#16 - Did the city of Ai exist after Joshua destroyed it?
Did the city of Ai exist after Joshua destroyed it?
The skeptic's argument:
No, it was never rebuilt after Joshua destroyed it.
“And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.” Joshua 8:28
“The men of Bethel and Ai, an hundred twenty and three.” Nehemiah 7:32Joshua was written long before Nehemiah. Therefore, anything in Joshua pertains to the situation of the time of the writing. I quote Matthew Henry’s Commentary:
“The earliest Jewish traditions attribute authorship to Joshua, except for the section regarding his funeral. It is uncertain, however, whether Joshua actually wrote the book or rather commanded it to be written, ch. 18:8, 24:25-26 ... The date of the writing could be as early as 1400 B.C. if Joshua were the principal writer. If someone other than Joshua wrote about the events from a historical perspective, the book could have been written as late as 1200 B.C.”The fact can be assumed that Ai was rebuilt some time after Joshua was written. Notice that Joshua 8:28 says: “made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day.” (not that it “will” be a heap for ever)-- implying a very long time, not necessarily perpetually. The verse is simply illustrating the complete destruction of the city.
“In the oldest extant Hebrew manuscripts Ezra and Nehemiah are treated as one book. ... The book was evidently written some time after the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes, king of Persia in 432 B.C. The book may have been written as late as 330 B.C.”