Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:4
Israel Defeated at Ai
1 But the Israelites were disobedient in the things set apart by the Lord for destruction. Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things, and therefore the Lord’s anger burned against the Israelites.
2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the land.”
The men went up and spied out Ai. 3 They returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about 2,000 or 3,000 men go up and strike Ai. Do not make all the people toil there, for there are only a few of them.” 4 So about 3,000 men from among their people went up there, and they fled before the men of Ai. 5 The men of Ai struck about 36 of their men. They chased them from before the gate all the way to Shebarim and struck them at the descent. The hearts of the people melted in fear like water.
6 Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the Ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel, and they put dust on their heads. 7 Joshua said, “Alas, Lord God, why have you brought this people over the Jordan at all, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to cause us to perish? I wish that we had been content and lived beyond the Jordan! 8 Oh, Lord, what shall I say, after Israel has turned their backs before their enemies? 9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. What will you do for your great name?”
10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why have you fallen on your face like that? 11 Israel has sinned. Yes, they have even transgressed my covenant which I commanded them. Yes, they have even taken some of the devoted things, and have also stolen, and also deceived. They have even put it among their own things. 12 Therefore the Israelites cannot stand before their enemies. They will turn their backs running from their enemies, because they have become set apart for destruction. I will not be with you any more, unless you destroy the things set apart for destruction from among you.
13 Get up! Sanctify the people and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, for the Lord, the God of Israel, says, “There is a devoted thing among you, Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted thing from among you.”
14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought up tribe by tribe. It shall be that the tribe which the Lord selects shall come forward by family. The family which the Lord selects shall come forward by household. The household which the Lord selects shall come forward man by man. 15 It shall be, that he who is found with the devoted thing shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the Lord’s covenant, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.’ ”
The Sin of Achan
16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning and brought Israel forward tribe by tribe. The tribe of Judah was selected. 17 He brought the family of Judah forward, and he selected the family of the Zerahites. He brought the family of the Zerahites forward, man by man, and Zabdi was selected. 18 He brought his household forward man by man, and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was selected. 19 Joshua said to Achan, “My son, please give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel and make confession to him. Tell me now what you have done! Do not hide it from me!”
20 Achan answered Joshua and said, “I have truly sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel, and this is what I have done. 21 When I saw among the plunder a beautiful Babylonian robe, 200 silver pieces, and a wedge of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground in the middle of my tent, with the silver under it.”
22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent. It was hidden in his tent, with the silver under it. 23 They took them from the middle of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the Israelites. They laid them down before the Lord.
24 Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his cattle, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.
25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.” All Israel stoned him with rocks, and they burned them with fire and stoned them with rocks. 26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day. The Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Therefore that place was called “The valley of Achor” to this day.
The Conquest of Ai
1 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Take all the warriors with you and get up and go up to Ai. I have given into your hand, the King of Ai, with his people, his city, and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and her king as you did to Jericho and her king, except you shall take its goods and its livestock for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it.”
3 So Joshua arose, with all the warriors, to go up to Ai. Joshua chose 30,000 men, the mighty men of valor, and sent them out by night. 4 He commanded them, saying, “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. 5 I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. It shall happen, when they come out against us, we will flee before them. 6 They will come out after us until we have drawn them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are fleeing before us, like the first time.’ So we will flee before them, 7 and you shall rise up from the ambush and take possession of the city, for the Lord your God will deliver it into your hand.
8 It shall be, when you have seized the city, that you shall set the city on fire. You shall do this according to the word of the Lord. I have commanded you.”
9 Joshua sent them out, and they went to set up the ambush and stayed between Bethel and Ai on the west side of Ai, but Joshua stayed among the people that night. 10 Joshua rose up early in the morning, mustered the people and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai. 11 All the people, the men of war who were with him, went up and came before the city and encamped on the north side of Ai. Now there was a valley between them and the city of Ai.
12 He took about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city. 13 So they set the people, the whole army who was on the north of the city, and their ambush on the west of the city; and Joshua went that night into the middle of the valley.
14 When the king of Ai saw it, they hurried and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at the time appointed, before the Arabah, but he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city. 15 Joshua and all Israel acted as if they were beaten before them and fled by the way of the wilderness. 16 All the people who were in the city were called together to pursue them. They pursued Joshua and were drawn away from the city. 17 There was not a man left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. They left the city open and pursued Israel.
18 The Lord said to Joshua, “Stretch out the javelin that is in your hand toward Ai, for I will give it into your hand.”
Joshua stretched out the javelin that was in his hand toward the city. 19 The ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand and entered into the city and took it. They hurried and set the city on fire.
20 When the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and the smoke from the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way. The people who fled to the wilderness turned back on the pursuers. 21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke from the city ascended, then they turned back and killed the men of Ai.
22 The others came out of the city against them, so they were in the middle of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side. They struck them, so that they let none of them remain or escape. 23 They captured the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.
24 When Israel had finished killing all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness in which they pursued them, and they had all fallen by the edge of the sword until they were consumed, all Israel returned to Ai and struck it with the edge of the sword.
25 All that fell that day, both of men and women, were 12,000–all the people of Ai. 26 For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the javelin, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.
27 Israel took for themselves only the livestock and the goods of that city, according to the word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua. 28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it a heap forever, a desolation to this day. 29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until the evening. At sundown, Joshua gave the command, and they took his body down from the tree and threw it at the entrance of the gate of the city, and raised a great pile of stones on it that remains to this day.
Joshua Renews the Covenant
30 Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, on Mount Ebal, 31 as Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the Israelites, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses: an altar of uncut stones, on which no one had lifted up any iron. They offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings.
32 He wrote there on the stones, a copy of Moses’ law, which he wrote in the presence of the Israelites. 33 All Israel, with their elders, officers, and judges, stood on both sides of the Ark before the Levitical priests, who carried the ark of the Lord’s covenant, the foreigner as well as the native, half of them in front of Mount Gerizim, and half of them in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded at the first, that they should bless the people of Israel.
34 Afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, with the women, the little ones, and the foreigners who were among them.
The Parable of the Unrighteous Steward
1 He also said to his disciples, “There was a certain rich man who had a manager. An accusation was made to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2 He called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’
3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, seeing that my master is taking away the management position from me? I don’t have strength to dig. I am ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I will do, so that when I am removed from management, they may receive me into their houses.’ 5 Calling each one of his master’s debtors to him, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, ‘A hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and sit down quickly and write 50.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘How much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and write 80.’
8 “His lord commended the dishonest manager because he had acted wisely, for the children of this world are, in their own generation, wiser than the children of the light. 9 I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when you fail, they may receive you into the eternal tents.
10 He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much. He who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 If you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You are not able to serve God and Mammon.”
The Law and the Prophets
14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they scoffed at him. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. 16 The law and the prophets were until John. From that time the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than for one tiny stroke of a pen in the law to fall. 18 Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. He who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.
God Presides in the Great Assembly
A Psalm by Asaph.
1 God presides in the great assembly.
He judges among the gods.
2 “How long will you judge unjustly,
and show partiality to the wicked?”
3 “Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless.
Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and needy.
Deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
5 They do not have knowledge, neither do they understand.
They walk back and forth in darkness.
All the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I said, “You are gods,
all of you are sons of the Most High.
7 Nevertheless you shall die like men,
and fall like one of the rulers.”
8 Arise, God, and judge the earth,
for you inherit all of the nations.
2 By the fruit of his lips, a man enjoys good things,
but the unfaithful crave violence.
3 He who guards his mouth guards his soul.
One who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.