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Joshua 8:24-29

11 07 18 - 23:01

The Destruction of Evil

Joshua 8:24-29
 
24  And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword. 25  And [so] it was, [that] all that fell that day, both of men and women, [were] twelve thousand, [even] all the men of Ai. 26  For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 27  Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the LORD which he commanded Joshua. 28  And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, [even] a desolation unto this day. 29  And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, [that remaineth] unto this day.
 
"The cup of iniquity of the Canaanites was full, and God’s vengeance fell upon them." (College Press Bible Study Textbook Series) That statement pretty much sums up God's reasoning behind such a horrendous slaughter of an entire people. Ai was a small town of only 12,000 total inhabitanys but, like the sins of Sodom and Gommorah, their sins must have given off a loud cry that resonated through the throne room of heaven.
 
Israel first killed every fighting man who had come against her and then turned back to the burning city and killed every man woman and child who had been left behind. There was no demonstration of mercy in this battle.
 
Joshua did not lower his outstretched hand until every last inhabitant of the city was dead. It represented the power and the will of God, which never retreats and is as a consuming fire.
 
Israel spared the cattle and the other spoils from the city. Unlike the conquest of Jericho the fighting men were allowed to keep everything from there. The spoils taken from Jericho served as the fist fruits from the land, and God had told Joshua that they could keep all the spoils from the defeat of Ai. Everything else in the city was burned and left in a desolate heap. Even today archaeologists have not been able to locate the exact spot where the city stood.
 
The final detail that had to be dealt with was the king of Ai. He must have been an evil man, because Joshua, probably under instructions from God, did not allow him the honor of dying in battle. "Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree:" ( Galatians 3:13) So this king was hanged.  Deuteronomy 21:23 says, "His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance." At sundown, his corpse was taken down according to the law of Moses and buried at the gate of the city under a large heap of stones.
 
It is a sad situation for us to contemplate that, even today, more than three thousand years later, there are still billions of people who are in rebellion against God. They face the fierceness of His wrath at the day of judgment, which will be many times worse than that which was poured out upon Ai and its king. The modern church has an enormous and significant work to do, if we are to fulfill our divinely ordained purpose.
 
Before The Throne:
 
Pray for the Lord's strength to help you share the gospel with as many people as He would want you to do. Pray specifically for the pastors and missionaries whom you know to be effective in their ministries. Thank the Lord for having been made a curse for you and repent of your sins, because there is no other sacrifice left that can be made for you.
 
For Further Study:
 
(v.24) * returned unto Ai. Josh 10:30-41; Josh 11:10-14; Num 21:24;
 
(v.26) * drew not. Exod 17:11-12;
 
(v.27) * the cattle. Josh 11:4; Num 31:22, 26; Ps 50:10; Matt 20:15;
 
(v.28) * an heap. Deut 13:16; 2Kgs 19:25; Isa 17:1; Isa 25:2; Jer 9:11; Jer 49:2; Jer 50:26; Mic 3:12; * unto this day. 4:9;
 
(v.29) * the king. Josh 10:26-28, 30, 33; Deut 21:22-23; Esth 7:10; Ps 107:40; Ps 110:5; Acts 12:23; Rev 19:17-18; * as soon. 10:27; * a great heap. Josh 7:26; 2Sam 18:17;
 

About

Author David Roth has been the Multihousing and Community Outreach Director for the York Baptist Association in Rock Hill, S.C. for nearly 20 years. He is the founder and pastor of Midtown Ministries, an inner city ministry to over 50 children and is presently pastoring My Radical Church, a new church plant that is focusing on reaching the homeless and poorest of the city. He has written over 3,000 daily bible studies and is in the process of posting them on this website.

The image in the header is © Andreas Reinhold.

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