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Ai

AI (ā'ī, Heb. ‘ay, ruin). A city of central Palestine, east of Bethel. Abraham pitched his tent between Ai and Bethel when he arrived in Canaan (Gen.12.8). Ai figures most prominently in the account of the conquest of the land; it was the second Canaanite city taken by the forces under Joshua (Josh.7.1-Josh.7.26-Josh.8.1-Josh.8.35). Having conquered Jericho, the Israelites felt that a portion of the armies would be sufficient to conquer the much smaller Ai. The Israelite contingent was routed, however. It was then disclosed that Achan had sinned in taking articles from the consecrated spoil of Jericho. After Achan had confessed his sin and he and his family had been stoned to death, the Israelites made a second attack, which resulted in the total destruction of the city and the annihilation of all its twelve thousand inhabitants. The city, the site of which belonged to the tribe of Benjamin following the partition of the land, had not been rebuilt when the [[Book of Joshua]] was