Joshua 8:29 MEANING

Joshua 8:29
(29) And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree.--(See Note on Deuteronomy 21:22-23.) Heb., on the tree. Why "the tree"? It would appear from Joshua 8:2; Joshua 10:1, that the king of Jericho was also hanged; possibly both were hanged on the same tree, and were exhibited, each in turn, as "the curse of God." But when we read of this treatment of the enemies of Joshua, we cannot but be reminded of the greater Joshua, who fulfilled the curse of God in His own person, and made a show of the "principalities and powers" by triumphing over them in His cross. (Comp. also Esther 9:10; Esther 9:13.)

Jericho and Ai are the only cities of Canaan of which the capture by Joshua is recorded in detail. Their capture stands in the narrative, as it was in fact, a specimen of the whole conquest of the Canaanite cities. Two campaigns in like manner are recorded as specimens of Joshua's battles with the enemy in the open field. In the capture of Jericho and in the southern campaign, the hand of God is more especially manifested. In the capture of Ai and in the northern campaign, the labour of Israel in the conflict is more prominent. The whole work is thus presented to us in a twofold aspect, as the work of Israel and the work of God.

A great heap of stones.--Not only the death, but the burial of the king of Ai is recorded, as also the burial of the five kings in Joshua 10:27. The same thing was done to Achan (Joshua 7:26), and to Absalom (2 Samuel 18:17). This kind of burial is another form of the curse, and is a fitting sequel to the hanging of the body upon the tree.

8:23-29 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.And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide,.... By way of terror to other kings in the land of Canaan, that should refuse to submit unto him:

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.

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