1Then the Lord spoke to Joshua. He said, “Do not be afraid. Do not lose hope. Go up and attack Ai. Take the whole army with you. I have handed the king of Ai over to you. I have given you his people, his city and his land.2“Remember what you did to Jericho and its king. You will do the same thing to Ai and its king. But this time you can keep for yourselves the livestock and everything else you take from them. Have some of your fighting men hide behind the city and take them by surprise.”3So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose 30,000 of his best fighting men. He sent them out at night.4He gave them orders. He said, “Listen carefully to what I'm saying. You must hide behind the city. Don't go very far away from it. All of you must be ready to attack it.5“I and all of the men who are with me will go up to the city. The men of Ai will come out to fight against us, just as they did before. Then we'll run away from them.6They'll chase us until we've drawn them away from the city. They'll say, ‘They are running away from us, just as they did before.’ “When we run away from them,7come out of your hiding place. Take over the city. The Lord your God will hand it over to you.8When you have taken it, set it on fire. Do what the Lord has commanded. Make sure you obey my orders.”9Then Joshua sent them away. They went to the place where they had planned to hide. They hid in a place west of Ai. It was between Bethel and Ai. But Joshua spent that night with his men.10Early the next morning Joshua brought his men together. He and the leaders of Israel marched in front of them to Ai.11The whole army that was with him marched up to the city. They stopped in front of it. They set up camp north of Ai. There was a valley between them and the city.12Joshua had chosen about 5,000 soldiers. He had ordered them to hide in a place west of Ai. It was between Bethel and Ai.13The men took up their battle positions. All of the men who were in the camp that was north of the city took up their positions. So did those who were supposed to hide west of the city. That night Joshua went into the valley.14The king of Ai saw what the army of Israel was doing. So he and all of his men hurried out of the city early in the morning. They marched out to meet Israel in battle. They went to a place that looked out over the Arabah Valley. The king didn't know that some of Israel's fighting men were hiding behind the city.15Joshua and all of his men let the men of Ai drive them back. The men of Israel ran away toward the desert.16All of the men of Ai were called out to chase them. They chased Joshua. So they were drawn away from the city.17Not even one man remained in Ai or Bethel. All of them went out to chase Israel. When they did, they left the city wide open.18Then the Lord spoke to Joshua. He said, “Point the javelin that is in your hand at Ai. I will hand the city over to you.” So Joshua pointed his javelin at Ai.19As soon as he did, the men who were hiding behind the city got up quickly. They came out of their hiding places and rushed forward. They entered the city and captured it. They quickly set it on fire.20The men of Ai looked back. They saw smoke rising up from the city into the sky. But they couldn't escape in any direction. The men of Israel had been running away toward the desert. But now they turned around to face those who were chasing them.21Joshua and all of his men saw that the men who had been hiding behind the city had captured it. They also saw the smoke that was going up from it. So they turned around and attacked the men of Ai.22The men who had set Ai on fire came out of the city. They also fought against the men of Ai. So the men of Ai were caught in the middle. The army of Israel was on both sides of them. Israel struck them down. They didn't let anyone remain alive or get away.23But they took the king of Ai alive. They brought him to Joshua.24Israel finished killing all of the men of Ai. They destroyed them in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them. They struck every one of them down with their swords. Then all of the men of Israel returned to Ai. And they killed those who were left in it.25The total number of men and women they killed that day was 12,000. They put to death all of the people of Ai.26Joshua kept the javelin that was in his hand pointed at Ai. He didn't lower his hand until he and his men had totally destroyed everyone who lived there.27But this time Israel kept for themselves the livestock and everything else they had taken from the city. The Lord had directed Joshua to let them do it.28So Joshua burned Ai down. He tore it down so it could never be built again. It has been deserted to this very day.29Joshua killed the king of Ai. He stuck a pole through the body. Then he set it up where people could see it. He left it there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered his men to remove the body from the pole. He told them to throw the body down at the entrance of the city gate. They put a large pile of rocks over the body. That pile is still there to this very day.
Joshua Reads the Scroll of the Law to the People
30Joshua built an altar to honor the Lord, the God of Israel. He built it on Mount Ebal.31Moses, the servant of the Lord, had commanded the people of Israel to do that. Joshua built the altar in keeping with what is written in the Scroll of the Law of Moses. He built an altar out of stones that iron tools had never touched. Then the people offered on the altar burnt offerings to the Lord. They also sacrificed friendship offerings on it.32Joshua copied the written law of Moses on stones. He did it while all of the people of Israel were watching.33They were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the Lord. All of the people of Israel, including outsiders and citizens, were there. Israel's elders, officials and judges were also there. All of them faced the priests, who were Levites. They were carrying the ark. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim. The other half stood in front of Mount Ebal. Moses, the servant of the Lord, had earlier told them to do it. It was when he had given directions to bless the people of Israel.34Then Joshua read all of the words of the law out loud. He read the blessings and the curses. He read them in keeping with what is written in the Scroll of the Law.35Joshua read every word Moses had commanded. He read them to the whole community of Israel. That included the women and children. It also included the outsiders who were living among them.
English Standard Version
The Fall of Ai
1And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. (De 1:21; De 7:18; De 31:8; Jos 1:9; Jos 2:24; Jos 6:2; Jos 10:25)2And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king. Only its spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves. Lay an ambush against the city, behind it.” (De 20:14; Jos 6:21; Jos 8:27)3So Joshua and all the fighting men arose to go up to Ai. And Joshua chose 30,000 mighty men of valor and sent them out by night.4And he commanded them, “Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind it. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you remain ready. (Jud 20:29)5And I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. And when they come out against us just as before, we shall flee before them. (Jos 7:5)6And they will come out after us, until we have drawn them away from the city. For they will say, ‘They are fleeing from us, just as before.’ So we will flee before them. (Jos 8:16)7Then you shall rise up from the ambush and seize the city, for the Lord your God will give it into your hand.8And as soon as you have taken the city, you shall set the city on fire. You shall do according to the word of the Lord. See, I have commanded you.” (2Sa 13:28)9So Joshua sent them out. And they went to the place of ambush and lay between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai, but Joshua spent that night among the people.10Joshua arose early in the morning and mustered the people and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.11And all the fighting men who were with him went up and drew near before the city and encamped on the north side of Ai, with a ravine between them and Ai. (Jos 8:5)12He took about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city.13So they stationed the forces, the main encampment that was north of the city and its rear guard west of the city. But Joshua spent that night in the valley.14And as soon as the king of Ai saw this, he and all his people, the men of the city, hurried and went out early to the appointed place toward the Arabah to meet Israel in battle. But he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. (De 1:1; Jud 20:34)15And Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten before them and fled in the direction of the wilderness. (Jud 20:36)16So all the people who were in the city were called together to pursue them, and as they pursued Joshua they were drawn away from the city. (Jos 8:6)17Not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. They left the city open and pursued Israel.18Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.” And Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. (Jos 8:26)19And the men in the ambush rose quickly out of their place, and as soon as he had stretched out his hand, they ran and entered the city and captured it. And they hurried to set the city on fire.20So when the men of Ai looked back, behold, the smoke of the city went up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that, for the people who fled to the wilderness turned back against the pursuers.21And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city, and that the smoke of the city went up, then they turned back and struck down the men of Ai.22And the others came out from the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. And Israel struck them down, until there was left none that survived or escaped. (De 7:2)23But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him near to Joshua.24When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the edge of the sword.25And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai.26But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction. (Jos 8:18)27Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the Lord that he commanded Joshua. (Jos 8:2)28So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day. (De 13:16)29And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. And at sunset Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city and raised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day. (De 21:23; Jos 7:26; Jos 10:26)
Joshua Renews the Covenant
30At that time Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, (Ex 20:24; De 27:4)31just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the people of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, “an altar of uncut stones, upon which no man has wielded an iron tool.” And they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings.32And there, in the presence of the people of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written. (De 27:2)33And all Israel, sojourner as well as native born, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on opposite sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded at the first, to bless the people of Israel. (De 11:29; De 27:11; De 31:9; De 31:12; De 31:25)34And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. (De 28:2; De 30:19; De 31:11; Ne 8:2; Ne 13:1)35There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them. (De 31:12; Jos 8:33)