AI       5'1m*f RT: Joshua and the battle of Ai

(RT == Readers' Theater: requires little or no memorization,
little or no rehearsal. An indefinite number of reporters are
salted throughout the audience)

JOSHUA -- (enters wearing tunic and sandals with sword in belt,
crosses to podium) Good morning. My name is Joshua Son of Nun. I
am the commander of the army of Israel. I called this press
conference to explain the shocking and embarrassing defeat of
the army of Israel at the city of Ai. After our surprisingly
easy triumph over the heavily fortified city of Jericho, we
thought that the conquest of the tiny city of Ai would be a
foregone conclusion. But, due to a lack of discipline among our
ranks, the army of Ai defeated my army roundly and soundly.

REPORTER -- It has been reported that you sent only a fraction
of your army to fight against the city of Ai. Is that true?

JOSHUA -- Yes, that's true.

REPORTER -- Isn't that the reason that your army was defeated?

JOSHUA -- No. Ai is a small city. A small army should have
defeated them handily if God was on our side. The problem is,
God was not on our side during the battle.

REPORTER -- Are you saying that the reason God was not on your
side during the battle at Ai was because of this... (reads) lack
of discipline?

JOSHUA -- That's what I'm saying.

REPORTER -- Commander Joshua, can you be more specific about the
nature of the breech of discipline among the ranks?

JOSHUA -- Yes. Yes, I can. I think it's a good lesson for all
occasions, not just for warfare. As you all know by now, the
battle of Jericho was scripted and strategized by the Lord God
of Israel himself. My army followed his instructions to the
letter. As a result, the most highly fortified city in Canaan
was defeated on the seventh day of a seven-day strategy exactly
as scripted. Unfortunately, our defeat at the hands of Ai was
the result of our failure to follow instructions in Jericho.

REPORTER -- But you said you followed God's strategy in Jericho.

JOSHUA -- We did until the battle was over. After the battle,
the Lord God instructed our troops to avoid taking the souvenirs
or spoils as is customary in warfare today. One of my men
violated that order. And it was this violation that caused our
defeat at the next battle against Ai.

REPORTER -- Can you release the name of the soldier involved
with the violation?

JOSHUA -- His name is Achan son of Carmi, from the tribe of

REPORTER -- His violation: can you be more specific about what
souvenirs he took from the ruins of Jericho?

JOSHUA -- Achan took a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two
hundred shekels of silver and some gold weighing fifty shekels.

REPORTER -- Did you confront the soldier with the violation?

JOSHUA -- Yes. He confessed to the whole thing.

REPORTER -- Will the soldier face punishment?

JOSHUA -- He and his family, who helped to carry away the
souvenirs, have already been executed.

REPORTER -- Executed! Isn't that a little harsh for taking a few

JOSHUA -- Normally, it wouldn't have been an offense at all.
But, before the battle of Jericho began the Lord God of Israel
declared that all the possessions of Jericho belonged to him
alone. Our orders were to save all the possessions of Jericho
for the treasury of the tabernacle. When Achan and his family
carried away their souvenirs, they were not taking from the
dead, but from God himself. Noone can be allowed to steal from
the Lord.

REPORTER -- So, are you saying that the reason you lost the
battle of Ai was because one of your soldiers stole from the

JOSHUA -- That's what I'm saying. God wants everybody, including
our enemies, to know that the Battle belongs to Him, but that he
will not fight for us if we disobey.

REPORTER -- Commander Joshua, is it true that you're going to
launch a counter-offensive against Ai tomorrow morning?

JOSHUA -- That is correct.

REPORTER -- How do you know you will win this time?

JOSHUA -- Because we have now corrected the situation. God
demanded justice, so we put the thieves to death. God demanded
that all of Jericho's possessions be put into the tabernacle, so
we returned Achan's souvenirs to the tabernacle. We have made
amends and now God is on our side again.

REPORTER -- How do you know that the victory will be from God or
from some change in battle strategy?

JOSHUA -- At Jericho, more people died from the falling walls
and from the resulting fires than from the swords of my Army. I
am confident that the Lord God will demonstrate a similar
strength tomorrow against the army of Ai. Everyone will know
that the victory belongs to the Lord.

REPORTER -- Thank you, Commander Joshua.

JOSHUA -- (exits)

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