1 Then the Lord said to Joshua: “You should not fear, and you should not dread. Take with you the entire multitude of fighters, and rising up, ascend to the town of Ai. Behold, I have delivered into your hand its king and people, and the city and the land.
2 And you shall do to the city of Ai, and to its king, just as you did to Jericho, and to its king. Yet truly, the spoils, and all the living things, you shall plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush against the city behind it.”
3 And Joshua rose up, and the entire army of warriors with him, so that they might ascend against Ai. And he sent thirty thousand elect strong men in the night.
4 And he instructed them, saying: “Set an ambush behind the city. You shall withdraw not far away, and let everyone be prepared.
5 But I and the remainder of the multitude that is with me will approach from the opposite side of the city. And when they come out against us, we will flee and turn our backs, just as we did before,
6 until, pursuing us, they are drawn away from the city. For they will think that we are fleeing as before.
7 Then, while we are fleeing and they are pursuing, you shall rise up from the ambush, and you shall lay waste to the city. And the Lord your God will deliver it into your hands.
8 And when you have seized it, set it on fire. And you shall do all that I have ordered.”
9 And he sent them away, and they traveled to the place of the ambush, and they settled between Bethel and Ai, toward the western region of the city of Ai. But Joshua remained for that night in the midst of the people.
10 And rising at first light, he reviewed his troops, and he went up, with the elders at the front of the army, surrounded by an auxiliary of fighters.
11 And when they had arrived, and had ascended from the opposite side of the city, they stood toward the northern region of the city. And there was a valley in the middle, between them and the city.
12 Now he had chosen five thousand men, and he had positioned them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, at the western part of the same city.
13 Yet truly, all the remainder of the army was arranged in a line to the north, so that the very end of that multitude reached to the western region of the city. Then Joshua went out that night, and he stood in the middle of the valley.
14 And when the king of Ai had seen this, he hurried in the morning, and he went out with the entire army of the city. And he arranged them in a line opposite the desert, not knowing that an ambush lay hidden behind his back.
15 Yet truly, Joshua, and all of Israel, withdrew from the place, pretending to be afraid, and fleeing along the way of the wilderness.
16 And they pursued them, shouting together and encouraging one another. And when they had withdrawn from the city,
17 and indeed not one remained in the city of Ai and of Bethel who did not pursue after Israel, (leaving the towns open after they had rushed out,)
18 the Lord said to Joshua: “Lift up the shield that is in your hand, toward the city of Ai. For I will deliver it to you.”
19 And when he had lifted up the shield toward the city, the ambush, which lay hidden, rose up quickly. And advancing to the city, they seized it, and set it on fire.
20 Now the men of the city who were pursuing Joshua, looking back and seeing the smoke of the city rising up even to heaven, were no longer able to flee in one direction or another, especially since those who had pretended to flee, and who were heading toward the wilderness, had turned back very strongly against those who were pursuing them.
Joshua Holding Javelin
21 And Joshua, and all of Israel, seeing that the city had been captured, and that the smoke of the city was ascending, returned and struck down the men of Ai.
22 Then too, those who had seized and set the city on fire, departing from the city toward their own men, began to strike the enemies in the middle. Therefore, since the adversaries were cut off from both sides, none of so great a multitude was saved.
23 Also, they apprehended the king of the city of Ai, alive, and they brought him before Joshua.
24 And so, after all were slain who had pursued Israel fleeing toward the wilderness, and after they fell by the sword in the same place, the sons of Israel returned and struck the city.
25 Now there were twelve thousand persons who had fallen on the same day, from man even to woman, the entire city of Ai.
26 Truly Joshua did not draw back his hand, which he had stretched out on high, keeping hold of the shield until all the inhabitants of Ai were put to death.
27 Then the sons of Israel divided among themselves the cattle and the plunder of the city, just as the Lord had instructed Joshua.
28 And he set fire to the city, and he caused it to be a perpetual tomb.
29 Also, he suspended the king on a gallows, until evening and the setting of the sun. And Joshua instructed, and they took down his dead body from the hanging tree. And they cast it at the very entrance of the city, gathering a great pile of stones upon it, which remains even to the present day.
30 Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal,
31 just as Moses, the servant of the Lord, had instructed to the sons of Israel, and this was written in the book of the law of Moses: truly, an altar of uncut stones, which iron has not touched. And he offered holocausts upon it to the Lord, and he immolated victims as peace-offerings.
32 And he wrote on the stones, the Deuteronomy of the law of Moses, which he had set in order before the sons of Israel.
33 Then all the people, and those greater by birth, and the commanders and judges were standing on both sides of the ark, in the sight of the priests who were carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, with both the new arrival and the native born, one half part of them beside Mount Gerizim, and one half beside Mount Ebal, just as Moses, the servant of the Lord, had instructed. And first, certainly, he blessed the people of Israel.
34 After this, he read all the words of the blessing and the cursing, and all the things that were written in the book of the law.
35 He left nothing untouched out of those things that Moses had ordered, and he repeated everything before the entire multitude of Israel, with the women and the little ones, and the new arrivals who were staying among them.