Joshua - Chapter 8
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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.
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,
8 When you have captured the town, set fire to it, in obedience to Yahweh's command. Well then, these are my orders.'
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.
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.
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 desert turned back on their pursuers.
21 For, once Joshua and all Israel saw that the town had been seized by the men in ambush, and that smoke was rising from the town, they turned about and attacked the men of Ai.
22 The others came out from the town to engage them too, and the men of Ai were thus surrounded by Israelites, some on this side and some on that. The Israelites struck them down until not one was left alive and none to flee;
24 When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open ground, and in the desert where they had pursued them, and when every single one had fallen to the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and slaughtered its remaining population.
27 For booty, Israel took only the cattle and the spoils of this town, in accordance with the order that Yahweh had given to Joshua.
29 He hanged the king of Ai from a tree till evening; but at sunset Joshua ordered his body to be taken down from the tree. It was then thrown down at the entrance to the town gate and on top of it was raised a great mound of stones, which is still there today.
30 Joshua then built an altar to Yahweh, God of Israel, on Mount Ebal,
31 as Moses, servant of Yahweh, had ordered the Israelites, as is written in the law of Moses: an altar of undressed stones, on which no iron has been used. On this they presented burnt offerings to Yahweh and communion sacrifices as well.
33 All Israel, with their elders, their officials and their judges, stood on either side of the ark, facing the levitical priests who were carrying the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, foreigners with the native-born, half of them on the upper slopes of Mount Ebal, as Moses, servant of Yahweh, had originally ordered for the blessing of the people of Israel.
35 Of every word laid down by Moses, not one was left unread by Joshua in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the foreigners living with them.
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Responsorial Psalm, Psalms 123:1-2, 2
Gospel, Mark 12:18-27
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