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Holman Bible Dictionary


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A military tactic of hiding a unit of troops for surprise attack while carrying on normal battle with the remainder of the troops. Joshua used the tactic against Ai (Joshua 8:1 ). The people of Shechem waited in hiding to attack and rob people who crossed the mountain (Judges 9:25 ; compare Hosea 6:9 ). Abimelech used ambush to defeat Shechem (Judges 9:43-45 ). Israel used ambush to attack Gibeah and the rebellious tribe of Benjamin (Judges 20:29-43 ). Saul apparently used similar tactics against the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:5 ). Jeroboam, king of Israel (926-909 B.C.) tried unsuccessfully to ambush Judah (2 Chronicles 13:13 ). God set ambushes against Moab, Ammon, and Edom to defeat them for King Jehoshaphat (873-848 B.C.). God delivered Ezra from ambush attempts (Ezra 8:31 ).

The psalmists asked for God's help against wicked persons who sought to ambush them (Psalm 10:8 ; Psalm 59:3 ; Psalm 64:4 ; compare Proverbs 1:11 ,Proverbs 1:11,1:18 ). Jeremiah accused his people of spiritual ambush against one another (Jeremiah 9:8 ). He also called for ambushes to defeat Babylon (Jeremiah 51:12 ). The people of Jerusalem lamented that the enemy had used ambushes to defeat and destroy the city and nation (Lamentations 4:19 ). Paul's nephew saved him from Jewish plans to ambush him as the Roman authorities transferred him from Jerusalem to Caehysarea (Acts 23:12-33 ; compare Acts 25:3 ).

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Ambush'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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