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 7:19: 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 7:14: 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 7:13: 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…”

Joshua 7:12: God’s Explanation of the Defeat at Ai, Part 3

Verse 12:[1] (see Num. 14:45; Judg. 2:14) Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because (Deut. 7:26; Josh. 6:18) they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.

[And he shall not be able to stand before his enemies[2]] Again, לִפְנֵי/before in the place of מִלִּפְנֵי, from before (Masius). Question: Why are all punished because of one, Achan? This was answered previously, but I add, 1. that those thirty-six men suffered punishment, not for the sins of Achan, but for their own. 2. God is generally wont to exercise His judgments on account of those offenses that by contact might spread to all, of which sort are those of Kings, of the seditious, etc. Therefore, since here it was a sin against a law recently delivered, God willed to make an example, lest they should weaken all discipline at the beginnings of this critically important war by their impunity, although there were at that time either similar or more detestable sins in the people, which were not chastened (Masius).

[Because he was polluted by the accursed thing, כִּ֥י הָי֖וּ לְחֵ֑רֶם] They are (or, were) in anathema (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus), that is, of the accursed thing (Junius); they are polluted by the accursed thing (Vatablus), unto anathema (Drusius, Piscator); because they were made anathema, that is, a thing devoted to God (Piscator). Thus, to be unto wife means to be for a wife, or, to be a wife actually (ל sometimes denotes the truth of a thing, sometimes only a similitude): I shall be for a God, that is, I shall be God;[3] I shall be for a father, that is, I shall be a father;[4] they shall be for one flesh, that is, as one flesh, that is, one body[5] (Drusius).

Because they were accursed, as I warned and threatened them, Joshua 6:18, they have put themselves out of my protection and blessing, and therefore are liable to the same destruction which belongs to this accursed people.

[Who is guilty of this sin[6]] Hebrew: חֵרֶם, the accursed thing; ἀνάθεμα/ anathema (Septuagint). Him that stole the accursed thing; who is liable to the anathema (Drusius). Both the things devoted to the anathema, and those that had drawn the contagion of the same crime, namely, the family and things of Achan (Malvenda out of Junius). Unless ye remove this sacrilege, with its author destroyed and devoted (certain interpreters in Malvenda).

[1] Hebrew: וְלֹ֙א יֻכְל֜וּ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל לָקוּם֙ לִפְנֵ֣י אֹיְבֵיהֶ֔ם עֹ֗רֶף יִפְנוּ֙ לִפְנֵ֣י אֹֽיְבֵיהֶ֔ם כִּ֥י הָי֖וּ לְחֵ֑רֶם לֹ֤א אוֹסִיף֙ לִֽהְי֣וֹת עִמָּכֶ֔ם אִם־לֹ֥א תַשְׁמִ֛ידוּ הַחֵ֖רֶם מִֽקִּרְבְּכֶֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וְלֹ֙א יֻכְל֜וּ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל לָקוּם֙ לִפְנֵ֣י אֹיְבֵיהֶ֔ם .

[3] For example, Jeremiah 24:7:  “And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord:  and they shall be my people, and I will be their Godוְהָיוּ־לִ֣י לְעָ֔ם וְאָ֣נֹכִ֔י אֶהְיֶ֥ה) לָהֶ֖ם לֵאלֹהִ֑ים):  for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”

[4] For example, Genesis 17:4:  “As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father (וְהָיִ֕יתָ לְאַ֖ב) of many nations.”

[5] For example, Genesis 2:24:  “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:  and they shall be one flesh (וְהָי֖וּ לְבָשָׂ֥ר אֶחָֽד׃).”

[6] Joshua 7:12b:  “…neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you (הַחֵ֖רֶם מִֽקִּרְבְּכֶֽם׃).”

Joshua 7:8, 9: Joshua’s Complaint, Part 3

Verse 8:[1] O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs (Heb. necks[2]) before their enemies!

[My Lord, בִּ֖י אֲדֹנָ֑י[3]] I beg, or I entreat, O Lord (Jonathan, Arabic, Munster). On me, O Lord (Septuagint, Montanus, Masius), that is, have regard (Lapide, Menochius). Attend to me, etc. (Junius and Tremellius).

[What shall I say?] What shall I think (Masius, Serarius, Menochius)? Thus to say is taken elsewhere[4] (Masius). Saying is both of the soul, which is thinking, and of the mouth (Serarius). What counsel shall I take (Masius)? This oration of Joshua is shortened and imperfect, and interrupted by the speedy response of God, who, being kind, breaks in and answers in the midst of the prayers themselves (Masius). Others: What shall I answer to those that want to detract from thy Name, that is, to pursuing enemies (Vatablus)? But the following orations manifestly refutes this sense (Masius).

What shall I say, in answer to the reproaches cast by our insulting enemies upon us, and upon thy name? Israel; God’s own people, which he hath singled out of all nations for his own peculiar.

 

Verse 9:[5] For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and (Ps. 83:4) cut off our name from the earth: and (see Ex. 32:12; Num. 14:13) what wilt thou do unto thy great name?

[The Canaanites] The same here as the Amorites in verse 7 (Masius).

[Being massed together, they shall surround us] Hebrew: upon the earth they shall come together against us[6] (Masius).

[What wilt thou do, etc.?] Who hast promised to give this region: and the Nations shall say that thou art not able to do this. That is to say, Consider thy Name (Masius).

Thy great name: Which will upon this occasion be blasphemed and charged with inconstancy, unkindness, and unfaithfulness to thine own people, and with inability to resist them, or to do thy people that good thou didst intend them. Compare Exodus 32:12; Numbers 14:13; Deuteronomy 33:27; Joel 2:17.

[1] Hebrew: בִּ֖י אֲדֹנָ֑י מָ֣ה אֹמַ֔ר אַ֠חֲרֵי אֲשֶׁ֙ר הָפַ֧ךְ יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל עֹ֖רֶף לִפְנֵ֥י אֹיְבָֽיו׃

[2] Hebrew: עֹרֶף.

[3] בִּי is a particle of entreaty.

[4] See, for example, Exodus 2:14.

[5] Hebrew: וְיִשְׁמְע֣וּ הַֽכְּנַעֲנִ֗י וְכֹל֙ יֹשְׁבֵ֣י הָאָ֔רֶץ וְנָסַ֣בּוּ עָלֵ֔ינוּ וְהִכְרִ֥יתוּ אֶת־שְׁמֵ֖נוּ מִן־הָאָ֑רֶץ וּמַֽה־תַּעֲשֵׂ֖ה לְשִׁמְךָ֥ הַגָּדֽוֹל׃

[6] Hebrew: הָאָ֔רֶץ וְנָסַ֣בּוּ עָלֵ֔ינוּ.

Joshua 7:4, 5: The Defeat at Ai

Verse 4:[1] So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: (Lev. 26:17; Deut. 28:25) and they fled before the men of Ai.

[Three thousand] He prudently chooses the greater of the two proposed numbers, evidently judging that the enemy was not to be despised. Now, that men of exceptional fortitude were selected for this expedition, is indicated by the word אִישׁ/man,[2] and by Josephus in his Jewish Antiquities 5. Otherwise the blame would have been assigned unto their idleness, and the affront to God would not be attended to, which was needful (Masius).

[Before the men of Ai, לִפְנֵי] The Septuagint not at all absurdly renders it from the face of the men of Ai, as if this was set down in the place of מִפְנֵי or מִלִּפְנֵי, from before the face of: For it is likely that they did not endure even the sight of the enemy, when, none of them in the fight, but several were smitten in flight (Masius).

They fled before the men of Ai: Not having their usual courage to strike a stroke, which was a plain evidence that God had forsaken them; and a useful instruction, to show them what weak and inconsiderable creatures they were when God left them; and that it was God, not their own valour, that gave the Canaanites and their land into their hands.

 

Verse 5:[3] And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down (or, in Morad[4]): wherefore (Josh. 2:9, 11; Lev. 26:36; Ps. 22:14) the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.

[They smote] The sloping and descending way from Ai to Jericho made the fleeing Israelites more liable to injury (Masius). But see, I pray, that all things turn out happily for those that love God, unhappily for those that hate Him. This splendid, as it seems, victory will shortly occasion their destruction; but the Israelites flight will bestow upon them an illustrious victory (Masius).

About thirty and six men; a dear victory to them, whereby Israel was awakened, and reformed, and reconciled to their God and Shield, and they hardened to their own ruin.

[They pursued them from the gate, לִפְנֵ֤י הַשַּׁ֙עַר֙] Toward the faces of the gate[5] (Montanus); before the gate (Jonathan); from the place which was before the gate (Junius and Tremellius); from the gate (Arabic); from before the gate (Masius out of Kimchi). לִפְנֵי/before is in the place of מִלִּפְנֵי, from before; that is, since they had advanced all the way to the gate in order to attack the city, there they were put to flight by the townspeople sallying forth (Masius).

[Unto Shebarim, עַד־הַשְּׁבָרִים[6]] Unto Shebarim (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus, Lapide, Bonfrerius, Masius). The place is so called from the breaking of the army of the Israelites; for שָׁבַר signifies to break (Bonfrerius, Masius). To others the name is appellative; and they translate it, unto the breakings (Montanus), until they shattered them (Jonathan, thus the Septuagint in Masius). Perhaps they read, עַד הִשְׁבִּירוּם, until they broke, or crushed, them (Masius). But who would call an army of three thousand crushed because of thirty-six men struck down (Bonfrerius)? Until they were routed (Syriac); unto the place of routing (Arabic). I would rather translate it, unto the pass, as if the name came to the place from the mountain broken there, etc. (Malvenda).

[Fleeing by the descents, וַיַּכּ֖וּם בַּמּוֹרָ֑ד[7]] And they smote them in the descent (Montanus), on the sloping (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus), understanding, place (Vatablus).

In the going down; by which it seems it was a downhill way to Jericho, which was nearer Jordan.

[It was melted after the likeness of water,וַיְהִ֥י לְמָֽיִם׃ ] And it was unto water (Montanus, Jonathan); that is, as if water (Drusius, Arabic, Syriac). Thus, they shall be unto one flesh, in the place of, as if one flesh[8] (Drusius). To such an extent that it was changed into water (Junius and Tremellius), that is, that it might flow/ melt away like water (Junius). Just like melted ice, which being resolved into water is not able to hold a place (Bonfrerius). Their heart was loosened, trembling, and weak like water (Lapide). They were in an incredibly low frame (Vatablus). As the soul, while it supports itself upon hope, is said to be firm and constant; so, having been cast down from this, it appears soft, fluid, and wavering this way and that. But what is the reason for such perturbation? It is not remarkable that three thousand men were routed by a numerous garrison. But, since they were depending upon the help of God alone, not upon their own strength, they tremble with good reason, since God now appears to stand with their enemies (Masius).

As water, soft and weak, and full of fluctuation and trembling.

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּעֲל֤וּ מִן־הָעָם֙ שָׁ֔מָּה כִּשְׁלֹ֥שֶׁת אֲלָפִ֖ים אִ֑ישׁ וַיָּנֻ֕סוּ לִפְנֵ֖י אַנְשֵׁ֥י הָעָֽי׃

[2] אִישׁ/man can convey a sense of fortitude and valor.  See 1 Samuel 4:9; 1 Kings 2:2.

[3] Hebrew: וַיַּכּ֙וּ מֵהֶ֜ם אַנְשֵׁ֣י הָעַ֗י כִּשְׁלֹשִׁ֤ים וְשִׁשָּׁה֙ אִ֔ישׁ וַֽיִּרְדְּפ֞וּם לִפְנֵ֤י הַשַּׁ֙עַר֙ עַד־הַשְּׁבָרִ֔ים וַיַּכּ֖וּם בַּמּוֹרָ֑ד וַיִּמַּ֥ס לְבַב־הָעָ֖ם וַיְהִ֥י לְמָֽיִם׃

[4] Hebrew: בַּמּוֹרָד.

[5] A woodenly literalistic reading.

[6] שְׁבָרִים/Shebarim is related to שֶׁבֶר/breaking/fracture.

[7] מוֹרָד is related to the verbal root יָרַד, to go down.

[8] Genesis 2:24:  “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife:  and they shall be one flesh (וְהָי֖וּ לְבָשָׂ֥ר אֶחָֽד׃).”

Joshua 7:3: The Reconnaissance of Ai, Part 2

Verse 3:[1] And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men (Heb. about two thousand men, or about three thousand men[2]) go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few.

[Two or three thousand] Observe here the singular care and paternal benignity of God toward His Church, who by the danger of a small force achieved what was necessary for expiating the sacrilege and confirming military discipline in preparing for the most intense fighting: For a great force could not have been led into peril of that sort without the extreme desperation of all. But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted about that ye are able; 1 Corinthians 10:13 (Masius).

Let about two or three thousand men go up, etc.: This was done by the wise contrivance of Divine Providence, that their sin might be punished, and they awakened and reformed, with as little hazard, and mischief, and reproach as might be; for if the defeat of these caused so great a consternation in Joshua, it is easy to guess what dread, and confusion, and despair it would have caused in the people, if a great host had been defeated.

[Why shall it be troubled? אַל־תְּיַגַּע־שָׁמָּה[3]] Do not make to labor thither (Montanus); do not lead thither (Septuagint); do not force there (Syriac, Arabic); do not weary unto that place (Malvenda); do not weary (supply, by leading, or sending) thither (Junius and Tremellius, Pagnine, Tigurinus). It has regard, as it appears, to the slope of the mountain. For Ai was on a mountain, Jericho in a plain. Whence they are said to go up here and in verse 4. The Latin translation refers to the trouble in fighting; the Chaldean to the tumult and din that large armies raise (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּשֻׁ֣בוּ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֗עַ וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֵלָיו֮ אַל־יַ֣עַל כָּל־הָעָם֒ כְּאַלְפַּ֣יִם אִ֗ישׁ א֚וֹ כִּשְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת אֲלָפִ֣ים אִ֔ישׁ יַעֲל֖וּ וְיַכּ֣וּ אֶת־הָעָ֑י אַל־תְּיַגַּע־שָׁ֙מָּה֙ אֶת־כָּל־הָעָ֔ם כִּ֥י מְעַ֖ט הֵֽמָּה׃

[2] Hebrew: כְּאַלְפַּ֣יִם אִ֗ישׁ א֚וֹ כִּשְׁלֹ֣שֶׁת אֲלָפִ֣ים אִ֔ישׁ .

[3] יָגַע, to toil, in the Piel conjugation carries a causative sense.