Adoni-Zedek, king of Jerusalem, 1 heard how Joshua captured Ai and annihilated it and its king as he did Jericho 2 and its king. 3 He also heard how 4 the people of Gibeon made peace with Israel and lived among them.
When the men of Ai turned around, they saw 1 the smoke from the city ascending into the sky and were so shocked they were unable to flee in any direction. 2 In the meantime the men who were retreating to the desert turned against their pursuers.
All Jerusalem was terrified 1 because Gibeon was a large city, like one of the royal cities. It was larger than Ai and all its men were warriors.
Do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho 1 and its king, except you may plunder its goods and cattle. Set an ambush behind the city!”
The men of Ai killed about thirty-six of them and chased them from in front of the city gate all the way to the fissures 1 and defeated them on the steep slope. 2 The people’s 3 courage melted away like water. 4
When the king of Ai saw Israel, he and his whole army quickly got up the next day and went out to fight Israel at the meeting place near the Arabah. 1 But he did not realize 2 men were hiding behind the city. 3
He hung the king of Ai on a tree, leaving him exposed until evening. 1 At sunset Joshua ordered that his corpse be taken down from the tree. 2 They threw it down at the entrance of the city gate and erected over it a large pile of stones (it remains to this very day). 3
Wail, you people in Heshbon, because Ai in Ammon is destroyed. Cry out in anguish, you people in the villages surrounding 1 Rabbah. Put on sackcloth and cry out in mourning. Run about covered with gashes. 2 For your god Milcom will go into exile along with his priests and officials. 3
At the same time the men who had taken the city came out to fight, and the men of Ai were trapped in the middle. 1 The Israelites struck them down, leaving no survivors or refugees.
I and all the troops 1 who are with me will approach the city. When they come out to fight us like before, we will retreat from them.
This will happen because 1 the people of this city have aroused my anger and my wrath since the time they built it until now. 2 They have made me so angry that I am determined to remove 3 it from my sight.
So Saul’s servants spoke these words privately 1 to David. David replied, “Is becoming the king’s son-in-law something insignificant to you? I’m just a poor and lightly-esteemed man!”
This is why the Jews who are in the rural country – those who live in rural cities – set aside the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a holiday for happiness, banqueting, holiday, and sending gifts to one another.