That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.
"Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, 'Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.
" 'In the morning, present yourselves tribe by tribe. The tribe that the LORD takes shall come forward clan by clan; the clan that the LORD takes shall come forward family by family; and the family that the LORD takes shall come forward man by man.
He who is caught with the devoted things shall be destroyed by fire, along with all that belongs to him. He has violated the covenant of the LORD and has done a disgraceful thing in Israel!' "
Early the next morning Joshua had Israel come forward by tribes, and Judah was taken.
The clans of Judah came forward, and he took the Zerahites. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was taken.
Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Carmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me."
Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done:
When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath."
So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent, and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver underneath.
They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites and spread them out before the LORD.
Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor.
Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today." Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them.
Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.
Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Take the whole army with you, and go up and attack Ai. For I have delivered into your hands the king of Ai, his people, his city and his land.
You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king, except that you may carry off their plunder and livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush behind the city."
So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night
with these orders: "Listen carefully. You are to set an ambush behind the city. Don't go very far from it. All of you be on the alert.
I and all those with me will advance on the city, and when the men come out against us, as they did before, we will flee from them.
They will pursue us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will say, 'They are running away from us as they did before.' So when we flee from them,
you are to rise up from ambush and take the city. The LORD your God will give it into your hand.
When you have taken the city, set it on fire. Do what the LORD has commanded. See to it; you have my orders."
Then Joshua sent them off, and they went to the place of ambush and lay in wait between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai--but Joshua spent that night with the people.
Early the next morning Joshua mustered his men, and he and the leaders of Israel marched before them to Ai.
The entire force that was with him marched up and approached the city and arrived in front of it. They set up camp north of Ai, with the valley between them and the city.
Joshua had taken about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city.
They had the soldiers take up their positions--all those in the camp to the north of the city and the ambush to the west of it. That night Joshua went into the valley.
When the king of Ai saw this, he and all the men of the city hurried out early in the morning to meet Israel in battle at a certain place overlooking the Arabah. But he did not know that an ambush had been set against him behind the city.
Joshua and all Israel let themselves be driven back before them, and they fled toward the desert.
All the men of Ai were called to pursue them, and they pursued Joshua and were lured away from the city.
Not a man remained in Ai or Bethel who did not go after Israel. They left the city open and went in pursuit of Israel.
Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Hold out toward Ai the javelin that is in your hand, for into your hand I will deliver the city." So Joshua held out his javelin toward Ai.