Joshua 7–9; Luke 15:11–32

Israel Defeated at Ai

But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for aAchan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.

Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near bBeth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, Go up and spy out the land. And the men went up and spied out Ai. And they returned to Joshua and said to him, Do not have all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not make the whole people toil up there, for they are few. So about three thousand men went up there from the people. And cthey fled before the men of Ai, and the men of Ai killed about thirty-six of their men and chased them before the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them at the descent. And the hearts of the people dmelted and became as water.

Then Joshua etore his clothes and ffell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put gdust on their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, hwhy have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to give us into the hands of the Amorites, to destroy us? Would that we had been content to dwell beyond the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say, when Israel has turned their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and icut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?

The Sin of Achan

10 The Lord said to Joshua, Get up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have jtransgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the kdevoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings. 12 lTherefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They mturn their backs before their enemies, because they have become ndevoted for destruction.1 I will be with you no more, unless you destroy othe devoted things from among you. 13 Get up! Consecrate the people and say, pConsecrate yourselves for tomorrow; for thus says the Lord, God of Israel, There are devoted things in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted things from among you. 14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought near qby your tribes. And the tribe that the Lord takes by lot shall come near by clans. And the clan that the Lord takes shall come near by households. And the household that the Lord takes shall come near man by man. 15 rAnd he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has stransgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done tan outrageous thing in Israel.

16 So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 And he brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the uZerahites was taken. And he brought near the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 And he brought near his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, My son, vgive glory to the Lord God of Israel and wgive praise2 to him. And xtell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me. 20 And Achan answered Joshua, Truly yI have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels,3 then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath. 23 And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the Lord. 24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the zValley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, Why did you abring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today. And all Israel bstoned him with stones. cThey burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 And they raised over him da great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then ethe Lord turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.4

The Fall of Ai

And the Lord said to Joshua, fDo not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, gI have given into your hand the king of Ai, and his people, his city, and his land. And you shall do to Ai and its king as you did hto Jericho and its king. Only iits spoil and its livestock you shall take as plunder for yourselves. Lay an ambush against the city, behind it.

So Joshua and all the fighting men arose to go up to Ai. And Joshua chose 30,000 mighty men of valor and sent them out by night. And he commanded them, Behold, jyou shall lie in ambush against the city, behind it. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you remain ready. And I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. And when they come out against us kjust as before, we shall flee before them. And they will come out after us, until we have ldrawn them away from the city. For they will say, They are fleeing from us, just as before. So we will flee before them. Then you shall rise up from the ambush and seize the city, for the Lord your God will give it into your hand. And as soon as you have taken the city, you shall set the city on fire. You shall do according to the word of the Lord. mSee, I have commanded you. So Joshua sent them out. And they went to the place of ambush and lay between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai, but Joshua spent that night among the people.

10 Joshua arose early in the morning and mustered the people and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai. 11 And nall the fighting men who were with him went up and drew near before the city and encamped on the north side of Ai, with a ravine between them and Ai. 12 He took about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city. 13 So they stationed the forces, the main encampment that was north of the city and its rear guard west of the city. But Joshua spent that night in the valley. 14 And as soon as the king of Ai saw this, he and all his people, the men of the city, hurried and went out early to the appointed place5 toward othe Arabah to meet Israel in battle. pBut he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. 15 And Joshua and all Israel qpretended to be beaten before them and fled in the direction of the wilderness. 16 So all the people who were in the city were called together to pursue them, and as they pursued Joshua they rwere drawn away from the city. 17 Not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. They left the city open and pursued Israel.

18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, sStretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand. And Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. 19 And the men in the ambush rose quickly out of their place, and as soon as he had stretched out his hand, they ran and entered the city and captured it. And they hurried to set the city on fire. 20 So when the men of Ai looked back, behold, the smoke of the city went up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that, for the people who fled to the wilderness turned back against the pursuers. 21 And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city, and that the smoke of the city went up, then they turned back and struck down the men of Ai. 22 And the others came out from the city against them, so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. And Israel struck them down, until there was tleft none that survived or escaped. 23 But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him near to Joshua.

24 When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they pursued them, and all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it down with the edge of the sword. 25 And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai. 26 But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he ustretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction.6 27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the Lord that he vcommanded Joshua. 28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a wheap of ruins, as it is to this day. 29 xAnd he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. yAnd at sunset Joshua commanded, and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city and zraised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day.

Joshua Renews the Covenant

30 At that time Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, aon Mount Ebal, 31 just as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the people of Israel, as it is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, an altar of uncut stones, upon which no man has wielded an iron tool. And they offered on it burnt offerings to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 And there, in the presence of the people of Israel, he wrote on bthe stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written. 33 And all Israel, csojourner as well as native born, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on opposite sides of the ark before the Levitical priests dwho carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, ejust as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded at the first, to bless the people of Israel. 34 And afterward fhe read all the words of the law, gthe blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, hand the women, and the little ones, and ithe sojourners who lived7 among them.

The Gibeonite Deception

As soon as all the kings who were beyond the Jordan jin the hill country and in the lowland all along the coast kof the Great Sea toward Lebanon, lthe Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, heard of this, they gathered together as one to fight against Joshua and Israel.

But when the inhabitants of mGibeon heard what Joshua had done nto Jericho and oto Ai, they on their part acted with cunning and went and made ready provisions and took worn-out sacks for their donkeys, and wineskins, worn-out and torn and mended, with worn-out, patched sandals on their feet, and worn-out clothes. And all their provisions were dry and crumbly. And they went to Joshua in pthe camp at Gilgal and said to him and to the men of Israel, We have come from a distant country, so now make a covenant with us. But the men of Israel said to qthe Hivites, Perhaps you live among us; then rhow can we make a covenant with you? They said to Joshua, sWe are your servants. And Joshua said to them, Who are you? And where do you come from? They said to him, tFrom a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the Lord your God. uFor we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, 10 vand all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in wAshtaroth. 11 So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, Take provisions in your hand for the journey and go to meet them and say to them, We are your servants. Come now, make a covenant with us. 12 Here is our bread. It was still warm when we took it from our houses as our food for the journey on the day we set out to come to you, but now, behold, it is dry and crumbly. 13 These wineskins were new when we filled them, and behold, they have burst. And these garments and sandals of ours are worn out from the very long journey. 14 So the men took some of their provisions, but xdid not ask counsel from the Lord. 15 And Joshua ymade peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.

16 At the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were their neighbors zand that they lived among them. 17 And the people of Israel set out and reached their cities on the third day. aNow their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18 But the people of Israel did not attack them, because the leaders of the congregation had sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel. Then all the congregation murmured against the leaders. 19 But all the leaders said to all the congregation, We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we may not touch them. 20 This we will do to them: let them live, lest bwrath be upon us, cbecause of the oath that we swore to them. 21 And the leaders said to them, Let them live. So they became dcutters of wood and drawers of water for all the congregation, just as the leaders ehad said of them.

22 Joshua summoned them, and he said to them, Why did you deceive us, saying, fWe are very far from you, when gyou dwell among us? 23 Now therefore you are cursed, and some of you shall never be anything but servants, hcutters of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God. 24 They answered Joshua, Because it was told to your servants for a certainty that the Lord your God had icommanded his servant Moses to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before youso jwe feared greatly for our lives because of you and did this thing. 25 And now, behold, we are in your hand. Whatever seems good and right in your sight to do to us, do it. 26 So he did this to them and delivered them out of the hand of the people of Israel, and they did not kill them. 27 But Joshua made them that day kcutters of wood and drawers of water for the congregation and for the altar of the Lord, to this day, lin the place that he should choose.


The Parable of the Prodigal Son

11 And he said, There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me mthe share of property that is coming to me. And he divided nhis property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in oreckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to1 one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he pwas longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 But qwhen he rcame to himself, he said, How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, sI have sinned against theaven and before you. 19 uI am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants. 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and vran and wembraced him and xkissed him. 21 And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. uI am no longer worthy to be called your son.2 22 But the father said to his servants,3 Bring quickly ythe best robe, and put it on him, and put za ring on his hand, and ashoes on his feet. 23 And bring bthe fattened calf and kill it, and clet us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son dwas dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to celebrate.

25 Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound. 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might ecelebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, fwho has devoured gyour property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him! 31 And he said to him, Son, hyou are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting eto celebrate and be glad, for this your brother iwas dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.