An Illustration from the Joshua Roll
The Israelites are Defeated at Ai.
Joshua and the Elders Prostrate before the Lord

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Josua-Rolle, Codex Vaticanus Pal. Graec. 431. Byzantine, 10th century. Biblioteca Apostolica, Vatican.

Then Joshua ripped his clothes. He and the Israelite elders fell on their faces to the ground in front of the ark of the Lord until evening and threw dirt upon their heads. Joshua said, “O Lord God, why did You bring this people across the Jordan to give us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to dwell on the other side of the Jordan! O my Lord, what should I say now that Israel has fled before its enemies? The Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land may hear, turn on us, and cut off our name from the earth. What will You do for Your great name?” 10 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have broken My covenant that I commanded them. They took from the things dedicated for destruction. They have stolen, acted deceitfully, and put them among their own possessions. 12 Therefore the children of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs to their enemies because they have become dedicated for destruction. I will not be with you anymore if you do not destroy the things dedicated for destruction in your midst. 13 “Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: “Things dedicated for destruction are in your midst, O Israel. You are not able to stand before your enemies until you remove the things dedicated for destruction from your midst.” 14 “ ‘In the morning you will be brought forward by tribes, and the tribe that the Lord selects by lot shall come forward by clans. The clan that the Lord selects by lot shall come forward by households, and the household that the Lord selects by lot shall come forward man by man. 15 And he who is taken with the things dedicated for destruction shall be burned with fire, he and all who belong to him, for he broke the covenant of the Lord and has done a disgraceful action in Israel.’ ” (Joshua 7: 6-15)

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