Joshua 7
Achan's sin
1 ¶ 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.
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   Committed a trespass The Hebrew ma'al ma'al is properly translated but the first ma'al in the phrase originally meant "to cover." Thus the term may be understood as "to act treacherously." Why had all Israel trespassed when most were unaware of the evil? In the eyes of the wicked nations, the defeat before the people of Ai v2 was a witness that the God of Israel was incapable and hence a bad god. A victory in the presence of this great sin would be a spiritual loss for all.
 In the next chapter the God of Israel would clarify the issue for Ai, but at this point the victory over Jericho had not brought Him  glory as it should have. A church today is responsible for the sins of a member who dishonors God when the behavior is an offense to the members or to the surrounding community. For the church to overlook the situation after it has become apparent to them is to be responsible for the sin. In the story of Achan which follows, the matter was dealt with and the trespass of all Israel was forgiven. On church discipline, see 1co05.
  Achan Probably should be "Achar" which means "trouble" or "troubler" as in 1ch0207. Joshua may have given him this name.
.2 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 men went up and viewed Ai.
 3 And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. 
.4 So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.

  2 - Ai Archaeologists pronounce it like the letter I. Although contested by some, the biblical evidence all points to the pictured site known as Et-tel. See map and see article by W.W. Winter at He has a map of the site which is between Jericho and Bethel.
  2 - Bethhaven A desert area jos1812.
  2 - View Literally "tramp."
  3 - Not all The population of Ai was estimated to be 12,000. Instead of seeking divine direction and help, they felt strong because of their defeat of Jericho.
  4 - Fled before the men of Ai Not what they were expecting. Groups and individuals are responsible before God. At other times groups have suffered for the sins of a few ez2103, 2co0215. He also requires us to cooperate with leaders who are responsible to Him he1307.
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.5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.    Shebarim From a word meaning "to break in pieces." This could indicate a quarry but none has been found in the area. Some manuscripts read "unto their [Israel's] being broken."
  In the going down Apparently they ran down a ravine, not a good situation when fleeing from people who knew the area.
.6 ¶ And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the LORD until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads.
 7 And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!
  6 - Joshua rent A sign of mourning or distress ge3734, ge4413. Usually the outer garment was torn over the chest to indicate a broken heart jl0212. Joshua and the people had not met the conditions of the promise for success.
  7 - Would to God This sounds like a common complaint on the journey to Canaan ex1603. The difference is that he was taking his concern to God in prayer.
 8 O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! 
.9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?
  9 - Thy great name Joshua's great concern for God's reputation. See ex3212, de0928, de3226
 10 ¶ And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? 
 11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.
 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
  10 - Get the up Or "stand up." 
  11 - Which I commanded See de0412.
  11 - Accursed That is, "devoted to destruction" jos0617. Also an indirect warning against the evil we may see on TV and what we may allow our children to do.
  11 - Dissembled Or "lied."
  12 - Needs no comment.
 13 Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.   Sanctify yourselves As when preparing for the law spoken from Sinai ex1910. If Achan had regretted his sin, this would have been his opportunity to confess and tear his own garment pleading with the Lord and with the people for forgiveness. It is the type of attitude called for in these last days, typified by the Day of Atonement humility le1629.
.14 In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man.
.15 And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.

  14 - According to your tribes See 1ch0207.
  14 - Which the Lord taketh A casting of lots in this type of situation would be directed by the Lord. Our desire to know the future may tempt us to do our own lot taking. This is generally presumption. We may ask for wisdom and the leading of providence. The Holy Spirit will impress us or open opportunities for us as we put self aside and commit our ways to the Lord pr0306. For many decisions, God has given us the ability to think and ask Godly people for advice. We would be rejecting His leading to ignore common sense. Naturally we ask for His blessing every morning pr0817. God honored the request of Gideon but ignoring other evidence would have been wrong for him to jg0636.
 16 ¶ So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken:
 17 And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken:
 18 And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.
  16-18 - Joshua rose ... by tribes "that is, before the tabernacle. The lot being appealed to (Pr 16:33), he proceeded in the inquiry from heads of tribes to heads of families, and from heads of households in succession to one family, and to particular persons in that family, until the criminal was found to be Achan, who, on Joshua's admonition, confessed the fact of having secreted for his own use, in the floor of his tent, spoil both in garments and money [Jos 7:19-21]. How dreadful must have been his feelings when he saw the slow but certain process of discovery! (Nu 32:23) (JFB).
.19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.
 20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done:
 21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.
  19 - My son Instead of anger, Joshua acted in love as if the man were his own son. Christ responded in a similar way centuries later when Judas encountered Him mt2650.
  20 - Indeed I have sinned He confessed when the matter was clear. Confession without heart-felt repentance and without turning from sin pr2813 does not bring salvation ps03418, is5715. Compare David's attitude ps13923. Achan's confession confirmed the divine knowledge for the people.
  21 - Goodly Perhaps as in ez2315. Achan had followed the path of sin. He looked, coveted, took, and tried to cover. Our safety is in turning decisively from the display or opportunity of sin. See ge0306, 2ti0222, pr2331, ps10103.
 22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it.
 23 And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD. 
.24 And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.
  22 - Ran Apparently eager to remove the source of God's disapproval.
  24 - Sons ... daughters They may have shared his sin. Parents have a responsibility for the spiritual and physical safety of their children. Older children can decide for themselves. If Achan's children were innocent and the sins of their father caused their death, they will be raised to meet the Lord 1th0416. This would be true if they had lost their lives for other reasons. We may be thankful that Christ is preparing a heavenly home for us jn1401. Also v15.
.25 And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.
 26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.
  25 - All Israel stoned him Most no doubt participated as observers. See on de1306.
  26 - Heap of stones I expect some went to find the gold and silver. Your eternal life and mine in the joy of our Lord must never be traded for beautiful garments and gold.
  26 - Valley of Achor See jos0618. And compare ho0214.


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