2 Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “[a]Go up and spy out the land.” So the men went up and spied out Ai.3 They returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up [b]to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.”4 So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled [c]from the men of Ai.5 The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them [d]from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.
6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.7 Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord [e]God, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing [f]to dwell beyond the Jordan!8 O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their[g]back before their enemies?9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?”
10 So the Lord said to Joshua, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face?11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things.12 Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their[h]backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst.
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