This is a very frequent term in the military field, because the ambush is a widely used military tactic that consists of the violent and surprise attack on any enemy element that is, either in movement or temporarily occupying a certain position.

An ambush is the concealment of one or more people in order to surprise another or others. For example: “The enemy prepared an ambush for them and his army was decimated.”

Joshua cleverly employed ambush when attacking Ai, stationing 5,000 men in the city for the night and deploying the main body of the army north of the city. The next morning he drew the city’s defenders after him, feigning defeat, allowing the ambush forces to enter the city and take it. (Jos 8: 2-21).

The dispute that arose between the landowners of Shechem and Gideon’s son Abimelech had to do with ambushes. (Th 9:25, 31-45) Samson was ambushed by the Philistines. (Judges 16:1-12) Saul ambushed Amalek and later accused David of ambushing him. Other ambushes were those that occurred during the war between Israel and the tribe of Benjamin (Jn 20:29-44), Jeroboam’s unsuccessful ambush against Judah (2 Chronicles 13: 13-19), which confused those who attacked Judah in the days of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:22, 23), those mentioned in the account of the fall of Jerusalem (Lam 4:19) and the ambush that Jehovah decreed against Babylon. (Jeremiah 51:12) Jehovah protected the Jewish exiles from his ambushes on their way back to Jerusalem. (Ezra 8:31, see WAR.)

It should be noted that this is a very old technique. Thus the Romans had to learn new forms of struggle and uniformity to face the attacks of indigenous people such as Viriato. Later, the frequent use of this tactic deprived Spain of most of its forests because, during the Muslim invasion, they were burned to force the enemy out into the open.

Later, the invention of explosives gave a new character to this technique by giving small and not very numerous units the power to destroy entire columns, even armoured, in small but fierce skirmishes. Thus, the Afghans were able to wipe out an entire British army, hitherto undefeated, by passing through a gorge on the road to Jalalabad during the 19th century.