Judges 1:10: The Mountain Campaign

Verse 10:[1] And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron: (now the name of Hebron before was [Josh. 14:15; 15:13, 14] Kirjath-arba:) and they slew Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.

[And proceeding, etc., וַיֵּלֶךְ וגו״] And he went, etc. (Montanus, similarly Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Syriac). These things were narrated and exhibited in Joshua 15:14, etc.; for it is the same war, and the same expedition (Menochius, Cajetan in Bonfrerius, similarly Montanus’ Commentary). Now, they are repeated here, so that we might understand that it was not needful for the city of Hebron to be besieged by Judah, since that city was occupied while Joshua was yet living (Martyr). Therefore, they translate it, he had proceeded, etc. (Junius and Tremellius), he had smitten, etc. (Grotius, Junius and Tremellius), under the leadership of Caleb, while Joshua was living, Joshua 15:14. Thus immediately, he departed (Grotius). It is the sense of this passage that it ought to appear strange to no one, if Judah with Simeon so swiftly and easily conquered Bezek, Jerusalem, and other cities, since he previously did the like with the help of Caleb and Othniel (Montanus’ Commentary). Others otherwise: I think that these were diverse expeditions, and are thus to be referred, the former to Joshua, Joshua 10; 11, and the latter to Caleb, Joshua 15, although there by way of anticipation: the former is ascribed to Joshua and all Israel, the latter to Caleb and the Tribe of Judah. It is added that the order of the matters conducted requires this (Bonfrerius). I think that Hebron was first taken by Joshua, Joshua 10:36, 37, and that the giants were driven from there, Joshua 11:21, 22; that then it was delivered into the possession of Caleb, Joshua 14:13; 15:13, which nevertheless he himself never conquered; but under the leadership and auspices of His Tribe he drove out the giants from it again, whither they had found refuge again, having been driven out at the first by Joshua: and that this expedition is here described (Malvenda). Joshua had taken Hebron and Debir in the first or second year of the wars, Joshua 10:36, etc. Afterwards, about the seventh year of the wars, he drives out from the places the Canaanites that had in the meantime gathered there, Joshua 11:21. And, when he begins to distribute the land, he allots Hebron to Caleb, as in Joshua 14. Ten or twelve years have now elapsed after that allotting; with Caleb in the meantime either occupied with public business, concerning the division of the land, and the placement of each Tribe in its own possession; or (if he be left to his own strength) being unequal to such adversaries, until the entire Tribe of Judah under his auspices should make war, and conquer those cities (Lightfoot). Others otherwise: These matters were conducted after the death of Joshua, as it is evident from verse 1; but they are set down in Joshua 15 (likewise Joshua 10 and 11) by way of anticipation; since the cities of Judah are treated in Joshua 15, and the eminent cities in Joshua 10 and 11. And these things are imputed to Joshua, because they were done as if under his leadership, that is, just a little after him (Tostatus).

[And he smote Sheshai, etc.] Concerning these three see Joshua 15:14 (Malvenda), and Numbers 13:23 (Junius). See what things we have on Joshua 14:12 (Bonfrerius).

Judah went, under the conduct of Caleb, as it is recorded, Joshua 15:14, etc.; for that relation, and this here following, are doubtless one and the same expedition and war, as appears by all the circumstances; and it is mentioned either there by anticipation, or here by repetition. Of this and the following verses, see the notes there.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ יְהוּדָ֗ה אֶל־הַֽכְּנַעֲנִי֙ הַיּוֹשֵׁ֣ב בְּחֶבְר֔וֹן וְשֵׁם־חֶבְר֥וֹן לְפָנִ֖ים קִרְיַ֣ת אַרְבַּ֑ע וַיַּכּ֛וּ אֶת־שֵׁשַׁ֥י וְאֶת־אֲחִימַ֖ן וְאֶת־תַּלְמָֽי׃

Joshua 23:14-16: Joshua’s Doctrine of the Two Ways

Verse 14:[1] And, behold, this day (1 Kings 2:2; see Heb. 9:27) I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that (Josh. 21:45; Luke 21:33) not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof…

[Today I am going into the way of all the earth,אָנֹכִ֤י הוֹלֵךְ֙ הַיּ֔וֹם בְּדֶ֖רֶךְ כָּל־הָאָ֑רֶץ] I am going to go today by the way of all the earth, that is, flesh: which is to say, today I am going to die, just as it is appointed for all men (Vatablus, Drusius). Thus 1 Kings 2:2, I go the way of all the earth, that is, I am dying. Plautus said, Who now depart unto the common place;[2] and, He entered unto the many.[3] For there are more dead than living. The way of the earth sometimes signifies sexual intercourse, Genesis 19:31. But by the Masters [that is, the Rabbis] even civil or political life is called the way of the earth (Drusius). [Junius and Tremellius translate it, I am going to depart soon; and they enclose this entire verse in parentheses, and connect verse 15 with verse 13.] He here impresses that the end of his life is near; evidently so that these words, as the last, they might take to heart and preserve in memory; and at the same time so that they might understand that after this they are going to have to live life for themselves in their own manner, and hence be circumspect, and more intent upon all the duties of life, since they are no longer going to have a counselor and guide for all their actions, in whose care they have hitherto been able to rest secure (Masius on verse 3).

Of all the earth, that is, of all flesh, or of all men; the way which all men go; I am about to die, as all men must, Hebrews 9:27. The same phrase is 1 Kings 2:2.

[And ye shall know with all your soul: that is, ye shall know fully and plainly; or, that is to say, attend with your whole soul (Lapide): וִידַעְתֶּם] Ye shall know (Montanus, Jonathan, similarly the Septuagint). Now, ye know, etc. (Syriac, Munster, Tigurinus). Know ye, therefore (Arabic, Pagnine). After ye have known, etc.; that is to say, I die most willingly now, since I see that ye have most securely been established concerning the trustworthiness and truth of the promises of God, so that ye might preserve His people in their duty; which matter I wish to be entrusted to you. See Joshua 24:31; Judges 2:7, etc. (Junius).

Ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that is, you know assuredly; your own experience puts it out of all question.

[Not one has been omitted, לֹא־נָפַל] It has not fallen (Pagnine, Montanus, Septuagint) (perished [Junius and Tremellius], ceased [Syriac, Vatablus]); it was not void (Vatablus); it was not useless (Jonathan).

Not one thing hath failed. Question. How is this true, when so great a part of the promised land and people yet remain unconquered? Answer. God promised them to destroy all their enemies, and to give them the whole land, not at once, but by degrees, by little and little, as is expressed Deuteronomy 7:22, and as was most convenient for them.

 

Verse 15:[4] (Deut. 28:63) Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you (Lev. 26:16; Deut. 28:15, 16, etc.) all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

[Therefore, just as He hath fulfilled, etc.] That is to say, If the blessings have come to pass, as ye have experienced the very event; there is no reason why ye should be able to hope that the curses also are any less going to come to pass, Deuteronomy 28 (Masius on verse 3).

All evil things: The accomplishment of God’s promises is a pledge or assurance that he will also fulfil his threatenings; both of them depending upon the same ground, the faithfulness of God.

 

Verse 16:[5] When ye have transgressed the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you.

[Because ye will have transgressed the covenant of the Lord, etc., בְּעָבְרְכֶם וגו״] In transgressing (or, passing over [Jonathan]) you the covenant of the Lord[6] (Montanus). Seeing that ye have transgressed, etc. (Junius and Tremellius, similarly Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus). If ye transgress (Syriac, similarly the Arabic).

[From this land] There is emphasis below the surface; that is, which ye now possess, and acquired with much labor and time, and to which ye came with great desire (Menochius).

[Which God delivered to you] So that it might be distressing, to be spoiled of such a great blessing of God; so that it might be altogether ungrateful and criminal, to let it go by their guilt and sin (Menochius).

[1] Hebrew: וְהִנֵּ֙ה אָנֹכִ֤י הוֹלֵךְ֙ הַיּ֔וֹם בְּדֶ֖רֶךְ כָּל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וִידַעְתֶּ֞ם בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶ֣ם וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁכֶ֗ם כִּ֣י לֹֽא־נָפַל֩ דָּבָ֙ר אֶחָ֜ד מִכֹּ֣ל׀ הַדְּבָרִ֣ים הַטּוֹבִ֗ים אֲשֶׁ֙ר דִּבֶּ֜ר יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֙ עֲלֵיכֶ֔ם הַכֹּל֙ בָּ֣אוּ לָכֶ֔ם לֹֽא־נָפַ֥ל מִמֶּ֖נּוּ דָּבָ֥ר אֶחָֽד׃

[2] Prologue of Casina.

[3] Trinummus 2:2:14.

[4] Hebrew: וְהָיָ֗ה כַּאֲשֶׁר־בָּ֤א עֲלֵיכֶם֙ כָּל־הַדָּבָ֣ר הַטּ֔וֹב אֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבֶּ֛ר יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֖ם אֲלֵיכֶ֑ם כֵּן֩ יָבִ֙יא יְהוָ֜ה עֲלֵיכֶ֗ם אֵ֚ת כָּל־הַדָּבָ֣ר הָרָ֔ע עַד־הַשְׁמִיד֣וֹ אוֹתְכֶ֗ם מֵ֠עַל הָאֲדָמָ֤ה הַטּוֹבָה֙ הַזֹּ֔את אֲשֶׁר֙ נָתַ֣ן לָכֶ֔ם יְהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם׃

[5] Hebrew: בְּ֠עָבְרְכֶם אֶת־בְּרִ֙ית יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה אֶתְכֶם֒ וַהֲלַכְתֶּ֗ם וַעֲבַדְתֶּם֙ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֔ים וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתֶ֖ם לָהֶ֑ם וְחָרָ֤ה אַף־יְהוָה֙ בָּכֶ֔ם וַאֲבַדְתֶּ֣ם מְהֵרָ֔ה מֵעַל֙ הָאָ֣רֶץ הַטּוֹבָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֖ר נָתַ֥ן לָכֶֽם׃

[6] A woodenly literalistic rendering.

Joshua 22:34: The Naming of the Altar of Witness

Verse 34:[1] And the children of Reuben and the children of Gad called the altar (so Josh. 24:27) Ed (that is, a witness[2]): for it shall be a witness between us that the LORD is God.

[And they called…the altar that they had built, Our Testimony that the Lord is God (similarly Munster, Osiander),וַֽיִּקְרְא֛וּ בְּנֵי־רְאוּבֵ֥ן וּבְנֵי־גָ֖ד לַמִּזְבֵּ֑חַ כִּ֣י עֵ֥ד הוּא֙ בֵּֽינֹתֵ֔ינוּ כִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה הָאֱלֹהִֽים׃] A great many maintain that עֵד is to be supplied, and thus they translate it; they called that altar (here they supply עֵד/Ed, that is, witness [manuscripts of Jonathan in Masius’ book and in Kimchi in Drusius’ work, likewise the Rabbi Salomon and Rabbi Isaiah in Masius, Arabic, Pagine, Tigurinus, English, Junius and Tremellius], or, altar of testimony [Syriac]). For it shall be a witness between us, etc. (English). They called it Ed, or witness, saying (or by saying [Pagnine]). Because it shall be a witness, or testimony, between us that the Lord is (supply, to us [Junius and Tremellius]) God (Tigurinus, Junius and Tremellius). I approve the opinion of the Jews: but I suppose that it is also able to be said that the name of the altar is not expressed in the sacred words, but that it is only indicated that it was of the sort that by its explanation reminds that the altar is a monument to the Israelites that Jehovah ought to be worshipped by all as the true God (Masius). Others thus: They called the altar, Let it be a witness between us, etc. (Dutch). עֵד/ed here signifies witness, and the כִּי/for is superfluous in this place (Vatablus). I would prefer to translate it in this way, They applied writing, or an inscription, to the altar; for קָרָא, to call, signifies this. For the Hebrews called the Sacred Books קרא/Kara and מקרא/ Mikra, Divine writing, as it were, which ought to be read continually: And the Mohammedans call their code ALKORAN, that is, that writing (Malvenda). The name of the altar was this, Our Testimony that He is God; that is to say, We have erected this altar, so that we might testify that the true God of the Israelites is as much our God as of the nine tribes, etc. (Lapide, Bonfrerius). By this naming of the altar they wanted to take precautions for the future, as much as it was in them, lest anyone should think that this altar was erected to offer sacrifices on it, and be offended by it. As far as it was able to be done, care was to be taken lest one allow an unnecessary stumbling block (Osiander). Moreover, from these words, כִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה הָאֱלֹהִֽים׃, that the Lord is God, it is manifest that in that formula of swearing expressed above the name אֱלֺהִים/Elohim was a designation for the true God, not for Angels or false gods, much less Princes. Now, the sedulous care of these to hand the ancestral Religion to their posterity is to be commended again: they impose such a name that exhibits by its explanation the sum of all Theology. For, he that recalls to mind that Jehovah is God, determines that He is worthy of worship for Himself as God, hearkens to Him, and yields to His word (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַֽיִּקְרְא֛וּ בְּנֵי־רְאוּבֵ֥ן וּבְנֵי־גָ֖ד לַמִּזְבֵּ֑חַ כִּ֣י עֵ֥ד הוּא֙ בֵּֽינֹתֵ֔ינוּ כִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה הָאֱלֹהִֽים׃

[2] Hebrew: עֵד.

Revelation 1:4b: The Benediction

Verse 4:[1] John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him (Ex. 3:14; Rev. 1:8) which is, and (John 1:1) which was, and which is to come; (Zech. 3:9; 4:10; Rev. 3:1; 4:5; 5:6) and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne…

[Grace (understand, be [Beza, Piscator]) unto you, and peace] It is the Apostolic Salutation (Lapide, Menochius, thus Ribera, Grotius, Cotterius), received from Christ (Lapide): as in 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; and elsewhere (Grotius). He prays for them the favor of God (Lapide, Menochius), or the friendship of God, and the remission of sins (Ribera), and every good thing (Lapide, Menochius, Ribera).

Grace be unto you, and peace: grace and peace is the common apostolical salutation, as to the sense of which we have often spoken: the apostle wisheth them the free love of God, that is, grace, and the seal of it, Romans 5:1, peace with God and their own consciences, and each with other.

[1] Greek: Ἰωάννης ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαις ταῖς ἐν τῇ Ἀσίᾳ· χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ Θεοῦ ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος· καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἑπτὰ πνευμάτων ἃ ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου αὐτοῦ.

 

 

Joshua 10:22, 23: The Five Kings Called to Account

Verse 22:[1] Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave.

 

Verse 23:[2] And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ פִּתְח֖וּ אֶת־פִּ֣י הַמְּעָרָ֑ה וְהוֹצִ֣יאוּ אֵלַ֗י אֶת־חֲמֵ֛שֶׁת הַמְּלָכִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה מִן־הַמְּעָרָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיַּ֣עֲשׂוּ כֵ֔ן וַיֹּצִ֣יאוּ אֵלָ֗יו אֶת־חֲמֵ֛שֶׁת הַמְּלָכִ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה מִן־הַמְּעָרָ֑ה אֵ֣ת׀ מֶ֣לֶךְ יְרוּשָׁלִַ֗ם אֶת־מֶ֤לֶךְ חֶבְרוֹן֙ אֶת־מֶ֣לֶךְ יַרְמ֔וּת אֶת־מֶ֥לֶךְ לָכִ֖ישׁ אֶת־מֶ֥לֶךְ עֶגְלֽוֹן׃

Joshua 8:7, 8: Springing the Trap at Ai

Verse 7:[1] Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the LORD your God will deliver it into your hand.

Ye shall rise up from the ambush, to wit, upon the signal given, of which verse 18.

[And ye shall ravage the city (thus Munster, Tigurinus),וְהוֹרַשְׁתֶּ֖ם אֶת־הָעִ֑יר[2]] And ye shall drive away, that is, ye shall destroy (Vatablus). Ye shall cast them out, and destroy them from the city (thus Jonathan and many Hebrews, Munster). Ye shall expel the city, that is, its survivors, the inhabitants remaining in the city (Drusius out of Junius). But the men of war were not able to be expelled; they had all gone forth, verse 17. Neither were those remaining to be expelled, but to be killed (Piscator). Ye extirpate the city (Jonathan, Arabic); ye shall destroy the city (Syriac).

 

Verse 8:[3] And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the LORD shall ye do. (2 Sam. 13:28) See, I have commanded you.

Ye shall set the city on fire, to wit, part of it, as a sign to their brethren of their success; for the whole city was not burnt now, but afterwards, as is said verse 28.

[As I have commanded[4]] Behold, I have commanded you. He appears to allude obliquely to the example of Achan; to whom it was destruction not to have obeyed the Divine commands (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וְאַתֶּ֗ם תָּקֻ֙מוּ֙ מֵהָ֣אוֹרֵ֔ב וְהוֹרַשְׁתֶּ֖ם אֶת־הָעִ֑יר וּנְתָנָ֛הּ יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֖ם בְּיֶדְכֶֽם׃

[2] יָרַשׁ, to possess or dispossess, in the Hiphil signifies to cause take possession, or to dispossess.

[3] Hebrew: וְהָיָ֞ה כְּתָפְשְׂכֶ֣ם אֶת־הָעִ֗יר תַּצִּ֤יתוּ אֶת־הָעִיר֙ בָּאֵ֔שׁ כִּדְבַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה תַּעֲשׂ֑וּ רְא֖וּ צִוִּ֥יתִי אֶתְכֶֽם׃

[4] Hebrew: רְא֖וּ צִוִּ֥יתִי אֶתְכֶֽם׃.

Joshua 7:14: The Lot Prescribed for the Discovery of the Sin, Part 2

Verse 14:[1] In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which (Prov. 16:33) the LORD taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man.

[And ye shall approach, וְנִקְרַבְתֶּם] It is in the Niphal, but use has given to it a reflexive sense, as in the Hithpael (Masius).

[By your tribes[2] (thus Junius and Tremellius, Masius, Vatablus, Pagnine)] According to your tribes (Jonathan, Munster, Tigurinus). Ye shall assemble to your Tribes (Vatablus), to tribes (Montanus).

[Which the lot may find] Hebrew: which Jehovah shall take[3] (Vatablus), that is, He indicates, or accuses (Masius, Drusius). Which He might take, as a wild beast is taken in a snare, trying to flee the hunter (Piscator). It is asked concerning the mode of inquisition. 1. The Rabbis imagine that, while the Tribes, etc., stood before the Ark, the guilty was not able to move (Masius). 2. Others maintain that this was accomplished through the Urim and Thummim, and that the gem that had the name of the Tribe of the guilty revealed the fault by the obscuring of its name. But then perhaps the inquiry into the discovered Tribe’s families, households, and individuals was by the drawn lot. Thus the Ancients in the Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer[4] (Masius). But if lots were used in the case of the latter questions, why not in that former question concerning the tribe (Bonfrerius). 3. By lot (thus Lapide, Bonfrerius, Masius, Vatablus, Drusius, Piscator, Serarius, Malvenda): and that by the hands of a Prophet before the Ark, as in the sight of God. Thus elsewhere they made use of the lot, 1 Samuel 14:41, 42; Jonah 1:7; Acts 1:26 (Masius). Now, the casting of lots is ascribed to God, because the lot falls correctly at His will. See Proverbs 16:33. The process is by steps, from tribes to families, etc., 1. for the sake of avoiding confusion; 2. for the sake of avoiding fraud: For who would not suppose that the individual Tribes had a known number of their families and had a knowledge of the names; and thus the families of their households, and the households of their individuals? Now, in such a multitude hardly any vessel would be able to contain the names of the individuals, and anyone was easily able to give no name, or another name, instead of his own (Masius). Moreover, in the place of the whole tribe were present φύλαρχοι or tribunes, in the place of a family δήμαρχοι or heads of families, in the place of households fathers of households. Finally, with the household brought forward, all and each came into the midst (Masius, Menochius). 3. So that the guilty, while he sees that he is continually sought be God, 1. in his tribe, 2. in his family, 3. in his household, might of his own accord give himself up as a suppliant, before being revealed by the lot, and might beg forgiveness; for which even at that point there was clearly a place (Masius). And his stubbornness was extreme, because he waited for the judgment of God to be made concerning him by name. It was similar in the case of Judas, Matthew 26. But Satan has a thousand ways by which he hardens the minds of men, so that it might not be possible for them to repent of their sins. For example, 1. Achan was able to think that compliance was not to be yielded to that new edict concerning the anathema as contrary to the will of God, Deuteronomy 20:14, thou shalt take the spoils for thyself. 2. Or, he thought that many others were guilty, and that they were sought by the lot, not him. 3. Or, a fear of infamy, or vainglorious ostentation, moved him (Masius). Question: How did it happen that, with so severe a sentence given, Achan did not then give himself to flight? Responses: 1. There were the camps, and those surrounded on every side guards and watches, and all now full of suspicion. 2. Perhaps he though his deed hidden from God, like those in Job 22:13. 3. He was suspicious of the Prince, as if he feigned that the lot was prescribed by God. 4. There was a remarkable thoughtlessness and stupor in him, of which sort we often observe in murderers. 5. He willed to take exception against the mode of inquisition, as false, especially when the life or reputation of a man is treated (Serarius). And therefore the ancient Jews say that the tribe of Judah took up arms over this matter, and did not put them down until the confession of Achan (Masius). 6. Perhaps he, repenting of the deed, stayed to await judgment from God (Bonfrerius).

Which the Lord taketh; which shall be discovered or declared guilty by the lot, which is disposed by the Lord, Proverbs 16:33, and which was to be cast in the Lord’s presence before the ark. Of such use of lots, see 1 Samuel 14:41, 42; Jonah 1:7; Acts 1:26.

[1] Hebrew: וְנִקְרַבְתֶּ֥ם בַּבֹּ֖קֶר לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶ֑ם וְהָיָ֡ה הַשֵּׁבֶט֩ אֲשֶׁר־יִלְכְּדֶ֙נּוּ יְהוָ֜ה יִקְרַ֣ב לַמִּשְׁפָּח֗וֹת וְהַמִּשְׁפָּחָ֞ה אֲשֶֽׁר־יִלְכְּדֶ֤נָּה יְהוָה֙ תִּקְרַ֣ב לַבָּתִּ֔ים וְהַבַּ֙יִת֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יִלְכְּדֶ֣נּוּ יְהוָ֔ה יִקְרַ֖ב לַגְּבָרִֽים׃

[2] Hebrew: לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם.

[3] Hebrew: אֲשֶׁר־יִלְכְּדֶ֙נּוּ יְהוָ֜ה.

[4] Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus was one of the greatest rabbis of the first and second centuries of the Christian era, and was a member of the Sanhedrin at Jamnia.  His work is marked by great commitment to the Scriptures and strict adherence to the traditional teaching of the rabbis that preceded him. Pirke de-Rabbi Elizer is an aggadic retelling of Biblical stories; although its compositional history is complex, it is traditionally ascribed to Rabbi Eliezer.

Joshua 7:1: Achan’s Sin, and God’s Anger Against Israel

Verse 1:[1] But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for (Josh. 22:20) Achan (Achar, 1 Chron. 2:7), the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi (or, Zimri, 1 Chron. 2:6), the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.

[The children of Israel] By a Synecdoche; that is, one of them. Thus in Matthew 26:8, the disciples seeing is used of one, Judas, John 12:4 (Drusius out of Masius). The sin of one is attributed to the whole society: 1. So that is might be shown how detestable sin is to God (Lapide, Masius). 2. For the sake of restoring discipline, and of deterring the people from wickedness. 3. So that they might be careful, not of themselves alone, but of others, as of members of the same body, whose society is reckoned to be common, as in the condition of life, so also in virtues and vices (Masius): especially, so that he might teach overseers to be vigilant over their charges individually (Lapide). 4. Lest the sense of Divine providence be lost from the souls of men, He shows Himself to be the judge of our actions. And who supposes that in so great a crowd of such a people there were not many guilty of grievous outrages (Masius)? Some prudently regard these reasons for the Divine judgments to be hidden, which are rather to be admired by us than to be condemned or imitated (Malvenda). Thus in Virgil the Achæan fleet is destroyed on account of the crime and fury of one, Ajax of Oileus[2] (Grotius). The sons of Israel: It is an Enallage of number, as in Genesis 8:4; 19:29 (Bochart’s A Sacred Catalogue of Animals 1:2:17:212); and in Matthew 2:20, they are dead, is used of Herod. Or the sense is, Of the sons of Israel, Achan with his, who appear to have been sharers in the crime (Estius).

The children of Israel, that is, one of them, by a very usual synecdoche or enallage, as Genesis 8:4; 19:29; Matthew 26:8, where that is ascribed to the disciples, which belonged to Judas only, John 12:4.

[They transgressed the command, וַיִּמְעֲל֧וּ—מַ֖עַל בַּחֵ֑רֶם] And they transgressed a transgression in the accursed thing (Malvenda, Jonathan, Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, Munster, Tigurinus, Pagnine), that is, in the very sin of sacrilege, taking of the accursed thing (Malvenda). Others: against the accursed thing, that is, against the law concerning the accursed thing. Symmachus translates מָעַל, to transgress, καταγινώσκειν, that is, to disregard with contempt: the Septuagint has ἐνοσφίσαντο, that is, they stealthily draw off, and they took for themselves (Masius).

In the accursed thing, that is, in taking some of the forbidden and accursed goods.

[Achan[3]] It is formed from עָכַר, to trouble,[4] by substitution of one letter. He is called עָכָר/Achar in 1 Chronicles 2:7 (Masius). It appears that he was previously called Achan; afterwards, from the event, Achar (Bonfrerius).

[The son of Carmi, son of Zabdi[5]] Who is called Zimri in 1 Chronicles 2:6[6] (and also by the Septuagint in this place[7] [Bonfrerius]): either, as a result of the similitude of the letters ב/b and ר/r (as the Masorah notes was done elsewhere); or, he had two names (Serarius). Question 1: Why is the genealogy of Achan given so meticulously? Responses: 1. So that he might be distinguished from others of the same name (Menochius out of Serarius). 2. This has regard unto the manner of investigation[8] (Masius, Serarius, Menochius). 3. So that he might aggravate the infamy of the sin, which also pertains to the fathers, who perhaps raised the son more indulgently than was fitting. 4. So that the common concern of all might be stirred to avoid the common stain of infamy, and anyone that would carelessly ignore, much less foster, the scandals of his neighbor is not properly self-aware. Compare Numbers 25:14 (Masius). 5. So that it might be a source of consolation to the most honorable families, when they see that in a distinguished house formerly there was one degenerate and infamous (Serarius). 6. So that the shame of the sinner might be increased, who was of so illustrious a tribe (Menochius). Question 2: How is it that from Judah unto this time, that is, through two hundred and sixty years, only four generations are enumerated (Serarius)? Response: If between each generation we interject seventy years (which at that time was not incredible), the number shall be made up (Bonfrerius). But also a fifth generation is here signified, when mention is made of the sons of Achan in verse 24 (Serarius).

Zabdi; called also Zimri, 1 Chronicles 2:6. Zerah, or, Zarah, who was Judah’s immediate son, Genesis 38:30, who went with Judah into Egypt; and so for the filling up the two hundred and fifty-six years that are supposed to come between that and this time, we must allow Achan to be now an old man, and his three ancestors to have begotten each his son at about sixty years of age, which at that time was not incredible nor unusual. Against the children of Israel. Why did God punish the whole society for this one man’s sin? Answer. All of them were punished for their own sins, whereof each had a sufficient proportion; but God took this occasion to inflict the punishment upon the society, partly, because divers of them might be guilty of this sin, either by coveting what he actually did, or by concealing of his fault, which it is probable could not be unknown to others, or by not sorrowing for it, and endeavouring to purge themselves from it; partly, to make sin the more hateful, as being the cause of such dreadful and public judgments; and partly, to oblige all the members of every society to be both more circumspect in the ordering of their own actions, and more diligent to watch over one another, and to prevent the miscarriages of their brethren, which is a great benefit and blessing to them, and to the whole society, and worthy to be purchased by a sharp affliction upon the society.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּמְעֲל֧וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל מַ֖עַל בַּחֵ֑רֶם וַיִּקַּ֡ח עָכָ֣ן בֶּן־כַּרְמִי֩ בֶן־זַבְדִּ֙י בֶן־זֶ֜רַח לְמַטֵּ֤ה יְהוּדָה֙ מִן־הַחֵ֔רֶם וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֥ף יְהוָ֖ה בִּבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[2] Æneid 1; 2.  Ajax the Lesser, the son of King Oileus of Locris, was one of the semi-mythical heroes of the Trojan War.  After the war, he is said to have dragged Cassandra from the altar and raped her.  This provocation of the gods leads to the destruction of his entire fleet.

[3] Hebrew: עָכָן.

[4] Joshua 7:25a:  “And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee (מֶ֣ה עֲכַרְתָּ֔נוּ יַעְכֳּרְךָ֥ יְהוָ֖ה) this day.”

[5] Hebrew: זַבְדִּי.

[6] Hebrew: זִמְרִי.

[7] Greek: Ζαμβρὶ/Zambri.

[8] See verses 14-18.