Joshua 5-8; Psalm 14; Luke 15
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The following text is from the English Standard Version.
As soon as all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan for the people of Israel until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and there was no longer any spirit in them because of the people of Israel.
At that time the LORD said to Joshua, ”Make flint knives and circumcise the sons of Israel a second time.”
So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth.
And this is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the males of the people who came out of Egypt, all the men of war, had died in the wilderness on the way after they had come out of Egypt.
Though all the people who came out had been circumcised, yet all the people who were born on the way in the wilderness after they had come out of Egypt had not been circumcised.
For the people of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who came out of Egypt, perished, because they did not obey the voice of the LORD; the LORD swore to them that he would not let them see the land that the LORD had sworn to their fathers to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey.
So it was their children, whom he raised up in their place, that Joshua circumcised. For they were uncircumcised, because they had not been circumcised on the way.
When the circumcising of the whole nation was finished, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed.
And the LORD said to Joshua, ”Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.
While the people of Israel were encamped at Gilgal, they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening on the plains of Jericho.
And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain.
And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, ”Are you for us, or for our adversaries?”
And he said, ”No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, ”What does my lord say to his servant?”
And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, ”Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in.
And the LORD said to Joshua, ”See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor.
You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days.
Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.
And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.”
So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, ”Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.”
And he said to the people, ”Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the LORD.”
And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the LORD went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the LORD following them.
The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually.
But Joshua commanded the people, ”You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.”
So he caused the ark of the LORD to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.
Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.
And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets blew continually.
And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days.
On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times.
And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, ”Shout, for the LORD has given you the city.
And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent.
But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it.
But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.”
So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.
Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword.
But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, ”Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.”
So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel.
And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.
But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, ”Cursed before the LORD be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. ”At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates.”
So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.
But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan 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 Beth-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 3,000 men went up there from the people. And they 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 melted and became as water.
Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads.
And Joshua said, ”Alas, O Lord GOD, why 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 cut off our name from the earth. And what will you do for your great name?”
The LORD said to Joshua, ”Get up! Why have you fallen on your face?
Israel has sinned; they have transgressed my covenant that I commanded them; they have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen and lied and put them among their own belongings.
Therefore the people of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will be with you no more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.
Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate 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.”
In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by 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.
And he who is taken with the devoted things shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has done an outrageous thing in Israel.”’
So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken.
And he brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was taken. And he brought near the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken.
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.
Then Joshua said to Achan, ”My son, give glory to the LORD God of Israel and give praise to him. And tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”
And Achan answered Joshua, ”Truly I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I did:
when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was hidden in his tent with the silver underneath.
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.
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 Valley of Achor.
And Joshua said, ”Why did you bring trouble on us? The LORD brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.
And they raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his burning anger. Therefore, to this day the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor.
And the LORD said to Joshua, ”Do not fear and do not be dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I 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 to Jericho and its king. Only its 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, you 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 just as before, we shall flee before them.
And they will come out after us, until we have drawn 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. See, 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.
Joshua arose early in the morning and mustered the people and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.
And all 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.
He took about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city.
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.
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 place toward the Arabah to meet Israel in battle. But he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city.
And Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten before them and fled in the direction of the wilderness.
So all the people who were in the city were called together to pursue them, and as they pursued Joshua they were drawn away from the city.
Not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. They left the city open and pursued Israel.
Then the LORD said to Joshua, ”Stretch 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 left none that survived or escaped.
But the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him near to Joshua.
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.
And all who fell that day, both men and women, were 12,000, all the people of Ai.
But Joshua did not draw back his hand with which he stretched out the javelin until he had devoted all the inhabitants of Ai to destruction.
Only the livestock and the spoil of that city Israel took as their plunder, according to the word of the LORD that he commanded Joshua.
So Joshua burned Ai and made it forever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day.
And he hanged the king of Ai on a tree until evening. And 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 raised over it a great heap of stones, which stands there to this day.
At that time Joshua built an altar to the LORD, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal,
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.
And there, in the presence of the people of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written.
And all Israel, sojourner as well as native born, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on opposite sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who 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, just as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded at the first, to bless the people of Israel.
And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law.
There was not a word of all that Moses commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who lived among them.
The fool says in his heart, ”There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.
The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD?
There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge.
Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.
And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, ”This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
So he told them this parable:
‘What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?
And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
‘Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?
And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’
Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
And he said, ”There was a man who had two sons.
And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them.
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 reckless living.
And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.
So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.
And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
‘But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!
I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, ”Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.
I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’
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 ran and embraced him and kissed him.
And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.
And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate.
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.
‘Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.
And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.
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.’
But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him,
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 celebrate with my friends.
But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’
And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.
It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.”’