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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 7

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1In a perfidious act, however, Israelites violated the ban: Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the forbidden things, and the LORD's anger blazed out against Israel.

2Joshua sent men from Jericho with orders to go up to Ai, near Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and reconnoitre the land. The men went and explored Ai, 3and on their return reported to Joshua that there was no need for the whole army to move: ‘Let some two or three thousand men advance to attack Ai. Do not have the whole army toil up there; the population is small.’ 4About three thousand troops went up, but they were routed by the men of Ai, 5who killed some thirty-six of them; they chased the rest all the way from the gate to the Quarries a 7:5 the Quarries: or Shebarim. and killed them on the pass. At this the courage of the people melted and flowed away like water.

6Joshua and the elders of Israel tore their clothes and flung themselves face downwards to the ground; throwing dust on their heads, they lay in front of the Ark of the LORD till evening. 7Joshua cried, ‘Alas, Lord GOD, why did you bring this people across the Jordan just to hand us over to the Amorites to be destroyed? If only we had been content to settle on the other side of the Jordan! 8I beseech you, Lord; what can I say, now that Israel has been routed by the enemy? 9When the Canaanites and all the other natives of the country hear of this, they will close in upon us and wipe us off the face of the earth. What will you do then for the honour of your great name?’

10The LORD answered, ‘Stand up; why lie prostrate on your face? 11Israel has sinned: they have violated the covenant which I laid upon them; they have taken things forbidden under the ban; they have stolen them; they have concealed them by putting them among their own possessions. 12That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies: they are defeated because they have brought themselves under the ban. Unless you Israelites destroy every single thing among you that is forbidden under the ban, I shall be with you no longer.

13‘Get up and consecrate the people; tell them they must consecrate themselves for tomorrow. Say to them that these are the words of the LORD the God of Israel: You have among you forbidden things, Israel, and you will not be able to stand against your enemies until you have rid yourselves of these things. 14In the morning come forward tribe by tribe, and the tribe which the LORD takes must come forward clan by clan; the clan which the LORD takes must come forward family by family, and the family which the LORD takes must come forward man by man. 15The man who is taken as the harbourer of forbidden things must be burnt, he and all that is his, because he has violated the covenant of the LORD and committed an outrage in Israel.’

16Early next morning Joshua rose and had Israel come forward tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken; 17he brought forward the clans of Judah, and the clan of Zerah was taken; then the clan of Zerah family by family b 7:17 family by family: so some MSS; others man by man. , and the family of c the family of: so Gk; Heb. omits. Zabdi was taken. 18He had that family brought forward man by man, and Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.

19Then Joshua said to Achan, ‘My son, give honour to the LORD the God of Israel and make your confession to him. Tell me what you have done; hide nothing from me.’ 20Achan answered, ‘It is true; I have sinned against the LORD the God of Israel. This is what I did: 21among the booty I saw a fine mantle from Shinar, two hundred shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels; I coveted them and I took them. You will find them hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.’ 22Joshua sent messengers, who went straight to the tent, and there it was hidden in the tent with the silver underneath. 23They took the things from the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites, and laid them out before the LORD.

24Then Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan son of Zerah, with the silver, the mantle, and the bar of gold, together with his sons and daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, and his sheep, his tent, and everything he had, and they brought them up to the vale of Achor d 7:24 Achor: that is Trouble. . 25Joshua said, ‘What trouble you have brought on us! Now the LORD will bring trouble on you.’ Then all the Israelites stoned him to death e 7:25 to death: so Gk; Heb. adds and they burnt them with fire and pelted them with stones. ; 26and they raised over him a great cairn of stones which is there to this day. So the LORD's anger was abated. That is why to this day the place is called the vale of Achor.

Notes:

a 7:5 the Quarries: or Shebarim.

b 7:17 family by family: so some MSS; others man by man.

c the family of: so Gk; Heb. omits.

d 7:24 Achor: that is Trouble.

e 7:25 to death: so Gk; Heb. adds and they burnt them with fire and pelted them with stones.

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