He is come to Aiath
In this and the following verses is prophetically described the expedition of Sennacherib to Jerusalem, when he either went from Assyria, or returned from Egypt thither; and the several places are mentioned, through or by which he passed, or near to which he came, the tidings of which greatly distressed the inhabitants of them; and the first that is named is Ajath, thought to be the same with Ai, which was beside Bethaven, and on the east side of Bethel, ( Joshua 7:2 ) and though it was burnt, and made desolate by Joshua, ( Joshua 8:28 ) yet it was afterwards rebuilt, for it was in being in Nehemiah's time; or at least there was a place of this name, which was upon or near the spot where this stood, since it is mentioned with Geba, Michmash, and Bethel, ( Nehemiah 11:31 ) according to the ancient Jewish writers F23, it lay three miles from Jericho. Jerom F24 calls it Agai, and says that in his time there was scarce any remains of it, only the place was shown.
He is passed to Migron;
this place, as the former, was in the tribe of Benjamin; mention is made of it, as in the uttermost part of Gibeah, ( 1 Samuel 14:2 ) . Sennacherib seems not to have stayed either in this, or the former place:
at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages;
here was a passage, called the passage of Michmash, where was the garrison of the Philistines; and on each side of it were two rocks, one called Bozez, and the other Seneh; one of which fronted Michmash to the north, and the other Gibeah to the south, ( 1 Samuel 13:23 ) ( 1 Samuel 14:4 1 Samuel 14:5 1 Samuel 14:31 ) by Josephus F25 it is called Mechmas, a city; and so it is in the Apocrypha:
``Thus the sword ceased from Israel: but Jonathan dwelt at Machmas, and began to govern the people; and he destroyed the ungodly men out of Israel.'' (1 Maccabees 9:73)In Jerom's time it was a very large village, who says it was nine miles from Jerusalem F26: mention is made of it in the Misna F1, as famous for the best fine flour; and this the king of Assyria made his magazine, and in it laid up his provisions and warlike stores, from whence he might be supplied upon occasion. The words may be rendered, "he hath laid up his arms"; and Kimchi thinks he left the greatest part of his arms here, and went in haste to Jerusalem, imagining he should have no occasion for them, but should easily take it. The Targum is,
``at Micmas he shall appoint the princes of his army;''the generals of it: perhaps the sense is, that here he made a muster of his army, examined the arms of his soldiers, appointed the proper officers, and gave them their instructions.
F23 Shemot Rabba, sect. 32. fol. 135. 2.
F24 De locis Hebraicis, fol. 87. E.
F25 Antiqu. l. 6. c. 6. sect. 1. & l. 13. c. 1. sect. 6.
F26 De locis Hebraicis, fol. 93. F.
F1 Menachot, c. 8. sect. 1.