New Heart English Bible
1The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid, neither be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. Look, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, with his people, his city, and his land. 2You shall do to Ai and her king as you did to Jericho and her king, except its spoil and its livestock, you shall take for a plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it."
3So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up to Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand men, the mighty men of valor, and sent them out by night. 4He commanded them, saying, "Look, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind the city. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you be ready. 5I, and all the people who are with me, will approach to the city. It shall happen, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them. 6They will come out after us, until we have drawn them away from the city; for they will say, 'They flee before us, like the first time.' So we will flee before them, 7and you shall rise up from the ambush, and take possession of the city; for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand. 8It shall be, when you have seized on the city, that you shall set the city on fire. You shall do this according to the word of the LORD. Look, I have commanded you." 9Joshua sent them out; and they went to set up the ambush, and stayed between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai; but Joshua stayed among the people that night.
10Joshua rose up early in the morning, mustered the people, and went up, he and the elders, before the people to Ai. 11All the people, even the men of war who were with him, went up, and drew near, and came before the city, and camped on the north side of Ai. Now there was a valley between him and Ai. 12He took about five thousand men, and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city. 13So they set the people, even all the army who was on the north of the city, and their ambush on the west of the city; and Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley. 14And it happened, when the king of Ai saw it, that he hurried and rose up early, and the men of the city went out to engage them directly in battle, he and all his people, to the meeting place in front of the Arabah; but he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. 15Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness. 16All the people who were in the city were called together to pursue after them. They pursued Joshua, and were drawn away from the city. 17There was not a man left in Ai or Beth El who did not go out after Israel. They left the city open, and pursued Israel.
18The LORD said to Joshua, "Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand." Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. 19The ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand, and entered into the city, and took it. They hurried and set the city on fire. 20When the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and look, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way. The people who fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers. 21When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and killed the men of Ai. 22The others came out of the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. They struck them, so that they let none of them remain or escape. 23They captured the king of Ai alive, and brought him to Joshua.
24And it came to pass when Israel had made an end of killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the plains, and on the mountain on the slope, where they pursued them, and they had all fallen by the edge of the sword until they were destroyed, then all Israel returned to Ai and struck it with the edge of the sword. 25All that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai. 26For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the javelin, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 27Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took for prey to themselves, according to the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua. 28So Joshua burnt Ai, and made it a heap forever, even a desolation, to this day. 29He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until the evening, and at the sundown Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree, and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raised a great heap of stones on it that remains to this day.
30Then Joshua built an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, 31as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, "an altar of uncut stones, on which no man has touched with an iron tool." They offered burnt offerings on it to the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. 32He wrote there on the stones a copy of the Law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. 33All Israel, and their elders and officers, and their judges, stood on this side of the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, who carried the ark of the LORD's covenant, the foreigner as well as the native; half of them in front of Mount Gerizim, and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded at the first, that they should bless the people of Israel. 34Afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. 35There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the foreigners who were among them.