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).
Joshua 7:1 - 2
But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.
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 . . .
Joshua 8:15, 17
And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness . . .
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.
Joshua 10:1 - 2
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:
That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities . . .
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.