God commanded Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land and take possession of it. He began by destroying Jericho and Ai. Most of the other kings banded together to resist, but one group took a different approach.
But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to 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 the 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.” (Joshua 9:3-6)
The Israelites believed the Gibeonites and made a covenant without asking God for guidance. Afterward they learned the Gibeonites lived nearby. Read the rest of this entry
When Joshua led the Israelites into the promised land they began their conquest with a victory over the city of Jericho. If you aren’t familiar with the story you can read it here .
The next city they attacked was Ai. The outcome was different.
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 three thousand 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.