1 All the kings of the Amorites west of the Jordan and the Canaanite kings living by the Mediterranean Sea heard that the Lord dried up the Jordan River until the Israelites had crossed it. After that they were scared and too afraid to face the Israelites. 2 At that time the Lord said to Joshua, "Make knives from flint stones and circumcise the Israelites." 3 So Joshua made knives from flint stones and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth. 4 This is why Joshua circumcised the men: After the Israelites left Egypt, all the men old enough to serve in the army died in the desert on the way out of Egypt. 5 The men who had come out of Egypt had been circumcised, but none of those who were born in the desert on the trip from Egypt had been circumcised. 6 The Israelites had moved about in the desert for forty years. During that time all the fighting men who had left Egypt had died because they had not obeyed the Lord. So the Lord swore they would not see the land he had promised their ancestors to give them, a fertile land. 7 Their sons took their places. But none of the sons born on the trip from Egypt had been circumcised, so Joshua circumcised them. 8 After all the Israelites had been circumcised, they stayed in camp until they were healed. 9 Then the Lord said to Joshua, "As slaves in Egypt you were ashamed, but today I have removed that shame." So Joshua named that place Gilgal, which it is still named today. 10 The people of Israel were camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho. It was there, on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, they celebrated the Passover Feast. 11 The day after the Passover, the people ate food grown on that land: bread made without yeast and roasted grain. 12 The day they ate this food, the manna stopped coming. The Israelites no longer got the manna from heaven. They ate the food grown in the land of Canaan that year. 13 Joshua was near Jericho when he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a sword in his hand. Joshua went to him and asked, "Are you a friend or an enemy?" 14 The man answered, "I am neither. I have come as the commander of the Lord's army." Then Joshua bowed facedown on the ground and asked, "Does my master have a command for me, his servant?" 15 The commander of the Lord's army answered, "Take off your sandals, because the place where you are standing is holy." So Joshua did.
1 The people of Jericho were afraid because the Israelites were near. They closed the city gates and guarded them. No one went into the city, and no one came out. 2 Then the Lord said to Joshua, "Look, I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its fighting men. 3 March around the city with your army once a day for six days. 4 Have seven priests carry trumpets made from horns of male sheep and have them march in front of the Ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times and have the priests blow the trumpets as they march. 5 They will make one long blast on the trumpets. When you hear that sound, have all the people give a loud shout. Then the walls of the city will fall so the people can go straight into the city." 6 So Joshua son of Nun called the priests together and said to them, "Carry the Ark of the Agreement. Tell seven priests to carry trumpets and march in front of it." 7 Then Joshua ordered the people, "Now go! March around the city. The soldiers with weapons should march in front of the Ark of the Agreement with the Lord." 8 When Joshua finished speaking to the people, the seven priests began marching before the Lord. They carried the seven trumpets and blew them as they marched. The priests carrying the Ark of the Agreement with the Lord followed them. 9 Soldiers with weapons marched in front of the priests, and armed men walked behind the Ark. The priests were blowing their trumpets. 10 But Joshua had told the people not to give a war cry. He said, "Don't shout. Don't say a word until the day I tell you. Then shout." 11 So Joshua had the Ark of the Lord carried around the city one time. Then they went back to camp for the night. 12 Early the next morning Joshua got up, and the priests carried the Ark of the Lord again. 13 The seven priests carried the seven trumpets and marched in front of the Ark of the Lord, blowing their trumpets. Soldiers with weapons marched in front of them, and other soldiers walked behind the Ark of the Lord. All this time the priests were blowing their trumpets. 14 So on the second day they marched around the city one time and then went back to camp. They did this every day for six days. 15 On the seventh day they got up at dawn and marched around the city, just as they had on the days before. But on that day they marched around the city seven times. 16 The seventh time around the priests blew their trumpets. Then Joshua gave the command: "Now, shout! The Lord has given you this city! 17 The city and everything in it are to be destroyed as an offering to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and everyone in her house should remain alive. They must not be killed, because Rahab hid the two spies we sent out. 18 Don't take any of the things that are to be destroyed as an offering to the Lord. If you take them and bring them into our camp, you yourselves will be destroyed, and you will bring trouble to all of Israel. 19 All the silver and gold and things made from bronze and iron belong to the Lord and must be saved for him." 20 When the priests blew the trumpets, the people shouted. At the sound of the trumpets and the people's shout, the walls fell, and everyone ran straight into the city. So the Israelites defeated that city. 21 They completely destroyed with the sword every living thing in the city -- men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep, and donkeys. 22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the prostitute's house. Bring her out and bring out those who are with her, because of the promise you made to her." 23 So the two men went into the house and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, brothers, and all those with her. They put all of her family in a safe place outside the camp of Israel. 24 Then Israel burned the whole city and everything in it, but they did not burn the things made from silver, gold, bronze, and iron. These were saved for the Lord. 25 Joshua saved Rahab the prostitute, her family, and all who were with her, because Rahab had helped the men he had sent to spy out Jericho. Rahab still lives among the Israelites today. 26 Then Joshua made this oath: "Anyone who tries to rebuild this city of Jericho will be cursed by the Lord. The one who lays the foundation of this city will lose his oldest son, and the one who sets up the gates will lose his youngest son." 27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and Joshua became famous through all the land.
1 But the Israelites did not obey the Lord. There was a man from the tribe of Judah named Achan. (He was the son of Carmi and grandson of Zabdi, who was the son of Zerah.) Because Achan kept some of the things that were to be given to the Lord, the Lord became very angry at the Israelites. 2 Joshua sent some men from Jericho to Ai, which was near Beth Aven, east of Bethel. He told them, "Go to Ai and spy out the area." So the men went to spy on Ai. 3 Later they came back to Joshua and said, "There are only a few people in Ai, so we will not need all our people to defeat them. Send only two or three thousand men to fight. There is no need to send all of our people." 4 So about three thousand men went up to Ai, but the people of Ai beat them badly. 5 The people of Ai killed about thirty-six Israelites and then chased the rest from the city gate all the way down to the canyon, killing them as they went down the hill. When the Israelites saw this, they lost their courage. 6 Then Joshua tore his clothes in sorrow. He bowed facedown on the ground before the Ark of the Lord and stayed there until evening. The leaders of Israel did the same thing. They also threw dirt on their heads to show their sorrow. 7 Then Joshua said, "Lord God, you brought our people across the Jordan River. Why did you bring us this far and then let the Amorites destroy us? We would have been happy to stay on the other side of the Jordan. 8 Lord, there is nothing I can say now. Israel has been beaten by the enemy. 9 The Canaanites and all the other people in this country will hear about this and will surround and kill us all! Then what will you do for your own great name?" 10 The Lord said to Joshua, "Stand up! Why are you down on your face? 11 The Israelites have sinned; they have broken the agreement I commanded them to obey. They took some of the things I commanded them to destroy. They have stolen and lied and have taken those things for themselves. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot face their enemies. They turn away from the fight and run, because I have commanded that they be destroyed. I will not help you anymore unless you destroy everything as I commanded you. 13 "Now go! Make the people holy. Tell them, 'Set yourselves apart to the Lord for tomorrow. The Lord, the God of Israel, says some of you are keeping things he commanded you to destroy. You will never defeat your enemies until you throw away those things. 14 "'Tomorrow morning you must be present with your tribes. The Lord will choose one tribe to stand alone before him. Then the Lord will choose one family group from that tribe to stand before him. Then the Lord will choose one family from that family group to stand before him, person by person. 15 The one who is keeping what should have been destroyed will himself be destroyed by fire. Everything he owns will be destroyed with him. He has broken the agreement with the Lord and has done a disgraceful thing among the people of Israel!'" 16 Early the next morning Joshua led all of Israel to present themselves in their tribes, and the Lord chose the tribe of Judah. 17 So the family groups of Judah presented themselves, and the Lord then chose the family group of Zerah. When all the families of Zerah presented themselves, the family of Zabdi was chosen. 18 And Joshua told all the men in that family to present themselves. The Lord chose Achan son of Carmi. (Carmi was the son of Zabdi, who was the son of Zerah.) 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, tell the truth. Confess to the Lord, the God of Israel. Tell me what you did, and don't try to hide anything from me." 20 Achan answered, "It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I did: 21 Among the things I saw was a beautiful coat from Babylonia and about five pounds of silver and more than one and one-fourth pounds of gold. I wanted these things very much for myself, so I took them. You will find them buried in the ground under my tent, with the silver underneath." 22 So Joshua sent men who ran to the tent and found the things hidden there, with the silver. 23 The men brought them out of the tent, took them to Joshua and all the Israelites, and spread them out on the ground before the Lord. 24 Then Joshua and all the people led Achan son of Zerah to the Valley of Trouble. They also took the silver, the coat, the gold, Achan's sons, daughters, cattle, donkeys, sheep, tent, and everything he owned. 25 Joshua said, "I don't know why you caused so much trouble for us, but now the Lord will bring trouble to you." Then all the people threw stones at Achan and his family until they died. Then the people burned them. 26 They piled rocks over Achan's body, and they are still there today. That is why it is called the Valley of Trouble. After this the Lord was no longer angry.
1 Then the Lord said to Joshua, "Don't be afraid or give up. Lead all your fighting men to Ai. I will help you defeat the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. 2 You will do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king. Only this time you may take all the wealth and keep it for yourselves. Now tell some of your soldiers to set up an ambush behind the city." 3 So Joshua led his whole army toward Ai. Then he chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night. 4 Joshua gave them these orders: "Listen carefully. You must set up an ambush behind the city. Don't go far from it, but continue to watch and be ready. 5 I and the men who are with me will march toward the city, and the men in the city will come out to fight us, just as they did before. Then we will turn and run away from them. 6 They will chase us away from the city, thinking we are running away from them as we did before. When we run away, 7 come out from your ambush and take the city. The Lord your God will give you the power to win. 8 After you take the city, burn it. See to it! You have your orders." 9 Then Joshua sent them to wait in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai. But Joshua stayed the night with his people. 10 Early the next morning Joshua gathered his men together. He and the older leaders of Israel led them up to Ai. 11 All of the soldiers who were with Joshua marched up to Ai and stopped in front of the city and made camp north of it. There was a valley between them and the city. 12 Then Joshua chose about five thousand men and set them in ambush in the area west of the city between Bethel and Ai. 13 So the people took their positions; the main camp was north of the city, and the other men were hiding to the west. That night Joshua went down into the valley. 14 Now when the king of Ai saw the army of Israel, he and his people got up early the next morning and hurried out to fight them. They went out to a place east of the city, but the king did not know soldiers were waiting in ambush behind the city. 15 Joshua and all the men of Israel let the army of Ai push them back. Then they ran toward the desert. 16 The men in Ai were called to chase Joshua and his men, so they left the city and went after them. 17 All the men of Ai and Bethel chased the army of Israel. The city was left open; not a man stayed to protect it. 18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, "Hold your spear toward Ai, because I will give you that city." So Joshua held his spear toward the city of Ai. 19 When the Israelites who were in ambush saw this, they quickly came out of their hiding place and hurried toward the city. They entered the city, took control of it, and quickly set it on fire. 20 When the men of Ai looked back, they saw smoke rising from their city. At the same time the Israelites stopped running and turned against the men of Ai, who could not escape in any direction. 21 When Joshua and all his men saw that the army had taken control of the city and saw the smoke rising from it, they stopped running and turned to fight the men of Ai. 22 The men who were in ambush also came out of the city to help with the fight. So the men of Ai were caught between the armies of Israel. None of the enemy escaped. The Israelites fought until not one of the men of Ai was left alive, except 23 the king of Ai, and they brought him to Joshua. 24 During the fighting the army of Israel chased the men of Ai into the fields and desert and killed all of them. Then they went back to Ai and killed everyone there. 25 All the people of Ai died that day, twelve thousand men and women. 26 Joshua had held his spear toward Ai, as a sign to destroy the city, and did not draw it back until all the people of Ai were destroyed. 27 The people of Israel kept for themselves the animals and the other things the people of Ai had owned, as the Lord had commanded Joshua to do. 28 Then Joshua burned the city of Ai and made it a pile of ruins. And it is still like that today. 29 Joshua hanged the king of Ai on a tree and left him there until evening. At sunset Joshua told his men to take the king's body down from the tree and to throw it down at the city gate. Then they covered it with a pile of rocks, which is still there today. 30 Joshua built an altar for the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, as 31 Moses, the Lord's servant, had commanded. Joshua built the altar as it was explained in the Book of the Teachings of Moses. It was made from uncut stones; no tool was ever used on them. On that altar the Israelites offered burnt offerings to the Lord and fellowship offerings. 32 There Joshua wrote the teachings of Moses on stones for all the people of Israel to see. 33 The older leaders, officers, judges, and all the Israelites were there; Israelites and non-Israelites were all standing around the Ark of the Agreement with the Lord in front of the priests, the Levites who had carried the Ark. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Ebal, and half stood in front of Mount Gerizim. This was the way the Lord's servant Moses had earlier commanded the people to be blessed. 34 Then Joshua read all the words of the teachings, the blessings and the curses, exactly as they were written in the Book of the Teachings. 35 All the Israelites were gathered together -- men, women, and children -- along with the non-Israelites who lived among them. Joshua read every command that Moses had given.