Friday, August 08, 2008

Old Testament Violence (11) - Ambush at Ai

We see a similar pattern at Ai. Joshua slew more people than necessary. God told Joshua to set an ambush behind the city.

Lay an ambush for the city behind it (Jos 8:2).
Joshua did what God had commanded.
Joshua chose thirty thousand mighty men of valor and sent them away by night. And he commanded them, saying: “Behold, you shall lie in ambush against the city, behind the city. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you be ready (Jos 8:3,4).
However, Joshua set a second ambush that was not part of God’s plan.
So he took about five thousand men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city. And when they had set the people, all the army that was on the north of the city, and its rear guard on the west of the city (Jos 8:12,13).
This second ambush prevented the inhabitants of Ai from escaping. Under God’s plan there was nothing to prevent the people of Ai from fleeing into the wilderness. Joshua twisted God’s plan by blocking them in for slaughter.
When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. Twelve thousand men and women fell that day—all the people of Ai. For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed] all who lived in Ai (Jos 8:24-26).
Joshua decided how long the killing should continue. He personally hung the king of Ai on a tree without specific instruction from God (Jos 8:29).

1 comment:

brandbuster said...

I am beginging to see that you may have a point here and it is good to see that with careful close study of the word God can be cleansed of the blood we had long thought his hands stained with. I guess I was quick to judge this view point as coming from your eglatarian beliefs which I do not share. When women are incharge they condeem phyiscal violence because they are not equal stakeholders with men on this ground however they wound deeply with their tongues.