But the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted thingsa;1 Achan2 son of Carmi, the son of Zimri,b the son of Zerah,3 of the tribe of Judah,4 took some of them. So the LORD's anger burned5 against Israel.62
Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai,7 which is near Beth Aven8 to the east of Bethel,9 and told them, "Go up and spy out10 the region." So the men went up and spied out Ai.
When they returned to Joshua, they said, "Not all the people will have to go up against Ai. Send two or three thousand men to take it and do not weary all the people, for only a few men are there."
So about three thousand men went up; but they were routed by the men of Ai,115
who killed about thirty-six12 of them. They chased the Israelites from the city gate as far as the stone quarriesc and struck them down on the slopes. At this the hearts of the people melted13 and became like water.
Then Joshua tore his clothes14 and fell facedown15 to the ground before the ark of the LORD, remaining there till evening.16 The elders of Israel17 did the same, and sprinkled dust18 on their heads.
And Joshua said, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, why19 did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us?20 If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!
O Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies?