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.
As soon as he did this, the men in the ambush rose quickly from their position and rushed forward. They entered the city and captured it and quickly set it on fire.
The men of Ai looked back and saw the smoke of the city rising against the sky, but they had no chance to escape in any direction, for the Israelites who had been fleeing toward the desert had turned back against their pursuers.
For when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city and that smoke was going up from the city, they turned around and attacked the men of Ai.
The men of the ambush also came out of the city against them, so that they were caught in the middle, with Israelites on both sides. Israel cut them down, leaving them neither survivors nor fugitives.
But they took the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.
When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it.
Twelve thousand men and women fell that day--all the people of Ai.
For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai.
But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the LORD had instructed Joshua.
So Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day.
He hung the king of Ai on a tree and left him there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take his body from the tree and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate. And they raised a large pile of rocks over it, which remains to this day.
Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel,
as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded the Israelites. He built it according to what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses--an altar of uncut stones, on which no iron tool had been used. On it they offered to the LORD burnt offerings and sacrificed fellowship offerings.
There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua copied on stones the law of Moses, which he had written.
All Israel, aliens and citizens alike, with their elders, officials and judges, were standing on both sides of the ark of the covenant of the LORD, facing those who carried it--the priests, who were Levites. Half of the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the LORD had formerly commanded when he gave instructions to bless the people of Israel.
Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law--the blessings and the curses--just as it is written in the Book of the Law.
There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the aliens who lived among them.
Now when all the kings west of the Jordan heard about these things--those in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the entire coast of the Great Sea as far as Lebanon (the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites)--
they came together to make war against Joshua and Israel.
However, when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai,
they resorted to a ruse: They went as a delegation whose donkeys were loaded with worn-out sacks and old wineskins, cracked and mended.
The men put worn and patched sandals on their feet and wore old clothes. All the bread of their food supply was dry and moldy.
Then they went to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, "We have come from a distant country; make a treaty with us."
The men of Israel said to the Hivites, "But perhaps you live near us. How then can we make a treaty with you?"
"We are your servants," they said to Joshua. But Joshua asked, "Who are you and where do you come from?"
They answered: "Your servants have come from a very distant country because of the fame of the LORD your God. For we have heard reports of him: all that he did in Egypt,
and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan--Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth.
And our elders and all those living in our country said to us, 'Take provisions for your journey; go and meet them and say to them, "We are your servants; make a treaty with us." '
This bread of ours was warm when we packed it at home on the day we left to come to you. But now see how dry and moldy it is.
And these wineskins that we filled were new, but see how cracked they are. And our clothes and sandals are worn out by the very long journey."
The men of Israel sampled their provisions but did not inquire of the LORD.
Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.
Three days after they made the treaty with the Gibeonites, the Israelites heard that they were neighbors, living near them.
So the Israelites set out and on the third day came to their cities: Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath Jearim.
But the Israelites did not attack them, because the leaders of the assembly had sworn an oath to them by the LORD, the God of Israel. The whole assembly grumbled against the leaders,
but all the leaders answered, "We have given them our oath by the LORD, the God of Israel, and we cannot touch them now.
This is what we will do to them: We will let them live, so that wrath will not fall on us for breaking the oath we swore to them."
They continued, "Let them live, but let them be woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community." So the leaders' promise to them was kept.
Then Joshua summoned the Gibeonites and said, "Why did you deceive us by saying, 'We live a long way from you,' while actually you live near us?
You are now under a curse: You will never cease to serve as woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God."
They answered Joshua, "Your servants were clearly told how the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this.
We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you."
So Joshua saved them from the Israelites, and they did not kill them.
That day he made the Gibeonites woodcutters and water carriers for the community and for the altar of the LORD at the place the LORD would choose. And that is what they are to this day.
Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and totally destroyed it, doing to Ai and its king as he had done to Jericho and its king, and that the people of Gibeon had made a treaty of peace with Israel and were living near them.
He and his people were very much alarmed at this, because Gibeon was an important city, like one of the royal cities; it was larger than Ai, and all its men were good fighters.
So Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem appealed to Hoham king of Hebron, Piram king of Jarmuth, Japhia king of Lachish and Debir king of Eglon.
"Come up and help me attack Gibeon," he said, "because it has made peace with Joshua and the Israelites."
Then the five kings of the Amorites--the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon--joined forces. They moved up with all their troops and took up positions against Gibeon and attacked it.
The Gibeonites then sent word to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal: "Do not abandon your servants. Come up to us quickly and save us! Help us, because all the Amorite kings from the hill country have joined forces against us."
So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men.
The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you."
After an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took them by surprise.
The LORD threw them into confusion before Israel, who defeated them in a great victory at Gibeon. Israel pursued them along the road going up to Beth Horon and cut them down all the way to Azekah and Makkedah.
As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the LORD hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.
On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: "O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon."
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day.
There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!
Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.
Now the five kings had fled and hidden in the cave at Makkedah.
When Joshua was told that the five kings had been found hiding in the cave at Makkedah,
he said, "Roll large rocks up to the mouth of the cave, and post some men there to guard it.
But don't stop! Pursue your enemies, attack them from the rear and don't let them reach their cities, for the LORD your God has given them into your hand."
So Joshua and the Israelites destroyed them completely--almost to a man--but the few who were left reached their fortified cities.
The whole army then returned safely to Joshua in the camp at Makkedah, and no one uttered a word against the Israelites.
Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave and bring those five kings out to me."
So they brought the five kings out of the cave--the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon.
When they had brought these kings to Joshua, he summoned all the men of Israel and said to the army commanders who had come with him, "Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings." So they came forward and placed their feet on their necks.
Joshua said to them, "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies you are going to fight."
Then Joshua struck and killed the kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening.
At sunset Joshua gave the order and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding. At the mouth of the cave they placed large rocks, which are there to this day.
That day Joshua took Makkedah. He put the city and its king to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it. He left no survivors. And he did to the king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.
Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it.
The LORD also gave that city and its king into Israel's hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.
Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Libnah to Lachish; he took up positions against it and attacked it.
The LORD handed Lachish over to Israel, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah.
Meanwhile, Horam king of Gezer had come up to help Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his army--until no survivors were left.
Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Lachish to Eglon; they took up positions against it and attacked it.
They captured it that same day and put it to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it, just as they had done to Lachish.
Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it.
They took the city and put it to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it. They left no survivors. Just as at Eglon, they totally destroyed it and everyone in it.
Then Joshua and all Israel with him turned around and attacked Debir.
They took the city, its king and its villages, and put them to the sword. Everyone in it they totally destroyed. They left no survivors. They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron.
So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded.
Joshua subdued them from Kadesh Barnea to Gaza and from the whole region of Goshen to Gibeon.
All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.
Then Joshua returned with all Israel to the camp at Gilgal.