And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel that went
out after Israel
For as these two places were very near to each other, but a mile apart, they were in confederacy, and acted together, and could easily be called to the help of each other when required: though there is a difficulty how the men of Bethel could join those of Ai, when the ambush lay between them both, ( Joshua 8:12 ) ; they either went another way, or the ambush purposely let them pass, for fear of a discovery by a skirmish with them, and that Bethel as well as Ai might be cleared of its armed inhabitants, and so fall an easy prey to them as well as Ai: this must be understood only of men of war; for otherwise there were inhabitants left, as old men, and such as were unfit for war, afterwards slain, ( Joshua 8:24 Joshua 8:25 ) ;
and they left the city open:
they did not stay to shut the gates, nor left porters or any guards about, to take care of, protect, and defend the city:
and pursued after Israel;
with great eagerness and vehemence, not having the least apprehension of their city being in any danger.