Joshua 8


God brings victory out of defeat


1 And the LORD said to Joshua, Do not fear or be dismayed: take all the people of war with you. Get up, go up to Ai: see, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land: 2 And you will do to Ai and her king as you did to Jericho and her king: only its spoil, and its livestock, you may take to yourselves for plunder: lay an ambush behind the city. 3 So Joshua got up, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valor, and sent them away by night. 4 And he commanded them saying, Look, you are to lie in wait against the city, behind the city: do not go very far from the city, but be ready: 5 I, and all the people that are with me, will approach the city: and when they come out against us, as at first, we will flee before them, 6 (For they will come out after us) until we have drawn them away from the city; for they will say, They flee before us like at first: so we will flee before them.


  • God comforts saying, Do not fear.
  • He showed His people how to ambush the enemy.
  • He gives us victory when sins are confessed.
  • Ai in scripture represents our battles against the flesh, our old, sinful nature.
  • Galatians 5:17-18 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary one to another: so that you cannot do the things that you would. 18 But if you are led of the Spirit, you are not under the law.


God delivers the victory into our hands


7 Then rise up from the ambush, and seize the city: for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand. 8 And when you have taken the city, set the city on fire: do according to the commandment of the LORD. Look, I have commanded you. 9 So Joshua sent them out: and they went to lie in ambush, and stayed between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people. 10 And Joshua rose up early in the morning, mustered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai. 11 And all the people, the military that were with him, went up, and drew near; they came before the city, and camped on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley between them and Ai. 12 And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city. 13 And when they had set the people, all the army that was on the north of the city, and their rear guard on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley. 14 And when the king of Ai saw it they hurried and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. 15 And Joshua and all Israel acted like they were defeated before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness. 16 And all the people that were in Ai were called together to chase after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city. 17 Not a man was left in Ai or Bethel that did not go out after Israel: they left the city open and chased after Israel. 18 And the LORD said to Joshua, stretch out the spear that is in your hand toward Ai; for I will give it into your hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city.


  • The LORD is the Commander of His armies.
  • The title LORD OF HOSTS is seen frequently in scripture.
  • It means commander of all the armies of the heavens.
  • Joshua 5:13-15 No; but as captain of the host of the LORD I have now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and worshipped, and said to him, What does my lord say to his servant? 15 And the captain of the LORD's host said to Joshua, Loose your shoe from off your foot; for the place where you stand is holy. And Joshua did so.


19 And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: they entered into the city, took it, and hurried and set the city on fire. 20 And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers. 21 And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned around and killed the men of Ai. 22 And the others came out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they struck them, so that they let none of them remain or escape. 23 And they captured the king of Ai and brought him to Joshua. 24 And when Israel finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, and in the wilderness where they chased them, and when they were all fallen by the edge of the sword until they were consumed, then all the Israelites returned to Ai, and struck it with the edge of the sword.


  • Leviticus 18 describes the life of these people whom God commanded to be destroyed.
  • All manner of perversion was prevalent including child sacrifice.
  • Their idolatry was leading others to eternal death.
  • This was a cleansing of earth from evil like in the days of Noah when all the earth was filled with violence.
  • It was a just and right.
  • 2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any perish, but that all come to repentance.


25 And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, all the men of Ai. 26 For Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the spear until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 27 Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took for plunder to themselves, according to the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua. 28 And Joshua burned Ai, and made it a heap forever, a desolation to this day. 29 And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they take his carcass down from the tree, and cast it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raise on it a great heap of stones, that remains to this day. 30 Then Joshua built an altar to the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal, 31 As Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man has lifted up any iron tool: and they offered on it burnt offerings to the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 And he wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.


  • Mt Ebal was barren and rocky. Mt Gerizim was the lush forest area.
  • Jacob’s well where Jesus rested and talked with the Samaritan woman is in the valley between these two mountains.
  • An altar was the place where the people approached God to worship, make requests, and adore Him.
  • Man’s works are not acceptable to God for service or salvation.
  • The burnt offerings were the Old Testament way to show their faith in the Savior that God promised to save mankind from sin.
  • God made the earth and all in it.
  • Satan came into Eden and conquered through deception and sin.
  • This conquering of the land took back this land to God.
  • The same this happens to your heart each time you believe God. That territory of your mind is taken bach for God.
  • James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
  • John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.


33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests, the Levites, who carried the ark of the covenant of the LORD, also the foreigner as well as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, to bless the people of Israel. 34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, 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 congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the foreigners that were living among them.


  • God wants us to know all His word because we live by them. His words are alive and powerful (Hebrews 4:12). They change our hearts if we will listen. We are easy targets for Satan if we don’t know God’s word. To wholly love God we must fully listen to Him. With God there are no short cuts. God is in the process of ‘bringing many sons to glory’ (Hebrews 2:10).
  • Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man will not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.


                                               Joshua 9


1 And it happened, when all the kings that were on this side Jordan, in the hills, in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard of it; 2 That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord. 3 And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai, 4 they acted slyly, pretending to be ambassadors. They took old sacks on their asses, and wine bottles, old and bound up; 5 and old shoes and patched on their feet, and old clothes on them; and all the food of their provision was dry and moldy. 6 And they went to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal and said to him, and to the men of Israel, We have come from a far country: make a peace treaty with us. 7 And the men of Israel said to the Hivites, Perhaps you dwell among us; and how can we make a peace treaty with you? 8 And they said to Joshua, We are your servants. And Joshua said to them, Who are you? Where are you from?


  • The forces of evil assemble against those who decide to follow God.
  • Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.


9 And they said to him, Your servants have come from a very far country because of the name of the LORD your God: we have heard of his fame, and all that he did in Egypt, 10 And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who was at Ashtaroth. 11 Therefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spoke to us saying, Take food with you for the journey, and go to meet them. Say to them, We are your servants: now therefore make a peace treaty with us. 12 This is our bread that we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came to go to you; but now look, it is dry, it is crumbs: 13 And these wineskins that we filled were new; and look, they are torn: and these our clothes and our shoes are worn out because of the very long journey.


God wants us to consult Him at every turn


14 And they received the men because of their food, and did not ask counsel at the mouth of the LORD. 15 And Joshua made peace with them, and made a treaty with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation swore to them. 16 And it came to pass at the end of three days after they had made a treaty with them, that they heard that they were their neighbors, and that they dwelt among them. 


  • Proverbs 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.

17 And the children of Israel journeyed, and came to their cities on the third day. Now their cities were Gibeon, Chephirah, Beeroth, and Kirjath-je'arim. 18 And the children of Israel did not strike them, because the princes of the congregation had sworn to them by the LORD God of Israel. And all the congregation murmured against the leaders. 19 But all the princes said to all the congregation, We have sworn to them by the LORD God of Israel: we must not touch them. 20 This is what we will do to them; we will let them live, so that wrath does not come upon us, because of the oath that we swore to them.


  • After they discovered the lie, they still didn’t ask God.
  • Saul, in BC 1022, broke this treaty that had been made in God’s name and judgment came on Israel for it.
  • 2 Samuel 21:1 Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he killed the Gibeonites.


21 And the princes said to them, Let them live; but let them be woodcutters and water carriers to all the congregation; as the leaders had promised them. 22 And Joshua called for them, and he spoke to them saying, Why have you deceived us, saying, We are very far from you; when you dwell among us? 23 Now therefore you are cursed, none of you will be exempt from being slaves, and woodcutters and water carriers for the house of my God. 24 So they answered Joshua, and said, Because it was certainly told your servants, how the LORD your God commanded his servant Moses to give you all the land, and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land from before you, therefore we were greatly afraid for our lives because of you, and have done this thing. 25 And now, behold, we are in your hand: do to us what seems good and right to you to do. 26 And so did he to them, and delivered them out of the hand of the children of Israel, that they did not kill them. 27 And Joshua made them woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation that day, and for the altar of the LORD, even to this day, in the place that he will choose.


  • God owns the earth.
  • He says who dwells there.
  • He saves the undeserving.
  • The Gibeonites were under the divine sentence of death for their sins in the land where they dwelt.
  • But because of a promise in God’s name they escaped death.
  • We, in Christ, also undeservedly escape death because of God’s promise.
  • Psalm 24:1-2 The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness of it; the world, and those that dwell in it. 2 For he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the floods.
  • John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.





SUMMARY: Joshua 8-9


  • God delivers the victory into our hands
  • He wants us to consult Him at every turn