Ai and surrounding area

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Genesis 12:8 He left from there to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to Yahweh and called on the name of Yahweh.

Genesis 13:3 He went on his journeys from the South even to Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,

Joshua 7:2 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.

Joshua 7:3 They returned to Joshua, and said to him, "Don't let all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and strike Ai. Don't make all the people to toil there, for there are only a few of them."

Joshua 7:4 So about three thousand men of the people went up there, and they fled before the men of Ai.

Joshua 7:5 The men of Ai struck about thirty-six men of them, and they chased them from before the gate even to Shebarim, and struck them at the descent. The hearts of the people melted, and became like water.

Joshua 8:1 Yahweh said to Joshua, "Don't be afraid, neither be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. Behold, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, with his people, his city, and his land.

Joshua 8:2 You shall do to Ai and her king as you did to Jericho and her king, except its spoil and its livestock, you shall take for a plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it."

Joshua 8:3 So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up to Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand men, the mighty men of valor, and sent them out by night.

Joshua 8:9 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.

Joshua 8:10 Joshua rose up early in the morning, mustered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.

Joshua 8:11 All the people, even the men of war who were with him, went up, and drew near, and came before the city, and encamped on the north side of Ai. Now there was a valley between him and Ai.

Joshua 8:12 He took about five thousand men, and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.

Joshua 8:14 It happened, when the king of Ai saw it, that 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 didn't know that there was an ambush against him behind the city.

Joshua 8:17 There was not a man left in Ai or Beth El who didn't go out after Israel. They left the city open, and pursued Israel.

Joshua 8:18 Yahweh 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.

Joshua 8:20 When the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and behold, the smoke of 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.

Joshua 8:21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and killed the men of Ai.

Joshua 8:23 They captured the king of Ai alive, and brought him to Joshua.

Joshua 8:24 It happened, when Israel had made an end of 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, that all Israel returned to Ai, and struck it with the edge of the sword.

Joshua 8:25 All that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.

Joshua 8:26 For Joshua didn't draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the javelin, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai.

Joshua 8:28 So Joshua burnt Ai, and made it a heap forever, even a desolation, to this day.

Joshua 8:29 He hanged the king of Ai on a tree until the evening, and at the sundown Joshua commanded, 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 heap of stones on it that remains to this day.

Joshua 9:3 But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,

Joshua 10:1 Now it happened when Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them;

Joshua 10:2 that they were very afraid, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty.

Joshua 12:9 the king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one;

Ezra 2:28 The men of Bethel and Ai, two hundred twenty-three.

Nehemiah 7:32 The men of Bethel and Ai, a hundred twenty-three.


a'-i (`ay, written always with the definite article, ha-`ay, probably meaning "the ruin," kindred root, `awah):

(1) A town of central Palestine, in the tribe of Benjamin, near and just east of Bethel (Genesis 12:8). It is identified with the modern Haiyan, just south of the village Der Diwan (Conder in HDB; Delitzsch in Commentary on Genesis 12:8) or with a mound, El-Tell, to the north of the modern village (Davis, Dict. Biblical). The name first appears in the earliest journey of Abraham through Palestine (Genesis 12:8), where its location is given as east of Bethel, and near the altar which Abraham built between the two places. It is given similar mention as he returns from his sojourn in Egypt (Genesis 13:3). In both of these occurrences the King James Version has the form Hai, including the article in transliterating. The most conspicuous mention of Ai is in the narrative of the Conquest. As a consequence of the sin of Achan in appropriating articles from the devoted spoil of Jericho, the Israelites were routed in the attack upon the town; but after confession and expiation, a second assault was successful, the city was taken and burned, and left a heap of ruins, the inhabitants, in number twelve thousand, were put to death, the king captured, hanged and buried under a heap of stones at the gate of the ruined city, only the cattle being kept as spoil by the people (Joshua 7; Joshua 8). The town had not been rebuilt when Jos was written (Joshua 8:28). The fall of Ai gave the Israelites entrance to the heart of Canaan, where at once they became established, Bethel and other towns in the vicinity seeming to have yielded without a struggle. Ai was rebuilt at some later period, and is mentioned by Isaiah (Isaiah 10:28) in his vivid description of the approach of the Assyrian army, the feminine form (`ayyath) being used. Its place in the order of march, as just beyond Michmash from Jerusalem, corresponds with the identification given above. It is mentioned also in post-exilic times by Ezra 2:28 and Nehemiah 7:32, (and in Nehemiah 11:31 as, `ayya'), identified in each case by the grouping with Bethel.

(2) The Ai of Jeremiah 49:3 is an Ammonite town, the text probably being a corruption of `ar; or ha-`ir, "the city" (BDB).

Edward Mack

AI (pron. a'i); now called Haiyan, e. of Bethel and 8 ms., a little e. of n. of Jerusalem; only ruins. It is also called HA'I, Al'ATH and A-I'JA, Gen. 13:3.

HA'I, see Ai.

Strong's Hebrew
H5857: Ay or Ayya or Ayyath

a Canaanite city

Ahlab (Mahalab)
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