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Jehovah’s Witnesses


Online Bible


Joshua 8:1-35


  • Joshua sets ambush against Ai (1-13)

  • Ai successfully captured (14-29)

  • Law read at Mount Ebal (30-35)

8  Then Jehovah said to Joshua: “Do not be afraid or be terrified.+ Take with you all the fighting men and go up against Aʹi. See, I have handed over to you the king of Aʹi, his people, his city, and his land.+  Do to Aʹi and to its king just as you did to Jerʹi·cho and its king,+ except you may plunder its spoil and its livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city.”  So Joshua and all the fighting men went up against Aʹi. Joshua chose 30,000 mighty warriors and sent them off by night.  He gave them this command: “See, you are to lie in ambush behind the city. Do not go very far from the city, and all of you be ready.  I and all the people with me will approach the city, and when they come out against us as before,+ we will retreat from them.  When they come out after us, we will draw them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are retreating from us just as before.’+ And we will retreat from them.  Then you should rise up from the ambush and capture the city; Jehovah your God will hand it over to you.  As soon as you have seized the city, you should set it on fire.+ You should do according to Jehovah’s word. See, I have given you your orders.”  Then Joshua sent them out, and they marched to the place of ambush; they took a position between Bethʹel and Aʹi, to the west of Aʹi, while Joshua spent that night with the people. 10  After Joshua rose up early in the morning and gathered* the troops, he and the elders of Israel led them to Aʹi. 11  All the fighting men+ who were with him marched up and advanced to the front of the city. They camped to the north of Aʹi, with the valley between them and Aʹi. 12  In the meantime, he had taken about 5,000 men and had set them as an ambush+ between Bethʹel+ and Aʹi, to the west of the city. 13  So the people set the main camp to the north of the city+ and the rear guard west of the city,+ and Joshua went that night into the middle of the valley.* 14  And as soon as the king of Aʹi saw this, he and the men of the city hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle at a certain place overlooking the desert plain. But he did not know that there was an ambush set against him to the rear of the city. 15  When the men of Aʹi attacked, Joshua and all Israel fled along the road in the direction of the wilderness.+ 16  Then all the people who were in the city were summoned to pursue them; and as they pursued Joshua they were drawn away from the city. 17  Not a man was remaining in Aʹi and Bethʹel who did not go out after Israel. They left the city wide open and pursued Israel. 18  Jehovah now said to Joshua: “Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Aʹi,+ for into your hand I will give it.”+ So Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. 19  The moment he stretched out his hand, the ambush rose up quickly from its place and ran into the city and captured it. They immediately set the city on fire.+ 20  When the men of Aʹi turned around, they saw the smoke of the city rising to the sky, and they had no strength to flee in any direction. Then the people who had been fleeing toward the wilderness turned on their pursuers. 21  When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city and saw the smoke of the city rising, they turned around and attacked the men of Aʹi. 22  And the others came out of the city to meet them, so that the men of Aʹi were trapped in the middle, with some Israelites on this side and some on that side, and they struck them down until there was not one survivor or escapee remaining.+ 23  But they caught the king of Aʹi+ alive and brought him before Joshua. 24  After Israel finished killing all the inhabitants of Aʹi in the field, in the wilderness where they had pursued them, and every last one of them had fallen by the sword, then all Israel returned to Aʹi and struck it with the sword. 25  All those who fell on that day, from man to woman, amounted to 12,000, all the people of Aʹi. 26  Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he had stretched out the javelin+ until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Aʹi to destruction.+ 27  However, Israel took the livestock and the spoil of that city for themselves, according to the orders that Jehovah had given to Joshua.+ 28  Then Joshua burned Aʹi and reduced it to a permanent mound of ruins,+ as it remains to this day. 29  He hung the king of Aʹi on a stake* until the evening, and as the sun was about to set, Joshua gave the order to take his dead body down from the stake.+ Then they pitched it at the entrance of the city gate and raised up a great pile of stones over him, which is there to this day. 30  It was then that Joshua built an altar on Mount Eʹbal+ to Jehovah the God of Israel, 31  just as Moses the servant of Jehovah had commanded the Israelites and as it is written in the book of the Law+ of Moses: “An altar of whole stones on which no iron tool has been wielded.”+ On it they offered up burnt offerings to Jehovah as well as communion sacrifices.+ 32  Then he wrote there on the stones a copy of the Law+ that Moses had written before the Israelites.+ 33  All Israel, their elders, the officers, and their judges were standing on both sides of the Ark in front of the Levitical priests who were carrying the ark of the covenant of Jehovah. The foreign residents were there as well as the natives.+ Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerʹi·zim, and the other half in front of Mount Eʹbal+ (just as Moses the servant of Jehovah had previously commanded),+ to bless the people of Israel. 34  After this he read aloud all the words of the Law,+ the blessings+ and 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 aloud in front of all the congregation of Israel,+ including the women and children and the foreign residents+ who were living* among them.+


Or “mustered.”
Or “low plain.”
Or “tree.”
Lit., “walking.”