約書亞記 8

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1 耶和華對約書亞:不要懼怕,也不要驚惶。你起來,率領一切兵丁上艾城去,我已經把艾城的和他的民、他的城,並他的地,都交在你裡。

2 你怎樣待耶利哥耶利哥,也當照樣待艾城和艾城的。只是城內所奪的財物和牲畜,你們可以取為自己的掠物。你要在城設下伏兵。

3 於是,約書亞和一切兵丁都起來,要上艾城去。約書亞選了三萬大能的勇士,夜間打發他們前往,

4 吩咐他們說:你們要在城埋伏,不可離城太遠,都要各自準備。

5 我與我所帶領的眾民要向城前往。城裡的人像初次出來攻擊我們的時候,我們就在他們面前逃跑

6 他們必出來追趕我們,直到我們引誘他們離開城;因為他們必:這些人像初次在我們面前逃跑。所以我們要在他們面前逃跑

7 你們就從埋伏的地方起來,奪取那城,因為耶和華─你們的必把城交在你們裡。

8 你們奪了城以後,就放燒城,要照耶和華的行。這是我吩咐你們的。

9 約書亞打發他們前往,他們就上埋伏的地方去,伯特利和艾城的中間,就是在艾城的西邊。這夜約書亞卻在民中宿。

10 約書亞清起來,點齊百姓,他和以色列的長老在百姓前面上艾城去。

11 眾民,就是他所領的兵丁,都上去,向前直往,到城前,在艾城邊安營。在約書亞和艾城中間有一山谷。

12 他挑了約有,使他們埋伏在伯特利和艾城的中間,就是在艾城的西邊,

13 於是安置了百姓,就是城的全軍和城西的伏兵。這夜約書亞進入山谷之中

14 艾城的見這景況,就和全城的人,清急忙起來,按所定的時候,出到亞拉巴前,要與以色列人交戰;卻不知道在城有伏兵。

15 約書亞和以色列眾人在他們面前裝敗,往那通曠野的逃跑

16 城內的眾民都被招聚,追趕他們;艾城人追趕的時候,就被引誘離開城。

17 艾城和伯特利城沒有一不出來追趕以色列人的,撇了敞開的城門,去追趕以色列人

18 耶和華吩咐約書亞:你向艾城伸出裡的短鎗,因為我要將城交在你裡。約書亞就向城伸出裡的短鎗。

19 他一伸,伏兵就從埋伏的地方急忙起來,奪了城,跑進城去,放焚燒。

20 艾城的人回頭一,不料,城中煙氣沖,他們就無力向左向右逃跑。那往曠野逃跑的百姓便轉身攻擊追趕他們的人。

21 約書亞和以色列眾人見伏兵已經奪了城,城中煙氣飛騰,就轉身回去,擊殺艾城的人。

22 伏兵也出城迎擊艾城人,艾城人就困在以色列人中間,前後都是以色列人。於是以色列人擊殺他們,沒有留下一個,也沒有一個逃脫的,

23 生擒了艾城的,將他解到約書亞那裡。

24 以色列人在田間和曠野盡所追趕一切艾城的居民。艾城人倒在刀下,直到滅盡;以色列眾人就回到艾城,用刀了城中的人。

25 當日殺斃的,連帶女共有一萬,就是艾城所有的

26 約書亞沒有收回裡所伸出來的短鎗,直到把艾城的一切居民盡行殺滅。

27 惟獨城中的牲畜和財物,以色列人都取為自己的掠物,是照耶和華所吩咐約書亞的

28 約書亞將艾城焚燒,使城永為高堆、荒場,直到今日;

29 又將艾城上,直到晚上。日落的時候,約書亞吩咐人把屍首從上取,丟在城門口,在屍首上成一石頭,直存到今日。

30 那時,約書亞在以巴路上為耶和華以色列的築一座

31 是用沒有動過器的整石頭築的,照著耶和華僕人摩西所吩咐以色列人的話,正如摩西律法上所的。眾人在這上給耶和華奉獻燔祭和平安祭。

32 約書亞在那裡,當著以色列人面前,將摩西的律法抄石頭上。

33 以色列眾人,無論是本地人、是寄居的,和長老長,並審判,都站在約櫃兩旁,在抬耶和華約櫃的祭司利未人面前,一對著基利心,一對著以巴路,為以色列祝福,正如耶和華僕人摩西先前所吩咐的。

34 ,約亞將律法上祝福、咒詛的,照著律法上一切所的,都宣讀了一遍。

35 摩西所吩咐的一切,約書亞在以色列會眾和婦女、孩子,並他們中間寄居的外人面前,沒有一句不宣讀的。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 約書亞記 8      

Napsal(a) New Christian Bible Study Staff and Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua 8: The fall of Ai and the renewal of the covenant.

The events of this chapter - and their spiritual meaning for us - follow on from the previous chapter. After their first setback at Ai, the Children of Israel take the city of Ai by using a clever ruse. Joshua chose thirty thousand men for the battle. The plan was for five thousand of them to hide near the city, while he led the main army to attack the city. Then, Joshua and his forces would pretend to run away, pursued by the men of Ai. Those who had hidden were then to come out, go into the city, and set it on fire. The men of Ai would see this and run back, get ambushed, and be caught between Joshua’s two armies.

It all happened as planned, and Israel took Ai. (See Arcana Caelestia 1557). As with Jericho, everything in Ai was commanded to be destroyed, except that in this case the livestock and the city’s spoils were to be kept. The whole city was burned and its king was hanged on a tree until sunset and then his body was thrown down at the city entrance with a great heap of stones put over it.

The basic spiritual meaning of any battle in the Bible such as this, is to show how a heavenly principle can and will overcome a hellish or evil attack, especially for us, during some temptation - when we seek to resist and fight back.

Evil is only strong in illusion and fear-mongering; when the light of what is true shines on evil it gets shown for what it is. (Heaven and Hell 49)

The city’s name “Ai” means “a heap”. The word gets used several times in the text of the chapter. A heap implies rubble and rubbish. Cities sometimes look noble and well-planned; in Ai’s case it was the very opposite - a heap, a ruin. (Heaven and Hell 586[2])

While Jericho generally represents our wrong thinking, which first stands in the way of our regeneration and spiritual will, Ai represents our evil emotions and our selfish passions. Both of them must fall before we can make further progress.

Joshua chooses a large number to go against a relatively few in Ai, who nevertheless all rush out to fight Israel. “There was not a man left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. Thus they left the city open.” (Joshua 8:17)

Joshua’s tactic of drawing out the men of Ai means our challenge to evil - by confronting it with the truths and commandments we know and obey. Joshua’s pretence of fleeing away draws Ai out in glee, interpreting the flight as a real retreat. Then everything turns, and Joshua’s men go forward representing the power of the truth, the Word and our persuasion of their effectiveness in winning. (Arcana Caelestia 6344[4])

Ai’s men see their city on fire, for other Israelites entered Ai and set it ablaze. This represents the self-condemnation of evil, of hell, when it is exposed to what is true, heavenly and of God. But Joshua’s men, lying in ambush and waiting for the moment, represent our keen observation of how our selfish desires work to cause havoc in us. They are 5,000. Symbolically, in the Bible, five or its multiples always stand for a small amount - but enough to use.

Hanging the king of Ai stands for our need to put down the controlling power of any evil which stirs us. And all Ai is destroyed, because all evil must be turned against and refused.

Then, and only then, Joshua remakes the covenant with the Lord God; he builds an altar, he writes a copy on stones of the Law of Moses in the presence of all Israel, the priests stand in two groups in front of two mountains, then Joshua reads the words of blessing and cursing and all the Law of Moses.

After we resist any evil and its temptation, we must re-hear and re-affirm the truth that this was the Lord’s victory, not ours, and re-dedicate ourselves to the life the Lord gives us. (True Christian Religion 13[2])

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