וַיִּמְעֲלוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מַעַל בַּחֵרֶם וַיִּקַּח עָכָן בֶּן־כַּרְמִי בֶן־זַבְדִּי בֶן־זֶרַח לְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה מִן־הַחֵרֶם 7:1
וַיִּחַר־אַף יְהוָה בִּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
Josh. 7:1 But the children of Israel committed a transgression with the devoted thing, and Achan son of Carmi son of Zabdi son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah took from the devoted thing, and the “anger” of the Lord was kindled with the children of Israel. [Return to 1Chr. 2:7]
וַיִּשְׁלַח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֲנָשִׁים מִירִיחוֹ הָעַי אֲשֶׁר עִם־בֵּית אָוֶן מִקֶּדֶם לְבֵית־אֵל וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם לֵאמֹר 7:2
עֲלוּ וְרַגְּלוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ וַיַּעֲלוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים וַיְרַגְּלוּ אֶת־הָעָי׃
Josh. 7:2 Then Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is with Beth-aven from the east to Beth-el, and spoke to them saying, “Go up and spy out the land.” And the men went up and spied out Ai.
וַיָּשֻׁבוּ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו אַל־יַעַל כָּל־הָעָם כְּאַלְפַּיִם אִישׁ אוֹ כִּשְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים אִישׁ יַעֲלוּ 7:3
וְיַכּוּ אֶת־הָעָי אַל־תְּיַגַּע־שָׁמָּה אֶת־כָּל־הָעָם כִּי מְעַט הֵמָּה׃
Josh. 7:3 And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “All the people do not need to go up; about two thousand men or about three thousand men should go up and smite Ai; do not make all the people labor there, for they are few.”
וַיַּעֲלוּ מִן־הָעָם שָׁמָּה כִּשְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים אִישׁ וַיָּנֻסוּ לִפְנֵי אַנְשֵׁי הָעָי׃ 7:4
Josh. 7:4 So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but they fled before the men of Ai.
וַיַּכּוּ מֵהֶם אַנְשֵׁי הָעַי כִּשְׁלֹשִׁים וְשִׁשָּׁה אִישׁ וַיִּרְדְּפוּם לִפְנֵי הַשַּׁעַר עַד־הַשְּׁבָרִים וַיַּכּוּם בַּמּוֹרָד 7:5
וַיִּמַּס לְבַב־הָעָם וַיְהִי לְמָיִם׃
Josh. 7:5 And the men of Ai smote about thirty-six men from them, and they pursued them before the gate as far as Shebarim and smote them on the downward slope, and the heart of the people melted and turned to water.
וַיִּקְרַע יְהוֹשֻׁעַ שִׂמְלֹתָיו וַיִּפֹּל עַל־פָּנָיו אַרְצָה לִפְנֵי אֲרוֹן יְהוָה עַד־הָעֶרֶב הוּא וְזִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל 7:6
וַיַּעֲלוּ עָפָר עַל־רֹאשָׁם׃
Josh. 7:6 And Joshua tore his clothes and fell on his face to the earth before the ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel, and they put dust on their heads.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֲהָהּ אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה לָמָה הֵעֲבַרְתָּ הַעֲבִיר אֶת־הָעָם הַזֶּה אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּן לָתֵת אֹתָנוּ 7:7
בְּיַד הָאֱמֹרִי לְהַאֲבִידֵנוּ וְלוּ הוֹאַלְנוּ וַנֵּשֶׁב בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן׃
Josh. 7:7 And Joshua said, “Alas, Lord, O Lord, why have You made this people to cross over the Jordan? To deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to cause us to perish? But would we had been content and dwelled on the other side of the Jordan!”
בִּי אֲדֹנָי מָה אֹמַר אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר הָפַךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל עֹרֶף לִפְנֵי אֹיְבָיו׃ 7:8
Josh. 7:8 “Pray, O Lord, what can be said following that Israel has turned its back before its enemy?”
וְיִשְׁמְעוּ הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְכֹל יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ וְנָסַבּוּ עָלֵינוּ וְהִכְרִיתוּ אֶת־שְׁמֵנוּ מִן־הָאָרֶץ וּמַה־תַּעֲשֵׂה 7:9
Josh. 7:9 “When the Canaanites hear, and all the inhabitants of the land, then they will turn back against us and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?”
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ קֻם לָךְ לָמָּה זֶּה אַתָּה נֹפֵל עַל־פָּנֶיךָ׃ 7:11
Josh. 7:10 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Lift yourself! What is this? You fall on your face?”
חָטָא יִשְׂרָאֵל וְגַם עָבְרוּ אֶת־בְּרִיתִי אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִי אוֹתָם וְגַם לָקְחוּ מִן־הַחֵרֶם וְגַם גָּנְבוּ וְגַם 7:11
כִּחֲשׁוּ וְגַם שָׂמוּ בִכְלֵיהֶם׃
Josh. 7:11 “Israel has sinned, and also they have transgressed My covenant with which I charged them, and also they have taken from the devoted thing, and also they have stolen, and also they have dealt falsely, and even they have put with their things.”
וְלֹא יֻכְלוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לָקוּם לִפְנֵי אֹיְבֵיהֶם עֹרֶף יִפְנוּ לִפְנֵי אֹיְבֵיהֶם כִּי הָיוּ לְחֵרֶם לֹא אוֹסִיף 7:12
לִהְיוֹת עִמָּכֶם אִם־לֹא תַשְׁמִידוּ הַחֵרֶם מִקִּרְבְּכֶם׃
Josh. 7:12 “So the children of Israel cannot prevail to stand before their enemies; they will turn the back before their enemies, because they have come to be accursed. I will not proceed to be with you if you do not destroy the accursed from your midst.”
קֻם קַדֵּשׁ אֶת־הָעָם וְאָמַרְתָּ הִתְקַדְּשׁוּ לְמָחָר כִּי כֹה אָמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל חֵרֶם בְּקִרְבְּךָ 7:13
יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא תוּכַל לָקוּם לִפְנֵי אֹיְבֶיךָ עַד־הֲסִירְכֶם הַחֵרֶם מִקִּרְבְּכֶם׃
Josh. 7:13 “Arise, sanctify the people. And you shall say, ‘Make yourselves holy for tomorrow, for thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘An accursed thing is in your midst, O Israel. You will not be able to stand before your enemies until your removal of the accursed thing from your midst.’”
וְנִקְרַבְתֶּם בַּבֹּקֶר לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם וְהָיָה הַשֵּׁבֶט אֲשֶׁר־יִלְכְּדֶנּוּ יְהוָה יִקְרַב לַמִּשְׁפָּחוֹת וְהַמִּשְׁפָּחָה 7:14
אֲשֶׁר־יִלְכְּדֶנָּה יְהוָה תִּקְרַב לַבָּתִּים וְהַבַּיִת אֲשֶׁר יִלְכְּדֶנּוּ יְהוָה יִקְרַב לַגְּבָרִים׃
Josh. 7:14 “So you shall come near in the morning by your tribes, and it shall be, the tribe that the Lord will select, it shall come near by families, and the family that the Lord shall select, it shall come near by households, and the household that the Lord shall select, it shall come near by persons.”
וְהָיָה הַנִּלְכָּד בַּחֵרֶם יִשָּׂרֵף בָּאֵשׁ אֹתוֹ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ כִּי עָבַר אֶת־בְּרִית יְהוָה וְכִי־עָשָׂה 7:15
Josh. 7:15 “And the selected one with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire, him and all that is his, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord and because he brought evil on Israel.”
וַיַּשְׁכֵּם יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בַּבֹּקֶר וַיַּקְרֵב אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל לִשְׁבָטָיו וַיִּלָּכֵד שֵׁבֶט יְהוּדָה׃ 7:16
Josh. 7:16 And Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near by its tribes, and the tribe of Judah was selected.
וַיַּקְרֵב אֶת־מִשְׁפַּחַת יְהוּדָה וַיִּלְכֹּד אֵת מִשְׁפַּחַת הַזַּרְחִי וַיַּקְרֵב אֶת־מִשְׁפַּחַת הַזַּרְחִי לַגְּבָרִים 7:17
Josh. 7:17 Then he brought the families of Judah near, and He selected the family of the Zerahites. Then he brought the family of the Zerahites near by men, and Zabdi was selected.
וַיַּקְרֵב אֶת־בֵּיתוֹ לַגְּבָרִים וַיִּלָּכֵד עָכָן בֶּן־כַּרְמִי בֶן־זַבְדִּי בֶּן־זֶרַח לְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה׃ 7:18
Josh. 7:18 Then he brought his house near by men, and Achan son of Carmi son of Zabdi son of Zerah of the tribe of Judah was selected.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶל־עָכָן בְּנִי שִׂים־נָא כָבוֹד לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְתֶן־לוֹ תוֹדָה וְהַגֶּד־נָא לִי מֶה 7:19
עָשִׂיתָ אַל־תְּכַחֵד מִמֶּנִּי׃
Josh. 7:19 And Joshua said to Achan, “My son, show, I pray you, honor to the Lord, God of Israel, and offer confession to Him, and tell me, I pray you, what you have done. Conceal nothing from me.”
וַיַּעַן עָכָן אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וַיֹּאמַר אָמְנָה אָנֹכִי חָטָאתִי לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְכָזֹאת וְכָזֹאת עָשִׂיתִי׃ 7:20
Josh. 7:20 And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord, God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done.”
ואראה) [וָאֵרֶא] בַשָּׁלָל אַדֶּרֶת שִׁנְעָר אַחַת טוֹבָה וּמָאתַיִם שְׁקָלִים כֶּסֶף וּלְשׁוֹן זָהָב אֶחָד חֲמִשִּׁים 7:21
שְׁקָלִים מִשְׁקָלוֹ וָאֶחְמְדֵם וָאֶקָּחֵם וְהִנָּם טְמוּנִים בָּאָרֶץ בְּתוֹךְ הָאָהֳלִי וְהַכֶּסֶף תַּחְתֶּיהָ׃
Josh. 7:21 “When I could see in the spoil a robe of Shinar, a precious one, and two hundred shekels of silver, and one wedge of gold, of fifty shekels its weight, then I desired them and took them. And behold them! Hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent with the silver beneath it!”
The word before the left parenthesis is alleged to contain an error, a superfluous heh. I believe the word is correctly spelled, and the correction in the brackets is unnecessary.
וַיִּשְׁלַח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ מַלְאָכִים וַיָּרֻצוּ הָאֹהֱלָה וְהִנֵּה טְמוּנָה בְּאָהֳלוֹ וְהַכֶּסֶף תַּחְתֶּיהָ׃ 7:22
Josh. 7:22 Then Joshua sent messengers and they ran to the tent, and behold, it was hidden in his tent, with the silver beneath it.
וַיִּקָּחוּם מִתּוֹךְ הָאֹהֶל וַיְבִאוּם אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְאֶל כָּל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּצִּקֻם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה׃ 7:23
Josh. 7:23 And they took them from the midst of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and set them down before the Lord.
וַיִּקַּח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת־עָכָן בֶּן־זֶרַח וְאֶת־הַכֶּסֶף וְאֶת־הָאַדֶּרֶת וְאֶת־לְשׁוֹן הַזָּהָב וְאֶת־בָּנָיו וְאֶת־בְּנֹתָיו 7:24
וְאֶת־שׁוֹרוֹ וְאֶת־חֲמֹרוֹ וְאֶת־צֹאנוֹ וְאֶת־אָהֳלוֹ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל עִמּוֹ וַיַּעֲלוּ אֹתָם עֵמֶק עָכוֹר׃
Josh. 7:24 Then Joshua took Achan son of Zerah and the silver and the mantle 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 was his. And all Israel was with him, and they brought them up to the valley of Achor.
וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ מֶה עֲכַרְתָּנוּ יַעְכֳּרְךָ יְהוָה בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה וַיִּרְגְּמוּ אֹתוֹ כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶבֶן וַיִּשְׂרְפוּ אֹתָם 7:25
בָּאֵשׁ וַיִּסְקְלוּ אֹתָם בָּאֲבָנִים׃
Josh. 7:25 And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you on this day.” And all of Israel stoned him stone, and they burned them with fire, and they stoned them with stones. [Return to Isai. 65:10]
The peculiar phrase in the midst of this verse, “and ... stoned him stone,” is a literal translation of the Hebrew words !b,a,...' ... Atao WmG>r>YIw:.. I presume the words are an idiom for something like “and ... promptly stoned him.” Note the similar words at the end of the verse. The Hebrew of this latter phrase is more normal. Notice also the reversal of the description of events: They burned them and then stoned them. But to whom do the pronouns them refer? Must be all the family of Achan. Also note that the two instances of the Hebrew word meaning stoned are different; they are synonyms. This is relatively rare. Synonyms do not frequently appear in the same verse.
וַיָּקִימוּ עָלָיו גַּל־אֲבָנִים גָּדוֹל עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וַיָּשָׁב יְהוָה מֵחֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ עַל־כֵּן קָרָא שֵׁם הַמָּקוֹם 7:26
הַהוּא עֵמֶק עָכוֹר עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃
Josh. 7:26 And they raised a great heap of stones over him until 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 until this day.
The events of this chapter portray ominous ramifications resulting from one man’s evil and greed. Many “innocents” suffered and died because of Achan’s misdeed, including his own family. One bad apple can spoil the barrel. On a simple level that’s all there is to learn from these events. But I usually try to look deeper to see what higher wisdom might be gleaned from such a troubling chapter. Why? Because I believe the bible is the inspired word of God as recorded by men, and I recognize that all the bible, not just the Torah, instructs us. Here’s what I have come up with.
For one thing, vss. 7:6 to 7:15 teach us we should first turn to the Lord for direction when misfortune strikes. He will show the way out of the difficult circumstances. With humility and surrender to His will, we can learn how to rise successfully out of a failure.
For another thing, we are not to act or react without the Lord’s help. Verses 7:16 to 7:18 show how He reveals the guilt of Achan. We do not take matters into our own hands without His guidance. We must depend on Him.
Finally, some actions are unforgivable. Those that directly insult the Lord, show contempt for Him or His chosen servant, or corrupt the holy affect all of us in one way or another. As a result we are all diminished and thereby suffer. And we diminish God.
Now I realize that some of you will say that I am naive to believe these “mythologic” tales. You will say that the book of Joshua depicts too many “impossible” events to be believable. The river water stops flowing and the river bed dries up instantly, the sun stands still in the sky, as well as other peculiar and fantastical events that defy physical law. Faith can fail under such an attack on the words as opposed to the ideas hidden within them. As you may know, I accept the words of the Torah and the bible not only as presenting stories, but as offering symbolism from which we may derive important concepts. Remember, the stories come out of the minds and hearts of divinely inspired men who believed they were recording the Lord’s messages to them. They reported these ideas in the only way they had available to them -- with simple words. Recognize that the message is not the medium! The message resides within the medium.
Some of you may also say that I am again or still treading on dangerous ground. We see “madmen” who perform horrible acts believing that they were inspired by God. We see others who believe they are being empowered by God, but they lead their audience astray. To you I reply, the world is a dangerous place. Traps lurk everywhere. We must not ignore or reject God’s important lessons because we fear the consequences. The central idea of earthly life is to accept the Lord, to love Him with all our heart, soul, and might, and to joyously learn from Him with enthusiasm and thanksgiving.
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