Joshua 6-10 Common English Bible (CEB)
Instructions about Jericho
6 Now Jericho was closed up tightly because of the Israelites. No one went out or came in. 2 The Lord said to Joshua, “Look. I have given Jericho and its king into your power, along with its mighty warriors. 3 Circle the city with all the soldiers, going around the city one time. Do this for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry seven trumpets made from rams’ horns in front of the chest. On the seventh day, circle the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.
5 “Have them blow a long blast on the ram’s horn. As soon as you hear that trumpet blast, have all the people shout out a loud war cry. Then the city wall will collapse, and the people will rise up, attacking straight ahead.”
Israel destroys Jericho
6 So Joshua, Nun’s son, called the priests. He said to them, “Lift up the covenant chest. Let seven priests carry seven trumpets made from rams’ horns in front of the Lord’s chest.” 7 He said to the people, “Go forward. Circle the city. Let the armed soldiers go in front of the Lord’s chest.” 8 As soon as Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying seven ram’s horn trumpets moved forward in front of the Lord. They blew the trumpets. The Lord’s covenant chest followed. 9 The initial group of soldiers was going in front of the priests who were blowing the trumpets. The rear guard was coming behind the chest, with trumpets blowing continuously. 10 Joshua ordered the people, “Don’t shout. Don’t let your voice be heard. Don’t let a word come out of your mouth until the day I tell you, ‘Shout!’ Then shout!”
11 He made the Lord’s chest circle the city, going around one time. They went back to the camp and stayed there overnight. 12 Joshua got up early in the morning. The priests lifted up the Lord’s chest. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets made from rams’ horns were going in front of the Lord’s chest, blowing trumpets continuously. The armed soldiers were going in front of them. The rear guard was coming after the Lord’s chest, blowing trumpets continuously. 14 They circled the city one time on the second day. Then they went back to the camp. They did this for six days.
15 On the seventh day, they got up at dawn. They circled the city in this way seven times. It was only on that day that they circled the city seven times. 16 The seventh time, the priests blew the trumpets. Then Joshua said to the people, “Shout, because the Lord has given you the city! 17 The city and everything in it is to be utterly wiped out as something reserved for the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute is to stay alive, along with everyone with her in her house. This is because she hid the messengers we sent. 18 But you, keep away from the things set aside for God so that you don’t desire[a] and take some of the things reserved. That would turn the camp of Israel into a thing doomed to be utterly wiped out and bring calamity on it. 19 All silver and gold, along with bronze and iron equipment, are holy to the Lord. They must go into the Lord’s treasury.” 20 Then the people shouted. They blew the trumpets. As soon as the people heard the trumpet blast, they shouted a loud war cry. Then the wall collapsed. The people went up against the city, attacking straight ahead. They captured the city. 21 Without mercy, they wiped out everything in the city as something reserved for God—man and woman, young and old, cattle, sheep, and donkeys.
22 Joshua spoke to the two men who had scouted out the land. “Go to the prostitute’s house. Bring out the woman from there, along with everyone related to her, exactly as you pledged to her.” 23 So the young men who had been spies went and brought Rahab out, along with her father, her mother, her brothers, and everyone related to her. They brought her whole clan out and let them stay outside Israel’s camp. 24 They burned the city and everything in it. But they put the silver and gold, along with the bronze and iron equipment, into the treasury of the Lord’s house. 25 Joshua let Rahab the prostitute live, her family, and everyone related to her. So her family still lives among Israel today, because she hid the spies whom Joshua had sent to scout out Jericho.
26 At that time Joshua made this decree:
“Anyone who starts to rebuild this city of Jericho will be cursed before the Lord.
Laying its foundations will cost them their oldest child.
Setting up its gates will cost them their youngest child.”
27 The Lord was with Joshua. News about him spread throughout the land.
Israel defeated at Ai
7 The Israelites did a disrespectful thing concerning the items reserved for God. Achan was the son of Carmi, grandson of Zabdi, great-grandson of Zerah. He was from the tribe of Judah. He took some of the things reserved for God. So the Lord was furious with the Israelites.
2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven to the east of Bethel. He said to them, “Go up. Scout out the land.”
So the men went up and scouted out Ai. 3 They came back to Joshua and said to him, “There is no need for all of the people to go up. Two or three thousand men could go up and strike Ai. Don’t make all of the people bother going there. There are just a few of them.” 4 So about three thousand men from the people went up in that direction. But they fled from the men of Ai. 5 The men of Ai struck down approximately thirty-six of them. They chased them from outside the gate as far as Shebarim. They struck them down on the slope. Then the hearts of the people melted and turned to water.
Cause of Israel’s defeat
6 Joshua ripped open his clothes. He, along with the elders of Israel, lay flat on their faces before the Lord’s chest until evening. They put dust on their heads. 7 Then Joshua said, “Oh no, Lord God! Why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan? Was it to hand us over to the power of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been prepared to live on the other side of the Jordan! 8 Please forgive me, Lord. What can I say now that Israel has retreated before its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and the whole population of the land will hear of it. They will surround us and make our name disappear from the earth. What will you do about your great name then?”
10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why do you lie flat on your face like this? 11 Israel has sinned. They have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the things reserved for me and put them with their own things. They have stolen and kept it a secret. 12 The Israelites can’t stand up to their enemies. They retreat before their enemies because they themselves have become a doomed thing reserved for me. I will no longer be with you unless you destroy the things reserved for me that are present among you. 13 Go and make the people holy. Say, ‘Get ready for tomorrow by making yourselves holy. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “Israel! Things reserved for me are present among you. You won’t be able to stand up to your enemies until you remove from your presence the things reserved for me.”’ 14 In the morning, come forward tribe by tribe. Whichever tribe the Lord selects must come forward clan by clan. Whichever clan the Lord selects must come forward family by family. Whichever family the Lord selects will come forward by individual soldiers. 15 The person selected, who has the things reserved for God, must be put to death by burning. Burn everything that belongs to him too. This is because he has violated the Lord’s covenant and has committed an outrage in Israel.”
Achan discovered and punished
16 Joshua got up early in the morning. He made Israel come forward tribe by tribe. The tribe of Judah was selected. 17 He made the clans of Judah come forward. He selected the clan of Zerah. He made the clan of Zerah come forward as individual soldiers. Zabdi was selected. 18 He made each soldier of his family come forward. Achan was selected. He was a son of Carmi, grandson of Zabdi, great-grandson of Zerah, and of the tribe of Judah. 19 Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord the God of Israel. Tell me what you have done. Don’t hide anything from me.”
20 Achan answered Joshua, “It’s true. I’ve sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 Among the booty I saw a single beautiful robe in the Babylonian style, two hundred shekels of silver, and a single gold bar weighing fifty shekels. I desired them and took them. Now they are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver on the bottom.”
22 Then Joshua sent messengers. They ran to the tent. There it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver on the bottom. 23 They took the things from inside the tent. They brought them to Joshua and to all the Israelites and emptied them out before the Lord. 24 Then Joshua seized Achan, Zerah’s son, along with the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys, flocks, tent, and everything that belonged to him. All Israel joined Joshua. They brought them up to Achor Valley. 25 Joshua said, “You have brought disaster to us! May the Lord bring disaster to you today!” Then all Israel stoned him. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 They raised over him a great pile of stones that is still there today. Then the Lord turned away from his fury. So he named that place Achor Valley.[b] It is still called that today.
Plan to capture Ai
8 The Lord said to Joshua, “Don’t be afraid or terrified. Take the entire army with you. Start to go up to Ai. Look! I have given the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land into your power. 2 Do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king. But you may take its booty and cattle as plunder. Set your ambush behind the city.”
3 So Joshua and the whole army got ready to go up to Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand brave soldiers. He sent them out by night. 4 He commanded them, “Look. You are to ambush the city from behind. Don’t move too far away from the city. Be ready, all of you. 5 I will approach the city with all the people. When they come out against us the same way as before, we will flee from them. 6 They will come out after us until we have drawn them away from the city. They will think, They are fleeing from us as before. So we will flee from them. 7 But you will rise up from the ambush and take over the city. The Lord your God will give it into your power. 8 As soon as you seize the city, set it on fire. Act according to the Lord’s word. Indeed, I have given you an order!”
9 Joshua sent them off, and they went to set the ambush. They stayed between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai. Joshua spent that night among the people. 10 Joshua got up early in the morning and mustered the people. Then he and the elders of Israel went up in front of the people to Ai. 11 The entire army that was with him went up. They moved in close, in front of the city. Then they camped north of Ai, with the valley between them and Ai. 12 He took about five thousand men and positioned them as an ambush between Bethel and Ai to the west of the city. 13 The people positioned the main camp on the north side of the city and its rear guard on its west side. That night, Joshua went into the middle of the valley.
Israel’s successful strategy
14 As soon as the king of Ai saw this, he and all his troops, the men of the city, hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle. They moved out to the battleground on the slopes down toward the Jordan.[c] He didn’t know that there was an ambush set against him behind the city. 15 Then Joshua and all Israel let themselves be beaten before them. They fled in the direction of the desert. 16 Next, all the troops who were still in the city were called out to chase them. They chased after Joshua and so let themselves be drawn away from the city. 17 No one who hadn’t gone out after Israel was left in either Ai or Bethel. They left the city wide open and chased after Israel.
18 The Lord said to Joshua, “Point the dagger in your hand toward Ai, because I will give it into your power.” So Joshua pointed the dagger in his hand toward the city. 19 The ambush quickly rose from its place. As soon as he reached out his hand, it charged. They entered the city and captured it. They set the city on fire at once. 20 Then the men of Ai turned around. They caught sight of the smoke of the city rising toward the sky. They had no chance to flee one way or the other. The troops who were fleeing toward the desert turned against the pursuit. 21 Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city and that the smoke of the city was rising. So they turned and struck down the men of Ai. 22 When other Israelites came out of the city to confront them, the men of Ai were caught in the middle. Some Israelites were on one side of them and some on the other. The Israelites struck them down until there was no one left to escape. 23 But they seized the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.
24 Israel finished killing the entire population of Ai that had chased them out into the open wasteland. All of them were finished off without mercy. Then all Israel went back to Ai and struck it down without mercy. 25 Twelve thousand men and women died that day, all the people of Ai. 26 Joshua didn’t pull back the hand that was stretched out holding a dagger until he had wiped out the whole population of Ai as something reserved for God. 27 However, Israel did take the cattle and other booty of that city as plunder for themselves, in agreement with the command that the Lord had given Joshua. 28 Then Joshua burned Ai. He made it a permanently deserted mound. That is still the case today. 29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. At sundown, Joshua gave an order, and they took his body down from the tree. They threw it down at the opening of the city gate. Then they raised over it a great pile of stones that is still there today.
Joshua reads the Instruction
30 Then Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal to the Lord, the God of Israel. 31 This was exactly what Moses the Lord’s servant had commanded the Israelites. It is what is written in the Instruction scroll from Moses: “an altar of crude stones against which no iron tool has swung.”[d] On it they offered entirely burned offerings to the Lord and sacrificed well-being offerings. 32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on the stones a copy of the Instruction from Moses, which Moses had written earlier. 33 All Israel—with its elders, officers, and judges—were standing on either side of the chest. They were facing the levitical priests who carry the Lord’s chest containing the covenant. They included both immigrants and full citizens. Half stood facing Mount Gerizim and half stood facing Mount Ebal. This was exactly what Moses the Lord’s servant had initially commanded for the blessing of the Israelite people. 34 Afterward, Joshua read aloud all the words of the Instruction, both blessing and curse, in agreement with everything written in the Instruction scroll. 35 There wasn’t a single word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua failed to read aloud in the presence of the entire assembly of Israel. This assembly included the women and small children, along with the immigrants who lived among them.
The Gibeonites’ trick
9 All the kings on the west side of the Jordan heard about this, including those in the highlands, the lowlands, and along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea toward Lebanon. They were Hittites and Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 2 They formed an alliance to fight Joshua and Israel. 3 In contrast, when the population of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they acted cleverly. They set out pretending to be messengers.[e] They took worn-out sacks for their donkeys and worn-out wineskins that were split and mended. 5 They had worn-out, patched sandals on their feet and were wearing worn-out clothes. All the bread in their supplies was dry and crumbly.
6 They went to Joshua at the camp at Gilgal. They said to him and to Israel, “We have come from a distant country. So now, make a treaty with us.”
7 Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live among us. How then could we make a treaty with you?”
8 Then they said to Joshua, “We are your servants.”
Joshua said to them, “Who are you? Where have you come from?”
9 They said to him, “Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the reputation of the Lord your God. We have heard a report about him and everything he did in Egypt. 10 We heard about everything he did to the two kings of the Amorites on the east side of the Jordan, Heshbon’s King Sihon and Bashan’s King Og, who was in Ashtaroth. 11 Our elders and all the population of our land said to us, ‘Take along supplies for the journey. Go meet them and say to them, “We are your servants. So now make a treaty with us.”’ 12 This is our bread. On the day we left to come to you we took it warm from our houses as supplies. But now here it is, dried up and crumbly. 13 These wineskins were new when we filled them. But here they are, split open. These clothes and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey.” 14 The Israelites[f] took some of their supplies, but they didn’t ask for any decision from the Lord. 15 Joshua made peace with them. He made a treaty with them to protect their lives. The leaders of the community made a solemn pledge to them.
Israel discovers the trick
16 Three days after the Israelites made a treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were actually their neighbors and were living among them. 17 So on the third day the Israelites marched out and came to their cities: Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18 But the Israelites didn’t strike at them. This was because the leaders of the community had made a solemn pledge to them by the Lord, the God of Israel. The entire community grumbled against the leaders. 19 Then all the leaders said to the whole community, “We have made a solemn pledge to them by the Lord, the God of Israel. So we can’t touch them now. 20 This is what we’ll do with them. We’ll let them live so that wrath won’t come down on us because of the solemn pledge that we made to them.” 21 The leaders went on to say to them, “Let them live.” So they became woodcutters and water haulers for the whole community, exactly as the leaders had intended for them.
22 Joshua called for the Gibeonites and spoke to them: “Why have you deceived us by saying, ‘We live very far away from you,’ when actually you live among us? 23 So now you are cursed. Some of you will always serve as woodcutters and water haulers for my God’s house.”
24 They answered Joshua, “Your servants had been told that the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the entire land and to wipe out all its population on your account. So we feared for our very lives because of you and did this thing. 25 Now, here we are in your power. Do to us whatever seems good and proper to you.” 26 So Joshua treated them in this way. He spared them from the power of the Israelites, and they didn’t kill them. 27 That day Joshua assigned them as woodcutters and water haulers for the community and for the Lord’s altar, located wherever God[g] would choose. That is still the case today.
Gibeonites under attack
10 Jerusalem’s King Adoni-zedek heard that Joshua had captured Ai and had wiped it out as something reserved for God. Joshua did the same thing to Ai and its king that he had done to Jericho and its king. He also heard that the population of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were living among them. 2 Adoni-zedek and his people[h] were very afraid, because Gibeon was a large city, like one of the royal cities. It was larger than Ai. All its men were soldiers. 3 So Jerusalem’s King Adoni-zedek sent word to Hebron’s King Hoham, Jarmuth’s King Piram, Lachish’s King Japhia, and Eglon’s King Debir: 4 “Come up and help me. We will strike at Gibeon, because it has made peace with Joshua and with the Israelites.” 5 Then the five kings of the Amorites gathered. These were the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. They went up with all their armies, camped against Gibeon, and attacked it. 6 The people of Gibeon sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: “Don’t desert your servants! Come to us quickly. Rescue us! Help us! All the Amorite kings from the highlands have assembled together against us.” 7 So Joshua went up from Gilgal with the entire army and all the bravest soldiers.
The Lord fights for Israel
8 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Don’t be afraid of them. I have given them into your power. Not a single one of them can stand up against you.” 9 Joshua quickly attacked them, having come up overnight from Gilgal. 10 Then the Lord threw them into a panic before Israel. Joshua struck a mighty blow against them at Gibeon. He chased them on the way up to Beth-horon and struck them down as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 11 When they were fleeing from Israel and were on the slope of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down large stones from the sky all the way to Azekah. So they died. More died from the hailstones than the Israelites killed with the sword.
12 On the day the Lord gave the Amorites into the power of Israel, Joshua spoke to the Lord in the presence of the Israelites:
“Sun, stand still at Gibeon!
Isn’t this written in the Jashar scroll? So the sun stood motionless in the middle of the sky. For a whole day, it was in no hurry to go down. 14 There hasn’t been a day like it before or since, when the Lord responded to a human voice. The Lord fought for Israel. 15 Then Joshua along with all Israel came back to the camp at Gilgal.
Israel executes five kings
16 Then those five kings fled and hid in the cave at Makkedah. 17 It was reported to Joshua, “The five kings have been found, hidden in the cave at Makkedah.”
18 Joshua said, “Roll large stones over the mouth of the cave. Station some men by it to guard them, 19 but don’t you stay there. Chase after your enemies and attack them from the rear. Don’t let them enter their cities, because the Lord your God has given them into your power.” 20 Joshua and the Israelites finished dealing them a stunning blow until they were finished off. Some survivors among them escaped into the fortified cities. 21 Then the whole people came back safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah. Not a single person threatened the Israelites.
22 Joshua said, “Open up the mouth of the cave. Bring those five kings out of the cave to me.” 23 They did so. They brought the five kings out of the cave to him: the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon. 24 When they brought these kings out to Joshua, Joshua called for every Israelite. He said to the military commanders who had gone out with him, “Come forward. Put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they went forward and put their feet on their necks. 25 Then Joshua said to them, “Don’t be afraid or terrified. Be brave and strong, because this is how the Lord will deal with all the enemies you fight.” 26 Next, Joshua struck them down. He put them to death and then hanged them on five trees. They were hanging on the trees until evening. 27 At sundown, Joshua gave an order, and they took them down from the trees. They threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves, and they set large stones over the mouth of the cave. The stones are still there to this very day.
Victories in the south
28 On that day, Joshua captured Makkedah. With a sword, he struck it and its king without mercy. He wiped them out, treating everyone in the city as something reserved for God. He left no survivors. He did to the king of Makkedah exactly as he had done to the king of Jericho.
29 Then Joshua along with all Israel moved on from Makkedah to Libnah. They attacked Libnah. 30 The Lord also gave it and its king into the power of Israel. With a sword, he struck it and everyone in it without mercy. He left no survivors in it. He did to its king exactly as he had done to the king of Jericho.
31 Joshua along with all Israel moved on from Libnah to Lachish. They camped near it and attacked it. 32 The Lord gave Lachish into the power of Israel. Joshua captured it on the second day. With a sword, he struck it and everyone in it without mercy, just exactly as he had done to Libnah. 33 Then Gezer’s King Horam came up to help Lachish. But Joshua struck him and his people down, until no survivors were left.
34 Joshua along with all Israel moved on from Lachish to Eglon. They camped against it and attacked it. 35 They captured it on the same day and struck it down without mercy. On that day, he wiped out everyone in it as something reserved for God, just exactly as he had done to Lachish.
36 Joshua along with all Israel went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it. 37 They captured it and struck it down without mercy, along with its king, all its towns, and everyone in it. He left no survivors, just exactly as he had done to Eglon. He wiped out the city and everyone in it as something reserved for God.
38 Joshua along with all Israel turned back to Debir and attacked it. 39 He captured it along with its king and all its cities. They struck them down without mercy and wiped out everyone in it as something reserved for God. He left no survivors. Exactly as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king—exactly as he had done to Libnah and its king.
40 So Joshua struck at the whole land: the highlands, the arid southern plains, the lowlands, the slopes, and all their kings. He left no survivors. He wiped out everything that breathed as something reserved for God, exactly as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded. 41 Joshua struck them down from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza, and the whole land of Goshen as far as Gibeon. 42 Joshua captured all these kings and their land all at the same time. This was because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. 43 Then Joshua along with all Israel came back to the camp at Gilgal.