8:2 And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city a behind it.
8:4 And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye b shall lie in wait against the city, [even] behind the city: go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready:
(a) Meaning on the west side, as in (Joshua 8:9).
(b) God would not destroy Ai by a miracle, as Jericho, so that other nations would fear the power and policy of his people.
8:9 Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night c among the people.
(c) With the rest of the army.
8:10 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.
8:12 And he took about five thousand men, e and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
(e) He sent these few, that the others who lay in ambush might not be discovered.
8:13 And when they had set the people, [even] all the host that [was] on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the f midst of the valley.
(f) To the intent that they in the city more easily discover his army.
8:15 And Joshua and all Israel g made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
(g) As they who pretended to flee for fear.
8:18 And the LORD said unto Joshua, h Stretch out the spear that [is] in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that [he had] in his hand toward the city.
(h) Or, lift up the banner to signify when they should invade the city.
8:22 And the i other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape.
(i) Who came out of the ambush.
8:24 And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and k smote it with the edge of the sword.
(k) For the fire, which they had before set in the city, was not to consume it, but to signify to Joshua that they had entered.
8:28 And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for l ever, [even] a desolation unto this day.
(l) That it could never be built again.
8:29 And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded m that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, [that remaineth] unto this day.
8:32 And he wrote there upon the stones a n copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.
(m) According as it was commanded, (Deuteronomy 21:23).
(n) Meaning, the ten commandments, which are the sum of the whole Law.
8:35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the o women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.
(o) So neither young nor old, man nor woman, were exempted from hearing the word of the Lord.