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Joshua 7-8 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Defeat at Ai

The Israelites, however, were unfaithful regarding the things set apart for destruction. Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of what was set apart, and the Lord’s anger burned against the Israelites.

Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and told them, “Go up and scout the land.” So the men went up and scouted Ai.

After returning to Joshua they reported to him, “Don’t send all the people, but send about two thousand or three thousand[a] men to attack Ai. Since the people of Ai are so few, don’t wear out all our people there.” So about three thousand men[b] went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of them and chased them from outside the city gate to the quarries,[c] striking them down on the descent. As a result, the people lost heart.[d]

Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground before the ark of the Lord until evening, as did the elders of Israel; they all put dust on their heads. “Oh, Lord God,” Joshua said, “why did you ever bring these people across the Jordan to hand us over to the Amorites for our destruction? If only we had been content to remain on the other side of the Jordan! What can I say, Lord, now that Israel has turned its back and run from its enemies? When the Canaanites and all who live in the land hear about this, they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. Then what will you do about your great name?”

10 The Lord then said to Joshua, “Stand up! Why have you fallen facedown? 11 Israel has sinned. They have violated my covenant that I appointed for them. They have taken some of what was set apart. They have stolen, deceived, and put those things with their own belongings. 12 This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They will turn their backs and run from their enemies, because they have been set apart for destruction. I will no longer be with you unless you remove from among you what is set apart.

13 “Go and consecrate the people. Tell them to consecrate themselves for tomorrow, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There are things that are set apart among you, Israel. You will not be able to stand against your enemies until you remove what is set apart. 14 In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe the Lord selects is to come forward clan by clan. The clan the Lord selects is to come forward family by family. The family the Lord selects is to come forward man by man. 15 The one who is caught with the things set apart must be burned, along with everything he has, because he has violated the Lord’s covenant and committed an outrage in Israel.”

Achan Judged

16 Joshua got up early the next morning. He had Israel come forward tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was selected. 17 He had the clans of Judah come forward, and the Zerahite clan was selected. He had the Zerahite clan come forward by heads of families,[e] and Zabdi was selected. 18 He then had Zabdi’s family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was selected.

19 So Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and make a confession to him.[f] I urge you, tell me what you have done. Don’t hide anything from me.”

20 Achan replied to Joshua, “It is true. I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I did: 21 When I saw among the spoils a beautiful cloak from Babylon,[g] five pounds[h] of silver, and a bar of gold weighing a pound and a quarter,[i] I coveted them and took them. You can see for yourself. They are concealed in the ground inside my tent, with the silver under the cloak.” 22 So Joshua sent messengers who ran to the tent, and there was the cloak, concealed in his tent, with the silver underneath. 23 They took the things from inside the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites, and spread them out in the Lord’s presence.

24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the cloak, and the bar of gold, his sons and daughters, his ox, donkey, and sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought us trouble? Today the Lord will bring you trouble!” So all Israel stoned them[j] to death. They burned their bodies, threw stones on them, 26 and raised over him a large pile of rocks that remains still today. Then the Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore that place is called the Valley of Achor[k] still today.

Conquest of Ai

The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take all the troops with you and go attack Ai. Look, I have handed over to you the king of Ai, his people, city, and land. Treat Ai and its king as you did Jericho and its king, except that you may plunder its spoil and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”

So Joshua and all the troops set out to attack Ai. Joshua selected thirty thousand of his best soldiers and sent them out at night. He commanded them: “Pay attention. Lie in ambush behind the city, not too far from it, and all of you be ready. Then I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. When they come out against us as they did the first time, we will flee from them. They will come after us until we have drawn them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are fleeing from us as before.’ While we are fleeing from them, you are to come out of your ambush and seize the city. The Lord your God will hand it over to you. After taking the city, set it on fire. Follow the Lord’s command—see that you do as I have ordered you.” So Joshua sent them out, and they went to the ambush site and waited between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai. But he spent that night with the troops.

10 Joshua started early the next morning and mobilized them. Then he and the elders of Israel led the troops up to Ai. 11 All those[l] who were with him went up and approached the city, arriving opposite Ai, and camped to the north of it, with a valley between them and the city. 12 Now Joshua had taken about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. 13 The troops were stationed in this way: the main[m] camp to the north of the city and its rear guard to the west of the city. And that night Joshua went into the valley.

14 When the king of Ai saw the Israelites, the men of the city hurried and went out early in the morning so that he and all his people could engage Israel in battle at a suitable place facing the Arabah. But he did not know there was an ambush waiting for him behind the city. 15 Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten back by them and fled toward the wilderness. 16 Then all the troops of Ai were summoned to pursue them, and 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, leaving the city exposed while they pursued Israel.

18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Hold out the javelin in your hand toward Ai, for I will hand the city over to you.” So Joshua held out his javelin toward it. 19 When he held out his hand, the men in ambush rose quickly from their position. They ran, entered the city, captured it, and immediately set it on fire.

20 The men of Ai turned and looked back, and smoke from the city was rising to the sky! They could not escape in any direction, and the troops who had fled to the wilderness now became the pursuers. 21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the men in ambush had captured the city and that smoke was rising from it, they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. 22 Then men in ambush came out of the city against them, and the men of Ai were trapped between the Israelite forces, some on one side and some on the other. They struck them down until no survivor or fugitive remained, 23 but they captured the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.

24 When Israel had finished killing everyone living in Ai who had pursued them into the open country, and when every last one of them had fallen by the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the sword. 25 The total of those who fell that day, both men and women, was twelve thousand—all the people of Ai. 26 Joshua did not draw back his hand that was holding the javelin until all the inhabitants of Ai were completely destroyed. 27 Israel plundered only the cattle and spoil of that city for themselves, according to the Lord’s command that he had given Joshua.

28 Joshua burned Ai and left it a permanent ruin, still desolate today. 29 He hung[n] the body of the king of Ai on a tree[o] until evening, and at sunset Joshua commanded that they take his body down from the tree. They threw it down at the entrance of the city gate and put a large pile of rocks over it, which still remains today.

Renewed Commitment to the Law

30 At that time Joshua built an altar on Mount Ebal to the Lord, the God of Israel, 31 just as Moses the Lord’s servant 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 has been used. Then they offered burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings on it. 32 There on the stones, Joshua copied the law of Moses, which he had written in the presence of the Israelites. 33 All Israel—resident alien and citizen alike—with their elders, officers, and judges, stood on either side of the ark of the Lord’s covenant facing the Levitical priests who carried it. Half of them were in front of Mount Gerizim and half in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the Lord’s servant had commanded earlier concerning blessing the people of Israel. 34 Afterward, Joshua read aloud all the words of the law—the blessings as well as the curses—according to all that 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 before the entire assembly of Israel, including the women, the dependents, and the resident aliens who lived[p] among them.

Footnotes:

  1. 7:3 Or send two or three military units of
  2. 7:4 Lit men from the people
  3. 7:5 Or to Shebarim
  4. 7:5 Lit people’s hearts melted and became like water
  5. 7:17 Lit forward man by man
  6. 7:19 Or and praise him
  7. 7:21 Lit Shinar
  8. 7:21 Lit 200 shekels
  9. 7:21 Lit 50 shekels
  10. 7:25 Lit him
  11. 7:26 Or of Trouble
  12. 8:11 Lit the people of war
  13. 8:13 Lit way: all the
  14. 8:29 Or impaled
  15. 8:29 Or wooden stake
  16. 8:35 Lit walked
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

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