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1 But the children of Israel committed a trespasse in the accursed thing: for Achan the sonne of Carmi, the sonne of Zabdi, the sonne of Zerah, of the tribe of Iudah, tooke of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.

2 And Ioshua sent men from Iericho to Ai, which is beside Beth-auen, on the East side of Bethel, and spake vnto them, saying, Goe vp and view the countrey. And the men went vp, and viewed Ai.

3 And they returned to Ioshua, and said vnto him, Let not all the people goe vp: but let about two or three thousand men goe vp, and smite Ai, and make not all the people to labour thither, for they are but few.

4 So there went vp thither of the people about three thousand men, and they fled before the men of Ai.

5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and sixe men: for they chased them from before the gate euen vnto Shebarim, and smote them in the going downe: Wherefore the hearts of the people melted, & became as water.

6 And Ioshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth vpon his face, before the Arke of the Lord, vntill the euentide, he and the Elders of Israel, and put dust vpon their heads.

7 And Ioshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people ouer Iordan, to deliuer vs into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy vs? Would to God we had bene content, and dwelt on the other side Iordan.

8 Oh Lord! what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backes before their enemies?

9 For the Canaanites, and all the inhabitants of the land shall heare of it, and shall enuiron vs round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou doe vnto thy great Name?

10 And the Lord saide vnto Ioshua, Get thee vp; wherefore liest thou thus vpon thy face?

11 Israel hath sinned, and they haue also transgressed my Couenant which I commaunded them: for they haue euen taken of the accursed thing, and haue also stollen, and dissembled also, and they haue put it euen amongst their owne stuffe.

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 bee with you any more, except yee destroy the accursed from amongst you.

13 Up, sanctifie the people, and say, Sanctifie your selues 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, vntill ye take away the accursed thing from among you.

14 In the morning therefore ye shal 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 familie which the Lord shall take, shal come by housholdes: and the housholdes which the Lord shall take, shal come man by man.

15 And it shalbe that he that is taken with the accursed thing, shall bee burnt with fire, he, and all that hee hath: because he hath transgressed the couenant of the Lord, and because hee hath wrought folly in Israel.

16 So Ioshua rose vp earely in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of Iudah was taken.

17 And hee brought the familie of Iudah, and he tooke the familie of the Zarhites: and he brought the familie of the Zarhites, man by man, and Zabdi was taken.

18 And hee brought his houshold, man by man, and Achan the sonne of Carmi, the sonne of Zabdi, the sonne of Zerah, of the tribe of Iudah, was taken.

19 And Ioshua said vnto Achan, My sonne, giue, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession vnto him, and tel me now, what thou hast done, hide it not from me.

20 And Achan answered Ioshua, and said, Indeed I haue sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus haue I done.

21 When I saw among the spoiles a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of siluer, and a wedge of gold of fiftie shekels weight, then I coueted them, and tooke them, and behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the siluer vnder it.

22 So Ioshua sent messengers, and they ran vnto the tent, and behold, it was hid in his tent, and the siluer vnder it.

23 And they tooke them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them vnto Ioshua, and vnto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord.

24 And Ioshua and all Israel with him tooke Achan the sonne of Zerah, and the siluer, and the garment, and the wedge of golde, and his sonnes, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheepe, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them vnto the valley of Achor.

25 And Ioshua said, Why hast thou troubled vs? 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 ouer him a great heape of stones vnto this day: so the Lord turned from the fiercenesse of his anger: Wherefore the name of the place was called, The valley of Achor, vnto this day.

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Commentary for Joshua 7

The Israelites smitten at Ai. (1-5) Joshua's humiliation and prayer. (6-9) God instructs Joshua what to do. (10-5) Achan is detected, He is destroyed. (16-26)1-5 Achan took some of the spoil of Jericho. The love of the world is that root of bitterness, which of all others is most hardly rooted up. We should take heed of sin ourselves, lest by it many be defiled or disquieted, #Heb 12:15|; and take heed of having fellowship with sinners, lest we share their guilt. It concerns us to watch over one another to prevent sin, because others' sins may be to our damage. The easy conquest of Jericho excited contempt of the enemy, and a disposition to expect the Lord to do all for them without their using proper means. Thus men abuse the doctrines of Divine grace, and the promises of God, into excuses for their own sloth and self-indulgence. We are to work out our own salvation, though it is God that works in us. It was a dear victory to the Canaanites, whereby Israel was awakened and reformed, and reconciled to their God, and the people of Canaan hardened to their own ruin.

6-9 Joshua's concern for the honour of God, more than even for the fate of Israel, was the language of the Spirit of adoption. He pleaded with God. He laments their defeat, as he feared it would reflect on God's wisdom and power, his goodness and faithfulness. We cannot at any time urge a better plea than this, Lord, what wilt thou do for thy great name? Let God be glorified in all, and then welcome his whole will.

10-15 God awakens Joshua to inquiry, by telling him that when this accursed thing was put away, all would be well. Times of danger and trouble should be times of reformation. We should look at home, into our own hearts, into our own houses, and make diligent search to find out if there be not some accursed thing there, which God sees and abhors; some secret lust, some unlawful gain, some undue withholding from God or from others. We cannot prosper, until the accursed thing be destroyed out of our hearts, and put out of our habitations and our families, and forsaken in our lives. When the sin of sinners finds them out, God is to be acknowledged. With a certain and unerring judgment, the righteous God does and will distinguish between the innocent and the guilty; so that though the righteous are of the same tribe, and family, and household with the wicked, yet they never shall be treated as the wicked.

16-26 See the folly of those that promise themselves secrecy in sin. The righteous God has many ways of bringing to light the hidden works of darkness. See also, how much it is our concern, when God is contending with us, to find out the cause that troubles us. We must pray with holy Job, Lord, show me wherefore thou contendest with me. Achan's sin began in the eye. He saw these fine things, as Eve saw the forbidden fruit. See what comes of suffering the heart to walk after the eyes, and what need we have to make this covenant with our eyes, that if they wander they shall be sure to weep for it. It proceeded out of the heart. They that would be kept from sinful actions, must mortify and check in themselves sinful desires, particularly the desire of worldly wealth. Had Achan looked upon these things with an eye of faith, he would have seen they were accursed things, and would have dreaded them; but looking on them with an eye of sense only, he saw them as goodly things, and coveted them. When he had committed the sin, he tried to hide it. As soon as he had got this plunder, it became his burden, and he dared not to use his ill-gotten treasure. So differently do objects of temptation appear at a distance, to what they do when they have been gotten. See the deceitfulness of sin; that which is pleasing in the commission, is bitter in the reflection. See how they will be deceived that rob God. Sin is a very troublesome thing, not only to a sinner himself, but to all about him. The righteous God will certainly recompense tribulation to them that trouble his people. Achan perished not alone in his sin. They lose their own, who grasp at more than their own. His sons and daughters were put to death with him. It is probable that they helped to hide the things; they must have known of them. What fatal consequences follow, even in this world, to the sinner himself, and to all belonging him! One sinner destroys much good. What, then, will be the wrath to come? Let us flee from it to Christ Jesus as the sinner's Friend. There are circumstances in the confession of Achan, marking the progress of sin, from its first entrance into the heart to its being done, which may serve as the history of almost every offence against the law of God, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Joshua 7

  • Joyce Joseph
    This is a serious thing. Joshua specifically told the children of Israel in CH. 6:19 but all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are CONSECRATED unto the Lord. Achan would have been present yet he was wilfully disobedient when he hid what was supposed to be the Lord's. This is a warning to those who keep their tithes which is the Lord's.
  • stanjett
    Achor. Why did many have to die for this one man?
    Reply Flag
  • A disciple
    This is God's view of secret sins. Sneaking deceitful sinning; NOT a slip, NOT a health issue, NOT Oh poor weak brother! But sneaking deceitful sinning! And this example was made for all of us to fear, and do no such thing against any of the commandments of the LORD. Not only himself, but his children and his animals and ALL that he had was destroyed, because of his wicked lusts and disobedience!
  • Chosen by God
    profound words, why is it that when we as believers depart from the correct teaching of God's word and enter into sin we tend to fault God, asking stupid questions like, if God is so powerful WHY DID HE.....stop right there we made that choice to enter into sin. James 1:5 "IF any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not;and it shall be given him
  • A disciple
    "..Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them.." The failures of God's people are often automatically put on the Lord for some imagined "Mystery" of His will, why He would let them fall. But see how God answers, and make no mistake; if we fall before our enemies, its because we have sinned!
  • Peter A. Okebukola
    God is a God of justice. Achan paid the price for disobedience.
  • Irene123
    Achan's sin: it was a sin; Achan stole from God. That's made very plain. Ai: in the 1st place, Joshua did NOT pray for God's guidance before Ai. Had he prayed God would have told him of Achan. Joshua was 'presumptuous'. God tells what we need to know, but we have to ask him - "is there anything I need to know before this battle?" That's why Ai defeated them.

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