Ai, Hai

Genesis 12:8; Joshua 7:2-5; Joshua 8:1-29; Joshua 10:1-2; Ezra 2:28; Nehemiah 7:32; Isaiah 10:28; Nehemiah 11:31; Jeremiah 49:3
1. Royal city of Canaan. It was known to Abraham, who pitched his tent between Hai and Bethel (Gen. 12:88And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and called upon the name of the Lord. (Genesis 12:8)). It was conquered by Joshua — after a repulse because of the sin of Achan — by a stratagem; it was burnt and made a “heap” (Josh. 7:2-52And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Beth-el, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. 3And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labor thither; for they are but few. 4So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. 5And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water. (Joshua 7:2‑5); Josh. 8:1-291And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land: 2And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it. 3So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valor, and sent them away by night. 4And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city: go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready: 5And I, and all the people that are with me, will approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them, 6(For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them. 7Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the Lord your God will deliver it into your hand. 8And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the Lord shall ye do. See, I have commanded you. 9Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people. 10And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai. 11And all the people, even the people of war that were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came before the city, and pitched on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley between them and Ai. 12And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Beth-el and Ai, on the west side of the city. 13And when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley. 14And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city. 15And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness. 16And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city. 17And there was not a man left in Ai or Beth-el, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel. 18And the Lord said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city. 19And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire. 20And 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: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers. 21And 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 slew the men of Ai. 22And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape. 23And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua. 24And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword. 25And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai. 26For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. 27Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua. 28And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day. 29And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day. (Joshua 8:1‑29); Josh. 10:1- 21Now it came to pass, when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem had 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; 2That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty. (Joshua 10:1‑2)). It was near Bethel, in Benjamin’s lot, and apparently rebuilt, for it is mentioned in Ezra 2:2828The men of Beth-el and Ai, two hundred twenty and three. (Ezra 2:28) and Nehemiah 7:3232The men of Beth-el and Ai, an hundred twenty and three. (Nehemiah 7:32). It is probable that the AIATH of Isaiah 10:2828He is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages: (Isaiah 10:28) and the AIJA of Nehemiah 11:3131The children also of Benjamin from Geba dwelt at Michmash, and Aija, and Beth-el, and in their villages, (Nehemiah 11:31) are the same as Ai, by the places named in association with them. In the district there are ruins scattered along the narrow summit of a ridge, and a depression among the rocky heights well suited for an ambuscade such as Joshua employed. The ruins are called Haiyan, 31° 55' N, 35° 16' E. Travelers say that when on the spot, the Biblical narrative of the capture of Ai can be vividly realized.