against them, which now turned and faced them, showing no fear of them:
and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers; the people of Israel, that fled by the way of the wilderness, Joshua 8:15, turned about, and fell upon the men of Ai that pursued them.
Joshua 8:21 21 Now when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that the smoke of the city ascended, they turned back and struck down the men of Ai.
YLT 21and Joshua and all Israel have seen that the ambush hath captured the city, and that the smoke of the city hath gone up, and they turn back and smite the men of Ai;
And when Joshua,.... Or "for Joshua"F26ויהושע "et enim Josua", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Masius. :
and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city; which they knew by the smoke, as follows:
and that the smoke of the city ascended; in large columns, which sufficiently indicated that the whole city was taken and fired by the ambush:
then, or, "and":
they turned again and slew the men of Ai; great numbers of them.
Joshua 8:22 22 Then the others came out of the city against them; so they were caught in the midst of Israel, some on this side and some on that side. And they struck them down, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
YLT 22and these have come out from the city to meet them, and they are in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that, and they smite them till he hath not left to them a remnant and escaped one;
And the other issued out of the city against them,.... That is, the ambush, or at least a part of them:
so that they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side; or, as we commonly say, they were between two fires, the ambush on one side, the army of Israel on the other:
and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape; not one was saved alive, excepting their king, as in Joshua 8:23; no quarter was given them, nor any suffered to make their escape.
Joshua 8:23 23 But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua.
YLT 23and the king of Ai they caught alive, and bring him near unto Joshua.
And the king of Ai they took alive,.... They spared him, and reserved him for a more shameful death:
and brought him to Joshua; their general; delivering him into his hands as his prisoner, to do will, him as seemed good in his sight.
Joshua 8:24 24 And it came to pass when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness where they pursued them, and when they all had fallen by the edge of the sword until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned to Ai and struck it with the edge of the sword.
YLT 24And it cometh to pass, at Israel's finishing to slay all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness in which they pursued them (and they fall all of them by the mouth of the sword till their consumption), that all Israel turn back to Ai, and smite it by the mouth of the sword;
And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai,.... That came out against them:
in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them; both in the arable lands that were sown with corn, and now clothed with it, the wheat especially, not being gathered in, as not yet ripe, and in the pasture ground, designed by the wilderness, see Joshua 8:15; so Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it:
and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword; and were slain by it:
until they were consumed; and not one left:
that all the Israelites returned unto Ai; both the ambush that came out of it, and the army that came against it:
and smote it with the edge of the sword; that is, the inhabitants that were left in it unfit for war, as old men, infirm persons, women and children, as follows.
Joshua 8:25 25 So it was that all who fell that day, both men and women, were twelve thousand—all the people of Ai.
YLT 25and all who fall during the day, of men and of women, are twelve thousand -- all men of Ai.
And so it was, that all that fell that day,.... Partly in the city, and partly in the field, both by the ambush and the army: both of men and women:
were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai; so that the city was not a very large one, and the numbers of inhabitants were comparatively but few, as in Joshua 7:3.
Joshua 8:26 26 For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
YLT 26And Joshua hath not brought back his hand which he stretched out with the javelin till that he hath devoted all the inhabitants of Ai;
For Joshua drew not his hand back wherewith he stretched out his spear,.... But continued it, and that stretched out:
until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai; just as the hand of Moses was held up, and kept held up until Amalek was discomfited by Joshua, Exodus 17:12.
Joshua 8:27 27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as booty for themselves, according to the word of the Lord which He had commanded Joshua.
YLT 27only, the cattle and the spoil of that city have Israel spoiled for themselves, according to the word of Jehovah which He commanded Joshua.
Only the cattle, and the spoil of the city, Israel took for a prey unto themselves,.... Even all their substance, as besides their cattle, also their gold, silver, household goods, merchandise, &c.
according unto the word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua, Joshua 8:2.
Joshua 8:28 28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it a heap forever, a desolation to this day.
YLT 28And Joshua burneth Ai, and maketh it a heap age-during -- a desolation unto this day;
And Joshua burnt Ai,.... The whole city, fire being only set before to a few houses, to make a smoke as a signal; he did with it as he had done with Jericho, for so he was ordered, Joshua 8:2,
and made it an heap for ever; that is, for a long time, for it appears to have been rebuilt, and to have been inhabited by the Jews, after their return from their Babylonish captivity, Nehemiah 11:31,
even a desolation unto this day; to the time of the writing of this book; and by what has been just observed, it appears that Ezra could not be the writer of it, since this city was inhabited in his time.
Joshua 8:29 29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until evening. And as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his corpse down from the tree, cast it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raise over it a great heap of stones that remains to this day.
YLT 29and the king of Ai he hath hanged on the tree till even-time, and at the going in of the sun hath Joshua commanded, and they take down his carcase from the tree, and cast it unto the opening of the gate of the city, and raise over it a great heap of stones till this day.
and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcass down from the tree; according to the law in Deuteronomy 21:23; and that the land might not be defiled:
and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city; this was done, according to Ben Gersom and Abarbinel, that it might be publicly known to the rest of the kings of the nations, that they might be afraid to fight with Israel:
and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day; as a sepulchral monument, showing that there was a person lay interred there; whether there was any inscription on the stone, showing who he was, does not appear; it looks as if it was only a rude heap of stones; and such kind of sepulchral monuments were common in former times in other countries.
Joshua 8:30 30 Now Joshua built an altar to the Lord God of Israel in Mount Ebal,
YLT 30Then doth Joshua build an altar to Jehovah, God of Israel, in mount Ebal,
Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in Mount Ebal. As was commanded, Deuteronomy 27:5. The Samaritan Chronicle says, it was built in Mount Gerizim; but there is a difficulty arises, when this was done by Joshua; it should seem by inserting the account here, that it was done immediately after the destruction of Ai; and Mercator endeavours to prove that Ebal was near to Ai, but what he has said does not give satisfaction; for certain it is, that Ebal and Gerizim were near Shechem in Samaria, at a great distance from Ai, see Judges 9:6. The JewsF1Misn. Sotah, c. 7. sect. 5. Seder Olam Rabba, c. 11. p. 30. Jarchi in loc. generally are of opinion, that this was done as soon as Israel, even the very day, they passed over Jordan, which they think the letter of the command required, Deuteronomy 11:29; though it does not, only that it should be done after they were passed over it; Ebal being at too great a distance from Jordan for them to accomplish it on that day, being, as they themselves sayF2T. Bab. Sotah, fol. 36. 1. , sixty miles from Jordan; so that they are obliged to make Israel travel that day an hundred twenty miles, and as they assert they didF3T. Hieros. Sotah, fol. 21. 3. and which they must do, if what they say was true, it being sixty miles to Ebal, and sixty more to return again to Gilgal that night, where they encamped, but this is incredible: and as this account of Joshua's building the altar is too soon after he had passed Jordan, what R. IshmaelF4Apud ib. has pitched upon is too late, who says this was not done till after fourteen years, when the land was conquered, which was seven years doing, and when it was divided, which were seven years more; what Josephus saysF5Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 14. is more probable than either, which is, that Joshua, five years after he had entered Canaan, when he had placed the tabernacle at Shiloh, went from thence and built an altar at Ebal; as for what R. Eliezer suggestsF6, that Ebal and Gerizim here mentioned are not the Ebal and Gerizim of the Samaritans, only two hills were made, and they were called by these names, cannot merit any belief or regard.
Joshua 8:31 31 as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses: “an altar of whole stones over which no man has wielded an iron tool.”[a] And they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings.
YLT 31as Moses, servant of Jehovah, commanded the sons of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses -- an altar of whole stones, over which he hath not waved iron -- and they cause to go up upon it burnt-offerings to Jehovah, and sacrifice peace-offerings;
As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses,.... Deuteronomy 27:5,
and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings; by way of thanksgiving for the good land they were introduced into, and this was what they were ordered to do by Moses, Deuteronomy 27:6.
Joshua 8:32 32 And there, in the presence of the children of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written.
YLT 32and he writeth there on the stones the copy of the law of Moses, which he hath written in the presence of the sons of Israel.
And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses,.... Not upon the stones of which the altar was made, though some have so thought; but upon other stones erected in the form of a pillar, and plastered over, Deuteronomy 27:4; which copy of the law was not the whole book of Deuteronomy, as some, at least only an abstract of the laws in it; but rather the decalogue, as Abarbinel; or the blessings and curses later read, as Ben Gersom:
which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel: they being witness of it, that he did what was enjoined.
Joshua 8:33 33 Then all Israel, with their elders and officers and judges, stood on either side of the ark before the priests, the Levites, who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord, the stranger as well as he who was born among them. Half of them were in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel.
YLT 33And all Israel, and its elders, and authorities, and its judges, are standing on this side and on that of the ark, over-against the priests, the Levites, bearing the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, as well the sojourner as the native, half of them over-against mount Gerizim, and the half of them over-against mount Ebal, as Moses servant of Jehovah commanded to bless the people of Israel at the first.
before the priests and the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord; it being brought out of the tabernacle on this occasion, and bottle by the priests and Levites:
as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; that is, as well the proselytes as the native Israelites, both appeared and were in the same situation:
half of them over against Mount Gerizim; that is, half of the tribes, and these were Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin:
as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel, as in Deuteronomy 27:12.
Joshua 8:34 34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law.
YLT 34And afterwards he hath proclaimed all the words of the law, the blessing and the reviling, according to all that is written in the book of the law;
And afterwards he read all the words of the law,.... Not the whole Pentateuch, nor the whole book of Deuteronomy, but either some parts of it, the decalogue, or whatsoever he had written on the stones, and as follows:
Joshua 8:35 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the strangers who were living among them.
YLT 35there hath not been a thing of all that Moses commanded which Joshua hath not proclaimed before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the infants, and the sojourner who is going in their midst.
There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not,.... So punctually, precisely, and exactly did he observe the instructions and commands that were given him by Moses; and this he did in the most public manner:
before all the congregation of Israel; who were on this occasion called together, and not before the men only, but
with the women, and little ones: who all had a concern in the things that were read to them: yea, even
and the strangers that were conversant among them; not the proselytes of righteousness only, but the proselytes of the gate, that dwelt, walked, and conversed with them.
──《John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible》
New King James Version (NKJV)