Joshua 7:26: The Punishment of Achan and his House, Part 3

Verse 26:[1] And they (Josh. 8:29; 2 Sam. 18:17; Lam. 3:53) raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So (Deut. 13:17; 2 Sam. 21:14) the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, (Josh. 7:24; Isa. 65:10; Hos. 2:15) The valley of Achor (that is, trouble[2]), unto this day.

[They gathered over him] Rabbi Levi Ben Gershon thinks that the children were not afflicted with punishment, because a mound is constructed for one only. But, 1. ἐναλλαγὴ/enallage[3] is very common in Sacred Scripture. 2. Achan alone was guilt, to whom the rest, as accessory, are added (Masius).

[A heap of stones] The same was don from the King of Ai, Joshua 8:29; Absalom, 2 Samuel 18:17; Balista in Virgil, under this mountain of stones Balista is covered, buried[4] (Malvenda). By monuments of this sort it was useful that the memory of the good and of the evil be memorialized, so that they might incite the minds of posterity to virtue, and turn them from vice (Masius). A heap, etc., ταφὴν ἄτιμον, a dishonorable burial, as Josephus says here[5] (Grotius).

A great heap of stones; as a monument of the sin and judgment here mentioned, that others might be instructed and warned by the example; and as a brand of infamy, as Joshua 8:29; 2 Samuel 18:17.

[And it was called (thus Masius, Drusius)] Hebrew: he called.[6] A similar expression, he announced to David, in the place of, it was announced; He reckoned to him,[7] that is, with the Apostle interpreting, it was reckoned[8] (Drusius). Or, he, namely, Joshua, called (Masius, Drusius).

The valley of Achor; or, the valley of trouble, from the double trouble expressed verse 25.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּקִ֙ימוּ עָלָ֜יו גַּל־אֲבָנִ֣ים גָּד֗וֹל עַ֚ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה וַיָּ֥שָׁב יְהוָ֖ה מֵחֲר֣וֹן אַפּ֑וֹ עַל־כֵּ֠ן קָרָ֞א שֵׁ֣ם הַמָּק֤וֹם הַהוּא֙ עֵ֣מֶק עָכ֔וֹר עַ֖ד הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: עָכוֹר.

[3] That is, here the singular number in the place of the plural.

[4] Ascribed to Virgil by Donatus, a fourth century Roman grammarian, and commentator on Virgil.  Balista was master of a school of gladiators, but, having become notorious for his robberies, he was buried under a heap of stone.

[5] Jewish Antiquities 5:1.

[6] Hebrew: קָרָא.

[7] Genesis 15:6:  “And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him (וַיַּחְשְׁבֶ֥הָ לּ֖וֹ) for righteousness.”

[8] Romans 4:3:  “For what saith the scripture?  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him (καὶ ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ) for righteousness.”

Joshua 7:25: The Punishment of Achan and his House, Part 2

Verse 25:[1] And Joshua said, (Josh. 6:18; 1 Chron. 2:7; Gal. 5:12) Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. (Deut. 17:6) And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.

[Because thou hast troubled (thus Munster), מֶ֣ה עֲכַרְתָּ֔נוּ] What hast thou troubled us? (Montanus, Septuagint, Jonathan, Malvenda). Why, or wherefore? (Syriac, Arabic, Pagnine); since (Tigurinus); how! (Junius and Tremellius); o how! (Drusius); O how greatly! Alas, in what ways! Thus it is taken in Ezekiel 16:30;[2] 19:2[3] (Drusius out of Masius).

[The Lord trouble thee] I do not find fault with the rendering, only provided that this be the speech of the Judge pronouncing sentence, not imprecating destruction (Masius, Lapide). Hence it is evident that the work is the Lord’s, when the Magistrate exacts punishment of the guilty, Romans 13:4 (Masius). I would prefer, the Lord shall trouble, rather than, the Lord trouble, lest those things should appear to be done by Joshua in anger. For it is beastly inhumanity to rage against a man bound, unarmed, penitent, and miserable (Masius). He shall trouble thee, that is, He shall exact punishment of thee (Vatablus).

[On this day[4] (thus Jonathan, Arabic, Munster, Pagnine, Masius)] Hence the Talmudists gather that he was punished in this life, not likewise in the next. To us this does appear believable, not on account of these words (this is trifling conjecture [Bonfrerius]), but because of his candid confession (Masius). On that day (Syriac, Tigurinus). I think that בַּיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה, on this day, is the same thing as כַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה, as on this day, or, just as that day, as the Septuagint here expresses it. It is a note of affirmation; that is to say, plainly, absolutely, clearly, as certainly as you see the light of the present day which you enjoy (Masius).

[And all Israel stoned him] Question: But for what reason was he stoned, who was commanded by God to be burned, verse 15? Responses: 1. Either that fire in verse 15 is used of the punishment after this life, or stoning is thus called (Augustine in Masius on verse 15). Burning signifies whatever punishment, because pain burns the soul, as it were; or at least it signifies that punishment which cleanses us from sin, as in Numbers 31:23; 1 Corinthians 3 (Augustine in Serarius). 2. Others maintain that he was afflicted with both punishments (thus Cajetan in Serarius, Masius). He was stoned, because he violated the Sabbath (as it is evident from this, that he committed the sacrilege on the day that Jericho was taken, that is, on the day of the Sabbath): he was punished with fireas a robber of God (Munster out of the Hebrews). While he was being led to punishment, stones were cast at him by the people, furious (Drusius out of Masius, Hebrews in Munster), and eager to appease the Deity (Masius). Or, he was first burned alive, and then buried with stones by the people, since the Israelites detested the criminals just like the ashes (Serarius, Bonfrerius). Certain interpreters thus: they burned them with fire, and cast upon them, that is, upon their ashes, a great number of stones (certain interpreters in Vatablus). This opinion is proven: 1. Because this punishment is expressly prescribed in verse 15. 2. Because that stoning, as one may gather out of the following verse, appears to have been added only at the end, so that they might bury under stones the ashes, or remains, of that infamous man, before they were thoroughly consumed (Bonfrerius). And so they maintain that what will be done afterwards is related now, before the burning. This opinion I neither altogether reject, nor completely approve. For that signification of the verb, to stone, appears unusual (Masius). Or, he was first stoned, then burned (Tostatus and Calvin in Serarius). Thus they render the Hebrew words, and they burned them with fire, and they stoned them with stones[5] (Montanus, Arabic, Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals), that is, after they stoned them (Jonathan, Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius, Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals). Among the Hebrews, the copulative ו/and is sometimes ordinative: thus in Job 14:10, man will die and will be debilitated, that is, man will die after he has been debilitated[6] (Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:249:543). He was first stoned, according to the law against blasphemers and despisers of the Divine commandment, Leviticus 24:14; Numbers 15:30, 35: afterwards he was consumed with fire (as things devoted to the anathema are wont to be), according to the law in Deuteronomy 13:16 (Junius on verse 15). This opinion does not satisfy. For, 1. it is against the order of the text. For it is said that first they were burned, then stoned. Therefore, the same order is to be understood in the case of Achan, who is not even said here to have been burned, because that is sufficiently understood out of the precept of the Lord previously posited (verse 15) (Serarius). 2. Thus through this adventitious punishment the guilty might be taken away from the principal punishment that God had decreed for him in verse 15, he shall be burned, that is, alive: For it signifies this properly and commonly (Serarius). But it is not absurd, if we should say that the burning commanded by God has regard unto the corpses; otherwise the living bodies were stoned, and at the end the ashes were buried and covered by the accumulation of stones (Masius).

[And they stoned them] That is, his sons; or those things; that is, they buried the remaining things under stones (Bonfrerius).

Stoned him with stones, and burned him with fire; which is easily understood, both out of the following words, and from God’s command to do so, verse 15, which doubtless was here executed.

Question. How could both these deaths be inflicted upon them? Answer. It seems they were stoned to death, which was the punishment of such offenders, Numbers 15:35, and not burned to death; and therefore the stoning only of Achan is mentioned here, and not his burning; and God would have their dead carcasses burned to show his utmost detestation of such persons as break forth into sins of such a public scandal and mischief. And for the burning of Achan, commanded Joshua 7:15, it seems not likely to be meant of his burning alive, because that burning is common to him, and all that he hath, as is there expressed; but of the burning of his dead carcass, and other lifeless things, as the manner was with accursed things, Deuteronomy 13:16.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ מֶ֣ה עֲכַרְתָּ֔נוּ יַעְכֳּרְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה בַּיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה וַיִּרְגְּמ֙וּ אֹת֤וֹ כָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אֶ֔בֶן וַיִּשְׂרְפ֤וּ אֹתָם֙ בָּאֵ֔שׁ וַיִּסְקְל֥וּ אֹתָ֖ם בָּאֲבָנִֽים׃

[2] Ezekiel 16:30:  “How weak is (מָ֤ה אֲמֻלָה֙) thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman…”

[3] Ezekiel 19:2:  “And say, What is thy mother (מָ֤ה אִמְּךָ֙)?  A lioness:  she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions.”

[4] Hebrew: בַּיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה.

[5] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׂרְפ֤וּ אֹתָם֙ בָּאֵ֔שׁ וַיִּסְקְל֥וּ אֹתָ֖ם בָּאֲבָנִֽים׃.

[6] Job 14:10:  “But man dieth, and wasteth away (וְגֶ֣בֶר יָ֭מוּת וַֽיֶּחֱלָ֑שׁ):  yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?”

Joshua 7:24: The Punishment of Achan and his House, Part 1

Verse 24:[1] And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, 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 he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.

[And his sons and daughters also] But this appears harsh, that the children pay the penalty for the sin of the father, and contrary to Deuteronomy 24:16. Responses: 1. That law was established concerning human judgment, but Joshua is now executing the commands of God (Masius). 2. Others maintain that these were not taken away with their father for punishment, but to witness, for the sake of fear (thus the Rabbis in Masius). Thus it is able to be explained, says Grotius, for it follows in verse 25, they stoned him, not them. But it is next subjoined, and they stoned them. But the latter pertains to the animals and furniture (Rabbi Levi in Masius). 3. The judgments of God are not to be measured by our sense and laws (Masius). 4. Perhaps they were aware of the disgraceful act of the parent, and participating in it (Bonfrerius). Thus the Talmudists determine, but they assert no reason for their affirmation (Masius). But, since they were living in the same tent in which Achan hid, or buried, the devoted thing, they were easily able to know this (Malvenda). But perhaps they were infants in this. Response: They are said to have been sons, etc., not infants (Malvenda out of Junius). [Furthermore, as Achan was the fifth from Judah, concerning which see what things we gathered on verse 1, it appears likely that, as he was of a more advanced age, so his children were adults.] He condemned in persons the contagion of conscience; but in things and goods the instruments of the contagion: so hateful is sin, and the instrument of sin (Junius). 5. The children did not pay for the sin of the parent, but they paid the debt of nature, which God (the Lord of life and death [Lapide]) calls in how and when He pleases (Junius). Moreover, the death of these was useful to restrain the audacity of the people (which was clearly needful in the new empire’s most dangerous, and fortune’s more prosperous, beginnings); so that they might understand just how great is the contagion of sin (Masius); and so that they might look out for one another, as members of one body (Junius). But it does not escape me how harsh it might be for the crimes of the parents to be paid for by the punishments of the children: but this is clearly established by laws (concerning confiscation of goods), so that the love of their children might render parents more affectionate to the republic. And so Lepidus is cruel to his children, not he that judges Lepidus to be an enemy: Cicero’s Epistles to Brutus[2] 13 (Gataker). Without fault, but not without reason, that is, on account of the crime of their father, they were slain (Menochius). That God is wont to impose even on the innocent temporal punishments on account of the sins of parents and others, it was observed on Exodus 20:5 (Bonfrerius).

His sons and his daughters; but this seems hard and unjust, and therefore forbidden by God himself, Deuteronomy 24:16. Answer 1. That law was given to men, not to God, who certainly hath a more absolute right and sovereignty over men than one man hath over another. 2. Their death was a debt they owed to nature and to their own sins, which debt God may require when he pleaseth; and he could not take it in more honourable and excellent circumstances than these, that the death of a very few in the beginning of a new empire, and of their settlement in the land might be useful to prevent the death of many thousands, who took warning by this dreadful example, whom, if the fear of God did not, yet the love of their own and of their dear children’s lives would, restrain from such dangerous and pernicious practices. 3. It is very probable they were conscious of the fact, as the Jewish doctors affirm. If it be pretended that some of them were infants, the text doth not say so, but only calls them sons and daughters. And considering that Achan was an old man, as is most probable, because he was the fifth person from Judah, (of which see on verse 1,) it seems most likely that the children were grown up, and so capable of knowing, and concealing or discovering this fact. Nor doth it follow that they were not guilty because it is not said so; for it is apparent that many circumstances are omitted in divers historical relations in Scripture, which sometimes are supplied in other places. His oxen, and his asses, and his sheep; which, though not capable of sin, nor of punishment properly so called, yet, as they were made for man’s use, so they are rightly destroyed for man’s good; and being daily killed for our bodily food, it cannot seem strange to kill them for the instruction of our minds, that hereby we might learn the detestable and contagious nature of sin, which involves innocent creatures in its plagues; and how much sorer punishments are reserved for man, who having a law given to him, and that excellent gift of reason and will to restrain him from the transgressions of it, his guilt must needs be unspeakably greater, and therefore his sufferings more severe and terrible. Further, by this enumeration it appears that he had no colour of necessity to induce him to this fact, but was wholly inexcusable.

[And all Israel with him [the Vulgate incloses this in parentheses], וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עִמּ֑וֹ[3]] And all Israel with him (Montanus, Septuagint, Jonathan). [They construe and connect it in a variety of ways.] With all Israel (Munster, Tigurinus). Now, all Israel accompanied him (Masius, thus the Arabic, Castalio). He led his sons…and all Israel with himself (Syriac). [Some connect it with what follows:] And so all Israel, which was with him, brought, etc. (Pagnine). [Others cast it back to the beginning of the verse:] Then Joshua and all Israel with him, with Achan taken, etc. (Junius and Tremellius, Dutch). He commends the zeal of the people to expiate the crime, etc. And perhaps the Tribe of Judah is obliquely vindicated from suspicion of contumacy, which follows with alacrity equal to the others the procession of punishment of their fellow-tribesmen (Masius).

[They brought them unto the valley, וַיַּעֲל֥וּ אֹתָ֖ם עֵ֥מֶק] They caused themselves (or, those [Vatablus, Munster, Junius and Tremellius], that is, both men and things [Bonfrerius]) to ascend[4] into the valley (Drusius, Montanus, Jonathan, Arabic). But one does not ascend, but descend, into a valley (Drusius). Surely there was a hill in the midst of the camps of Israel and this valley (Kimchi in Masius). But there is no reason for these straits, for עָלָה often signifies to enter, and thence הֶעֱלָה, to bring in and to lead in (Masius). [Therefore, they translate in this place:] It led up (Septuagint); it took along (Syriac); they led away (Junius and Tremellius, Munster, Tigurinus, Pagnine). Now, from the camps they led the one to be punished with death, for it was a sin to kill anyone in the midst of the camps (Masius, Bonfrerius); whether on account of the presence of the Ark, or lest the camps in any manner be polluted with carrion (Bonfrerius).

[The valley of Achor, עָכוֹר] Thus it is called proleptically, for it received its name from the following punishment: For Achan is the same as Achor[5] (Bonfrerius, Masius, Piscator).

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּקַּ֣ח יְהוֹשֻׁ֣עַ אֶת־עָכָ֣ן בֶּן־זֶ֡רַח וְאֶת־הַכֶּ֣סֶף וְאֶת־הָאַדֶּ֣רֶת וְֽאֶת־לְשׁ֣וֹן הַזָּהָ֡ב וְֽאֶת־בָּנָ֡יו וְֽאֶת־בְּנֹתָ֡יו וְאֶת־שׁוֹרוֹ֩ וְאֶת־חֲמֹר֙וֹ וְאֶת־צֹאנ֤וֹ וְאֶֽת־אָהֳלוֹ֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־ל֔וֹ וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עִמּ֑וֹ וַיַּעֲל֥וּ אֹתָ֖ם עֵ֥מֶק עָכֽוֹר׃

[2] Marcus Æmilius Lepidus (c. 89-c. 13), having been a supporter of Cæsar, was a member of the Second Triumvirate with Octavian and Mark Antony.  Cicero was a political opponent of Antony and Lepidus, and here commends and defends the punishment of Lepidus’ children, should Lepidus prove treacherous.

[3] Joshua 7:24 (according to the Hebrew and Latin word order):  “And Joshua took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, 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 he had (and all Israel with him [וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עִמּ֑וֹ; et omnis Israel cum eo, in the Vulgate]):  and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.”

[4] עָלָה signifies to go up.  The Hiphil conjugation frequently conveys a causative sense.

[5] See 1 Chronicles 2:7; and Joshua 7:25a:  “And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee (מֶ֣ה עֲכַרְתָּ֔נוּ יַעְכֳּרְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה) this day….”

Joshua 7:22, 23: Discovery of the Devoted Items

Verse 22:[1] So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it.

[He sent, etc.] 1. So that the confession of the guilty might be confirmed. For no evidence ought to be thought of as superfluous, when the matter is capital. 2. So that the items, having been brought forth, might be burned with the thief (Masius).

Joshua sent messengers, that the truth of his confession might be evident and unquestionable, which some peradventure might think was forced from him.

[Running] 1. Lest any of Achan’s relatives should act first, and, with the items removed, render the whole action dubious. 2. So that they might with the greatest celerity free the republic from evil (Masius).

They ran; partly longing to free themselves and all the people from the curse under which they lay; and partly that none of Achan’s relations or others might get thither before them, and take away those things. It was hid, that is, the parcel of things mentioned verse 21, 24.


Verse 23:[2] And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid (Heb. poured[3]) them out before the LORD.

[And they cast down, וַיַּצִּקֻם[4]] And they set those things (Montanus, Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius), they laid (Septuagint, Munster, Tigurinus, English, Piscator, similarly the Syriac, Arabic). And they poured, or they poured out, or poured forth, those things (Masius, Piscator, Jonathan, Castalio, Dutch). A καταχρηστικὴ/improper Metaphor (Piscator). יָצַק signifies to pour; yet it is used for the closely related verbs יָצַב and יָצַג, which signify to set, to place, to fix. The sense: They spread those things out before the eyes of all (Masius).

Unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel: Where Joshua and the elders continued yet in their assembly, waiting for the issue of this business.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁלַ֤ח יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ מַלְאָכִ֔ים וַיָּרֻ֖צוּ הָאֹ֑הֱלָה וְהִנֵּ֧ה טְמוּנָ֛ה בְּאָהֳל֖וֹ וְהַכֶּ֥סֶף תַּחְתֶּֽיהָ׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיִּקָּחוּם֙ מִתּ֣וֹךְ הָאֹ֔הֶל וַיְבִאוּם֙ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ וְאֶ֖ל כָּל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיַּצִּקֻ֖ם לִפְנֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃

[3] Hebrew: וַיַּצִּקֻם.

[4] יָצַק, in the Hiphil conjugation, signifies to pour out.

Joshua 7:21: Achan’s Confession, Part 3

Verse 21:[1] When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge (Heb. tongue[2]) of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

When I saw, etc.: He accurately describes the progress of his sin, which began at his eye, which he permitted to gaze and fix upon them, which inflamed his desire, and made him covet them; and that desire put him upon action, and made him take them; and having taken, resolve to keep them, and to that end hide them in his tent.

[A scarlet pallium,[3] אַדֶּ֣רֶת שִׁנְעָר֩] Question: What is this? Of Shinar is Babylonian, says Malvenda; Shinar was near Babylon, says Bochart in Sacred Geography 1:5. [See our collectanea on Genesis 10:10; 11:2, 9; and almost all translate שִׁנְעָר, of Shinar, here as Babylonian.] Now, they translate אַדֶּרֶת,[4] pallium (Arabic, Pagnine, Montanus, Drusius), chlamys[5] (Vatablus, Tigurinus), stola[6] (Jonathan, Vatablus, Aquila in Masius), toga (Junius and Tremellius), paludamentum:[7] now, this belonged to nobles; Juvenal’s Satires 6, and with generals wearing the paludamentum, etc., and Jonah 3:6, the king took off אַדַּרְתּוֹ, his robes, so that he might put on sackcloth (Masius). אַדֶּרֶת, if the origin of the word be regarded, signifies either a tapestry, or a magnificent garment, which wins glory for him that makes use of it (Masius, Bonfrerius). Now, it is evident that Babylonian garments were prized. Plutarch relates that Marcus Cato,[8] when he had received by inheritance an embroidered Babylonian garment, immediately sold it[9] (Masius). Plautus[10] makes mention of Babylonian Coverings in Stichus. In Aristides’[11] “Regarding Rome” you find Babylonian garments (Bonfrerius). Lucretius,[12] On the Nature of Things[13] 4: When the Babylonian garments, in magnificent splendor, are drenched. See also Pliny’s Natural History 8:48 (Malvenda). Moreover, some maintain that these garments were purple or scarlet-dyed (for it is certain that these are taken promiscuously) (thus Rabbi Haninah[14] and Jerome in Bochart’s Sacred Geography “Phaleg”, thus the Vulgate). But I think that the discovery of the Babylonian purple was recent, while the ancient Babylonians sought purple from Tyre and from Hermione.[15] [Others otherwise:] The Greeks render it correctly, στολὴν ποικίλην, a stola various, that is, variegated and interwoven with diverse colors of embroidery, the invention of which weaving is owed to the Babylonians (Bochart’s Sacred Geography “Phaleg” 1:6:33). These garments were artistically woven with diverse colors, which might render whatever things and likenesses of faces. Pliny, in Natural History 8:48, says, Babylon was especially celebrated for their interweaving of diverse colors into a picture. Apuleius, Florida[16] 1: He had as a girdle a belt, which sort is variegated in striking colors with Babylonian embroidery. Martial, Epigrams 8:28: I would not prefer Babylonian garments proudly embroidered. Petronius, Satyricon:[17] clothed with plumed Babylonian gold. And Josephus, Jewish Wars 7:17 (7:24 in Latin): other garments, varied with a most meticulous embroidery, after the Babylonian art (Bonfrerius). Babylonian men are described in Ezekiel 23:15 as luxuriating in dyed (supply, head-dresses, or turbans), that is, of different colors, upon their heads.[18] And those that set forth purple here, I think to have take it of purple interwoven with various colors: concerning which Æneid 7, …neither does embroidered purple please the King (Bochart’s Sacred Geography “Phaleg” 1:5:34).

Babylonish garments were composed with great art with divers colours, and of great price, as appears both from Scripture, Ezekiel 23:15, and from divers heathen authors. [See my Latin Synopsis.]

[Two hundred shekels] That is, a hundred ounces; for the shekel was a half-ounce in weight[19] (Bonfrerius, Masius). In the place of shekels Symmachus and frequently Aquila have στατῆρας/staters.[20] Two hundred shekels are one hundred Germanic thalers[21] (Masius). Now, I do not understand this of shekel coins (which it is not evident were at that time), but of shekels paid out by weight; for at that time all things were wont to be bought, paid, and valued by weights (Bonfrerius).

Two hundred shekels, to wit, in weight, not in coin; for as yet they received and paid money by weight.

[A golden bar, וּלְשׁ֙וֹן זָהָ֤ב] A tongue of gold (Montanus, Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Drusius, Masius); a strip (Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, Drusius); a sheet (Vatablus, Kimchi in Masius); of gold shaped into the figure of a tongue (Kimchi in Masius). It was a hunk of unformed gold (Masius, Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities 5). The Latins call it laterem, a brick/ingot (Junius). It appears that the broad clasp of a toga or pallium is called a tongue metaphorically, because of the similarity of shape (Piscator).

[Of fifty shekels] It is able to be understood, either, of the shekel coin, and thus it would be worth twenty-five thalers; or (which I prefer), of the weight of the shekel, and thus it would be worth three hundred thalers (Masius).

[I buried it in the earth] Hebrew: under it,[22] namely, the earth.[23] Thus the Vulgate understands it (Malvenda).

[תַּחְתֶּיהָ] Under it (Pagnine, Montanus, Vatablus), namely, the pallium (Vatablus, Drusius, similarly Masius, Junius and Tremellius). For אַדֶּרֶת/ garment has a feminine form (Drusius). Others: under those (Septuagint, Jonathan, Arabic, Munster, Tigurinus). Who would not conclude that the golden tongue was hidden even in the bottom (Masius)?

Under it, that is, under the Babylonish garment; covered with it, or wrapt up in it.

[1] Hebrew: וָאֶ֣רְאֶה בַשָּׁלָ֡ל אַדֶּ֣רֶת שִׁנְעָר֩ אַחַ֙ת טוֹבָ֜ה וּמָאתַ֧יִם שְׁקָלִ֣ים כֶּ֗סֶף וּלְשׁ֙וֹן זָהָ֤ב אֶחָד֙ חֲמִשִּׁ֤ים שְׁקָלִים֙ מִשְׁקָל֔וֹ וָֽאֶחְמְדֵ֖ם וָֽאֶקָּחֵ֑ם וְהִנָּ֙ם טְמוּנִ֥ים בָּאָ֛רֶץ בְּת֥וֹךְ הָאָֽהֳלִ֖י וְהַכֶּ֥סֶף תַּחְתֶּֽיהָ׃

[2] Hebrew: וּלְשׁוֹן.

[3] A pallium is a large, rectangular cloak.

[4] אַדֶּרֶת signifies glory or cloak; it appears to be related to the verbal root אָדַר, to be great or wide.

[5] A chlamys was a short cloak, worn by Grecian men.

[6] A stola was a long, outer garment.

[7] A paludamentum was a military cloak.

[8] Cato the Elder, or Marcus Porcius Cato (234-149 BC), was a Roman senator and statesman, and the first to right history in Latin.

[9] In Vita Catonis 4.

[10] Titus Maccius Plautus (254-184 BC) was a Roman playwright.  Only twenty-one of his nearly one hundred and thirty comedies survive.

[11] Publius Ælius Aristides Theodorus (117-181) was a second century Greek rhetorician.

[12] Titus Lucretius Carus (c. 99-c. 55 BC) was a Roman poet and Epicurean philosopher.  He was a proponent of a materialistic atomism, and thus a critic of religions.

[13] De Rerum Natura.

[14] Rabbi Haninah ben Teradion (second century) was a Tenna, and one of the Ten Martyrs, killed for ignoring the Roman ban on the teaching of the Torah.

[15] Hermione was a port town on the east coast of the Greek Peloponnese.  It was famous for its shipbuilders and for its porphyra (a reddish-purple dye).

[16] Apuleius’ (c. 125-c. 180) was a Latin-language, prose author. Florida contains portions of Apuleius’ speeches; and his novel, Metamorphoses, or The Golden Ass, is the only Latin novel from this period that has survived in its entirety.

[17] Gaius Petronius Arbiter (c. 27-66) was a Roman courtier during the reign of Nero, and is believed to be the author of Satyricon, a satirical novel of that period.

[18] Ezekiel 23:15:  “Girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads (סְרוּחֵ֤י טְבוּלִים֙ בְּרָ֣אשֵׁיהֶ֔ם), all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity…”

[19] It appears that there was somewhat more than six pounds of silver.

[20] The weight of the stater would vary from place to place, but the average ranges from a quarter- to a half-ounce.

[21] Again, the weight of the thaler would vary from place to place, but the average ranges from a half to two-thirds of an ounce.

[22] Hebrew: תַּחְתֶּיהָ.

[23] אֶרֶץ/earth is feminine.

Joshua 7:20: Achan’s Confession, Part 2

Verse 20:[1] And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done…

[Truly I have sinned,[2] etc.] The individual words, proceeding from an afflicted soul, have their own emphasis (Menochius). Truly; It is the language of one ingenuously and openly confessing; he does not excuse, after the manner of hypocrites: I; It is not the case that I would accuse another; I myself have erred (Malvenda): Against the Lord; Against the precept of the Lord, or, with the Lord alone knowing (Menochius): The God of Israel; that is to say, God, by whom I was made, even indeed as an Israelite, so that I might with good reason be held as altogether ungrateful (Masius).

Indeed I have sinned: He seems to make a sincere and ingenuous confession, and loads his sin with all just aggravations.  Against the Lord; against his express command, and just rights, and glorious attributes.  The Lord God of Israel; the true God, who hath chosen me and all Israel to be the people of his peculiar love and care.

[And thus and thus have I done] It contains a Hypotyposis[3] of what happened and a clear explanation, in which he progresses in an orderly fashion; first from the very sense of sight, as the instigator of evil things, to the soul inflamed with lust; thence unto the deed; finally unto sting of conscience, whence also the concealment followed. Which sort of series we observe to be in almost all sins (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּ֧עַן עָכָ֛ן אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אָמְנָ֗ה אָנֹכִ֤י חָטָ֙אתִי֙ לַֽיהוָה֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְכָזֹ֥את וְכָזֹ֖את עָשִֽׂיתִי׃

[2] Hebrew: אָמְנָ֗ה אָנֹכִ֤י חָטָ֙אתִי֙.

[3] That is, a vivid depiction of scenes or events.

Joshua 7:19: Achan’s Confession, Part 1

Verse 19:[1] And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, (see 1 Sam. 6:5; Jer. 13:16; John 9:24) give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, (Num. 5:6, 7; 2 Chron. 30:22; Ps. 51:3; Dan. 9:4) and make confession unto him; and (1 Sam. 14:43) tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.

[My son] Nothing is more disgraceful in a Prince than unbridled anger; nothing more laudable than lenience and mercy; in which Joshua here imitates Moses, Numbers 12:3 (Masius). He calls him son, because good Princes are fathers to their subjects (Menochius).

He calls him my son, to show that this severe inquisition and sentence did not proceed from any hatred to his person, which he loved as a father doth his son, and as a prince ought to do each of his subjects.

[Give glory to the Lord] The way used by the Hebrews, by which the guilty were wont to be adjured by God, being reminded that they stand before God, etc., lest they should lie (Menochius). A similar formula is used in John 9:24. But, as I am not unwilling entirely to reject or refute this, neither am I quite able to prove it (Masius). Glory is given to God by the confession of the truth, but especially in this place: for he profess that God is, 1. Omniscient, as from whom that sacrilege, perpetrated with the utmost secrecy, was not hidden; 2. Just, who does not without good reason afflict the Israelties with that defeat, and who most justly ordains punishments for wicked acts; 3. True, by whose lot the guilty may be exposed; 4. Most Holy, whose devoted things ought not to be misappropriated by any one; 5. Almighty, whose sentence and punishment no one is able to evade by any power, art, or subterfuge; 6. Much to be revered and feared, since the most hidden things are publicly disclosed at His bidding and because of Him (Bonfrerius, Serarius). It was useful for the truth of the Divine indication to be known upon the best evidence; for by it all were understanding that nothing is able to be committed so secretly by anyone that it might slip past the eyes of God. By this confession he delivers himself from eternal punishment, inasmuch as he becomes his own accuser (Masius). Hence some hope appears rightly to be gathered concerning the continuance of souls after death. For, with what other hope was this man persuaded to confess a capital crime? Now, it is the sentence of the Jews that by confession and death the forgiveness of such crimes is obtained from God. Here we have a formula for the examination of the guilty. In this way witnesses were also interrogated. See what things were noted on John 9:24 (Grotius).

[Give] Hebrew: Posit glory, etc.;[2] it is a Hebraism; that is, Glorify God, at whose nod the lot fell upon thee: and give confession to Him; it is a Hebraism; confess sin unto His praise and glory (Vatablus). Others thus: Confess sin, so that the things stolen might be devoted to the ban according to the precept of the Lord, whence all honor and glory is rendered to God, and His will is fulfilled (Malvenda). The most benign God is worthy to lay claim to His praise, as men ingenuously confess their sins, and study to accommodate themselves to His will (Masius).

Give glory to the Lord God of Israel; as thou hast highly dishonoured him, now take the shame and blame to thyself, and ascribe unto God the glory of his omniscience in knowing thy sin; of his justice in punishing it in thee, and others for thy sake; of his omnipotency, which was obstructed by thee; and of his kindness and faithfulness to his people, which was eclipsed by thy wickedness; all which will now be evident by thy sin confessed and punished.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֜עַ אֶל־עָכָ֗ן בְּנִי֙ שִֽׂים־נָ֣א כָב֗וֹד לַֽיהוָ֛ה אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וְתֶן־ל֣וֹ תוֹדָ֑ה וְהַגֶּד־נָ֥א לִי֙ מֶ֣ה עָשִׂ֔יתָ אַל־תְּכַחֵ֖ד מִמֶּֽנִּי׃

[2] Hebrew: שִֽׂים־נָ֣א כָב֗וֹד.

Joshua 7:16-18: The Lot Closes in on Achan

Verse 16:[1] So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken…

[It was found] Understanding, to have withheld from the anathema (Vatablus).


Verse 17:[2] And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken…

[According to their families] Hebrew: the family of Judah,[3] that is, the Tribe. Thus Judges 13:2, the family of the Danites; Acts 3:25, πᾶσαι αἱ πατριαὶ τῆς γῆς, all the kindreds of the earth, that is, families; and elsewhere, the family which thou leddest out of Egypt[4] (Drusius).

The family of Judah; either, 1. The tribe or people, as the word family sometimes signifies, as Judges 13:2; Zechariah 12:13; Amos 3:1; Acts 3:25, compared with Revelation 1:7. Or, 2. The families, as Joshua 7:14, the singular number for the plural, the chief of each of their five families, Numbers 26:20, 21. Man by man; not every individual person, as is evident from Joshua 7:18, but every head of the several houses or lesser families of that greater family of the Zarhites, of which see 1 Chronicles 2:6.


Verse 18:[5] And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, (1 Sam. 14:42) was taken.

He; either Joshua, or Zabdi by Joshua’s appointment.

[Dividing into individual men, לַגְּבָרִים] Man by man, that is, by the houses of the fathers (Drusius). It signifies the leaders of the families (Vatablus).

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֤ם יְהוֹשֻׁ֙עַ֙ בַּבֹּ֔קֶר וַיַּקְרֵ֥ב אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לִשְׁבָטָ֑יו וַיִּלָּכֵ֖ד שֵׁ֥בֶט יְהוּדָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיַּקְרֵב֙ אֶת־מִשְׁפַּ֣חַת יְהוּדָ֔ה וַיִּלְכֹּ֕ד אֵ֖ת מִשְׁפַּ֣חַת הַזַּרְחִ֑י וַיַּקְרֵ֞ב אֶת־מִשְׁפַּ֤חַת הַזַּרְחִי֙ לַגְּבָרִ֔ים וַיִּלָּכֵ֖ד זַבְדִּֽי׃

[3] Hebrew: אֶת־מִשְׁפַּ֣חַת יְהוּדָ֔ה.

[4] Amos 3:1 may be in view.

[5] Hebrew: וַיַּקְרֵ֥ב אֶת־בֵּית֖וֹ לַגְּבָרִ֑ים וַיִּלָּכֵ֗ד עָכָ֞ן בֶּן־כַּרְמִ֧י בֶן־זַבְדִּ֛י בֶּן־זֶ֖רַח לְמַטֵּ֥ה יְהוּדָֽה׃

Joshua 7:15: The Lot Prescribed for the Discovery of the Sin, Part 3

Verse 15:[1] (see 1 Sam. 14:38, 39) And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath (Josh. 7:11) transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he (Gen. 34:7; Judg. 20:6) hath wrought folly (or, wickedness[2]) in Israel.

[He shall be burned; but in verse 25 he was stoned (in which place you may see the reconciliation): יִשָּׂרֵ֣ף בָּאֵ֔שׁ אֹת֖וֹ] He himself shall be burned [thus Montanus and all the rest, taking אֹתוֹ/him as a nominative].

Burnt with fire, as persons and things accursed were to be. See Numbers 15:30, 35; Deuteronomy 13:16. All that he hath; his children and goods, as is noted, Joshua 7:24, according to the law, Deuteronomy 13:16.

[He has transgressed the covenant] See on verse 11. My Law, which all by covenant were obliged to keep (Bonfrerius).

[He has wrought sin (thus Montanus, Pagnine), wickedness (Syriac, Tigurinus), scandal (Junius and Tremellius), נְבָלָה] Folly (Montanus); ἀφροσύνην/senselessness, that is, derangement and frenzy (Theodotion in Masius). A foul thing, namely, dishonesty. נָבַל properly signifies to wither; and it is used, 1. of cadavers, which, with the soul released, rot; 2. of leaves, which, devoid of moisture, fall; 3. of the soul, which, deprived of Divine virtues, acts foolishly (Masius).

He hath wrought folly; so sin is oft called in Scripture, as Genesis 34:7; Judges 20:6, etc., in opposition to the idle opinion of sinners, who commonly esteem it to be their wisdom and interest.

[In Israel] That is, among the people of God, whom God had educated unto righteousness by so many laws, miracles, etc. That is to say, The thing that he perpetrated will easily infect the entire people by example, like a foul odor (Masius).

In Israel, that is, among the church and people of God, who had such excellent laws to direct them, and such an all-sufficient and gracious God to provide for them, without any such indirect and unworthy practices.

[1] Hebrew: וְהָיָה֙ הַנִּלְכָּ֣ד בַּחֵ֔רֶם יִשָּׂרֵ֣ף בָּאֵ֔שׁ אֹת֖וֹ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־ל֑וֹ כִּ֤י עָבַר֙ אֶת־בְּרִ֣ית יְהוָ֔ה וְכִֽי־עָשָׂ֥ה נְבָלָ֖ה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[2] Hebrew: נְבָלָה.

Joshua 7:13: The Lot Prescribed for the Discovery of the Sin, Part 1

Verse 13:[1] Up, (Ex. 19:10) sanctify the people, and say, (Josh. 3:5) Sanctify yourselves 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, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.

[Arise] That is to say, Up; there is work to be done; break through the delays (Malvenda, Vatablus). After He exposed the crime, now He is returned to that which He had begun to say in verse 10; and therefore He repeats, arise (Masius).

[Sanctify, קַדֵּשׁ[2]] The Chaldean translates it, זמון, that is, to cite, as if God is commanding him to appoint in advance for the people the time and place, for which they, having been prepared, might be present. The multitude of the Jews, as it is wont, willingly follows him (Masius). [But the Chaldean in the Ultimate Bible[3] has זָמֵין; and its Translator there renders it, prepare.] Prepare (Pagnine, Munster); call together (Syriac); pass in review (Arabic). But others: sanctify (Septuagint, Munster, Tigurinus, Montanus, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Masius), that is, cause that they might sanctify themselves (Piscator), by the washing of their clothes, and by sleeping apart from their spouses that night (Menochius, Lapide, Bonfrerius, similarly Masius). This is commanded, either, 1. because on the following day they were obliged to appear before God, and to pass under the lot of Divine judgment; similarly also in Exodus 19, when they were about to hear the pronouncements of God (Masius, Bonfrerius). Or, 2. because they were polluted, both from the recent slaughter, and from the theft of Achan (Drusius out of Masius). Or, 3. so that by this washing they might be prepared to discover and to avenge this accursed thing (Lapide).

Sanctify yourselves; purify yourselves from that defilement which you have all in some sort contracted by this accursed fact, and prepare yourselves to appear before the Lord, as it is most probable they were required to do; as imploring and expecting the sentence of God for the discovery and punishment of the sin, and that the guilty person might hereby be awakened and terrified, and brought to a free and seasonable confession of his fault. And it is a marvelous thing that Achan did not on this occasion acknowledge his crime; but this is to be imputed to the heart-hardening power of sin, which makes men grow worse and worse; partly, to his pride, being loth to take to himself the shame of such a mischievous and infamous action; partly, to his self-flattering and vain conceit, whereby he might think many others were guilty as well as he, and some of them might be taken, and he escape; and partly, to the just judgment of God, whereby he blinds and hardens sinners to their own ruin. See a like instance, Matthew 26:21, 22, 25.

[An accursed thing[4]] That is, the guilt and blame of the violated anathema (Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: קֻ֚ם קַדֵּ֣שׁ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ הִתְקַדְּשׁ֣וּ לְמָחָ֑ר כִּ֣י כֹה֩ אָמַ֙ר יְהוָ֜ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל חֵ֤רֶם בְּקִרְבְּךָ֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לֹ֣א תוּכַ֗ל לָקוּם֙ לִפְנֵ֣י אֹיְבֶ֔יךָ עַד־הֲסִירְכֶ֥ם הַחֵ֖רֶם מִֽקִּרְבְּכֶֽם׃

[2] Joshua 7:13a:  “Up, sanctify (קַדֵּשׁ) the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel…”

[3] Biblia Maxima.

[4] Joshua 7:13a:  “Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow:  for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing (חֵרֶם; anathema, in the Vulgate) in the midst of thee, O Israel…”