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At The Wrong Place At The Wrong Time


In reply to jon who wrote: "Their only crime was that they lived in the city of Ai."

Yes, one must not live in the wrong place at the wrong time.

After Joshua had secured a foothold west of the Jordan, the Judean hills was the next strategic objective. Bethel was standing in the way of that goal, but at the time it was too well fortified, so the second best option was Ai.

The people of Ai probably anticipated that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that they could only escape or hope that Joshua would strike Bethel first. The fact that the people of Ai were thoroughly in agreement that their existence was at stake, is pretty clear given what actually happened at Joshua's first attack on the city.

Ai was an old ruin (Ha-Ai means "ruin") which had been a strong fortress many centuries earlier, but now it was the old ruin and thus a more appropriate target for Joshua and his foot soldiers. Joshua’s spies recommended a smaller group of only 3000 men for the mission. To their amazement, however, they didn’t manage to break through the fortifications, because the people of Ai had not just been sitting there waiting for to be slaughtered. And the Israelis had to ingloriously escape the location (Joshua 7:4).

Joshua realized that a new attack must be started very quickly in order for the men to not lose heart, and the enemy not to lose the respect which had made them almost terrified by the loss of Jericho. But this time Joshua didn’t rely as so much on the recommendations of the spies' but applied a more thoughtful approach instead. The master move this time was to make use of the mistake of the previous failure (Joshua 8:6-7 and 16-17 )

And suddenly Joshua had another hold for the further strategy to take the Jewish mountains. In addition, Joshua, now had the very combat-efficient Gibeonites as his allies instead of enemies. Now the mountain kings was really nervous and rallied to counsel (Joshua 10:1-4). Which suited Joshua perfectly, who now quickly increased the speed of their onset and immediately prepared for the next attack. Which again demonstrates the military strategic brilliance of the Israelites. Joshua had screwed things up once at Ai, but now he had learned the lesson not to relax in the critical moment. And now it was time to exploit the chaos resulting from the victory at Ai in order to quickly do some cleaning up among the Amorites.

The attack was so sudden to the Amorites they scattered and fled, and Joshua's elite soldiers marched without interruption or rest during this campaign, totaling over 48 km within 45 to 48 hours, mostly under combat conditions and rounding off by climbing about 600 meters just before the attack, an almost inhuman feat.

For hundreds of years, while the Israelis were slaves in Egypt, the people in the area had heard the prophets warning them of what would happen to them if they didn’t quit their vile idolatry, including worship of Molok (child sacrifice) and more. And now they had filled up their sins.

The next goal was now to open the passage to Galilee, by ridding the area at the "waters of Merom" of the chariots which blocked the way completely. But that glorious achievement I wrote about in the post "DEAD OR ALIVE":

So again, yes, the men of Ai really were in the wrong place at the wrong time, against their better judgement at that.

/ / Rolf Lampa

First published at newtonbloggen August 17, 2012 at 01:44