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…”

2 thoughts on “Joshua 7:13: The Lot Prescribed for the Discovery of the Sin, Part 1

  1. Fisher’s Catechism on Lots:
    “Q. 53&54.63: What is a lot, or lotting?
    A. It is the laying aside the use of all means or second causes, and appealing directly to God, that he may, by his immediate providence, give a present decision respecting any matter in question; ‘for the lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord,’ Proverbs 16:33.

    Q. 53&54.64: Why are lots said to be an appeal to God?
    A. Because, by casting of lots between two or more persons, or things, we, as it were, require him immediately to declare his mind by the event, which way the decision shall go, Acts 1:24,26: ‘Show whether of these two thou hast chosen. And the lot fell on Matthias.’

    Q. 53&54.65: In what cases may a decision be put upon the event of a lot?
    A. Only in cases of great weight and absolute necessity, Joshua 7:13, 14.

    Q. 53&54.66: Why should a lot be used only in cases of great weight and moment?
    A. Because a lot being a material or implicit invoking of God to give a decision, it would be a wicked profanation of his name, to call him to determine in trifles, or things of little or no value.

    Q. 53&54.67: Why should it be used only in cases of absolute necessity?
    A. Because, where human prudence can determine, it would be a tempting of God, to require his decision.

    Q. 53&54.68: What then is the end of lots?
    A. It is the same as of oaths, to determine finally in momentous controversies, that which can be decided in no other way, Proverbs 18:18: ‘The lot causeth contention to cease, and parteth between the mighty.’

    Q. 53&54.69: In what manner ought lots to be used?
    A. In a most reverential manner, as in the presence of God, who pronounces the sentence; and in whose decision all parties ought cheerfully to acquiesce, Acts 1:24,26. ‘And they prayed—and gave forth their lots.'”

  2. William Gurnall, “Christian in Complete Armour”: “The Christian’s prayer may miscarry when, with his prayer, he joins not a diligent use of the means. We must not think to lie upon God, as some lazy people do on their rich kindred; to be always begging of him, but not putting forth our hand to work in the use of means. God hath appointed prayer as a help to our diligence, not as a cloak for our sloth. Idle beggars are welcome neither to God’s door nor man’s. What! wilt thou lift up thy hands to God in prayer, and then put them in thy pocket? Doth not God forbid our charity to him that worketh not? ‘We commanded you that, if any would not work, neither should he eat,’ 2 Thessalonians 3:10. And will he encourage that idleness in thee which he would have punished by us? It is a good gloss of Bernard upon that of Jeremiah, ‘Let us lift up our hearts with our hands unto God in the heavens,’ Lamentations 3:41, qui orat et laborat, ille cor levat ad Deum cum manibus, he that prayeth, and is diligent in the use of means, is the person that lifts up his heart with his hands to God. Look therefore, Christian, thou minglest thy sweat with thy tears, thy labour with thy prayers. If thy prayer doth not set thee on work, neither will it set thy God at work for thee. Is it a lust thou art praying against? And dost thou sit down idle to see whether it will now die alone? Will that prayer slay one lust that lets another, thy sloth, I mean, live under its nose? As God will not save thy soul, so neither will he destroy thy sin, unless thy hand also be put to the work. See how God raised Joshua from off the earth, where he lay praying and mourning for Israel’s defeat, Joshua 7:10, 11: ‘Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned,’ etc.; Joshua 7:12, ‘Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies,’ etc.; Joshua 7:13, ‘Up, sanctify the people.’

    O how oft may God rouse us up from our knees, and say, ‘Why lie ye here with your lazy prayers? You have sinned in not taking my counsel and obeying my orders. I bade you watch as well as pray; why do you not one as well as the other? My command obliges you to flee from the snare that Satan lays for you, as well as pray against it: therefore it is you cannot stand before your lusts.’ Moses durst not go to God with a prayer in behalf of sinning Israel till he had shown his zeal for God against their sin, and then he goes and speeds; see Exodus 32:25, compared with Exodus 32:31. Dost thou think to walk loosely all day, yielding thyself, and betraying the glory of the God, into the hands of thy lust, and then mend all with a prayer at night? Alas! thy cowardice and sloth will get to heaven before thy prayer, and put thee to shame when thou comest on such an errand.”

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