How was the defeat of Ai; the small city? and why? and how could Joshua convert the defeat to victory? how can we learn from this event in our spiritual life?
Defeat at Ai
(But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accused things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accused things; so, the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.) (JUSHUA 7:1)
No wonder that, the great victory at Jericho, was ended by the trespass of Achan, because such doing is representing the ugliness of the human nature that meets the wonderful gifts of God by ingratitude instead of thanking.
Anyway, God permitted for the legacy of Israel to begin with a great victory to be followed by a painful defeat to teach us that the victory is from God, but the failure is from our evil.
(Do not let all the people go up but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai for the people of Ai are few.) (JOSHUA 7:3)
Really, the people of this city were few, but the people of God became nothing since, the grace of God has abandoned them.
(The hearts of the people melted and became like water.) (JOSHUA 7:5)
So, the trespass resulted in breaking the people, losing them their courage and their hearts became like water and there’s no helper.
(Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.) (JOSHUA 7:6)
So, Joshua stood like, an intercessor before God for the people and tore his closes, in a symbolic picture for, the atonement intercession of Jesus who could get rid of His glorious robe for, the sake of, all of us.
(So, the Lord said to Joshua: Get up! why do you lie thus on your face? Israel has sinned. Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: “There’s an accused thing in your midst, O Israel.) (JOSHUA 7:10,11,13)
Thus, God said, to Joshua, get up twice, as the God Father is seeing the God Son carrying the sanction of death on behalf of us, with His Willingness asking Him to rise up and through His resurrection, He can sanctify the people and for this reason Joshua book is book of resurrection.
And the secret behind the defeat is committing the trespass, so holding evil gives us its nature, but who soever is holding God and His righteousness, would carry the truly spiritual life and can get the new attributes as the image of the creator.
So, the cure of this defeat has two sides; the first one is the negative one, which is destroying the trespass and the second, the positive one is to hold the Holy Himself.
The Fall of Ai
(Now the Lord said to Joshua: “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.) (JOSHUA 8:1)
(So, Joshua burned Ai and made it a heap forever. And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until evening.) (JOSHUA 8:28)
Origin Adamantios, commenting in handing the king of Ai, saying, “the king of this city is representing Satan so, how could it happen that, he was hanged like, Jesus? so, crucifying Jesus has two sides, the seen one that happened to Jesus upon the cross and unseen one for the Devil.
As written, (Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them.) (COLOSSIANS 2:15)
(Now Jushua built an altar to the Lord God of Israel in Mount Ebal.) (JOSHUA 8:30)
Thus, we need after achieving victories in Jericho and Ai to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving in Mount Ebal to enjoy Him personally as our aim, our hope and the secret of our success.
(And there, in the presence of the children of Israel, he wrote on the stones a copy of the Law of Moses.) (JOSHUA 8:32)
So, the altar should cohere with the Law, as the worship with the commandment. Since the life with God is one unit one is worshipping Him and the other is the behavioral one, there should be no separation between them to succeed in it.
Tawfik, S. (2023). Ai’s strange story. www.orthodox-beliefs.com
Source is THE HOLY BIBLE NKJV. Arabic New van Dyck text C. The Bible Society of Egypt. Fifth Edition Third print2019. ISBN 978-1-84364-188-9. Printed in China.
Reference: – Book Joshua for father priest Tadros Jakob Malti printed in the Arabic language.