Joshue 8

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1 Dixit autem Dominus ad Josue : Ne timeas, neque formides : tolle tecum omnem multitudinem pugnatorum, et consurgens ascende in oppidum Hai. Ecce tradidi in manu tua regem ejus, et populum, urbemque et terram.

2 Faciesque urbi Hai, et regi ejus, sicut fecisti Jericho, et regi illius : prædam vero, et omnia animantia diripietis vobis : pone insidias urbi post eam.

3 Surrexitque Josue, et omnis exercitus bellatorum cum eo, ut ascenderent in Hai : et electa triginta millia virorum fortium misit nocte,

4 præcepitque eis, dicens : Ponite insidias post civitatem : nec longius recedatis : et eritis omnes parati.

5 Ego autem, et reliqua multitudo, quæ mecum est, accedemus ex adverso contra urbem. Cumque exierint contra nos, sicut ante fecimus : fugiemus, et terga vertemus,

6 donec persequentes ab urbe longius protrahantur : putabunt enim nos fugere sicut prius.

7 Nobis ergo fugientibus, et illis persequentibus, consurgetis de insidiis, et vastabitis civitatem : tradetque eam Dominus Deus vester in manus vestras.

8 Cumque ceperitis, succendite eam, et sic omnia facietis, ut jussi.

9 Dimisitque eos, et perrexerunt ad locum insidiarum, sederuntque inter Bethel et Hai, ad occidentalem plagam urbis Hai : Josue autem nocte illa in medio mansit populi,

10 surgensque diluculo recensuit socios, et ascendit cum senioribus in fronte exercitus, vallatus auxilio pugnatorum.

11 Cumque venissent et ascendissent ex adverso civitatis, steterunt ad septentrionalem urbis plagam, inter quam et eos erat vallis media.

12 Quinque autem millia viros elegerat, et posuerat in insidiis inter Bethel et Hai ex occidentali parte ejusdem civitatis :

13 omnis vero reliquus exercitus ad aquilonem aciem dirigebat, ita ut novissimi illius multitudinis occidentalem plagam urbis attingerent. Abiit ergo Josue nocte illa, et stetit in vallis medio.

14 Quod cum vidisset rex Hai, festinavit mane, et egressus est cum omni exercitu civitatis, direxitque aciem contra desertum, ignorans quod post tergum laterent insidiæ.

15 Josue vero et omnis Israël cesserunt loco, simulantes metum, et fugientes per solitudinis viam.

16 At illi vociferante pariter, et se mutuo cohortantes, persecuti sunt eos. Cumque recessissent a civitate,

17 et ne unus quidem in urbe Hai et Bethel remansisset qui non persequeretur Israël (sicut eruperant aperta oppida relinquentes),

18 dixit Dominus ad Josue : Leva clypeum, qui in manu tua est, contra urbem Hai, quoniam tibi tradam eam.

19 Cumque elevasset clypeum ex adverso civitatis, insidiæ, quæ latebant, surrexerunt confestim : et pergentes ad civitatem, ceperunt, et succenderunt eam.

20 Viri autem civitatis, qui persequebantur Josue, respicientes et videntes fumum urbis ad cælum usque conscendere, non potuerunt ultra huc illucque diffugere : præsertim cum hi qui simulaverant fugam, et tendebant ad solitudinem, contra persequentes fortissime restitissent.

21 Vidensque Josue et omnis Israël quod capta esset civitas, et fumus urbis ascenderet, reversus percussit viros Hai.

22 Siquidem et illi qui ceperant et succenderant civitatem, egressi ex urbe contra suos, medios hostium ferire cœperunt. Cum ergo ex utraque parte adversarii cæderentur, ita ut nullus de tanta multitudine salvaretur,

23 regem quoque urbis Hai apprehenderunt viventem, et obtulerunt Josue.

24 Igitur omnibus interfectis, qui Israëlem ad deserta tendentem fuerant persecuti, et in eodem loco gladio corruentibus, reversi filii Israël percusserunt civitatem.

25 Erant autem qui in eodem die conciderant a viro usque ad mulierem, duodecim millia hominum, omnes urbis Hai.

26 Josue vero non contraxit manum, quam in sublime porrexerat, tenens clypeum donec interficerentur omnes habitatores Hai.

27 Jumenta autem et prædam civitatis diviserunt sibi filii Israël, sicut præceperat Dominus Josue.

28 Qui succendit urbem, et fecit eam tumulum sempiternum :

29 regem quoque ejus suspendit in patibulo usque ad vesperam et solis occasum. Præcepitque Josue, et deposuerunt cadaver ejus de cruce : projeceruntque in ipso introitu civitatis, congesto super eum magno acervo lapidum, qui permanet usque in præsentem diem.

30 Tunc ædificavit Josue altare Domino Deo Israël in monte Hebal,

31 sicut præceperat Moyses famulus Domini filiis Israël, et scriptum est in volumine legis Moysi : altare vero de lapidibus impolitis, quos ferrum non tetigit : et obtulit super eo holocausta Domino, immolavitque pacificas victimas.

32 Et scripsit super lapides Deuteronomium legis Moysi, quod ille digesserat coram filiis Israël.

33 Omnis autem populus, et majores natu, ducesque ac judices, stabant ex utraque parte arcæ, in conspectu sacerdotum qui portabant arcam fœderis Domini, ut advena, ita et indigena. Media pars eorum juxta montem Garizim, et media juxta montem Hebal, sicut præceperat Moyses famulus Domini. Et primum quidem benedixit populo Israël.

34 Post hæc legit omnia verba benedictionis et maledictionis, et cuncta quæ scripta erant in legis volumine.

35 Nihil ex his quæ Moyses jusserat, reliquit intactum, sed universa replicavit coram omni multitudine Israël, mulieribus ac parvulis et advenis, qui inter eos morabantur.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Joshue 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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