Ai (āˈĪ) [key], in the Bible. 1 Canaanite royal city, E of Bethel. Abraham pitched his tent there when he arrived in Canaan. It is probably the modern et-Tell, near Bethel (West Bank). Excavations have revealed a strongly fortified city situated there. Ai was in ruins at the time of Joshua's conquest. The account in chapter 7 of the Book of Joshua possibly refers instead to Bethel1, whose people may have used the nearby ruins of Ai as a bastion against the invading Israelites. It also appears as Hai, Aiath, and Aija. 2 City of the Ammorites, near Heshbon.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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