1 Hashem 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.
א וַיֹּאמֶר 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׃
2 You 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.”
ב וְעָשִׂיתָ לָעַי וּלְמַלְכָּהּ כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ לִירִיחוֹ וּלְמַלְכָּהּ רַק־שְׁלָלָהּ וּבְהֶמְתָּהּ תָּבֹזּוּ לָכֶם שִׂים־לְךָ אֹרֵב לָעִיר מֵאַחֲרֶיהָ׃
4 He 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.
ד וַיְצַו אֹתָם לֵאמֹר רְאוּ אַתֶּם אֹרְבִים לָעִיר מֵאַחֲרֵי הָעִיר אַל־תַּרְחִיקוּ מִן־הָעִיר מְאֹד וִהְיִיתֶם כֻּלְּכֶם נְכֹנִים׃
5 I 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.
ה וַאֲנִי וְכָל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר אִתִּי נִקְרַב אֶל־הָעִיר וְהָיָה כִּי־יֵצְאוּ לִקְרָאתֵנוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר בָּרִאשֹׁנָה וְנַסְנוּ לִפְנֵיהֶם׃
6 They 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,
ו וְיָצְאוּ אַחֲרֵינוּ עַד הַתִּיקֵנוּ אוֹתָם מִן־הָעִיר כִּי יֹאמְרוּ נָסִים לְפָנֵינוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר בָּרִאשֹׁנָה וְנַסְנוּ לִפְנֵיהֶם׃
7 you will dash out from your ambush and seize the city, and Hashem your God will deliver it into your hands.
ז וְאַתֶּם תָּקֻמוּ מֵהָאוֹרֵב וְהוֹרַשְׁתֶּם אֶת־הָעִיר וּנְתָנָהּ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם בְּיֶדְכֶם׃
8 And when you take the city, set it on fire. Do as Hashem has commanded. Mind, I have given you your orders.”
ח וְהָיָה כְּתָפְשְׂכֶם אֶת־הָעִיר תַּצִּיתוּ אֶת־הָעִיר בָּאֵשׁ כִּדְבַר יְהֹוָה תַּעֲשׂוּ רְאוּ צִוִּיתִי אֶתְכֶם׃
11 All 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.
יא וְכָל־הָעָם הַמִּלְחָמָה אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ עָלוּ וַיִּגְּשׁוּ וַיָּבֹאוּ נֶגֶד הָעִיר וַיַּחֲנוּ מִצְּפוֹן לָעַי וְהַגַּי בינו [בֵּינָיו] וּבֵין־הָעָי׃
12 He selected about five thousand men and stationed them as an ambush between Beit El and Ai, west of the city.
יב וַיִּקַּח כַּחֲמֵשֶׁת אֲלָפִים אִישׁ וַיָּשֶׂם אוֹתָם אֹרֵב בֵּין בֵּית־אֵל וּבֵין הָעַי מִיָּם לָעִיר׃
13 Thus 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.)
יג וַיָּשִׂימוּ הָעָם אֶת־כָּל־הַמַּחֲנֶה אֲשֶׁר מִצְּפוֹן לָעִיר וְאֶת־עֲקֵבוֹ מִיָּם לָעִיר וַיֵּלֶךְ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא בְּתוֹךְ הָעֵמֶק׃
14 When 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.
יד וַיְהִי 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׃
16 All the troops in the city gathered to pursue them; pursuing Yehoshua, they were drawn out of the city.
טז וַיִּזָּעֲקוּ כָּל־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר בעיר [בָּעַי] לִרְדֹּף אַחֲרֵיהֶם וַיִּרְדְּפוּ אַחֲרֵי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וַיִּנָּתְקוּ מִן־הָעִיר׃
19 As 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.
יט וְהָאוֹרֵב קָם מְהֵרָה מִמְּקוֹמוֹ וַיָּרוּצוּ כִּנְטוֹת יָדוֹ וַיָּבֹאוּ הָעִיר וַיִּלְכְּדוּהָ וַיְמַהֲרוּ וַיַּצִּיתוּ אֶת־הָעִיר בָּאֵשׁ׃
20 The 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.
כ וַיִּפְנוּ אַנְשֵׁי הָעַי אַחֲרֵיהֶם וַיִּרְאוּ וְהִנֵּה עָלָה עֲשַׁן הָעִיר הַשָּׁמַיְמָה וְלֹא־הָיָה בָהֶם יָדַיִם לָנוּס הֵנָּה וָהֵנָּה וְהָעָם הַנָּס הַמִּדְבָּר נֶהְפַּךְ אֶל־הָרוֹדֵף׃
כא וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל רָאוּ כִּי־לָכַד הָאֹרֵב אֶת־הָעִיר וְכִי עָלָה עֲשַׁן הָעִיר וַיָּשֻׁבוּ וַיַּכּוּ אֶת־אַנְשֵׁי הָעָי׃
22 Now 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.
כב וְאֵלֶּה יָצְאוּ מִן־הָעִיר לִקְרָאתָם וַיִּהְיוּ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל בַּתָּוֶךְ אֵלֶּה מִזֶּה וְאֵלֶּה מִזֶּה וַיַּכּוּ אוֹתָם עַד־בִּלְתִּי הִשְׁאִיר־לוֹ שָׂרִיד וּפָלִיט׃
23 The king of Ai was taken alive and brought to Yehoshua.
כג וְאֶת־מֶלֶךְ הָעַי תָּפְשׂוּ חָי וַיַּקְרִבוּ אֹתוֹ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ׃
24 When 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.
25 The total of those who fell that day, men and women, the entire population of Ai, came to twelve thousand.
כה וַיְהִי כָל־הַנֹּפְלִים בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא מֵאִישׁ וְעַד־אִשָּׁה שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אָלֶף כֹּל אַנְשֵׁי הָעָי׃
26 Yehoshua did not draw back the hand with which he held out his javelin until all the inhabitants of Ai had been exterminated.
כו וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ לֹא־הֵשִׁיב יָדוֹ אֲשֶׁר נָטָה בַּכִּידוֹן עַד אֲשֶׁר הֶחֱרִים אֵת כָּל־יֹשְׁבֵי הָעָי׃
27 However, 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.
28 Then Yehoshua burned down Ai, and turned it into a mound of ruins for all time, a desolation to this day.
כח וַיִּשְׂרֹף יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת־הָעָי וַיְשִׂימֶהָ תֵּל־עוֹלָם שְׁמָמָה עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃
29 And 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.
כט וְאֶת־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׃
31 as 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.
לא כַּאֲשֶׁר 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׃
32 And there, on the stones, he inscribed a copy of the Teaching that Moshe had written for the Israelites.
לב וַיִּכְתָּב־שָׁם עַל־הָאֲבָנִים אֵת מִשְׁנֵה תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה אֲשֶׁר כָּתַב לִפְנֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
33 All 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.
לג וְכָל־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׃
34 After 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
לד וְאַחֲרֵי־כֵן קָרָא אֶת־כָּל־דִּבְרֵי הַתּוֹרָה הַבְּרָכָה וְהַקְּלָלָה כְּכָל־הַכָּתוּב בְּסֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה׃
8:34 He read all the words of the Teaching
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.”Comment
35 There 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.