Joshua 7–9

1 Yet the children of Israel violated their obligations with regard to the things dedicated for destruction. Achan, son of Karmi, son of Zimri, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah took from the things dedicated for destruction, and the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.

2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai (which is near Beth Aven, east of Bethel) and said to them, “Go up and spy on the land.” So the men went up and spied on Ai.

3 Then they returned to Joshua and said to him, “All the people need not go up. Let about two or three thousand men go up and strike Ai. Since they are so few, all the people need not weary themselves.” 4 So about three thousand men went up from among the people there, but they fled from before the men of Ai. 5 The men of Ai struck down thirty-six men and pursued them from the gate to Shebarim. They struck them down on the mountainside, and the hearts of the people melted like water.

6 Then Joshua ripped his clothes. He and the Israelite elders fell on their faces to the ground in front of the ark of the Lord until evening and threw dirt upon their heads. 7 Joshua said, “O Lord God, why did You bring this people across the Jordan to give us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to dwell on the other side of the Jordan! 8 O my Lord, what should I say now that Israel has fled before its enemies? 9 The Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land may hear, turn on us, and cut off our name from the earth. What will You do for Your great name?”

10 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have broken My covenant that I commanded them. They took from the things dedicated for destruction. They have stolen, acted deceitfully, and put them among their own possessions. 12 Therefore the children of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs to their enemies because they have become dedicated for destruction. I will not be with you anymore if you do not destroy the things dedicated for destruction in your midst.

13 “Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: “Things dedicated for destruction are in your midst, O Israel. You are not able to stand before your enemies until you remove the things dedicated for destruction from your midst.”

14 “‘In the morning you will be brought forward by tribes, and the tribe that the Lord selects by lot shall come forward by clans. The clan that the Lord selects by lot shall come forward by households, and the household that the Lord selects by lot shall come forward man by man. 15 And he who is taken with the things dedicated for destruction shall be burned with fire, he and all who belong to him, for he broke the covenant of the Lord and has done a disgraceful action in Israel.’”

16 So Joshua got up early in the morning and brought forward Israel by their tribes. The tribe of Judah was selected. 17 He brought forward the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was selected. He brought forward the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zimri was selected. 18 He brought forward the household of Zimri man by man, and Achan son of Karmi, son of Zimri, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was selected.

19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “O my son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and give Him praise! Tell me what you have done! Do not hold back anything from me.”

20 Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed, I sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I did: 21 When I saw among the plundered goods a beautiful robe from Babylon, two hundred shekels of silver, and a gold bar weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them, so I took them. They are hidden in the ground in my tent. The silver is underneath them.”

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent. There it all was hidden in the ground with the silver underneath. 23 They took it from the tent and brought it to Joshua and all the children of Israel. They spread it out before the Lord.

24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all he had, and brought them up to the Valley of Achor. 25 Then Joshua said, “Why have you brought trouble on us? The Lord will trouble you today!”

So all Israel stoned him. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 Then they erected over him a large pile of stones, which is still there today. So the Lord turned from His burning anger. Therefore the name of the place is called the Valley of Achor to this day.

Chapter 8

1 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or dismayed. Take all the fighting men with you. Arise, and go up to Ai. See, I have given the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land into your hand. 2 Do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho and its king, except you may plunder its spoils and its livestock. Now set an ambush for the city behind it.”

3 So Joshua and all the fighting men arose to go up to Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand men, mighty men of valor, and sent them out at night. 4 He commanded them, “You shall ambush the city from behind. Do not go very far from the city. All of you be ready. 5 I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. When they come out to engage us as before, we will flee from them. 6 They will come after us until we have lured them away from the city, for they will think, ‘They are fleeing from us as before!’ So we will flee from them. 7 Then you shall rise up for the ambush and take possession of the city. The Lord your God will give it into your hands. 8 When you have seized the city, set it on fire. Act according to the word of the Lord. See, I have commanded you.”

9 So Joshua sent them out. They went to the place of ambush and took up a position between Bethel and Ai, westward of Ai, and Joshua spent the night among the people.

10 Joshua got up early in the morning and mustered the people. He and the elders of Israel went up before the people to Ai. 11 All the fighting men who were with him went up and drew near to the city. They camped north of Ai, and there was a valley between them and Ai. 12 He took about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, westward of the city. 13 So they stationed the people, all the army that was on the north of the city, and its rear guard on the west of the city, and Joshua spent that night in the midst of the valley.

14 When the king of Ai saw this, the men of the city hurriedly got up early and went out to engage Israel in battle at the assembly point near the Arabah. Yet he did not know that there was an ambush for him behind the city. 15 So Joshua and all Israel allowed themselves to be beaten before them, and they fled in the direction of the wilderness. 16 All the people who were in Ai were assembled to pursue them, so they pursued Joshua and were drawn away from the city. 17 Not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. They left the city wide open, and they pursued Israel.

18 The Lord said to Joshua, “Point toward Ai with the sword that is in your hand, for I will give it into your hand.” So Joshua pointed toward the city with the sword in his hand. 19 When his hand pointed, the men in ambush got up quickly from their place and ran. They came into the city, captured it, and quickly set the city on fire.

20 The men of Ai turned around and looked, and there from the city came smoke rising to the sky! They could not flee in any direction, and the people who had fled into the wilderness had turned back toward their pursuers. 21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had captured the city and that smoke rose from it, they turned and struck down the men of Ai. 22 Then the men in the city came out to engage them in battle, so they were now in the middle, with Israel on each side. Israel struck them down until neither survivors nor escapees were left. 23 They took the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.

24 When Israel completed killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they had pursued them, and when all of them had finally fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it with the edge of the sword. 25 All who had fallen that day, men and women, numbered twelve thousand, all the people of Ai. 26 Joshua did not draw back his hand with the stretched-out sword until he destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 27 Israel plundered only the livestock and the spoil of that city for themselves, according to the word of the Lord that He had commanded Joshua.

28 Joshua burned Ai and made it a heap forever, a desolation to this day. 29 The king of Ai hanged on a tree until evening. At sunset, Joshua commanded that the people take down the body from the tree and throw it down at the city gate. They erected a large heap of stones over it that remains to this day.

30 Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord God of Israel on Mount Ebal, 31 as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded the children of Israel. As is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, it was “an altar of uncut stones not shaped by iron tools.” They sacrificed burnt offerings to the Lord on it, as well as peace offerings. 32 There in the presence of the children of Israel he wrote a copy of the Law of Moses on the stones. 33 All Israel, resident alien and native alike, with its elders, officials, and judges, were standing on either side of the ark in front of the Levite priests carrying the ark of the covenant of the Lord, half in front of Mount Gerizim and half in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded from the beginning, in order to bless the people of Israel.

34 After this, Joshua read out all the words of the law, both blessing and curse, according to all that is written in the Book of the Law. 35 There was not a word from all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read out before the whole assembly of Israel, with the women, the children, and the resident aliens who were among them.

Chapter 9

1 When all the kings west of the Jordan in the hill country, in the low country, and along all the coast of the Mediterranean Sea toward Lebanon—the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite kings—heard this, 2 they gathered together as one to wage war against Joshua and Israel.

3 But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they acted craftily, and took old sacks on their donkeys, and old wineskins, torn and mended, 5 old and patched sandals on their feet, and old garments on themselves. All the bread of their provision was dry and crumbly. 6 They went to Joshua at the Gilgal settlement and said to him and the children of Israel, “We have come from a distant land. Now make a pact with us.”

7 Then the children of Israel said to these Hivites, “Perhaps you live among us, so how could we make a pact with you?”

8 Yet they said to Joshua, “We are your slaves.”

Joshua said to them, “Who are you, and where do you come from?”

9 They said to him, “We, your slaves, have come from a very distant land because of the name of the Lord your God, for we heard news of Him and all He did in Egypt 10 and all that He did to the two Amorite kings on the other side of the Jordan, King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan in Ashtaroth. 11 So our elders and all the inhabitants of our country said to us, ‘Take food provisions for the journey and go to meet them. Say to them, “We are your slaves. So now, make a pact with us.”’ 12 This bread of ours was hot as we took it from our homes on the day we left to come to you, but now, see, it is dry and crumbly. 13 These wineskins that we filled were new, but see, they are ripped open. These clothes and sandals wore out due to the very long journey.”

14 So the men examined some of the food provisions, but they did not ask the Lord about it. 15 Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them.

16 Three days after they had made a covenant with them, they heard that they were neighbors to them and lived among them. 17 So the children of Israel set out and came to their cities on the third day. Their cities were Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim. 18 Now the children of Israel did not attack them, for the leaders of the congregation had sworn an oath to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, so the congregation murmured against the leaders.

19 Yet all the leaders said to the whole congregation, “We swore to them by the Lord God of Israel, so now we may not harm them. 20 This is what we will do to them. We will let them live so that wrath will not come upon us due to the oath that we swore to them.” 21 The leaders of the congregation also said to them, “Let them live!” So they became woodcutters and water carriers for the whole congregation, as the leaders told them.

22 Joshua met them and said, “Why did you trick us, saying, ‘We are very distant from you,’ but you are living in our midst? 23 Therefore now you are cursed, and you will always be slaves, cutting wood and carrying water for the house of my God.”

24 They answered Joshua, “It was told to your slaves that the Lord your God commanded Moses His servant to give you all the land and to destroy all the inhabitants of the land before you. So we were very afraid for our lives, and we did this thing. 25 Now here we are, in your hands. Do to us whatever is good and right in your eyes.”

26 Thus he did to them, and delivered them from the hand of the children of Israel; and they did not kill them. 27 That day he made them woodcutters and water carriers for the congregation and the altar of the Lord, even to this day, at the place He would choose.

Luke 1:21–38

21 The people waited for Zechariah, and wondered why he waited so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he made signs to them and remained speechless.

23 As soon as the days of his service were fulfilled, he departed to his own home. 24 After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she hid herself, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.”

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel came to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.”

29 When she saw him, she was troubled by his words, and considered in her mind what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Listen, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. And of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35 The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One who will be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Listen, your cousin Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age. And this is the sixth month with her who was declared barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

38 Mary said, “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be unto me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.