Monday, September 13, 2010

MHCC 38: Ambuscade

Gods and Generals:

Gen. Stonewall Jackson: Mr. Smith, are you aware that the Bible gives models of official battle reports?

Capt. James Power Smith: No, sir.

Jackson: Nevertheless, there are such. Consider the narrative of Joshua's battles with the Amalekites. It has clearness and modesty, brevity. And it traces the victory to the right source, the blessing of God.

Smith: Has it helped you with your reports, sir?
Jackson: Mr. Smith, you may continue writing the reports. Consult first and second Samuel...and first and second Kings. They will be of help to you.

Matthew Henry on the conquest of Ai by Joshua from Josh. 8.3-22:

We have here an account of the taking of Ai by stratagem. The stratagem here used, we are sure, was lawful and good; God himself appointed it, and we have no reason to think but that the like is lawful and good in other wars. Here was no league broken, no treaty of peace, that the advantage was gained; no, these are sacred things, and not to be jested with, nor used to serve a turn; truth, when once it is plighted, becomes a debt even to the enemy. But in this stratagem here was no untruth told; nothing was concealed but their own counsels, which no enemy ever pretended a right to be entrusted with; nothing was dissembled, nothing counterfeited but a retreat, which was no natural or necessary indication at all of their inability to maintain their onset, or of any design not to renew it. The enemy ought to have been upon their guard, and to have kept within the defence of their own walls. Common prudence, had they been governed by it, would have directed them not to venture on the pursuit of an army which they saw was so far superior to them in numbers, and leave their city unguarded; but (si populus vult decipi, decipiatur—if the people will be deceived, let them) if the Canaanites will be so easily imposed upon, and in pursuit of God's Israel will break through all the laws of policy and good management, the Israelites are not at all to be blamed for taking advantage of their fury and thoughtlessness; nor is it any way inconsistent with the character God is pleased to give of them, that they are children that will not lie.

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