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Jos 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the devoted things; for Achan, the son of Carmi the son of Zabdi the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things-
The words for "devoted" and "destroyed" are the same. The wealth of Jericho was to be destroyed in that it was devoted to God. Therefore Achan had to be destroyed, because he had associated himself with that which was to be destroyed / devoted. We  too must understand that all things are God's. To keep wealth as it were for ourselves will lead to our destruction; we are to devote it to God.

Therefore Yahweh’s anger burned against the children of Israel-
The gods of the nations were also understood as getting angry with their people but for whimsical, irrational reasons; or without any explanation. Yahweh is presented as a God of consistent, passionate love for His people; but whose wrath burns because of their moral sin. Such a conception of 'God' was unknown to the surrounding world.

Jos 7:2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them saying, Go up and spy out the land. The men went up and spied out Ai-
Joshua had himself received that command 40 years ago, and had done so in faith. And clearly that was what he expected of these spies; but as noted on :3, they had more arrogance than the confidence of faith.

Jos 7:3 They returned to Joshua and said to him, Don’t let all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and strike Ai. Don’t make all the people to toil there, for there are only a few of them-
Shouldn’t Joshua have led them into battle in person (Josh. 1:5); he did the second time they attacked Ai (Josh. 8:15). And the spies appear over confident. There were 12,000 men of Ai slain (Josh. 8:25). To assume that they could so easily overcome with an inexperienced force a fraction of their size... indicates arrogance. So the sin of Achan was worked through by God, in a multi faceted way. For they needed the defeat in order to make them more humble. The spies' comment that not all the people needed to "toil" or "labour" to capture Ai betrays a wrong idea that victory was through their labour, rather than God's grace (Josh. 7:3). And so Josh. 24:13 uses the word in saying that Israel were given a land for which they did not "labour" (s.w.). They were taught through Achan's sin that they were not defeating the Canaanites by their strength, but by God's undeserved grace.

Jos 7:4 So about three thousand men of the people went up there, and they fled before the men of Ai-
Apparently the ark wasn't taken with them (:6); another indication of assuming they would win, rather than going in faith. For the ark had been central to the victory over Jericho. The record consistently places it as the central point of the victory.

Jos 7:5 The men of Ai struck about thirty-six of them, and they chased them from before the gate even to Shebarim, and struck them at the descent-
"About 36" reads strangely, as we would expect a round number to follow the word "about". But it's likely from archaeological evidence that the peoples of Canaan were using the sexagesimal system; and 6 x 6 would therefore mean 'a large number', or maybe one hundred, according to the decimal system [i.e. 6 x 6 = 10 x 10]. 

The hearts of the people melted and became like water-
This was just how the hearts of the Canaanites had been, according to Rahab's words; and it was how Israel's hearts had been when they were first rejected from the land. They were as if they had never conquered Jericho. All they saw was the result of sin; they didn't apparently think of the reason for the judgment. Like the peoples around them, they were thinking of Yahweh as if He were one of the standard deities, who got angry with his people for no reason. They were failing to perceive that Yahweh was only angry with His people if they sinned; and therefore, they had sinned. 

Jos 7:6 Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of Yahweh until the evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads-
This was all a sign of grief, but not necessarily of repentance. As discussed on :6, the obvious conclusion was that they had sinned and were therefore not experiencing Yahweh's blessing. For to flee before enemies was a curse for not remaining obedient to the covenant. But Joshua focuses only upon the judgment, rather than the underlying reason for it. He comes over as distinctly lacking in spiritual perception at this point.

Jos 7:7 Joshua said, Alas, Lord Yahweh, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to cause us to perish? I wish that we had been content and lived beyond the Jordan!-
He lost faith in the promise of Josh. 1:5-7,9. It is similar to the language of Num. 14:3, the faithless complaint of Israel in the wilderness to the effect that God had cruelly brought them over the Red Sea [cp. over Jordan] just to kill them. And as Israel wished they had remained in Egypt, so Joshua wishes the people had remained east of Jordan. His faith was in tatters. And yet he ought to have had the humility to perceive what had happened- Israel had taken of the devoted thing. He may well have guessed so, but Joshua probably though that such grabbing of a bit of spoil was to be expected, and was surely not such a big item. But it was. And the lesson is that any assumption that we can 'rob God', by assuming our wealth is "ours", is extremely serious to Him.

Jos 7:8 Oh Lord, what shall I say, after that Israel has turned their backs before their enemies!-
Joshua lamented how Israel had fled before their enemies the first time they attacked Ai, alluding back to the curses for disobedience which Moses had recently pronounced to them. Therefore the second time they attacked Ai, Joshua and his people purposefully fled before their enemies; as if recognizing that the curses for disobedience were justified for them. But by doing this, they ended up chasing their enemies, just as Moses had said they would if they were faithful. No wonder that after the victory, the whole of Israel recited the blessings and cursings (Josh. 8:5,20,33-35 cp. 7:8)!

Jos 7:9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it and will surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. What will You do for Your great name?-
This seems a half hearted attempt to follow the logic of Moses when he was told that God intended to destroy all Israel because of the sin with the golden calf. But Joshua sounds like faithless Jacob, fearful that the surrounding nations will cut him off- as if he considered God's promises about his seed as somehow nullified (Gen. 34:30).

"The earth" here is specifically the eretz promised to Abraham; the peoples of that earth / land would surround Israel. In Josh. 12:1,7 we meet “the kings of the earth”, i.e. of the land, and this must surely be the basis of how we are to understand the references to “the kings of the earth” in Revelation. Dt. 13:7 defines “the peoples which are round about you” [Israel] as being “from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth” (RV). Those peoples which bordered with the Israelites were “the earth” / eretz.

Jos 7:10 Yahweh said to Joshua, Get up! Why are you fallen on your face like that?-
He is being reminded not to just see himself as part of a community, but to remember his personal relationship with God, and not to have such a low self image. He ought to have perceived why Israel had turned their backs to their enemies; it was because they had broken covenant with God through sin. What God now spells out to Joshua, he really ought to have perceived an stated to God. "Like that" suggests Joshua was fallen on his face not in repentance, as he ought to have been, but just in grief for the Divine judgment which had come.

Jos 7:11 Israel has sinned. Yes, they have even transgressed My covenant which I commanded them-
See on :10. In the same way as Daniel, Isaiah, Ezra, Israel at the time of Achan etc. were reckoned as guilty but were not personally responsible for the sins of others, so the Lord Jesus was reckoned as a sinner on the cross; He was made sin for us, who knew no sin personally (2 Cor. 5:21). He carried our sins by His association with us, prefigured by the way in which Israel's sins were transferred to the animal; but He personally was not a sinner because of His association with us.

Yes, they have even taken of the devoted things, and have also stolen and also deceived. They have even put it among their own stuff-
Understanding God as creator, in its true, deep and thought-through sense, leads to an understanding of grace. That all we have, are, were, shall ever be, is purely His gift. Likewise, to take for ourselves what is God’s is to play God, and therefore to steal from Him. Materialism and selfishness are in this sense playing God. This was Achan’s sin- to take what was devoted to God for himself. And this was why he is described as having ‘stolen’. But from whom? From God (Josh. 6:18; 7:11). The fact God owns everything means that there can be no distinction between what is ours and what is God’s. To think like that is to steal from Him. And hence the power and force of Mal. 3:8: “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me”. Have we robbed God in this way, especially in our attitudes and perceptions?

Jos 7:12 Therefore the children of Israel can’t stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will not be with you any more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you-
If Canaan is seen to represent the Kingdom, the things which are stopping us entering the Kingdom are our sins. In prospect, Jesus, the antitype of the great Angel which lead Israel into the land and drove out the enemies in prospect, has vanquished all our sins. When Israel sinned, the help the Angels were giving Israel to help them possess what they had already prepared for them, was taken away. Thus with the first attack on Ai, the Angels had in prospect driven out the people of Ai, but the realization of that was conditional on Israel's obedience. Just as Israel in the wilderness were threatened with the withdrawal of the presence of the Angel, so here.

Jos 7:13 Get up!-
God was displeased with Joshua moping around on the floor. Joshua needed to recognize Israel had sinned, and had taken things devoted to Yahweh- and devote those things to Yahweh by destroying them.

Sanctify the people and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because Yahweh the God of Israel says, There is a devoted thing in the midst of you, Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted thing from among you-
This is not the same as guilt by association. The situation here has been misinterpreted by some to mean that we therefore cannot associate with sinners of the Achan category, lest we become defiled by association with them. But the point is that all the community of believers are in a sense considered at fault because of the failings of some of them. So if there is guilt by association, then it cannot be avoided by not associating with sinful people within the community. For the people of God, the community, is indivisible. We are in it and cannot quit it, if we wish to remain God's people. And in fact the Lord Jesus time and again turned all this around to the opposite- by willingly seeking association with sinners, eating with them, touching the leper etc. He was not thereby condemned, but rather sought to highlight His association with unclean people of God. It was through that willing association that we are saved.    

Jos 7:14 ‘In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. It shall be that the tribe which Yahweh selects shall come near by families. The family which Yahweh selects shall come near by households. The household which Yahweh selects shall come near man by man-
This was presumably achieved by the flashing out of yes / no answers from the urim and thummim in the breastplate (Num. 27:21; 1 Sam. 14:42). The long drawn out process (requiring Joshua to rise early, :16) was surely to elicit repentance and confession from Achan. But instead he hoped against hope that he would somehow not be found out. His lack of immediate confession reflects his impenitence.

Jos 7:15 It shall be, that he who is taken with the devoted thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of Yahweh, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel’-
"All that he has" could mean all his possessions, or it could also include his family. Because surely they knew of his sin, seeing he buried the loot in the tent. And the long drawn out process of :14 had given them all plenty of opportunity to confess what had happened.

Jos 7:16 So Joshua rose up early in the morning and brought Israel near by their tribes. The tribe of Judah was selected-
Joshua was characterized by rising early (Josh. 3:1; 6:12; 7:16; 8:10). This is a much repeated characteristic of God's servants: that they 'rose up early in the morning' and did God's work. In each of the following passages, this phrase is clearly not an idiom; rather does it have an evidently literal meaning: Abraham (Gen. 19:27; 21:14; 22:3); Jacob (Gen. 28:18); Job (1:5); Moses (Ex. 8:20; 9:13; 24:4; 34:4); Gideon (Jud. 6:38; 7:1). This is quite an impressive list, numerically. This can be a figure for being zealous (Ps. 127:2; Pr. 27:14; Song 7:12; Is. 5:11; Zeph. 3:7). God Himself rises up early in His zeal to save and bring back His wayward people (Jer. 7:13,25; 11:7; 25:3,4; 26:5; 29:19; 32:33; 35:14,15; 44:4). Yet the above examples all show that men literally rose up early in their service to God; this was an expression of their zeal for God, in response to His zeal for us. I'm not suggesting that zeal for God is reflected by rising early rather than staying up late; but it wouldn't be too much to suggest that if we are men of mission, we won't waste our hours in bed. Get up when you wake up.

Jos 7:17 He brought near the family of Judah; and he selected the family of the Zerahites. He brought near the family of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was selected-
"Man by man" refers not to all the men, but to the heads of families.

Jos 7:18 He brought near 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 selected-
We note that none of his ancestors had God's name within their names.

Jos 7:19 Joshua said to Achan, My son, please give glory to Yahweh the God of Israel, and make confession to Him. Tell me now what you have done! Don’t hide it from me!-
Give glory-
He correctly perceives that repentance is a giving of glory to God’s Name. And one is tempted to think that Joshua’s appeal to Achan to properly confess his sin was meant to give him the chance of avoiding the ‘definite’ condemnation promised. However it could be that Joshua accepted Achan had to die, but he urged his repentance because he understood that there would be a future day of resurrection and judgment; and if Achan was repentant, then he would then be saved.

Jos 7:20 Achan answered Joshua and said, I have truly sinned against Yahweh the God of Israel, and this is what I have done-
The summary of his sins, and his appreciation of the psychological processes behind them (:21), is very thorough. But it was only made after the long process of exposing him had finished. All through it, and it would have taken some time (therefore Joshua arose early that morning, :16), Achan could have volunteered his confession. But he didn't; and like the drug addict who completely understands his situation but won't break free, so Achan perceived exactly the process of temptation and sin, but wouldn't really repent.

Jos 7:21 When I saw among the spoil a beautiful Babylonian robe-
This could have been a pagan priestly robe which was attractive to Achan as an idolater. Or since "robe" is that used for the kingly robe of Jon. 3:6, it was perhaps the robe of the king of Jericho. To steal it, when it could never be worn or sold easily, is therefore typical of how the lust of the eyes leads to stealing of wrongly obtaining things which have no practical value.

Two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, then I coveted them and took them. Behold, they are hidden in the ground in the middle of my tent, with the silver under it-
James 1:13-15 uses a family analogy- a man and "his own lust" beget a child, called sin; and sin, in due time, gives birth to death. Strange, surely, how James makes no mention of a personal Devil or demons as having any part at all to play in this process. It's quite possible that James' language is alluding to a classic example of the thought-lust-temptation-sin-death process which we have in the record of Achan in Josh. 7:20,21: "I saw two hundred shekels of silver, I coveted them, and took them... I sinned"- and so he was executed.

Jos 7:22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent. Behold, it was hidden in his tent, with the silver under it-
The speed was appropriate because they realized that they as a nation were defiled by having material which was God's still amongst them. It's all a powerful lesson for us; for all we apparently own is not ours. Ownership, especially in its capitalist sense, is an illusion; all is God's. The Lord's parable of hidden treasure appears to allude to this scene, in an inverse sense. The true treasure we are to find and hide is that of the Gospel, as opposed to material things. 

Jos 7:23 They took them from the middle of the tent, and brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel. They laid them down before Yahweh-
"The middle of the tent" could imply that the entire family were guilty and complicent in what he did, which would explain why they also were slain. "Laid them down" suggests the weight of the wealth stolen. We note too that "Joshua", like the Lord Jesus his namesake, was "Yahweh" in a functional sense, although not of course God Himself in person. The material was laid down before Joshua, i.e. before Yahweh, seeing Joshua was His representative. Failure to appreciate this has led to all manner of Bible verses being misinterpreted as proof texts for the mistaken dogma of the Trinity. Likewise "all the children of Israel" surely means their representative elders, and LXX here gives "elders".

Jos 7:24 Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his cattle, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor-
We see here how the record was written at some point afterwards, for the valley "of Achor" was named after Achan, who is called "Achor" in the Chronicles genealogies. Although the judgment was to be by burning, it was also by stoning- so that all Israel would have a hand in it. The destruction of all he had would be a lesson that the rich man who tried to get richer was being judged by losing absolutely all he ever had. We also learn from this that the people crossed Jordan along with a fair number of animals, and perhaps they also had flocks with them in the wilderness journey.

Jos 7:25 Joshua said, Why have you troubled us? Yahweh will trouble you this day. All Israel stoned him with stones, and they burned them with fire and stoned them with stones-
Ahab's denunciation of Elijah as "he that troubles Israel" (1 Kings 18:17) effectively accuses Elijah of being like Achan, the troubler of Israel (Josh. 6:18).  As Achan brought about Israel's defeat at the hand of her surrounding enemies, so latter-day Israel will blame their similar defeats and the strange drought which will afflict them, upon Elijah.  Elijah's response to Ahab's accusation is typical of his theme of the need to throw off the worship of Baal and the other local gods, for that of Yahweh:  "I have not troubled Israel, but you... in that you have... followed Baalim" (1 Kings 18:18). The stress upon this may indicate that the latter-day Elijah will seek to turn Israel away from a devotion to Islam - the idol of the surrounding nations.

It was Achan who was stoned with stones. The "them" burned with fire could refer to his family, or to his possessions. Perhaps his family were brought close to observe his death, just as the families of those who committed atrocities in the holocaust were made to watch the hanging of their guilty relatives.

Jos 7:26 They raised over him a great heap of stones that remains to this day-
I would consider the book of Joshua to have largely been written by Joshua, under Divine inspiration, although edited [again under Divine inspiration] for the exiles. And the book of Judges likewise. For the exiles too were set to reestablish God's Kingdom in the land and to inherit it again as the Israelites first did. The phrase "to this day" occurs several times in Joshua / Judges, and appears to have different points of historical reference (Josh. 4:9; 5:9; 6:25; 7:26; 8:28,29; 9:27; 10:27; 13:13; 14:14; 15:63; 16:10; 22:3; 23:8,9; Jud. 1:26; 6:24; 10:4; 15:19; 18:12). I would explain this by saying that the book was edited a number of times and the remains of those edits remain in the text. For God's word is living and made relevant by Him to every generation.

Yahweh turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place was called The valley of Achor to this day-
This turning from fierce anger recalls how Yahweh likewise did so earlier- because of the intercession of Moses. Here He turned from His anger because of repentance; but earlier He had done so because of the prayer of Moses, which was therefore counted as if Israel had repented at the time of the golden calf. This raises deep questions as to whether our prayers and intercessions can save the impenitent; see on Mk. 2:5. Ezra 10:14 speaks of God’s wrath turning away because those who had married Gentile women divorced them. God’s wrath is also turned away by the death of the sinner- the heads of the sinners in Num. 25:4 were to be ‘hung up’ before the Lord so that His wrath would turn away. A similar example is to be found in Josh. 7:26. Jeremiah often comments that God’s wrath is turned away by the execution of judgment upon the sinner (e.g. Jer. 30:24). In this sense His anger and wrath are poured out or ‘accomplished’, i.e. they are no more because they have been poured out (Lam. 4:11). The fact that men such as Moses and Jeremiah (Jer. 18:20) turned away God’s wrath without these things happening, or simply by prayer (Dan. 9:16) therefore means that God accepted the intercession of those men and counted their righteousness to those from whom His wrath turned away. We shouldn’t assume that these righteous men merely waved away God’s wrath. That wrath was real, and required immense pleading and personal dedication on their behalf.