16 Joshua got up early the next morning and brought each tribe to the place of worship, where the Lord showed that the Judah tribe was guilty. 17 Then Joshua brought the clans of Judah to the Lord, and the Lord showed that the Zerah clan was guilty. One by one he brought the leader of each family in the Zerah clan to the Lord, and the Lord showed that Zabdi’s family was guilty. 18 Finally, Joshua brought each man in Zabdi’s family to the Lord, and the Lord showed that Achan was the guilty one.
19 “Achan,” Joshua said, “the Lord God of Israel has decided that you are guilty. Is this true? Tell me what you did, and don’t try to hide anything.”
20 “It’s true,” Achan answered. “I sinned and disobeyed the Lord God of Israel. 21-22 While we were in Jericho, I saw a beautiful Babylonian robe, two hundred pieces of silver, and a gold bar that weighed the same as fifty pieces of gold. I wanted them for myself, so I took them. I dug a hole under my tent and hid the silver, the gold, and the robe.”
Joshua had some people run to Achan’s tent, where they found the silver, the gold, and the robe. 23 They brought them back and put them in front of the sacred chest, so Joshua and the rest of the Israelites could see them. 24 Then everyone took Achan and the things he had stolen to Trouble Valley.[a] They also took along his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys, and sheep, his tent, and everything else that belonged to him.
25 Joshua said, “Achan, you caused us a lot of trouble. Now the Lord is paying you back with the same kind of trouble.”
The people of Israel then stoned to death Achan and his family. They made a fire and burned the bodies, together with what Achan had stolen, and all his possessions. 26 They covered the remains with a big pile of rocks, which is still there. Then the Lord stopped being angry with Israel.
That’s how the place came to be called Trouble Valley.
Israel Destroys the Town of Ai
8 1-2 The Lord told Joshua:
Don’t be afraid, and don’t be discouraged by what happened at the town of Ai. Take the army and attack again. But first, have part of the army set up an ambush on the other side of the town. I will help you defeat the king of Ai and his army, and you will capture the town and the land around it. Destroy Ai and kill its king as you did at Jericho. But you may keep the livestock and everything else you want.
3-4 Joshua quickly got the army ready to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best soldiers and gave them these orders:
Tonight, while it is dark, march to Ai and take up a position behind the town. Get as close to the town as you can without being seen, but be ready to attack.
5-6 The rest of the army will come with me and attack near the gate. When the people of Ai come out to fight, we’ll run away and let them chase us. They will think we are running from them just like the first time. But when we’ve let them chase us far enough away, 7 you come out of hiding. The Lord our God will help you capture the town. 8 Then set it on fire, as the Lord has told us to do. Those are your orders, 9 now go!
The thirty thousand soldiers went to a place on the west side of Ai, between Ai and Bethel, where they could hide and wait to attack.
That night, Joshua stayed in camp with the rest of the army. 10 Early the next morning he got his troops ready to move out, and he and the other leaders of Israel led them to Ai. 11 They set up camp in full view of the town, across the valley to the north. 12 Joshua had already sent five thousand soldiers to the west side of the town to hide and wait to attack. 13 Now all his troops were in place. Part of the army was in the camp to the north of Ai, and the others were hiding to the west, ready to make a surprise attack. That night, Joshua went into the valley.[b]
14-15 The king of Ai saw Joshua’s army, so the king and his troops hurried out early the next morning to fight them. Joshua and his army pretended to be beaten, and they let the men of Ai chase them toward the desert. The king and his army were facing the Jordan valley as Joshua had planned.
The king did not realize that some Israelite soldiers were hiding behind the town. 16-17 So he called out every man in Ai to go after Joshua’s troops. They all rushed out to chase the Israelite army, and they left the town gates wide open. Not one man was left in Ai or in Bethel.[c]
Joshua let the men of Ai chase him and his army farther and farther away from Ai. 18 Finally, the Lord told Joshua, “Point your sword[d] at the town of Ai, because now I am going to help you defeat it!”
As soon as Joshua pointed his sword at the town, 19 the soldiers who had been hiding got up and ran into the town. They captured it and set it on fire.
20-21 When Joshua and his troops saw smoke rising from the town, they knew that the other part of their army had captured it. So they turned and attacked.
The men of Ai looked back and saw smoke rising from their town. But they could not escape, because the soldiers they had been chasing had suddenly turned and started fighting. 22-24 Meanwhile, the other Israelite soldiers had come from the town and attacked the men of Ai from the rear. The Israelites captured the king of Ai and brought him to Joshua. They also chased the rest of the men of Ai into the desert and killed them.[e]
The Israelite army went back to Ai and killed everyone there. 25-26 Joshua kept his sword pointed at the town of Ai until every last one of Ai’s twelve thousand people was dead. 27 But the Israelites took the animals and the other possessions of the people of Ai, because this was what the Lord had told Joshua to do.
28-29 Joshua made sure every building in Ai was burned to the ground. He told his men to kill the king of Ai and hang his body on a tree. Then at sunset he told the Israelites to take down the body,[f] throw it in the gateway of the town, and cover it with a big pile of rocks. Those rocks are still there, and the town itself has never been rebuilt.
Joshua Reads the Blessings and Curses
30-32 One day, Joshua led the people of Israel to Mount Ebal, where he told some of his men, “Build an altar for offering sacrifices to the Lord. And use stones that have never been cut with iron tools,[g] because that is what Moses taught in The Book of the Law.”[h]
33-35 Moses had said that everyone in Israel was to go to the valley between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, where they were to be blessed. So everyone went there, including the foreigners, the leaders, officials, and judges. Half of the people stood on one side of the valley, and half on the other side, with the priests from the Levi tribe standing in the middle with the sacred chest. Then in a loud voice, Joshua read the blessings and curses from The Book of the Law[l] of Moses.
The People of Gibeon Trick the Leaders of Israel
9 1-2 The kings west of the Jordan River heard about Joshua’s victories, and so they got together and decided to attack Joshua and Israel. These kings were from the hill country and from the foothills to the west, as well as from the Mediterranean seacoast as far north as the Lebanon Mountains. Some of them were Hittites, others were Amorites or Canaanites, and still others were Perizzites, Hivites, or Jebusites.
- 7.24 Trouble Valley: Or “Achor Valley.”
- 8.13 valley: This may refer either to the Jordan River valley or to the valley between the Israelite camp and Ai.
- 8.16,17 Ai or in Bethel: Hebrew; one ancient translation “Ai.”
- 8.18 sword: Or “spear.”
- 8.22-24 Joshua. They also chased. . . them: Or “Joshua. The men of Ai had chased the Israelites into the desert, but the Israelites killed them there.”
- 8.28,29 take down the body: See Deuteronomy 21.22,23.
- 8.30-32 use stones. . . iron tools: See Exodus 20.25.
- 8.30-32 taught. . . Law: Or “commanded. . . Teachings.”
- 8.30-32 sacrifices to please the Lord: These sacrifices have been traditionally called “whole burnt offerings” because the whole animal was burned on the altar. A main purpose of such sacrifices was to please the Lord with the smell of the sacrifice, and so in the CEV they are often called “sacrifices to please the Lord.”
- 8.30-32 to ask his blessing: These sacrifices have traditionally been called “peace offerings,” or “offerings of well-being.” A main purpose was to ask for the Lord’s blessing, and so in the CEV they are often called “sacrifices to ask the Lord’s blessing.”
- 8.30-32,33-35 Law: Or “Teachings.”
- 8.33-35 the blessings. . . Moses: Or “all of The Book of the Law of Moses, including the blessings and the curses.”
A Dishonest Manager
16 Jesus said to his disciples:
A rich man once had a manager to take care of his business. But he was told that his manager was wasting money. 2 So the rich man called him in and said, “What is this I hear about you? Tell me what you have done! You are no longer going to work for me.”
3 The manager said to himself, “What shall I do now that my master is going to fire me? I can’t dig ditches, and I’m ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I’ll do, so that people will welcome me into their homes after I’ve lost my job.”
5 Then one by one he called in the people who were in debt to his master. He asked the first one, “How much do you owe my master?”
6 “A hundred barrels of olive oil,” the man answered.
So the manager said, “Take your bill and sit down and quickly write ‘fifty’.”
7 The manager asked someone else who was in debt to his master, “How much do you owe?”
“A thousand bushels[a] of wheat,” the man replied.
The manager said, “Take your bill and write ‘eight hundred’.”
8 The master praised his dishonest manager for looking out for himself so well. That’s how it is! The people of this world look out for themselves better than the people who belong to the light.
9 My disciples, I tell you to use wicked wealth to make friends for yourselves. Then when it is gone, you will be welcomed into an eternal home. 10 Anyone who can be trusted in little matters can also be trusted in important matters. But anyone who is dishonest in little matters will be dishonest in important matters. 11 If you cannot be trusted with this wicked wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? 12 And if you cannot be trusted with what belongs to someone else, who will give you something that will be your own? 13 You cannot be the slave of two masters. You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than to the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Some Sayings of Jesus
14 The Pharisees really loved money. So when they heard what Jesus said, they made fun of him. 15 But Jesus told them:
You are always making yourselves look good, but God sees what is in your heart. The things that most people think are important are worthless as far as God is concerned.
16 Until the time of John the Baptist, people had to obey the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets.[b] But since God’s kingdom has been preached, everyone is trying hard to get in. 17 Heaven and earth will disappear before the smallest letter of the Law does.
18 It is a terrible sin[c] for a man to divorce his wife and marry another woman. It is also a terrible sin for a man to marry a divorced woman.
- 16.7 A thousand bushels: The Greek text has “A hundred measures,” and each measure is about ten or twelve bushels.
- 16.16 the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets: The Jewish Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament.
- 16.18 a terrible sin: The Greek text uses a word that means the sin of being unfaithful in marriage.
(A psalm by Asaph.)
Please Do Something, God!
82 When all of the other gods[a]
have come together,
the Lord God judges them
2 “How long will you
keep judging unfairly
and favoring evil people?
3 Be fair to the poor
and to orphans.
Defend the helpless
and everyone in need.
4 Rescue the weak and homeless
from the powerful hands
of heartless people.
5 “None of you know
or understand a thing.
You live in darkness,
while the foundations
of the earth tremble.[b]
6 “I, the Most High God, say
that all of you are gods[c]
and also my own children.
7 But you will die,
just like everyone else,
including powerful rulers.”
8 Do something, God!
Judge the nations of the earth;
they belong to you.
- 82.1 the other gods: This probably refers to the gods of the nations that God defeated, but it could refer to God’s servants (angels) in heaven or even to human rulers.
- 82.5 foundations. . . tremble: In ancient times it was believed that the earth was flat and supported by columns.
- 82.6 all of you are gods: See the note at 82.1.
2 You will be well rewarded
for saying something kind,
but all some people think about
is how to be cruel and mean.
3 Keep what you know to yourself,
and you will be safe;
talk too much,
and you are done for.