TORAH
FIVE BOOKS OF MOSES
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Joshua 8

1Hashem said to Yehoshua, “Do not be frightened or dismayed. Take all the fighting troops with you, go and march against Ai. See, I will deliver the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land into your hands.

אוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אַל־תִּירָא וְאַל־תֵּחָת קַח עִמְּךָ אֵת כָּל־עַם הַמִּלְחָמָה וְקוּם עֲלֵה הָעָי רְאֵה נָתַתִּי בְיָדְךָ אֶת־מֶלֶךְ הָעַי וְאֶת־עַמּוֹ וְאֶת־עִירוֹ וְאֶת־אַרְצוֹ׃

2You shall treat Ai and her king as you treated Yericho and her king; however, you may take the spoil and the cattle as booty for yourselves. Now set an ambush against the city behind it.”

בוְעָשִׂיתָ לָעַי וּלְמַלְכָּהּ כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ לִירִיחוֹ וּלְמַלְכָּהּ רַק־שְׁלָלָהּ וּבְהֶמְתָּהּ תָּבֹזּוּ לָכֶם שִׂים־לְךָ אֹרֵב לָעִיר מֵאַחֲרֶיהָ׃

3So Yehoshua and all the fighting troops prepared for the march on Ai. Yehoshua chose thirty thousand men, valiant warriors, and sent them ahead by night.

גוַיָּקָם יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְכָל־עַם הַמִּלְחָמָה לַעֲלוֹת הָעָי וַיִּבְחַר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ שְׁלֹשִׁים אֶלֶף אִישׁ גִּבּוֹרֵי הַחַיִל וַיִּשְׁלָחֵם לָיְלָה׃

4He instructed them as follows: “Mind, you are to lie in ambush behind the city; don't stay too far from the city, and all of you be on the alert.

דוַיְצַו אֹתָם לֵאמֹר רְאוּ אַתֶּם אֹרְבִים לָעִיר מֵאַחֲרֵי הָעִיר אַל־תַּרְחִיקוּ מִן־הָעִיר מְאֹד וִהְיִיתֶם כֻּלְּכֶם נְכֹנִים׃

5I and all the troops with me will approach the city; and when they come out against us, as they did the first time, we will flee from them.

הוַאֲנִי וְכָל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר אִתִּי נִקְרַב אֶל־הָעִיר וְהָיָה כִּי־יֵצְאוּ לִקְרָאתֵנוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר בָּרִאשֹׁנָה וְנַסְנוּ לִפְנֵיהֶם׃

6They will come rushing after us until we have drawn them away from the city. They will think, ‘They are fleeing from us the same as last time'; but while we are fleeing before them,

ווְיָצְאוּ אַחֲרֵינוּ עַד הַתִּיקֵנוּ אוֹתָם מִן־הָעִיר כִּי יֹאמְרוּ נָסִים לְפָנֵינוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר בָּרִאשֹׁנָה וְנַסְנוּ לִפְנֵיהֶם׃

7you will dash out from your ambush and seize the city, and Hashem your God will deliver it into your hands.

זוְאַתֶּם תָּקֻמוּ מֵהָאוֹרֵב וְהוֹרַשְׁתֶּם אֶת־הָעִיר וּנְתָנָהּ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם בְּיֶדְכֶם׃

8And when you take the city, set it on fire. Do as Hashem has commanded. Mind, I have given you your orders.”

חוְהָיָה כְּתָפְשְׂכֶם אֶת־הָעִיר תַּצִּיתוּ אֶת־הָעִיר בָּאֵשׁ כִּדְבַר יְהֹוָה תַּעֲשׂוּ רְאוּ צִוִּיתִי אֶתְכֶם׃

9Yehoshua then sent them off, and they proceeded to the ambush; they took up a position between Ai and Beit El—west of Ai—while Yehoshua spent the night with the rest of the troops.

טוַיִּשְׁלָחֵם יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וַיֵּלְכוּ אֶל־הַמַּאְרָב וַיֵּשְׁבוּ בֵּין בֵּית־אֵל וּבֵין הָעַי מִיָּם לָעָי וַיָּלֶן יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא בְּתוֹךְ הָעָם׃

10Early in the morning, Yehoshua mustered the troops; then he and the elders of Yisrael marched upon Ai at the head of the troops.

יוַיַּשְׁכֵּם יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בַּבֹּקֶר וַיִּפְקֹד אֶת־הָעָם וַיַּעַל הוּא וְזִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לִפְנֵי הָעָם הָעָי׃

11All the fighting force that was with him advanced near the city and encamped to the north of Ai, with a hollow between them and Ai.

יאוְכָל־הָעָם הַמִּלְחָמָה אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ עָלוּ וַיִּגְּשׁוּ וַיָּבֹאוּ נֶגֶד הָעִיר וַיַּחֲנוּ מִצְּפוֹן לָעַי וְהַגַּי בינו [בֵּינָיו] וּבֵין־הָעָי׃

12He selected about five thousand men and stationed them as an ambush between Beit El and Ai, west of the city.

יבוַיִּקַּח כַּחֲמֵשֶׁת אֲלָפִים אִישׁ וַיָּשֶׂם אוֹתָם אֹרֵב בֵּין בֵּית־אֵל וּבֵין הָעַי מִיָּם לָעִיר׃

13Thus the main body of the army was disposed on the north of the city, but the far end of it was on the west. (This was after Yehoshua had spent the night in the valley.)

יגוַיָּשִׂימוּ הָעָם אֶת־כָּל־הַמַּחֲנֶה אֲשֶׁר מִצְּפוֹן לָעִיר וְאֶת־עֲקֵבוֹ מִיָּם לָעִיר וַיֵּלֶךְ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא בְּתוֹךְ הָעֵמֶק׃

14When the king of Ai saw them, he and all his people, the inhabitants of the city, rushed out in the early morning to the meeting place, facing the Arabah, to engage the Israelites in battle; for he was unaware that a force was lying in ambush behind the city.

ידוַיְהִי כִּרְאוֹת מֶלֶךְ־הָעַי וַיְמַהֲרוּ וַיַּשְׁכִּימוּ וַיֵּצְאוּ אַנְשֵׁי־הָעִיר לִקְרַאת־יִשְׂרָאֵל לַמִּלְחָמָה הוּא וְכָל־עַמּוֹ לַמּוֹעֵד לִפְנֵי הָעֲרָבָה וְהוּא לֹא יָדַע כִּי־אֹרֵב לוֹ מֵאַחֲרֵי הָעִיר׃

15Yehoshua and all Yisrael fled in the direction of the wilderness, as though routed by them.

טווַיִּנָּגְעוּ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל לִפְנֵיהֶם וַיָּנֻסוּ דֶּרֶךְ הַמִּדְבָּר׃

16All the troops in the city gathered to pursue them; pursuing Yehoshua, they were drawn out of the city.

טזוַיִּזָּעֲקוּ כָּל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר בעיר [בָּעַי] לִרְדֹּף אַחֲרֵיהֶם וַיִּרְדְּפוּ אַחֲרֵי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וַיִּנָּתְקוּ מִן־הָעִיר׃

17Not a man was left in Ai or in Beit El who did not go out after Yisrael; they left the city open while they pursued Yisrael.

יזוְלֹא־נִשְׁאַר אִישׁ בָּעַי וּבֵית אֵל אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָצְאוּ אַחֲרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּעַזְבוּ אֶת־הָעִיר פְּתוּחָה וַיִּרְדְּפוּ אַחֲרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

18Hashem then said to Yehoshua, “Hold out the javelin in your hand toward Ai, for I will deliver it into your hands.” So Yehoshua held out the javelin in his hand toward the city.

יחוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ נְטֵה בַּכִּידוֹן אֲשֶׁר־בְּיָדְךָ אֶל־הָעַי כִּי בְיָדְךָ אֶתְּנֶנָּה וַיֵּט יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בַּכִּידוֹן אֲשֶׁר־בְּיָדוֹ אֶל־הָעִיר׃

19As soon as he held out his hand, the ambush came rushing out of their station. They entered the city and captured it; and they swiftly set fire to the city.

יטוְהָאוֹרֵב קָם מְהֵרָה מִמְּקוֹמוֹ וַיָּרוּצוּ כִּנְטוֹת יָדוֹ וַיָּבֹאוּ הָעִיר וַיִּלְכְּדוּהָ וַיְמַהֲרוּ וַיַּצִּיתוּ אֶת־הָעִיר בָּאֵשׁ׃

20The men of Ai looked back and saw the smoke of the city rising to the sky; they had no room for flight in any direction.The people who had been fleeing to the wilderness now became the pursuers.

כוַיִּפְנוּ אַנְשֵׁי הָעַי אַחֲרֵיהֶם וַיִּרְאוּ וְהִנֵּה עָלָה עֲשַׁן הָעִיר הַשָּׁמַיְמָה וְלֹא־הָיָה בָהֶם יָדַיִם לָנוּס הֵנָּה וָהֵנָּה וְהָעָם הַנָּס הַמִּדְבָּר נֶהְפַּךְ אֶל־הָרוֹדֵף׃

21For when Yehoshua and all Yisrael saw that the ambush had captured the city, and that smoke was rising from the city, they turned around and attacked the men of Ai.

כאוִיהוֹשֻׁעַ וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל רָאוּ כִּי־לָכַד הָאֹרֵב אֶת־הָעִיר וְכִי עָלָה עֲשַׁן הָעִיר וַיָּשֻׁבוּ וַיַּכּוּ אֶת־אַנְשֵׁי הָעָי׃

22Now the other [Israelites] were coming out of the city against them, so that they were between two bodies of Israelites, one on each side of them. They were slaughtered, so that no one escaped or got away.

כבוְאֵלֶּה יָצְאוּ מִן־הָעִיר לִקְרָאתָם וַיִּהְיוּ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל בַּתָּוֶךְ אֵלֶּה מִזֶּה וְאֵלֶּה מִזֶּה וַיַּכּוּ אוֹתָם עַד־בִּלְתִּי הִשְׁאִיר־לוֹ שָׂרִיד וּפָלִיט׃

23The king of Ai was taken alive and brought to Yehoshua.

כגוְאֶת־מֶלֶךְ הָעַי תָּפְשׂוּ חָי וַיַּקְרִבוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ׃

24When Yisrael had killed all the inhabitants of Ai who had pursued them into the open wilderness, and all of them, to the last man, had fallen by the sword, all the Israelites turned back to Ai and put it to the sword.

כדוַיְהִי כְּכַלּוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל לַהֲרֹג אֶת־כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵי הָעַי בַּשָּׂדֶה בַּמִּדְבָּר אֲשֶׁר רְדָפוּם בּוֹ וַיִּפְּלוּ כֻלָּם לְפִי־חֶרֶב עַד־תֻּמָּם וַיָּשֻׁבוּ כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל הָעַי וַיַּכּוּ אֹתָהּ לְפִי־חָרֶב׃

25The total of those who fell that day, men and women, the entire population of Ai, came to twelve thousand.

כהוַיְהִי כָל־הַנֹּפְלִים בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא מֵאִישׁ וְעַד־אִשָּׁה שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אָלֶף כֹּל אַנְשֵׁי הָעָי׃

26Yehoshua did not draw back the hand with which he held out his javelin until all the inhabitants of Ai had been exterminated.

כווִיהוֹשֻׁעַ לֹא־הֵשִׁיב יָדוֹ אֲשֶׁר נָטָה בַּכִּידוֹן עַד אֲשֶׁר הֶחֱרִים אֵת כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵי הָעָי׃

27However, the Israelites took the cattle and the spoil of the city as their booty, in accordance with the instructions that Hashem had given to Yehoshua.

כזרַק הַבְּהֵמָה וּשְׁלַל הָעִיר הַהִיא בָּזְזוּ לָהֶם יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּדְבַר יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ׃

28Then Yehoshua burned down Ai, and turned it into a mound of ruins for all time, a desolation to this day.

כחוַיִּשְׂרֹף יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת־הָעָי וַיְשִׂימֶהָ תֵּל־עוֹלָם שְׁמָמָה עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃

29And the king of Ai was impaled on a stake until the evening. At sunset, Yehoshua had the corpse taken down from the stake and it was left lying at the entrance to the city gate. They raised a great heap of stones over it, which is there to this day.

כטוְאֶת־מֶלֶךְ הָעַי תָּלָה עַל־הָעֵץ עַד־עֵת הָעָרֶב וּכְבוֹא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ צִוָּה יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וַיֹּרִידוּ אֶת־נִבְלָתוֹ מִן־הָעֵץ וַיַּשְׁלִיכוּ אוֹתָהּ אֶל־פֶּתַח שַׁעַר הָעִיר וַיָּקִימוּ עָלָיו גַּל־אֲבָנִים גָּדוֹל עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃

30At that time Yehoshua built a mizbayach to Hashem, the God of Yisrael, on Har Eival,

לאָז יִבְנֶה יְהוֹשֻׁעַ מִזְבֵּחַ לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּהַר עֵיבָל׃

31as Moshe, the servant of Hashem, had commanded the Israelites—as is written in the Book of the Teaching of Moshe—a mizbayach of unhewn stone upon which no iron had been wielded. They offered on it burnt offerings to Hashem, and brought sacrifices of well-being.

לאכַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה מֹשֶׁה עֶבֶד־יְהֹוָה אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כַּכָּתוּב בְּסֵפֶר תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה מִזְבַּח אֲבָנִים שְׁלֵמוֹת אֲשֶׁר לֹא־הֵנִיף עֲלֵיהֶן בַּרְזֶל וַיַּעֲלוּ עָלָיו עֹלוֹת לַיהֹוָה וַיִּזְבְּחוּ שְׁלָמִים׃

32And there, on the stones, he inscribed a copy of the Teaching that Moshe had written for the Israelites.

לבוַיִּכְתָּב־שָׁם עַל־הָאֲבָנִים אֵת מִשְׁנֵה תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה אֲשֶׁר כָּתַב לִפְנֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

33All Yisrael—stranger and citizen alike—with their elders, officials, and magistrates, stood on either side of the Aron, facing the levitical Kohanim who carried the Aron Brit Hashem. Half of them faced Mount Gerizim and half of them faced Har Eival, as Moshe the servant of Hashem had commanded them of old, in order to bless the people of Yisrael.

לגוְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וּזְקֵנָיו וְשֹׁטְרִים וְשֹׁפְטָיו עֹמְדִים מִזֶּה וּמִזֶּה לָאָרוֹן נֶגֶד הַכֹּהֲנִים הַלְוִיִּם נֹשְׂאֵי אֲרוֹן בְּרִית־יְהֹוָה כַּגֵּר כָּאֶזְרָח חֶצְיוֹ אֶל־מוּל הַר־גְּרִזִים וְהַחֶצְיוֹ אֶל־מוּל הַר־עֵיבָל כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה מֹשֶׁה עֶבֶד־יְהֹוָה לְבָרֵךְ אֶת־הָעָם יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּרִאשֹׁנָה׃

34After that, he read all the words of the Teaching, the blessing and the curse, just as is written in the Book of the Teaching.

v'-a-kha-ray KHAYN ka-RA et kol div-RAY ha-to-RAH ha-b'-ra-KHAH v'-ha-k'-la-LAH k'-khol ha-ka-TUV b'-SAY-fer ha-to-RAH

לדוְאַחֲרֵי־כֵן קָרָא אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַבְּרָכָה וְהַקְּלָלָה כְּכָל־הַכָּתוּב בְּסֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה׃

 8:34   He read all the words of the Teaching

Rabbi Meir Bar Ilan (1880-1949)

The goal of settling the Land of Israel is not simply for the Children of Israel to be a nation like all other nations. For that, any land would have been sufficient; the Holy Land would not be necessary. Rather, the purpose of being in Eretz Yisrael is to be a holy nation living freely in its land. Therefore, it stands to reason that Yehoshua would teach the entire Torah again to every man, woman and child at this early point of the nation’s entrance into Eretz Yisrael. Rabbi Meir Bar Ilan, an early Religious Zionist, taught that the goal must be “the Land of Israel for the People of Israel according to the Torah of Israel.”  Similarly, commenting on the special relationship between the land and the Bible, former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres said of his mentor David Ben Gurion, “he restored the Bible to its people, and he restored the people to the Bible.”

35There was not a word of all that Moshe had commanded that Yehoshua failed to read in the presence of the entire assembly of Yisrael, including the women and children and the strangers who accompanied them.

להלֹא־הָיָה דָבָר מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה מֹשֶׁה אֲשֶׁר לֹא־קָרָא יְהוֹשֻׁעַ נֶגֶד כָּל־קְהַל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַנָּשִׁים וְהַטַּף וְהַגֵּר הַהֹלֵךְ בְּקִרְבָּם׃