5:8 Blow . . . Sound the alarm. These commands sound the watchman’s cry to warn of an approaching enemy (Judah) from the south (cf. 8:1). The Syro-Ephraimite war described in 2 Kin. 16:5–9 and 2 Chr. 28:5–21 seems to stand behind this warning. See Introduction: Date and Occasion.
Gibeah . . . Ramah . . . Beth-aven. These Benjaminite towns lie in a straight line running north from Jerusalem: Gibeah, three miles; Ramah, five miles; Beth-aven (Bethel), eleven miles. At various times in their history they were claimed by one or the other kingdom (1 Kin. 15:16–22).