Thoughts and Reflection
Today in the reading we see how Joshua fights. He leads an ambush by drawing out the people of the city and larger troops of Israelites go in. As other people hear of the Israelites (Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites) they join forces because they see the Israelites have a powerful army and the Lord is fighting with them.
The Gibeonites, though a trick, make a covenant with the Israelites. They dress up looking they came by a long journey but they only live a couple of days away. The Israelites believe them and enter into a covenant with them without seeking direction from the Lord. A covenant establishes a bond, a relationship that is unbreakable. So the Israelites honor a bad covenant they were tricked into, albeit with consequences.
The Gibeonites are brought into the story of salvation. Later Gibeon becomes the place where the Ark of the Covenant stays for a time in the days of David. God will later do great things with the people of Gibeon as they enter more deeply into a relationship with him.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
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.
1 Hearing these things, all the kings on this side of the Jordan, in the highlands and in the lowlands, all along the coast of the Great Sea towards the Lebanon, Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, with one consent
2 formed a fighting alliance against Joshua and Israel.
6 They came to Joshua in the camp at Gilgal, and to him and the men of Israel they said, ‘We come from a distant country, so make a treaty with us.’
8 They said to Joshua, ‘We are your servants.’ ‘But who are you?’ Joshua asked them, ‘and where do you come from?’
9 They said, ‘Your servants have come from a country very far away, because of the fame of Yahweh your God; for we have heard of him and of all that he did in Egypt,
10 and of all that he did to the two Amorite kings who used to live on the other side of the Jordan: Sihon king of Heshbon, and Og king of Bashan, who used to live at Ashtaroth.
11 Because of which, our elders and all the people of our country said to us, “Take provisions with you for the journey; go and meet them and say to them: We are your servants; so make a treaty with us.”
17 The Israelites set out from camp, arriving in their towns three days later. Their towns were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth and Kiriath-Jearim.
19 The leaders, however, all said to the whole community, ‘Since we have sworn an oath to them by Yahweh, God of Israel, we cannot touch them now.
22 Joshua sent for the Gibeonites and asked them, ‘Why did you deceive us by saying, “We live very far away,” when in fact you live rightamong us?
23 From now on, you are accursed and will for ever be serfs, as wood-cutters and water-carriers in the house of my God.’
24 Their answer to Joshua was, ‘We did it because your servants had been rightly told that Yahweh your God had ordered his servant Moses to give you the whole of this country and destroy all its inhabitants before you; also because, as you advanced on us, we feared very greatly for our lives. That was why we did this.
25 Now, as you see, we are at your mercy; do to us whatever you think good and right.’
27 But that very day Joshua made them wood-cutters and water-carriers for the community and for the altar of Yahweh, at the place which he would eventually choose; and so they are today.
1 [Song of Ascents] When Yahweh brought back Zion’s captives we lived in a dream;
2 then our mouths filled with laughter, and our lips with song. Then the nations kept saying, ‘What great deeds Yahweh has done for them!’
3 Yes, Yahweh did great deeds for us, and we were overjoyed.