Joshua 7:3: The Reconnaissance of Ai, Part 2

Verse 3:[1] And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men (Heb. about two thousand men, or about three thousand men[2]) go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.

[Two or three thousand] Observe here the singular care and paternal benignity of God toward His Church, who by the danger of a small force achieved what was necessary for expiating the sacrilege and confirming military discipline in preparing for the most intense fighting: For a great force could not have been led into peril of that sort without the extreme desperation of all. But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted about that ye are able; 1 Corinthians 10:13 (Masius).

Let about two or three thousand men go up, etc.: This was done by the wise contrivance of Divine Providence, that their sin might be punished, and they awakened and reformed, with as little hazard, and mischief, and reproach as might be; for if the defeat of these caused so great a consternation in Joshua, it is easy to guess what dread, and confusion, and despair it would have caused in the people, if a great host had been defeated.

[Why shall it be troubled? אַל־תְּיַגַּע־שָׁמָּה[3]] Do not make to labor thither (Montanus); do not lead thither (Septuagint); do not force there (Syriac, Arabic); do not weary unto that place (Malvenda); do not weary (supply, by leading, or sending) thither (Junius and Tremellius, Pagnine, Tigurinus). It has regard, as it appears, to the slope of the mountain. For Ai was on a mountain, Jericho in a plain. Whence they are said to go up here and in verse 4. The Latin translation refers to the trouble in fighting; the Chaldean to the tumult and din that large armies raise (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּשֻׁ֣בוּ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֵלָיו֮ אַל־יַ֣עַל כָּל־הָעָם֒ כְּאַלְפַּ֣יִם אִ֗ישׁ א֚וֹ כִּשְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת אֲלָפִ֣ים אִ֔ישׁ יַעֲל֖וּ וְיַכּ֣וּ אֶת־הָעָ֑י אַל־תְּיַגַּע־שָׁ֙מָּה֙ אֶת־כָּל־הָעָ֔ם כִּ֥י מְעַ֖ט הֵֽמָּה׃

[2] Hebrew: כְּאַלְפַּ֣יִם אִ֗ישׁ א֚וֹ כִּשְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת אֲלָפִ֣ים אִ֔ישׁ .

[3] יָגַע, to toil, in the Piel conjugation carries a causative sense.

Joshua 6:24, 25: The Salvation of Rahab and Her House, Part 2

Verse 24:[1] And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: (Josh. 6:19) only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.

 

Verse 25:[2] And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and (see Matt. 1:5) she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

[And he caused to live, הֶחֱיָה[3]] He vivified, that is, he preserved unharmed (Vatablus, similarly Masius, Drusius, Lapide). Others: he gave a livelihood, that is, fields and possessions whence they might be able to sustain life (Kimchi in Masius). Question: How were they able to preserve her against the commandments of God, Exodus 23; 34? Responses: 1. That Law was to be moderated by this equity, that unto those that might seek peace, and abjure their false gods, it might not pertain. See more on Joshua 11 (Masius). It was dispensed with here (Lapide).

And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, etc.: For that general command of rooting out the Canaanites seems to have had some exception, in case any of them had sincerely and seasonably cast off their idolatry and wickedness, and submitted themselves to the Israelites, as we shall see hereafter.

[Unto the present day] There is a similar thing in Joshua 4:9. Was this added by Joshua, or by Ezra (Grotius)?

[1] Hebrew: וְהָעִ֛יר שָׂרְפ֥וּ בָאֵ֖שׁ וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֑הּ רַ֣ק׀ הַכֶּ֣סֶף וְהַזָּהָ֗ב וּכְלֵ֤י הַנְּחֹ֙שֶׁת֙ וְהַבַּרְזֶ֔ל נָתְנ֖וּ אוֹצַ֥ר בֵּית־יְהוָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: וְֽאֶת־רָחָ֣ב הַ֠זּוֹנָה וְאֶת־בֵּ֙ית אָבִ֤יהָ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לָהּ֙ הֶחֱיָ֣ה יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ וַ֙תֵּשֶׁב֙ בְּקֶ֣רֶב יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל עַ֖ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה כִּ֤י הֶחְבִּ֙יאָה֙ אֶת־הַמַּלְאָכִ֔ים אֲשֶׁר־שָׁלַ֥ח יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ לְרַגֵּ֥ל אֶת־יְרִיחֽוֹ׃

[3] Here חָיָה, to live, is in the Hiphil conjugation, which frequently conveys a causative sense.