Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Joshua
Book: Joshua
Chapter: 8

God encourages Joshua. (1,2) The taking of Ai. (3-22) The
Destruction of Ai and its King. (23-29) The Law read On Ebal and
Gerizim. (30-35)

1,2 When we have faithfully Put away Sin, that accursed thing
which separates between us and God, then, and not till then, we
may look to hear from God to our comfort; and God's directing us
how to go On in our Christian work and warfare, is a good
evidence of his being reconciled to us. God encouraged Joshua to
proceed. At Ai the spoil was not to be destroyed as at Jericho,
therefore there was No danger of the people's committing such a
trespass. Achan, who caught at forbidden spoil, lost that, and
Life, and all; but the Rest of the people, who kept themselves
from the accursed thing, were quickly rewarded for their
obedience. The way to have the comfort of what God allows us,
is, to keep from what he forbids us. No Man shall lose By

3-22 Observe Joshua's conduct and prudence. Those that would
maintain their spiritual conflicts must not Love their ease.
Probably he went into the Valley alone, to pray to God for a
blessing, and he did not seek in vain. He never drew back till
the work was done. Those that have stretched out their hands
against their spiritual enemies, must never draw them back.

23-29 God, the righteous Judge, had sentenced the Canaanites
for their wickedness; the Israelites only executed his doom.
None of their conduct can be drawn into an Example for others.
Especial reason No doubt there was for this severity to the King
of Ai; it is likely he had been notoriously wicked and vile, and
a blasphemer of the God of Israel.

30-35 As soon as Joshua got to the mountains Ebal and Gerizim,
without delay, and without caring for the unsettled state of
Israel, or their enemies, he confirmed the Covenant of the Lord
with his people, as appointed, De 11; 27. We must not think to
defer covenanting with God till we are settled in the world; nor
must any business Put us from minding and pursuing the one thing
needful. The way to prosper is to begin with God, Mt 6:33.
They built an Altar, and offered Sacrifice to God, in token of
their dedicating themselves to God, as living sacrifices to his
honour, in and By a Mediator. By Christ's Sacrifice of himself
for us, we have peace with God. It is a great Mercy to any
people to have the Law of God in Writing, and it is fit that the
written Law should be in a known tongue, that it may be seen and
read of all men.