Verse 35. "With the women and the little ones" - It was necessary that all should know that they were under the same obligations to obey; even the women are brought forward, not only because of their personal responsibility, but because to them was principally intrusted the education of the children. The children also witness this solemn transaction, that a salutary fear of offending God might be early, diligently, and deeply impressed upon their hearts. Thus every precaution is taken to ensure obedience to the Divine precepts, and consequently to promote the happiness of the people; for this every ordinance of God is remarkable, as he ever causes the interest and duty of his followers to go hand in hand. 1.
IT may be asked, Seeing God promised to deliver Ai into the hands of the Israelites, why needed they to employ so many men and so many stratagems in order to its reduction? To this it may be answered, that God will have man to put forth the wisdom and power with which he has endued him, in every important purpose of life; that he endued him with those powers for this very end; and that it would be inconsistent with his gracious design so to help man at any time as to render the powers he had given him useless. 2. It is only in the use of lawful means that we have any reason to expect God's blessing and help. One of the ancients has remarked, "Though God has made man without himself he will not save him without himself;" and therefore man's own concurrence of will, and co-operation of power with God, are essentially necessary to his preservation and salvation. This co- operation is the grand condition, sine qua non, on which God will help or save. But is not this "endeavouring to merit salvation by our own works?" No: for this is impossible, unless we could prove that all the mental and corporeal powers which we possess came from and are of ourselves, and that we held them independently of the power and beneficence of our Creator, and that every act of these was of infinite value, to make it an equivalent for the heaven we wished to purchase. Putting forth the hand to receive the alms of a benevolent man, can never be considered a purchase-price for the bounty bestowed. For ever shall that word stand true in all its parts, Christ is the AUTHOR of eternal salvation to all them that OBEY him, Heb. v. 9.