1 Yahweh then said to Joshua, 'Be fearless and undaunted. Take all your fighting men with you. Up! March against Ai. Look, I have put the king of Ai, his people, his town and his territory at your mercy.
2 You must treat Ai and its king as you treated Jericho and its king. The only booty you will take are the spoils and the cattle. Take up a concealed position by the town, to the rear of it.'
3 Joshua set out to march against Ai with all the fighting men. Joshua chose thirty thousand of the bravest and sent them out under cover of dark,
4 having given them these orders, 'Pay attention! You must take up a concealed position by the town, at the rear, not very far from the town, and be sure you all keep alert!
5 I, and the whole people with me, shall advance on the town, and when the people of Ai come out to engage us as they did the first time, we shall run away from them.
6 They will then give chase, and we shall draw them away from the town, since they will think, "They are running away from us as they did the first time."
7 You will then burst out of your concealed position and seize the town; Yahweh your God will put it at your mercy.
8 When you have captured the town, set fire to it, in obedience to Yahweh's command. Well then, these are my orders.'
9 Joshua sent them off, and they made their way to the place of ambush and took up position between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai. Joshua spent the night with the people,
10 then, getting up early next morning, reviewed the people and, with the elders of Israel, marched on Ai at their head.
11 All the warriors marching with him advanced on the front of the town and pitched camp north of Ai, with the valley between them and the town.
12 Joshua took about five thousand men and concealed these between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the town.
13 The people pitched the main camp to the north of the town and set up its ambush to the west of the town. Joshua went that night into the middle of the plain.
14 The king of Ai had seen this; the people of the town got up early and hurried out, so that he and all his people could engage Israel in battle on the slope facing the Arabah; but he did not know that an ambush had been laid for him to the rear of the town.
15 Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten by them and took to their heels along the road to the desert.
16 All the people in the town joined in the pursuit and, in pursuing Joshua, were drawn away from the town.
17 Not a man was left in Ai (nor in Bethel), who had not gone in pursuit of Israel; and in pursuing Israel they left the town undefended.
18 Yahweh then said to Joshua, 'Point the sabre in your hand at Ai; for I am about to put the town at your mercy.' Joshua pointed the sabre in his hand towards the town.
19 No sooner had he stretched out his hand than the men in ambush burst from their position, ran forward, entered the town, captured it and quickly set it on fire.
20 When the men of Ai looked back, they saw smoke rising from the town into the sky. None of them had the courage to run in any direction, for the people fleeing towards the