Joshua 7

1 But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel.

Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them,” Go up and spy out the land.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. They returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to Ai; do not make all the people toil up there, for they are few.” So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled from the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water.

Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord God, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing to dwell beyond the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their back before their enemies? For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?”

10 So the Lord said to Joshua, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. 12 Therefore the sons of Israel cannot stand before their enemies; they turn their backs before their enemies, for they have become accursed. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things under the ban from your midst. 13 Rise up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus the Lord, the God of Israel, has said, “ There are things under the ban in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you have removed the things under the ban from your midst.” 14 In the morning then you shall come near by your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the Lord takes by lot shall come near by families, and the family which the Lord takes shall come near by households, and the household which the Lord takes shall come near man by man. 15  It shall be that the one who is taken with the things under the ban shall be burned with fire, he and all that belongs to him, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has committed a disgraceful thing in Israel.’”

16 So Joshua arose early in the morning and brought Israel near by tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 He brought the family of Judah near, and he took the family of the Zerahites; and he brought the family of the Zerahites near man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 He brought his household near man by man; and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I implore you, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me.” 20 So Achan answered Joshua and said, “Truly, I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel, and [j]this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.”

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was concealed in his tent with the silver underneath it. 23 They took them from inside the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the sons of Israel, and they poured them out before the Lord. 24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. 26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor to this day.

Observation – What does it say?

  • The sons, plural, of Israel acted unfaithfully
  • The sons of Israel acted unfaithfully concerning the ban
  • Achan  took some things under the ban
  • The Lord was angry with the sons of Israel
  • Joshua sent men to spy on Ai
  • The Israelites camped at Jericho
  • The spies returned and told Joshua that the city of Ai was small
  • The spies told Joshua they only needed 3000 men
  • The spies told Joshua not to burden the entire camp of Israel
  • The men of Ai struck down 36 Israelites
  • The men of Ai pursued the Israelites
  • The men of Ai pursue the Israelites  from their gate to Shebarim
  • The men are they are struck down the Israelites on the descent
  • The people were scared
  • Joshua was very mournful
  • Joshua fell on his face before the ark
  • Joshua was on his face until evening
  • They put dust on their heads
  • Joshua did not understand why this was happened.
  • Joshua asked God why they weren’t allowed to stay on the other side of Jordan.
  • Joshua was feared the Canaanites would be encouraged by the defeat at Ai and would unite with all of their neighbors and crush the children of Israel
  • Joshua asked God what He would do for God’s name
  • God told Joshua to get up.
  • God asked Joshua why he was on his face
  • God told Joshua Israel sinned
  • God told Joshua Israel have transgressed his covenant
  • God told Joshua that the Israelites had taken some of those things under the ban
  • God told Joshua they put these things amongst their own things
  • God told Joshua that since the Israelites had taken things under the ban they could not stand before their enemies
  • God told Joshua as a result of them taking the things under the ban the Israelites were cursed
  • God told Joshua that he would no longer be with the Israelites unless Joshua destroyed the things under the ban
  • God told Joshua in addition to taking the things under the ban, they had stolen and they deceived
  • God told Joshua things that were taken under the ban must be destroyed and removed from their midst
  • God told Joshua to concentrate the people
  • God told Joshua to tell the people what the reason was for the defeat, there were things taken under the ban
  • God told Joshua the Israelites could not stand before their enemies until we had removed the things banned from their midst.
  • Joshua told the people that in the morning they were to come by tribes
  • Lord decreed
    • the tribe will be chosen by lot
    •  the family from the tribe will to be chosen by lot
    • that household will be chosen by lot
    • the man will be chosen by lot
  • The man who had taken the things under the ban
    • Would be burned with fire
    • All that belonged to him would be burned by fire
  • The reason the man in all his belongings were to be burned is because he transgressed the covenant of the Lord
  • The man committed a disgraceful thing
  • Joshua got up early in the morning
  • Joshua brought the Israelites by tribe
  • The tribe of Judah was taken
  • From the tribe of Judah the family of Zerahites were chosen
  • From the family of that Zerahites the household of Zabdi was chosen
  • From the household of Zabdi, Akan was chosen
  • Joshua asked what he had done
  • Joshua told Akan to praise God
  • Akan confess to his sin
  • Achan and took a beautiful mantle, 200 shekels of silver a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels
  • Akan coveted the items
  • The items were concealed in the earth inside Akins tent
  • Joshua set messengers to Akins tent
  • The messengers ran to Akins tent
  • The messengers brought the items to Joshua and to all the sons of Israel
  • They poured out the items before the Lord
  • Joshua and all of Israel took a can the silver, the mantel, the bar of  gold, Achan’s sons, his daughters, his ox and, his donkeys, his the sheep, his tent and everything that belonged to him
  • They were brought to the valley of Achor
  • Joshua asked Achan why Achan had brought trouble to Israel.
  • All Israel stoned Achan and his family and his livestock.
  • The Israelites burned everything Achan owned.
  • Israel raised a great heap of stones on the day the stoned Achan
  • The lord turned his anger away from Israel
  • The place Achan died is called the valley of Achor.


Interpretation – What does it mean?

God’s commands were very clear. The penalty for failure to keep the commands was very clear. Yet the desire for something pretty, something valuable, something that Achan did not have, was more than he could stand. And so Achan took some of the things that God had said belong to Him. In the previous chapter, God said, all the gold and silver and vessels of bronze and iron belonged to him. But Achan took them.

God had just given Joshua and the Israelites a great victory. God fought the battle for them. Here’s the good news, God is faithful.  And he keeps his word. Here’s the bad news, God is faithful.  And he keeps his word.

Achan’s sin cost Achan his life, not only his life but the lives of 36 other Israelites in the battle of Ai. It cost the lives of the sons, his daughter’s and everything he had. Achan’s sin did not affect him alone. It affected the entire nation of Israel.

Achan thought his sin was private. Achan thought no one would know. And no one did know, except God. Achan’s sin affected all those around him.

Application – How does it work?

Our sins are not private to ourselves. We may think they are, but they are not. They affect those around us. And even others we may not even realize that could possibly be affected. You may think you’re willing to pay the price for your sin, not realizing how high a price is. But let’s assume you understand the price, and are willing to pay it.  The question really is, “How much is your sin going to cost the ones you love and those around you?” Are you willing for them to pay the price of your sin?

God, Himself, has paid the price for the forgiveness of your sin. The ultimate cost of your sin is eternal damnation, has already been paid by God Himself. There may be other, lesser consequences, which will still need to be paid by you and others for your sin. But the ultimate price has been paid and waiting for your repentance. So cry out to Christ for the forgiveness of your sin.

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