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Joshua 8 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Adonai said to Y’hoshua, “Don’t be afraid or fall into despair! Take all the people who can fight with you, set out, and go up to ‘Ai; because now I have handed over to you the king of ‘Ai, his people, his city and his land. Do to ‘Ai and its king as you did to Yericho and its king; but this time, take its spoil and cattle as booty for yourselves. Ambush the city from behind.”

So Y’hoshua set out for ‘Ai with all the people who could fight. Y’hoshua chose 30,000 men, the most courageous of his troops, and sent them out by night. He instructed them, “You are to lie in wait to ambush the city from behind. Stay close to the city; and all of you, be ready. I and all the troops with me will approach the city; and when they come out to attack us, as they did before, we will run away from them. They will chase after us until we have drawn them away from the city; because they will say, ‘They’re running away from us, as they did before’; so we’ll run away from them. Then you will jump up from your ambush position and take possession of the city, for Adonai your God will hand it over to you. When you have captured the city, you are to set it on fire; do according to what Adonai has said. Those are your orders.”

Y’hoshua sent them out; and they went to the place for the ambush, staying between Beit-El and ‘Ai, to the west of ‘Ai; while Y’hoshua camped that night with the people. 10 Y’hoshua got up early in the morning, mustered his men and went up to ‘Ai ahead of the people, he and the leaders of Isra’el . 11 All the troops marching with him went up, advanced, arrived in front of the city and camped on the north side of ‘Ai, with a valley between him and ‘Ai. 12 Then he took about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Beit-El and ‘Ai, to the west of ‘Ai. 13 Thus the people arrayed themselves, with all the army to the north of the city, and their rearguard lying in wait to the west of the city. Y’hoshua spent that night in the valley.

14 The king of ‘Ai saw this, so the men in the city hurried out early in the morning to battle against Isra’el, he and all his people, at a meeting-place facing the ‘Aravah. But he was unaware that behind the city an ambush had been laid against him. 15 Y’hoshua and all Isra’el made as if they had been defeated before them and ran off on the road to the desert. 16 All the people in ‘Ai were summoned together to pursue them, so they chased Y’hoshua and were drawn away from the city. 17 Not a man was left in ‘Ai or Beit-El who had not gone after Isra’el; pursuing Isra’el, they left the city wide open.

18 Then Adonai said to Y’hoshua, “Point the spear in your hand toward ‘Ai, because I will hand it over to you.” Y’hoshua pointed the spear in his hand toward the city. 19 The men in ambush jumped up quickly from their place; the moment he stretched out his hand, they ran, entered the city and captured it; and they hurried to set the city on fire. 20 When the men of ‘Ai looked behind them, they saw it — there was the smoke from the city, rising to the sky; and they had no power to flee this way or that — at which point the people who had run off toward the desert turned back on the pursuers. 21 When Y’hoshua and all Isra’el saw that the ambush had captured the city and that the smoke of the city was going up, they turned back and slaughtered the men of ‘Ai; 22 while the others came out of the city against them too; so that they were surrounded by Isra’el with some on this side and some on that side. They attacked them, allowing none to remain or escape. 23 But they took the king of ‘Ai alive and brought him to Y’hoshua.

24 When Isra’el had finished slaughtering all the inhabitants of ‘Ai in the countryside, in the desert where they had pursued them, and they had all fallen, consumed by the sword, then all Isra’el returned to ‘Ai and defeated it with the sword. 25 Twelve thousand men and women fell that day, everyone in ‘Ai. 26 For Y’hoshua did not withdraw his hand, which he had used to point the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of ‘Ai. 27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city did Isra’el take as booty for themselves, in keeping with the order Adonai had given Y’hoshua. 28 So Y’hoshua burned down ‘Ai and turned it into a tel forever, so that it remains a ruin to this day. 29 The king of ‘Ai he hanged on a tree until evening; at sundown Y’hoshua gave an order, so they took his carcass down from the tree, threw it at the entrance of the city gate and piled on it a big heap of stones, which is there to this day.

30 Then Y’hoshua built an altar to Adonai, the God of Isra’el, on Mount ‘Eival, 31 as Moshe the servant of Adonai had ordered the people of Isra’el to do (this is written in the book of the Torah of Moshe), an altar of uncut stones that no one had touched with an iron tool. On it they offered burnt offerings to Adonai and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 He wrote there on the stones a copy of the Torah of Moshe, inscribing it in the presence of the people of Isra’el. 33 Then all Isra’el, including their leaders, officials and judges, stood on either side of the ark in front of the cohanim, who were L’vi’im and who carried the ark for the covenant of Adonai. The foreigners were there along with the citizens. Half of the people were in front of Mount G’rizim and half of them in front of Mount ‘Eival, as Moshe the servant of Adonai had ordered them earlier in connection with blessing the people of Isra’el. 34 After this, he read all the words of the Torah, the blessing and the curse, according to everything written in the book of the Torah. 35 There was not a word of everything Moshe had ordered that Y’hoshua did not read before all Isra’el assembled, including the women, the little ones and the foreigners living with them.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Joshua 8 New International Version (NIV)

Ai Destroyed

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land. You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”

So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night with these orders: “Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from it. All of you be on the alert. I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them. They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are running away from us as they did before.’ So when we flee from them, you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The Lord your God will give it into your hand. When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the Lord has commanded. See to it; you have my orders.”

Then Joshua sent them off, and they went to the place of ambush and lay in wait between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai—but Joshua spent that night with the people.

10 Early the next morning Joshua mustered his army, and he and the leaders of Israel marched before them to Ai. 11 The entire force that was with him marched up and approached the city and arrived in front of it. They set up camp north of Ai, with the valley between them and the city. 12 Joshua had taken about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. 13 So the soldiers took up their positions—with the main camp to the north of the city and the ambush to the west of it. That night Joshua went into the valley.

14 When the king of Ai saw this, he and all the men of the city hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle at a certain place overlooking the Arabah. But he did not know that an ambush had been set against him behind the city. 15 Joshua and all Israel let themselves be driven back before them, and they fled toward the wilderness. 16 All the men of Ai were called to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were lured away from the city. 17 Not a man remained in Ai or Bethel who did not go after Israel. They left the city open and went in pursuit of Israel.

18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Hold out toward Ai the javelin that is in your hand, for into your hand I will deliver the city.” So Joshua held out toward the city the javelin that was in his hand. 19 As soon as he did this, the men in the ambush rose quickly from their position and rushed forward. They entered the city and captured it and quickly set it on fire.

20 The men of Ai looked back and saw the smoke of the city rising up into the sky, but they had no chance to escape in any direction; the Israelites who had been fleeing toward the wilderness had turned back against their pursuers. 21 For when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that smoke was going up from it, they turned around and attacked the men of Ai. 22 Those in the ambush also came out of the city against them, so that they were caught in the middle, with Israelites on both sides. Israel cut them down, leaving them neither survivors nor fugitives. 23 But they took the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.

24 When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the wilderness where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. 25 Twelve thousand men and women fell that day—all the people of Ai. 26 For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed[a] all who lived in Ai. 27 But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the Lord had instructed Joshua.

28 So Joshua burned Ai[b] and made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day. 29 He impaled the body of the king of Ai on a pole and left it there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take the body from the pole and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate. And they raised a large pile of rocks over it, which remains to this day.

The Covenant Renewed at Mount Ebal

30 Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, 31 as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses—an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the Lord burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings. 32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on stones a copy of the law of Moses. 33 All the Israelites, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the Lord, facing the Levitical priests who carried it. Both the foreigners living among them and the native-born were there. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel.

34 Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law—the blessings and the curses—just as it is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the foreigners who lived among them.

Footnotes:

  1. Joshua 8:26 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them.
  2. Joshua 8:28 Ai means the ruin.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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