Bible Meaning: Heap of ruins
Strong's Concordance #H5857
Ai was the second city (Jericho was the first) the Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua, conquered in the Promised Land. The king of Ai was one of thirty-one rulers defeated in battle by Israel so that they could take possession of their inheritance in Canaan (Joshua 12:7 - 24).
Ai is one of the shortest city names in the Bible. Other two letter cities include Ar (Numbers 21:15), On (Genesis 41:45) and Ur (Genesis 11:28).
And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east side of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country . . .
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 . . .
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 it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword.
Now it came to pass, when Adonizedek king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it: as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king: and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them:
Howl, O Heshbon, for Ai is spoiled: cry, ye daughters of Rabbah, gird you with sackcloth: lament, and run to and fro by the hedges: for their king shall go into captivity, and his priests and his princes together.