“And 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:
And 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.
So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night.
And 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:
And 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,
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.
Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the Lord your God will deliver it into your hand.
And 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.
Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people.
And 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.
And 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.
And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
And 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.
And 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.
And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness.
And 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.
And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel.
And 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.
And 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.
And 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.
And 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.
And 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.” – Joshua 8: 1-22 (KJV)
1 The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid. Do not be overwhelmed. Take with you the whole military force[a] and get ready to go up to Ai. You see, I have given the king of Ai into your hand with his people, his city, and his land. 2 You shall do to Ai and its king just as you did to Jericho and its king, but its plunder and its livestock you may take as spoils of war for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city on the west side of it.”
3 So Joshua and the whole military force got ready to go up to Ai. Joshua chose thirty thousand men, strong warriors, and sent them out during the night. 4 He commanded them, “See to it that you set up an ambush against the city on its west side, not very far from the city. All of you are to be on alert. 5 Then I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. When the men of Ai come out to face us just as they did the first time, we will flee from them. 6 They will come out after us until we lure them away from the city, because they will say, ‘They are fleeing from us just as they did the first time!’ and we will flee from them. 7 Then you are to spring up from the ambush and seize the city, and the Lord your God will give it into your hand. 8 When you have taken the city, you are to set the city on fire. According to the word of the Lord you are to act in this way. Look, I have commanded you.”
9 So Joshua sent them out, and they went to the place for the ambush. They lay hidden on the west side of Ai, between Bethel and Ai. But Joshua spent that night among the people of the main force.
10 Joshua got up early in the morning, and he mustered the people. Then he went up—he and the elders of Israel—leading the main force of the people to Ai. 11 The whole military force that was with him went up and advanced. They arrived opposite the city, and they camped north of Ai. The valley was between Joshua and Ai. 12 He had taken about five thousand men and set them as an ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city.
13 This is how they positioned the people: The whole army that had come from the camp was north of the city, but the detachment in the ambush was west of the city. That night Joshua went out into the middle of the valley.
14 When the king of Ai saw this, the men of the city got up quickly and went out to face Israel in battle—the king and all his people—at the chosen place[b] facing the Arabah. But he did not know that there was an ambush for him west of the city. 15 Then Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten before them and fled toward the wilderness. 16 All the people that were in the city were marshaled to pursue them. As they pursued Joshua, they were lured away from the city. 17 So not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. They left the city open and pursued Israel.
18 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Point toward Ai with the javelin that is in your hand, because I will give Ai into your hand.” So Joshua reached out toward the city with the javelin that was in his hand. 19 The ambush force quickly sprang up from its place and came running as soon as he reached out his hand. Then they went into the city, took it, and quickly set it on fire.
20 The men of Ai turned to look behind them, and, to their surprise, the smoke of the city was rising to the sky! They were not strong enough to escape this way or that, because the people of Israel who had been fleeing toward the wilderness turned back against the pursuers. 21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush force had taken the city and that smoke was rising from the city, they turned back and struck the men of Ai. 22 Then the other Israelites came out of the city against the men of Ai so that they were trapped in the middle of Israel, with some Israelites on this side of them and some on that. So Israel struck them down until there was no one left, no survivor, no escapee.
[a] Joshua 8:1 Literally the people of war
[b] Joshua 8:14 The battle site may have been chosen by either army or dictated by the terrain.
There is much more in the scriptures about tactics, and how a larger or smaller fighting force should be organized. Most military’s unknowingly owe something to how they operate today to these scriptures. Any knowledge about small unit tactics improves our ability to defend ourselves. I only delved into it reluctantly as I found there was no one else who would do the job. Some one has to, so I force fed myself. Eventually it came easily. It was a mental block I had to overcome. And even though I am not physically up to leading the young and fit. As old folks, we can set up defenses and tactics given our particular limitations. We cannot acquire the skills of a solder without having been one, but we can grasp the fundamentals and pass those along to our younger family and friends, and let them run with it. We can equip and teach.
If we do not yet have a plan, then we are at serious risk of loosing it all until we have one. Above all else, security will be job one. We should not assume that some one else can or will do the job. And if you do have some one with training, they will need your help.