Ai in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
("heap of rains".)1. AI or HAI, i.e. the Ai (Genesis 12:8); a royal city
(Joshua 7:2; Joshua 8:9; Joshua 8:23; Joshua 8:29; Joshua 10:1-2; Joshua
12:9); E. of Bethel, "beside Bethaven." The second Canaanite city taken by
Israel and "utterly destroyed." The name AIATH still belonged to the locality
when Sennacherib marched against Jerusalem (Isaiah 10:28). "Men of Bethel and
Ai," (223 according to Ezra 2:28, but 123 according to Nehemiah 7:32,)
returned from Babylon with Zerubbzbel. Ezra's list was made in Babylon;
Nehemiah's in Judaea long after. Death and change of purpose would make many
in Ezra's list of intending returners not appear in Nehemiah's list of those
actually arriving. Aija is mentioned among the towns reoccupied by the
Benjamites (Nehemiah 11:31). Perhaps the site is at the head of Wary Harith.
(See BETHEL.) There is a hilltop E. of the church remains on the hill
adjoining and E. of Bethel (Beitin); its Arab name, et Tel, means "the heap,"
and it doubtless is the site of Ai, or Hai (on the east of Abraham's
encampment and altar, Genesis 12:8). In the valley behind Joshua placed his
ambush. Across the intervening valley is the spot where Joshua stood when
giving the preconcerted signal. The plain or ridge can be seen down which the
men of Ai rushed after the retreating Israelites, so that the men in ambush
rose and captured the city behind the pursuers, and made it. "a heap" or tel
for ever. 2. A city of Ammon, near Heshbon (Jeremiah 49:3).