Good News Translation (GNB)
8

The Capture and Destruction of Ai

81The LORD said to Joshua, “Take all the soldiers with you and go on up to Ai. Don't be afraid or discouraged. I will give you victory over the king of Ai; his people, city, and land will be yours. 2You are to do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king, but this time you may keep its goods and livestock for yourselves. Prepare to attack the city by surprise from the rear.”

3So Joshua got ready to go to Ai with all his soldiers. He picked out 30,000 of his best troops and sent them out at night 4with these orders: “Hide on the other side of the city, but not too far away from it; be ready to attack. 5My men and I will approach the city. When the men of Ai come out against us, we will turn and run, just as we did the first time. 6They will pursue us until we have led them away from the city. They will think that we are running away from them, as we did before. 7Then you will come out of hiding and capture the city. The LORD your God will give it to you. 8After you have taken the city, set it on fire, just as the LORD has commanded. These are your orders.” 9So Joshua sent them out, and they went to their hiding place and waited there, west of Ai, between Ai and Bethel. Joshua spent the night in camp.

10Early in the morning Joshua got up and called the soldiers together. Then he and the leaders of Israel led them to Ai. 11The soldiers with him went towards the main entrance to the city and set up camp on the north side, with a valley between themselves and Ai. 12He took about 5,000 men and put them in hiding west of the city, between Ai and Bethel. 13The soldiers were arranged for battle with the main camp north of the city and the rest of the men to the west. Joshua spent the night in the valley. 14When the king of Ai saw Joshua's men, he acted quickly. He and all his men went out towards the Jordan Valley to fight the Israelites at the same place as before, not knowing that he was about to be attacked from the rear. 15Joshua and his men pretended that they were retreating, and ran away towards the barren country. 16All the men in the city had been called together to go after them, and as they pursued Joshua, they kept getting farther away from the city. 17Every man in Ai8.17 One ancient translation Ai; Hebrew Ai and Bethel. went after the Israelites, and the city was left wide open, with no one to defend it.

18Then the LORD said to Joshua, “Point your spear at Ai; I am giving it to you.” Joshua did as he was told, 19and as soon as he lifted his hand, the men who had been hiding got up quickly, ran into the city and captured it. They immediately set the city on fire. 20When the men of Ai looked back, they saw the smoke rising to the sky. There was no way for them to escape, because the Israelites who had run towards the barren country now turned round to attack them. 21When Joshua and his men saw that the others had taken the city and that it was on fire, they turned round and began killing the men of Ai. 22The Israelites in the city now came down to join the battle. So the men of Ai found themselves completely surrounded by Israelites, and they were all killed. No one got away, and no one lived through it 23except the king of Ai. He was captured and taken to Joshua.

24The Israelites killed every one of the enemy in the barren country where they had chased them. Then they went back to Ai and killed everyone there. 25-26Joshua kept his spear pointed at Ai and did not put it down until every person there had been killed. The whole population of Ai was killed that day — 12,000 men and women. 27The Israelites kept for themselves the livestock and goods captured in the city, as the LORD had told Joshua. 28Joshua burnt Ai and left it in ruins. It is still like that today. 29He hanged the king of Ai from a tree and left his body there until evening. At sunset Joshua gave orders for the body to be removed, and it was thrown down at the entrance to the city gate. They covered it with a huge pile of stones, which is still there today.

The Law is Read at Mount Ebal

30

8.30–32:
Deut 27.2–8
Then Joshua built on Mount Ebal an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel. 31
8.31:
Ex 20.25
He made it according to the instructions that Moses, the LORD's servant, had given the Israelites, as it says in the Law of Moses: “an altar made of stones which have not been cut with iron tools.” On it they offered burnt sacrifices to the LORD, and they also presented their fellowship offerings. 32There, with the Israelites looking on, Joshua made on the stones8.32 the stones; or stones. a copy of the Law which Moses had written. 33
8.33–35:
Deut 11.29
27.11–14
The Israelites, with their leaders, officers, and judges, as well as the foreigners among them, stood on two sides of the LORD's Covenant Box, facing the levitical priests who carried it. Half the people stood with their backs to Mount Gerizim and the other half with their backs to Mount Ebal. The LORD's servant Moses had commanded them to do this when the time came for them to receive the blessing. 34Joshua then read aloud the whole Law, including the blessings and the curses, just as they are written in the book of the Law. 35Every one of the commandments of Moses was read by Joshua to the whole gathering, which included women and children, as well as the foreigners living among them.

9

The Gibeonites Deceive Joshua

91The victories of Israel became known to all the kings west of the Jordan — in the hills, in the foothills, and all along the coastal plain of the Mediterranean Sea as far north as Lebanon; these were the kings of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 2They all came together and joined forces to fight against Joshua and the Israelites.

3But the people of Gibeon, who were Hivites, heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4and they decided to deceive him. They went and got some food and loaded their donkeys with worn-out sacks and patched-up wineskins. 5They put on ragged clothes and worn-out sandals that had been mended. The bread they took with them was dry and mouldy. 6Then they went to the camp at Gilgal and said to Joshua and the Israelites, “We have come from a distant land. We want you to make a treaty with us.”

7

9.7:
Ex 23.32
34.12
Deut 7.2
But the Israelites said, “Why should we make a treaty with you? Maybe you live nearby.”

8They said to Joshua, “We are at your service.”

Joshua asked them, “Who are you? Where do you come from?”

9Then they told him this story: “We have come from a very distant land, sir, because we have heard of the LORD your God. We have heard about everything that he did in Egypt 10

9.10:
Num 21.21–35
and what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan: King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth. 11Our leaders and all the people that live in our land told us to get some food ready for a journey and to go and meet you. We were told to put ourselves at your service and ask you to make a treaty with us. 12Look at our bread. When we left home with it and started out to meet you, it was still warm. But look! Now it is dry and mouldy. 13When we filled these wineskins, they were new, but look! They are torn. Our clothes and sandals are worn out from the long journey.”

14The Israelites accepted some food from them, but did not consult the LORD about it. 15Joshua made a treaty of friendship with the people of Gibeon and allowed them to live. The leaders of the community of Israel gave their solemn promise to keep the treaty.

16Three days after the treaty had been made, the Israelites learnt that these people did indeed live nearby. 17So the people of Israel started out and three days later arrived at the cities where these people lived: Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim. 18But the Israelites could not kill them, because their leaders had made a solemn promise to them in the name of the LORD, Israel's God. All the people complained to the leaders about this, 19but they answered, “We have made our solemn promise to them in the name of the LORD God of Israel. Now we cannot harm them. 20We must let them live because of our promise; if we don't, God will punish us. 21Let them live, but they will have to cut wood and carry water for us.” This was what the leaders suggested.

22Joshua ordered the people of Gibeon to be brought to him, and he asked them, “Why did you deceive us and tell us that you were from far away, when you live right here? 23Because you did this, God has condemned you. Your people will always be slaves, cutting wood and carrying water for the sanctuary of my God.”

24They answered, “We did it, sir, because we learnt that it was really true that the LORD your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to kill the people living in it as you advanced. We did it because we were terrified of you; we were in fear of our lives. 25Now we are in your power; do with us what you think is right.” 26So this is what Joshua did: he protected them and did not allow the people of Israel to kill them. 27But at the same time he made them slaves, to cut wood and carry water for the people of Israel and for the LORD's altar. To this day they have continued to do this work in the place where the LORD has chosen to be worshipped.

10

The Amorites are Defeated

101Adonizedek, the king of Jerusalem,10.1 Jerusalem: At that time it was a Jebusite city. heard that Joshua had captured and totally destroyed Ai and had killed its king, just as he had done to Jericho and its king. He also heard that the people of Gibeon had made peace with the Israelites and were living among them. 2The people of Jerusalem were greatly alarmed at this because Gibeon was as large as any of the cities that had a king; it was larger than Ai, and its men were good fighters. 3So Adonizedek sent the following message to King Hoham of Hebron, King Piram of Jarmuth, King Japhia of Lachish, and to King Debir of Eglon: 4“Come and help me attack Gibeon, because its people have made peace with Joshua and the Israelites.” 5These five Amorite kings, the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon, joined forces, surrounded Gibeon, and attacked it.

6The men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal: “Do not abandon us, sir! Come at once and help us! Save us! All the Amorite kings in the hill country have joined forces and have attacked us!”

7So Joshua and his whole army, including the best troops, started out from Gilgal. 8The LORD said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them. I have already given you the victory. Not one of them will be able to stand against you.” 9All night Joshua and his army marched from Gilgal to Gibeon, and they made a surprise attack on the Amorites. 10The LORD made the Amorites panic at the sight of Israel's army. The Israelites slaughtered them at Gibeon and pursued them down the mountain pass at Beth Horon, keeping up the attack as far south as Azekah and Makkedah. 11While the Amorites were running down the pass from the Israelite army, the LORD made large hailstones fall down on them all the way to Azekah. More were killed by the hailstones than by the Israelites.

12On the day that the LORD gave the men of Israel victory over the Amorites, Joshua spoke to the LORD. In the presence of the Israelites he said,

“Sun, stand still over Gibeon;

Moon, stop over Aijalon Valley.”

13
10.13:
2 Sam 1.18
The sun stood still and the moon did not move until the nation had conquered its enemies. This is written in The Book of Jashar. The sun stood still in the middle of the sky and did not go down for a whole day. 14Never before, and never since, has there been a day like it, when the LORD obeyed a human being. The LORD fought on Israel's side!

15After this, Joshua and his army went back to the camp at Gilgal.

Joshua Captures the Five Amorite Kings

16The five Amorite kings, however, had escaped and were hiding in the cave at Makkedah. 17Someone found them, and Joshua was told where they were hiding. 18He said, “Roll some big stones in front of the entrance to the cave. Place some guards there, 19but don't stay there yourselves. Keep on after the enemy and attack them from the rear; don't let them get to their cities! The LORD your God has given you victory over them.” 20Joshua and the men of Israel slaughtered them, although some managed to find safety inside their city walls and were not killed. 21Then all of Joshua's men came back safe to him at the camp at Makkedah.

No one in the land dared even to speak against the Israelites.

22Then Joshua said, “Open the entrance to the cave and bring those five kings out to me.” 23So the cave was opened, and the kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon were brought out 24and taken to Joshua. Joshua then called all the men of Israel to him and ordered the officers who had gone with him to come and put their feet on the necks of the kings. They did so. 25Then Joshua said to his officers, “Don't be afraid or discouraged. Be determined and confident because this is what the LORD is going to do to all your enemies.” 26Then Joshua killed the kings and hanged them on five trees, where their bodies stayed until evening. 27At sunset Joshua gave orders, and their bodies were taken down and thrown into the same cave where they had hidden earlier. Large stones were placed at the entrance to the cave, and they are still there.

Joshua Captures More Amorite Territory

28Joshua attacked and captured Makkedah and its king that day. He put everyone in the city to death; no one was left alive. He did to the king of Makkedah what he had done to the king of Jericho.

29After this, Joshua and his army went on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it. 30The LORD also gave the Israelites victory over this city and its king. They spared no one, but killed every person in it. They did to the king what they had done to the king of Jericho.

31After this, Joshua and his army went on from Libnah to Lachish, surrounded it and attacked it. 32The LORD gave the Israelites victory over Lachish on the second day of the battle. Just as they had done at Libnah, they spared no one, but killed every person in the city. 33King Horam of Gezer came to the aid of Lachish, but Joshua defeated him and his army and left none of them alive.

34Next, Joshua and his army went on from Lachish to Eglon, surrounded it and attacked it. 35They captured it the same day and put everyone there to death, just as they had done at Lachish.

36After this, Joshua and his army went from Eglon up into the hills to Hebron, attacked it 37and captured it. They killed the king and everyone else in the city as well as in the nearby towns. Joshua condemned the city to total destruction, just as he had done to Eglon. No one in it was left alive.

38Then Joshua and his army turned back to Debir and attacked it. 39He captured it, with its king and all the nearby towns. They put everyone there to death. Joshua did to Debir and its king what he had done to Hebron and to Libnah and its king.

40Joshua conquered the whole land. He defeated the kings of the hill country, the eastern slopes, and the western foothills, as well as those of the dry country in the south. He spared no one; everyone was put to death. This was what the LORD God of Israel had commanded. 41Joshua's campaign took him from Kadesh Barnea in the south to Gaza near the coast, including all the area of Goshen, and as far north as Gibeon. 42Joshua conquered all these kings and their territory in one campaign because the LORD, Israel's God, was fighting for Israel. 43After this, Joshua and his army went back to the camp at Gilgal.