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.