Joshua 5-8 The Message (MSG)
5 When all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and the Canaanite kings along the seacoast heard how God had stopped the Jordan River before the People of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts sank; the courage drained out of them just thinking about the People of Israel.
2-3 At that time God said to Joshua, “Make stone knives and circumcise the People of Israel a second time.” So Joshua made stone knives and circumcised the People of Israel at Foreskins Hill.
4-7 This is why Joshua conducted the circumcision. All the males who had left Egypt, the soldiers, had died in the wilderness on the journey out of Egypt. All the people who had come out of Egypt, of course, had been circumcised, but all those born in the wilderness along the way since leaving Egypt had not been. The fact is that the People of Israel had walked through that wilderness for forty years until the entire nation died out, all the men of military age who had come out of Egypt but had disobeyed the call of God. God vowed that these would never lay eyes on the land God had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. But their children had replaced them. These are the ones Joshua circumcised. They had never been circumcised; no one had circumcised them along the way.
8 When they had completed the circumcising of the whole nation, they stayed where they were in camp until they were healed.
9 God said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt.” That’s why the place is called The Gilgal. It’s still called that.
10 The People of Israel continued to camp at The Gilgal. They celebrated the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the plains of Jericho.
11-12 Right away, the day after the Passover, they started eating the produce of that country, unraised bread and roasted grain. And then no more manna; the manna stopped. As soon as they started eating food grown in the land, there was no more manna for the People of Israel. That year they ate from the crops of Canaan.
13 And then this, while Joshua was there near Jericho: He looked up and saw right in front of him a man standing, holding his drawn sword. Joshua stepped up to him and said, “Whose side are you on—ours or our enemies’?”
14 He said, “Neither. I’m commander of God’s army. I’ve just arrived.” Joshua fell, face to the ground, and worshiped. He asked, “What orders does my Master have for his servant?”
15 God’s army commander ordered Joshua, “Take your sandals off your feet. The place you are standing is holy.”
Joshua did it.
6 Jericho was shut up tight as a drum because of the People of Israel: no one going in, no one coming out.
2-5 God spoke to Joshua, “Look sharp now. I’ve already given Jericho to you, along with its king and its crack troops. Here’s what you are to do: March around the city, all your soldiers. Circle the city once. Repeat this for six days. Have seven priests carry seven ram’s horn trumpets in front of the Chest. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, the priests blowing away on the trumpets. And then, a long blast on the ram’s horn—when you hear that, all the people are to shout at the top of their lungs. The city wall will collapse at once. All the people are to enter, every man straight on in.”
6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests and told them, “Take up the Chest of the Covenant. Seven priests are to carry seven ram’s horn trumpets leading God’s Chest.”
7 Then he told the people, “Set out! March around the city. Have the armed guard march before the Chest of God.”
8-9 And it happened. Joshua spoke, the people moved: Seven priests with their seven ram’s horn trumpets set out before God. They blew the trumpets, leading God’s Chest of the Covenant. The armed guard marched ahead of the trumpet-blowing priests; the rear guard was marching after the Chest, marching and blowing their trumpets.
10 Joshua had given orders to the people, “Don’t shout. In fact, don’t even speak—not so much as a whisper until you hear me say, ‘Shout!’—then shout away!”
11-13 He sent the Chest of God on its way around the city. It circled once, came back to camp, and stayed for the night. Joshua was up early the next morning and the priests took up the Chest of God. The seven priests carrying the seven ram’s horn trumpets marched before the Chest of God, marching and blowing the trumpets, with the armed guard marching before and the rear guard marching after. Marching and blowing of trumpets!
14 On the second day they again circled the city once and returned to camp. They did this six days.
15-17 When the seventh day came, they got up early and marched around the city this same way but seven times—yes, this day they circled the city seven times. On the seventh time around the priests blew the trumpets and Joshua signaled the people, “Shout!—God has given you the city! The city and everything in it is under a holy curse and offered up to God.
“Except for Rahab the harlot—she is to live, she and everyone in her house with her, because she hid the agents we sent.
18-19 “As for you, watch yourselves in the city under holy curse. Be careful that you don’t covet anything in it and take something that’s cursed, endangering the camp of Israel with the curse and making trouble for everyone. All silver and gold, all vessels of bronze and iron are holy to God. Put them in God’s treasury.”
20 The priests blew the trumpets.
When the people heard the blast of the trumpets, they gave a thunderclap shout. The wall fell at once. The people rushed straight into the city and took it.
21 They put everything in the city under the holy curse, killing man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey.
22-24 Joshua ordered the two men who had spied out the land, “Enter the house of the harlot and rescue the woman and everyone connected with her, just as you promised her.” So the young spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, and brothers—everyone connected with her. They got the whole family out and gave them a place outside the camp of Israel. But they burned down the city and everything in it, except for the gold and silver and the bronze and iron vessels—all that they put in the treasury of God’s house.
25 But Joshua let Rahab the harlot live—Rahab and her father’s household and everyone connected to her. She is still alive and well in Israel because she hid the agents whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
26 Joshua swore a solemn oath at that time:
Cursed before God is the man
27 God was with Joshua. He became famous all over the land.
7 Then the People of Israel violated the holy curse. Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah, took some of the cursed things. God became angry with the People of Israel.
2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai (The Ruin), which is near Beth Aven just east of Bethel. He instructed them, “Go up and spy out the land.” The men went up and spied out Ai.
3 They returned to Joshua and reported, “Don’t bother sending a lot of people—two or three thousand men are enough to defeat Ai. Don’t wear out the whole army; there aren’t that many people there.”
4-5 So three thousand men went up—and then fled in defeat before the men of Ai! The men of Ai killed thirty-six—chased them from the city gate as far as The Quarries, killing them at the descent. The heart of the people sank, all spirit knocked out of them.
6 Joshua ripped his clothes and fell on his face to the ground before the Chest of God, he and the leaders throwing dirt on their heads, prostrate until evening.
7-9 Joshua said, “Oh, oh, oh . . . Master, God. Why did you insist on bringing this people across the Jordan? To make us victims of the Amorites? To wipe us out? Why didn’t we just settle down on the east side of the Jordan? Oh, Master, what can I say after this, after Israel has been run off by its enemies? When the Canaanites and all the others living here get wind of this, they’ll gang up on us and make short work of us—and then how will you keep up your reputation?”
10-12 God said to Joshua, “Get up. Why are you groveling? Israel has sinned: They’ve broken the covenant I commanded them; they’ve taken forbidden plunder—stolen and then covered up the theft, squirreling it away with their own stuff. The People of Israel can no longer look their enemies in the eye—they themselves are plunder. I can’t continue with you if you don’t rid yourselves of the cursed things.
13 “So get started. Purify the people. Tell them: Get ready for tomorrow by purifying yourselves. For this is what God, the God of Israel, says: There are cursed things in the camp. You won’t be able to face your enemies until you have gotten rid of these cursed things.
14-15 “First thing in the morning you will be called up by tribes. The tribe God names will come up clan by clan; the clan God names will come up family by family; and the family God names will come up man by man. The person found with the cursed things will be burned, he and everything he has, because he broke God’s covenant and did this despicable thing in Israel.”
16-18 Joshua was up at the crack of dawn and called Israel up tribe by tribe. The tribe of Judah was singled out. Then he called up the clans and singled out the Zerahites. He called up the Zerahite families and singled out the Zabdi family. He called up the family members one by one and singled out Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah.
19 Joshua spoke to Achan, “My son, give glory to God, the God of Israel. Make your confession to him. Tell me what you did. Don’t keep back anything from me.”
20-21 Achan answered Joshua, “It’s true. I sinned against God, the God of Israel. This is how I did it. In the plunder I spotted a beautiful Shinar robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and a fifty-shekel bar of gold, and I coveted and took them. They are buried in my tent with the silver at the bottom.”
22-23 Joshua sent off messengers. They ran to the tent. And there it was, buried in the tent with the silver at the bottom. They took the stuff from the tent and brought it to Joshua and to all the People of Israel and spread it out before God.
24 Joshua took Achan son of Zerah, took the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his ox, donkey, sheep, and tent—everything connected with him. All Israel was there. They led them off to the Valley of Achor (Trouble Valley).
25-26 Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? God will now trouble you. Today!” And all Israel stoned him—burned him with fire and stoned him with stones. They piled a huge pile of stones over him. It’s still there. Only then did God turn from his hot anger. That’s how the place came to be called Trouble Valley right up to the present time.
8 God said to Joshua, “Don’t be timid and don’t so much as hesitate. Take all your soldiers with you and go back to Ai. I have turned the king of Ai over to you—his people, his city, and his land.
2 “Do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king. Only this time you may plunder its stuff and cattle to your heart’s content. Set an ambush behind the city.”
3-8 Joshua and all his soldiers got ready to march on Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand men, tough, seasoned fighters, and sent them off at night with these orders: “Look sharp now. Lie in ambush behind the city. Get as close as you can. Stay alert. I and the troops with me will approach the city head-on. When they come out to meet us just as before, we’ll turn and run. They’ll come after us, leaving the city. As we are off and running, they’ll say, ‘They’re running away just like the first time.’ That’s your signal to spring from your ambush and take the city. God, your God, will hand it to you on a platter. Once you have the city, burn it down. God says it, you do it. Go to it. I’ve given you your orders.”
9 Joshua sent them off. They set their ambush and waited between Bethel and Ai, just west of Ai. Joshua spent the night with the people.
10-13 Joshua was up early in the morning and mustered his army. He and the leaders of Israel led the troops to Ai. The whole army, fighting men all, marched right up within sight of the city and set camp on the north side of Ai. There was a valley between them and Ai. He had taken about five thousand men and put them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, west of the city. They were all deployed, the main army to the north of the city and the ambush to the west. Joshua spent the night in the valley.
14 So it happened that when the king of Ai saw all this, the men of the city lost no time; they were out of there at the crack of dawn to join Israel in battle, the king and his troops, at a field en route to the Arabah. The king didn’t know of the ambush set against him behind the city.
15-17 Joshua and all Israel let themselves be chased; they ran toward the wilderness. Everybody in the city was called to the chase. They pursued Joshua and were led away from the city. There wasn’t a soul left in Ai or Bethel who wasn’t out there chasing after Israel. The city was left empty and undefended as they were chasing Israel down.
18-19 Then God spoke to Joshua: “Stretch out the javelin in your hand toward Ai—I’m giving it to you.” Joshua stretched out the javelin in his hand toward Ai. At the signal the men in ambush sprang to their feet, ran to the city, took it, and quickly had it up in flames.
20-21 The men of Ai looked back and, oh! saw the city going up in smoke. They found themselves trapped with nowhere to run. The army on the run toward the wilderness did an about-face—Joshua and all Israel, seeing that the ambush had taken the city, saw it going up in smoke, turned and attacked the men of Ai.
22-23 Then the men in the ambush poured out of the city. The men of Ai were caught in the middle with Israelites on both sides—a real massacre. And not a single survivor. Except for the king of Ai; they took him alive and brought him to Joshua.
24-25 When it was all over, Israel had killed everyone in Ai, whether in the fields or in the wilderness where they had chased them. When the killing was complete, the Israelites returned to Ai and completed the devastation. The death toll that day came to twelve thousand men and women—everyone in Ai.
26-27 Joshua didn’t lower his outstretched javelin until the sacred destruction of Ai and all its people was completed. Israel did get to take the livestock and loot left in the city; God’s instructions to Joshua allowed for that.
28-29 Joshua burned Ai to the ground. A “heap” of nothing forever, a “no-place”—go see for yourself. He hanged the king of Ai from a tree. At evening, with the sun going down, Joshua ordered the corpse cut down. They dumped it at the entrance to the city and piled it high with stones—you can go see that also.
30-32 Then Joshua built an altar to the God of Israel on Mount Ebal. He built it following the instructions of Moses the servant of God to the People of Israel and written in the Book of The Revelation of Moses, an altar of whole stones that hadn’t been chiseled or shaped by an iron tool. On it they offered to God Whole-Burnt-Offerings and sacrificed Peace-Offerings. He also wrote out a copy of The Revelation of Moses on the stones. He wrote it with the People of Israel looking on.
33 All Israel was there, foreigners and citizens alike, with their elders, officers, and judges, standing on opposite sides of the Chest, facing the Levitical priests who carry God’s Covenant Chest. Half of the people stood with their backs to Mount Gerizim and half with their backs to Mount Ebal to bless the People of Israel, just as Moses the servant of God had instructed earlier.
34-35 After that, he read out everything written in The Revelation, the Blessing and the Curse, everything in the Book of The Revelation. There wasn’t a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua didn’t read to the entire congregation—men, women, children, and foreigners who had been with them on the journey.