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.”

2 thoughts on “Joshua 7:26: The Punishment of Achan and his House, Part 3

  1. Matthew Henry: “The pacifying of God’s wrath hereby (Joshua 7:26): The Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. The putting away of sin by true repentance and reformation, as it is the only way, so it is a sure and most effectual way, to recover the divine favour. Take away the cause, and the effect will cease.

    The record of [Achan’s] conviction and execution. Care was taken to preserve the remembrance of it, for warning and instruction to posterity. 1. A heap of stones was raised on the place where Achan was executed, every one perhaps of the congregation throwing a stone to the heap, in token of his detestation of the crime. 2. A new name was given to the place; it was called the Valley of Achor, or trouble. This was a perpetual brand of infamy upon Achan’s name, and a perpetual warning to all people not to invade God’s property. By this severity against Achan, the honour of Joshua’s government, now in the infancy of it, was maintained, and Israel, at their entrance upon the promised Canaan, were reminded to observe, at their peril, the provisos and limitations of the grant by which they held it. The Valley of Achor is said to be given for a door of hope, because when we put away the accursed thing then there begins to be hope in Israel, Hosea 2:15; Ezra 10:2.”

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