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And Hashem said unto Yehoshua, Fear not, neither be thou discouraged; take kol Am HaMilchamah with thee, and arise, go up to Ai; see, I have given into thy yad the melech HaAi, and his people, and his city, and his land;

And thou shalt do to Ai and her melech just as thou didst unto Yericho and her melech; only the plunder thereof, and the livestock thereof, shall ye carry off for yourselves. Behind it set thee an ambush for the Ir (city [of Ai]).

So Yehoshua arose, and kol Am HaMilchamah, to go up against Ai; and Yehoshua chose out shloshim elef ish gibborei hachayil, and sent them out by lailah.

And he commanded them, saying, See, ye shall set an ambush against the Ir, even behind the Ir; go not very far from the Ir, but be ye all nekhonim (ready, on alert, set, prepared);

And I, and Kol HaAm that are with me, will approach unto the Ir; and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the rishonah, that we will flee before them,

(For they will come out after us) until we have drawn them from the Ir; for they will say, They flee before us, just as at the rishonah; therefore we will flee before them.

Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the Ir; for Hashem Eloheichem will deliver it into your yad.

And it shall be, when ye have taken the Ir, that ye shall set eish to the Ir; according to the Davar Hashem shall ye do. See, I have commanded you.

Yehoshua therefore sent them forth; and they went to the place of ambush, and waited between Beit-El and Ai, on the west side of Ai; but Yehoshua spent that lailah among HaAm.

10 And Yehoshua rose up early in the boker, and mustered HaAm, and went up, he and the Ziknei Yisroel, before HaAm to Ai.

11 And Kol HaAm HaMilchamah that were with him, went up, and drew near, and came before the Ir, and encamped on the north side of Ai; now there was the gey (valley) between them and Ai.

12 And he took about chameshet alafim ish, and set them to lie in ambush between Beit-El and Ai, on the west side of the Ir.

13 And when they had set HaAm, even Kol HaMachaneh that was on the north of the Ir, and the ambush to the west of the Ir, Yehoshua went that lailah into the midst of the emek (valley).

14 And it came to pass, when the melech of Ai saw it, that they hastened and rose up early, and the anshei HaIr went out against Yisroel in the milchamah, he and all his people, at the place, before the Aravah; but he had no da’as that there was an ambush against him set up behind the Ir.

15 And Yehoshua and kol Yisroel let themselves be driven before them, and fled by the derech hamidbar.

16 And kol HaAm that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them; and they pursued after Yehoshua, and were lured from the Ir.

17 And there was not an ish left in Ai or Beit-El, that went not out after Yisroel; and they left the Ir open, and pursued after Yisroel.

18 And Hashem said unto Yehoshua, Stretch out the kidon (javelin) that is in thy yad toward Ai; for I will give it into thine yad. And Yehoshua stretched out the kidon that he had in his yad toward the Ir.

19 And the ambush arose quickly out of their makom, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his yad; and they entered into the Ir, and took it, and hastened and set eish to the Ir.

20 And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, hinei, the ashan HaIr (smoke of the city) ascended up to Shomayim, and they had no way to flee here or there; and HaAm that fled to the midbar turned back upon the pursuers.

21 And when Yehoshua and kol Yisroel saw that the ambush had taken the Ir, and that the ashan HaIr ascended, then they turned again, and attacked the anshei HaAi.

22 Then these came out of the Ir against them; so they were in the midst of Yisroel, some on this side, and some on that side; and they struck them down, until they left none of them sarid (remnant, survivor) or palit (refugee, fugitive).

23 And the melech HaAi (literally, the King of Ruin) they took alive, and brought him to Yehoshua.

24 And it came to pass, when Yisroel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the sadeh, in the midbar wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the cherev, until they were consumed, that kol Yisroel returned unto Ai, and struck it with the edge of the cherev.

25 And so it was, that all that fell that yom, both of ish and isha, were sheneym asar elef, even kol anshei HaAi.

26 For Yehoshua drew not his yad back, wherewith he stretched out the kidon, until he had utterly destroyed kol yoshvei HaAi.

27 Only the behemah and the plunder of that Ir Yisroel carried off for themselves, according to the Davar Hashem which He commanded Yehoshua.

28 And Yehoshua burned Ai, and made it a tel olam (heap forever), even a desolation unto yom hazeh.

29 And the melech HaAi he hanged on HaEtz until the time of erev; and as soon as the shemesh was down, Yehoshua commanded that they should take his nevelah (body) down from HaEtz, and cast it at the petach sha’ar HaIr, and raised thereon a pile of avanim, that remaineth unto Yom Hazeh.

30 Then Yehoshua built a Mizbe’ach unto Hashem Elohei Yisroel in Har Eval,

31 Just as Moshe Eved Hashem commanded the Bnei Yisroel, as it is written in the Sefer Torah Moshe, a Mizbe’ach avanim shelemot, over which no man hath lift up any barzel (iron); and they offered thereon olot unto Hashem, and sacrificed shelamim.

32 And he wrote there upon the avanim a mishneh (copy) Torat Moshe, which he wrote in the presence of the Bnei Yisroel.

33 And Kol Yisroel, and their Zekenim, and shoterim, and their shofetim, stood on this side the Aron and on that side facing the Kohanim the Levi’im, which bore the Aron Brit Hashem, as well the ger as the ezrach (he that was born among them); half of them over against Har Gerizim, and half of them over against Har Eval; just as Moshe Eved Hashem had commanded before, in connection with the blessing of HaAm Yisroel.

34 And afterward he read kol divrei HaTorah, the brocha and kelalah, according to all that is written in the Sefer HaTorah.

35 There was not a davar of all that Moshe commanded, which Yehoshua read not before kol Kehal Yisroel, with the nashim, and the little ones, and the ger that were living among them.

Ai Destroyed

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid;(A) do not be discouraged.(B) Take the whole army(C) with you, and go up and attack Ai.(D) For I have delivered(E) 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(F) and livestock for yourselves.(G) Set an ambush(H) 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.(I) When you have taken the city, set it on fire.(J) Do what the Lord has commanded.(K) See to it; you have my orders.”

Then Joshua sent them off, and they went to the place of ambush(L) 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(M) Joshua mustered his army, and he and the leaders of Israel(N) 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.(O) But he did not know(P) that an ambush had been set against him behind the city. 15 Joshua and all Israel let themselves be driven back(Q) before them, and they fled toward the wilderness.(R) 16 All the men of Ai were called to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were lured away(S) 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(T) that is in your hand,(U) for into your hand I will deliver the city.” So Joshua held out toward the city the javelin that was in his hand.(V) 19 As soon as he did this, the men in the ambush rose quickly(W) from their position and rushed forward. They entered the city and captured it and quickly set it on fire.(X)

20 The men of Ai looked back and saw the smoke of the city rising up into the sky,(Y) 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(Z) 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.(AA) 23 But they took the king of Ai alive(AB) 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.(AC) 26 For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin(AD) until he had destroyed[a](AE) all who lived in Ai.(AF) 27 But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the Lord had instructed Joshua.(AG)

28 So Joshua burned(AH) Ai[b](AI) and made it a permanent heap of ruins,(AJ) a desolate place to this day.(AK) 29 He impaled the body of the king of Ai on a pole and left it there until evening. At sunset,(AL) 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(AM) over it, which remains to this day.

The Covenant Renewed at Mount Ebal

30 Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal(AN) an altar(AO) 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(AP) had been used. On it they offered to the Lord burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings.(AQ) 32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua wrote on stones a copy of the law of Moses.(AR) 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(AS) priests who carried it. Both the foreigners living among them and the native-born(AT) were there. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal,(AU) 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.(AV) 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.(AW)


  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.