Joshua 8 Expanded Bible (EXB)
Ai Is Destroyed
8 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Don’t be afraid or ·give up [be discouraged/dismayed; 1:9; 10:25]. Lead ·all your fighting men [the whole army] to Ai. I ·will help you defeat [L have given into your hand] the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. 2 You will do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king. Only this time you may ·take all the wealth [L plunder its goods and livestock] and keep it for yourselves. Now ·tell some of your soldiers to set up [L set] an ambush behind the city.”
3 So Joshua ·led his whole army toward [L and all the people rose to go up against] Ai. Then he chose thirty thousand ·of his best fighting men [brave warriors] and sent them out at night. 4 Joshua gave them these orders: “·Listen carefully [Look; T Behold]. You must set up an ambush behind the city. Don’t go far from it, but continue to watch and be ready. 5 I and the men who are with me will march toward the city, and the men in the city will come out to fight us, just as they did before. Then we will ·turn and run away from [L flee before] them. 6 They will chase us away from the city, thinking we are running away from them as we did before. When we run away, 7 come out from your ambush and take the city. The Lord your God will give ·you the power to win [L it into your hand]. 8 After you take the city, burn it. ·See to it [L Look; T Behold]! You have your orders.”
9 Then Joshua sent them to wait in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai. But Joshua stayed the night ·with his [among the] people.
10 Early the next morning Joshua ·gathered his men together [mustered the army]. He and the ·older leaders [elders] of Israel led them up to Ai. 11 All of the soldiers who were with Joshua marched up to Ai and stopped in front of the city and made camp north of it. There was a valley between them and the city. 12 Then Joshua chose about five thousand men and set them in ambush in the area west of the city between Bethel and Ai. 13 So the people took their positions; the main camp was north of the city, and the ·other men [rear guard; ambush] were hiding to the west. That night Joshua went down into[a] the valley.
14 Now when the king of Ai saw the army of Israel, he and his people got up early the next morning and hurried out to fight them. They went out to ·a place east of the city [or the meeting/appointed place near the Arabah/desert plain], but the king did not know soldiers were waiting in ambush behind the city. 15 Joshua and all the men of Israel ·let the army of Ai push them back [pretended to be defeated]. Then they ran toward the ·desert [wilderness]. 16 All the men in Ai were called to chase Joshua and his men, so they ·left the city and went after them [were lured away from the city]. 17 All the men of Ai and Bethel chased the army of Israel [C nearby Bethel must have been closely allied with Ai]. The city was left ·open [unguarded]; not a man ·stayed to protect it [L was left in Ai or Bethel].
18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Hold ·your spear [L the spear/javelin that is in your hand] toward Ai, because I will give ·you that city [L it into your hand].” So Joshua held ·his spear [L the spear/javelin that was in his hand] toward the city of Ai. 19 When the Israelites who were in ambush saw this, they quickly came out of their hiding place and hurried toward the city. They entered the city, ·took control of [captured] it, and quickly set it on fire.
20 When the men of Ai looked back, ·they saw [L look; T behold] smoke rising [L into the sky] from their city. At the same time the Israelites stopped running and turned against ·the men of Ai [L their pursuers], who could not escape in any direction. 21 When Joshua and all ·his men [L Israel] saw that the ·army [men in ambush] had taken control of the city and saw the smoke rising from it, they stopped running and turned to ·fight [strike down] the men of Ai. 22 The men who were in ambush also came out of the city to help with the fight. So the men of Ai were caught between the armies of Israel. None of the enemy escaped. The Israelites ·fought [struck them down] until not one of the men of Ai ·was left alive [L either survived or escaped], except 23 the king of Ai, and they brought him to Joshua.
A Review of the Fighting
24 During the fighting the army of Israel chased the men of Ai into the fields and ·desert [wilderness] and killed all of them. Then they went back to Ai and killed everyone there. 25 All the people of Ai died that day, twelve thousand men and women. 26 Joshua ·had held his spear toward Ai, as a sign to destroy the city, and did not draw it back [L did not draw back the hand that held his spear/javelin] until all the people of Ai were ·destroyed [devoted to destruction; 2:10; 6:17]. 27 The people of Israel kept for themselves the animals and the ·other things the people of Ai had owned [plunder of the city], as the Lord had commanded Joshua to do.
28 Then Joshua burned the city of Ai and made it [L permanently; forever] a pile of ruins. And it is still like that today. 29 Joshua hanged the king of Ai on a tree and left him there until evening [C an act of humiliation and shame; Deut. 21:23]. At sunset Joshua told his men to take the king’s body down from the tree and to throw it down at the city gate. Then they covered it with a pile of rocks [7:26], which is still there today.
30 Joshua built an altar for the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, as 31 Moses, the Lord’s servant, had commanded the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel]. Joshua built the altar as it was explained in the Book of the ·Teachings [Law] of Moses. It was made from ·uncut [whole] stones; no tool was ever used on them. On that altar the Israelites offered burnt offerings [Lev. 1:1–17] to the Lord and ·fellowship [or peace; well-being] offerings [Lev. 3:1]. 32 There Joshua ·wrote [made a copy of] the teachings of Moses on stones for all the ·people [L sons; children] of Israel to see. 33 The elders, officers, judges, and all the Israelites were there; ·Israelites and non-Israelites [native-born and foreigners] were all standing around the Ark of the ·Agreement with [Covenant of] the Lord in front of the priests, the Levites who had carried the Ark. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Ebal, and half stood in front of Mount Gerizim. This was the way the Lord’s servant Moses had earlier commanded the people to be blessed [Deut. 11:29; 27:11–26].
34 Then Joshua read all the words of the ·teachings [law; instruction], the blessings and the curses, exactly as they were written in the Book of the ·Teachings [Law]. 35 All the Israelites were gathered together—men, women, and children—along with the ·non-Israelites [foreigners] who lived among them. Joshua read every ·command [word] that Moses had given.
Joshua 8 New International Version (NIV)
8 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. 2 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.”
3 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 4 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. 5 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. 6 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, 7 you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The Lord your God will give it into your hand. 8 When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the Lord has commanded. See to it; you have my orders.”
9 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.