A lying in wait in a concealed place to attack by surprise. Three Hebrew words for “ambush” (ʼeʹrev, ʼoʹrev, and ma·ʼaravʹ) come from the root ʼa·ravʹ, meaning “lie in wait.” (Job 37:8; Jer 9:8; Ps 10:8; Jg 9:32) Similarly, the Greek word for “ambush” (e·neʹdra) is related to the verb e·ne·dreuʹo, meaning “lie in wait.”—Ac 25:3; 23:21.
Joshua skillfully employed an ambush against Ai, posting 5,000 men to the W of the city at night, while deploying the main body of his forces to the N. The following morning he drew the city’s defenders away from the city by feigning defeat, thus allowing the ambush to rise up and take the city. (Jos 8:2-21) Ambushes were involved in the dispute between the landowners of Shechem and Gideon’s son Abimelech. (Jg 9:25, 31-45) Samson was the object of ambushes by the Philistines. (Jg 16:1-12) Saul set an ambush against Amalek and later accused David of lying in ambush for him. (1Sa 15:5; 22:8) Other ambushes were those in the fight of Israel against the tribe of Benjamin (Jg 20:29-44), the unsuccessful ambush of Judah by Jeroboam (2Ch 13:13-19), the ambush producing confusion among Judah’s attackers in the days of Jehoshaphat (2Ch 20:22, 23), those mentioned in describing the fall of Jerusalem (La 4:19), and the ambush decreed against Babylon by Jehovah (Jer 51:12). The returning Jewish exiles were protected by Jehovah from ambush.—Ezr 8:31; see WAR.
The Hebrew noun ʼeʹrev, meaning “ambush,” is used in describing hunting tactics. (Job 37:8; 38:40) The Hebrew verb ʼa·ravʹ is used figuratively to describe the prostitute as she waylays men (Pr 7:12; 23:28) and to describe the tactics of wicked ones against the innocent as well as the righteous. (Ps 10:9; Pr 1:11, 18; 12:6; 24:15; Mic 7:2; compare Job 31:9.) In Israel the death penalty was decreed for the man found guilty of killing another after lying in wait to do it.—De 19:11, 12.
The more than 40 Jews who “bound themselves with a curse” plotted an ambush against the apostle Paul but were foiled by Paul’s nephew.—Ac 23:12-35.