The wife of a soldier of Ai had just given birth to a son when news of Jericho's destruction arrived. Reports of the devastation varied. Some said that the invaders had spent seven days breaking down the city walls. Others said the walls had fallen miraculously. Others said a prostitute had let them into the city, and the invaders had destroyed it from the inside.
All the stories agreed that once the invaders breached the walls, the destruction had been swift and complete. Every person and animal had been killed. The city was burned to the ground. Where once the city of Jericho stood, nothing remained but rubble and ashes.
When the people of Ai heard that the invaders were approaching their city, they trembled in fear. The army that had invaded Jericho had been at least twice the size of the whole population of Ai. Still, the soldiers of Ai prepared for battle. They knew the cost of losing.
When the invading army arrived, it was hardly larger than the army of Ai. The overconfidence of the invaders fell before the determination of the men of Ai, and the foreign soldiers fled.
Not long after, the people of Ai heard that the invaders were returning, this time in full force. The people knew that defeat was nearly certain. The soldiers gathered together again, joined by volunteers: boys hardly old enough to lift a spear; men who had long ago left the field of battle behind. They joined together to defend their homes and families.
The people of Ai saw how the invaders covered the valley that sloped away from the city. Their camp covered more ground than was marked off by the walls of Ai.
Early the next morning, before the first light, the men of Ai attacked the invaders. They knew their only strength was surprise. Amazingly, the giant army fled before them. Made bolder by their success, the men of Ai pushed them harder.
Before they could smell the smoke, they heard the screams. Almost as a single body, the men of Ai turned to look at their home. Dense black smoke rose from the city. Invaders surrounded it, killing anyone who tried to escape.
The men of Ai had hardly registered that gruesome vision when the retreating invaders started to attack. Some men immediately gave up in despair. Others fought desperately through their tears. All were killed.
12,000 died that day, men, women, and children. A city was reduced to rubble. At this, the Israelites rejoiced.
Weird story today! A rich man fired his manager because the manager was not very good. The manager decided to use his last hours on the job to get into the favor of as many people as he could. He did this by modifying the records to showed that they owed less to the rich man than they actually owed. We then read,
The rich man had to admire the dishonest rascal for being so shrewd. And it is true that the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light. Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.So what the manager did was good, but indicated that he was a man of the world? This paragraph is followed by a couple proverbial statements dealing with faithfulness and responsibility and wealth. If those statements applied to the story, they make it sound like we should be interpreting the manager's actions in a negative light. Very confusing.
Psalms and Proverbs
Nothing particularly noteworthy.