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.

1 thought on “Joshua 7:15: The Lot Prescribed for the Discovery of the Sin, Part 3

  1. Matthew Henry: “When the criminal was found out he must be put to death without mercy (Hebrews 10:28), and with all the expressions of a holy detestation, Joshua 7:15. He and all that he has must be burnt with fire, that there might be no remainders of the accursed thing among them; and the reason given for this severe sentence is because the criminal has, (1.) Given a great affront to God: He has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, who is jealous particularly for the honour of the holy covenant. (2.) He has done a great injury to the church of God: He has wrought folly in Israel, has shamed that nation which is looked upon by all its neighbours to be a wise and understanding people, has infected that nation which is sanctified to God, and troubled that nation of which he is the protector. These being crimes so heinous in their nature, and of such pernicious consequence and example, the execution, which otherwise would have come under the imputation of cruelty, is to be applauded as a piece of necessary justice. It was sacrilege; it was invading God’s rights, alienating his property, and converting to a private use that which was devoted to his glory and appropriated to the service of his sanctuary—this was the crime to be thus severely punished, for warning to all people in all ages to take heed how they rob God.”

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