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Joshua 8 Modern English Version (MEV)

Ai Destroyed

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you. Arise, and go up to Ai. See, I have given the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land into your hand. Do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king, except you may plunder its spoils and its livestock. Now set an ambush for the city behind it.”

So Joshua and all the fighting men arose to go up to Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand men, mighty men of valor, and sent them out at night. He commanded them, “You shall ambush the city from behind. Do not go very far from the city. All of you be ready. I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. When they come out to engage us as before, we will flee from them. They will come after us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will think, ‘They are fleeing from us as before!’ So we will flee from them. Then you shall rise up for the ambush and take possession of the city. The Lord your God will give it into your hands. When you have seized the city, set it on fire. Act according to the word of the Lord. See, I have commanded you.”

So Joshua sent them out. They went to the place of ambush and took up a position between Bethel and Ai, westward of Ai, and Joshua spent the night among the people.

10 Joshua got up early in the morning and mustered the people. He and the elders of Israel went up before the people to Ai. 11 All the fighting men who were with him went up and drew near to the city. They camped north of Ai, and there was a valley between them and Ai. 12 He took about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, westward of the city. 13 So they stationed the people, all the army that was on the north of the city, and its rear guard on the west of the city, and Joshua spent that night in the midst of the valley.

14 When the king of Ai saw this, the men of the city hurriedly got up early and went out to engage Israel in battle at the assembly point near the Arabah. Yet he did not know that there was an ambush for him behind the city. 15 So Joshua and all Israel allowed themselves to be beaten before them, and they fled in the direction of the wilderness. 16 All the people who were in Ai were assembled to pursue them, so they pursued Joshua and were drawn away from the city. 17 Not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. They left the city wide open, and they pursued Israel.

18 The Lord said to Joshua, “Point toward Ai with the sword that is in your hand, for I will give it into your hand.” So Joshua pointed toward the city with the sword in his hand. 19 When his hand pointed, the men in ambush got up quickly from their place and ran. They came into the city, captured it, and quickly set the city on fire.

20 The men of Ai turned around and looked, and there from the city came smoke rising to the sky! They could not flee in any direction, and the people who had fled into the wilderness had turned back toward their pursuers. 21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city and that smoke rose from it, they turned and struck down the men of Ai. 22 Then the men in the city came out to engage them in battle, so they were now in the middle, with Israel on each side. Israel struck them down until neither survivors nor escapees were left. 23 They took the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.

24 When Israel completed killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they had pursued them, and when all of them had finally fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it with the edge of the sword. 25 All who had fallen that day, men and women, numbered twelve thousand, all the people of Ai. 26 Joshua did not draw back his hand with the stretched-out sword until he destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 27 Israel plundered only the livestock and the spoil of that city for themselves, according to the word of the Lord that He had commanded Joshua.

28 Joshua burned Ai and made it a heap forever, a desolation to this day. 29 The king of Ai hanged on a tree until evening. At sunset, Joshua commanded that the people take down the body from the tree and throw it down at the city gate. They erected a large heap of stones over it that remains to this day.

The Covenant Renewal at Mount Ebal

30 Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord God of Israel on Mount Ebal, 31 as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the children of Israel. As is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, it was “an altar of uncut stones not shaped by iron tools.” They sacrificed burnt offerings to the Lord on it, as well as peace offerings. 32 There in the presence of the children of Israel he wrote a copy of the Law of Moses on the stones. 33 All Israel, resident alien and native alike, with its elders, officials, and judges, were standing on either side of the ark in front of the Levite priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, half in front of Mount Gerizim and half in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded from the beginning, in order to bless the people of Israel.

34 After this, Joshua read out all the words of the law, both blessing and curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word from all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read out before the whole assembly of Israel, with the women, the children, and the resident aliens who were among them.

Modern English Version (MEV)

The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.

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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