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 7:21: Achan’s Confession, Part 3

Verse 21:[1] When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge (Heb. tongue[2]) of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

When I saw, etc.: He accurately describes the progress of his sin, which began at his eye, which he permitted to gaze and fix upon them, which inflamed his desire, and made him covet them; and that desire put him upon action, and made him take them; and having taken, resolve to keep them, and to that end hide them in his tent.

[A scarlet pallium,[3] אַדֶּ֣רֶת שִׁנְעָר֩] Question: What is this? Of Shinar is Babylonian, says Malvenda; Shinar was near Babylon, says Bochart in Sacred Geography 1:5. [See our collectanea on Genesis 10:10; 11:2, 9; and almost all translate שִׁנְעָר, of Shinar, here as Babylonian.] Now, they translate אַדֶּרֶת,[4] pallium (Arabic, Pagnine, Montanus, Drusius), chlamys[5] (Vatablus, Tigurinus), stola[6] (Jonathan, Vatablus, Aquila in Masius), toga (Junius and Tremellius), paludamentum:[7] now, this belonged to nobles; Juvenal’s Satires 6, and with generals wearing the paludamentum, etc., and Jonah 3:6, the king took off אַדַּרְתּוֹ, his robes, so that he might put on sackcloth (Masius). אַדֶּרֶת, if the origin of the word be regarded, signifies either a tapestry, or a magnificent garment, which wins glory for him that makes use of it (Masius, Bonfrerius). Now, it is evident that Babylonian garments were prized. Plutarch relates that Marcus Cato,[8] when he had received by inheritance an embroidered Babylonian garment, immediately sold it[9] (Masius). Plautus[10] makes mention of Babylonian Coverings in Stichus. In Aristides’[11] “Regarding Rome” you find Babylonian garments (Bonfrerius). Lucretius,[12] On the Nature of Things[13] 4: When the Babylonian garments, in magnificent splendor, are drenched. See also Pliny’s Natural History 8:48 (Malvenda). Moreover, some maintain that these garments were purple or scarlet-dyed (for it is certain that these are taken promiscuously) (thus Rabbi Haninah[14] and Jerome in Bochart’s Sacred Geography “Phaleg”, thus the Vulgate). But I think that the discovery of the Babylonian purple was recent, while the ancient Babylonians sought purple from Tyre and from Hermione.[15] [Others otherwise:] The Greeks render it correctly, στολὴν ποικίλην, a stola various, that is, variegated and interwoven with diverse colors of embroidery, the invention of which weaving is owed to the Babylonians (Bochart’s Sacred Geography “Phaleg” 1:6:33). These garments were artistically woven with diverse colors, which might render whatever things and likenesses of faces. Pliny, in Natural History 8:48, says, Babylon was especially celebrated for their interweaving of diverse colors into a picture. Apuleius, Florida[16] 1: He had as a girdle a belt, which sort is variegated in striking colors with Babylonian embroidery. Martial, Epigrams 8:28: I would not prefer Babylonian garments proudly embroidered. Petronius, Satyricon:[17] clothed with plumed Babylonian gold. And Josephus, Jewish Wars 7:17 (7:24 in Latin): other garments, varied with a most meticulous embroidery, after the Babylonian art (Bonfrerius). Babylonian men are described in Ezekiel 23:15 as luxuriating in dyed (supply, head-dresses, or turbans), that is, of different colors, upon their heads.[18] And those that set forth purple here, I think to have take it of purple interwoven with various colors: concerning which Æneid 7, …neither does embroidered purple please the King (Bochart’s Sacred Geography “Phaleg” 1:5:34).

Babylonish garments were composed with great art with divers colours, and of great price, as appears both from Scripture, Ezekiel 23:15, and from divers heathen authors. [See my Latin Synopsis.]

[Two hundred shekels] That is, a hundred ounces; for the shekel was a half-ounce in weight[19] (Bonfrerius, Masius). In the place of shekels Symmachus and frequently Aquila have στατῆρας/staters.[20] Two hundred shekels are one hundred Germanic thalers[21] (Masius). Now, I do not understand this of shekel coins (which it is not evident were at that time), but of shekels paid out by weight; for at that time all things were wont to be bought, paid, and valued by weights (Bonfrerius).

Two hundred shekels, to wit, in weight, not in coin; for as yet they received and paid money by weight.

[A golden bar, וּלְשׁ֙וֹן זָהָ֤ב] A tongue of gold (Montanus, Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Drusius, Masius); a strip (Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, Drusius); a sheet (Vatablus, Kimchi in Masius); of gold shaped into the figure of a tongue (Kimchi in Masius). It was a hunk of unformed gold (Masius, Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities 5). The Latins call it laterem, a brick/ingot (Junius). It appears that the broad clasp of a toga or pallium is called a tongue metaphorically, because of the similarity of shape (Piscator).

[Of fifty shekels] It is able to be understood, either, of the shekel coin, and thus it would be worth twenty-five thalers; or (which I prefer), of the weight of the shekel, and thus it would be worth three hundred thalers (Masius).

[I buried it in the earth] Hebrew: under it,[22] namely, the earth.[23] Thus the Vulgate understands it (Malvenda).

[תַּחְתֶּיהָ] Under it (Pagnine, Montanus, Vatablus), namely, the pallium (Vatablus, Drusius, similarly Masius, Junius and Tremellius). For אַדֶּרֶת/ garment has a feminine form (Drusius). Others: under those (Septuagint, Jonathan, Arabic, Munster, Tigurinus). Who would not conclude that the golden tongue was hidden even in the bottom (Masius)?

Under it, that is, under the Babylonish garment; covered with it, or wrapt up in it.

[1] Hebrew: וָאֶ֣רְאֶה בַשָּׁלָ֡ל אַדֶּ֣רֶת שִׁנְעָר֩ אַחַ֙ת טוֹבָ֜ה וּמָאתַ֧יִם שְׁקָלִ֣ים כֶּ֗סֶף וּלְשׁ֙וֹן זָהָ֤ב אֶחָד֙ חֲמִשִּׁ֤ים שְׁקָלִים֙ מִשְׁקָל֔וֹ וָֽאֶחְמְדֵ֖ם וָֽאֶקָּחֵ֑ם וְהִנָּ֙ם טְמוּנִ֥ים בָּאָ֛רֶץ בְּת֥וֹךְ הָאָֽהֳלִ֖י וְהַכֶּ֥סֶף תַּחְתֶּֽיהָ׃

[2] Hebrew: וּלְשׁוֹן.

[3] A pallium is a large, rectangular cloak.

[4] אַדֶּרֶת signifies glory or cloak; it appears to be related to the verbal root אָדַר, to be great or wide.

[5] A chlamys was a short cloak, worn by Grecian men.

[6] A stola was a long, outer garment.

[7] A paludamentum was a military cloak.

[8] Cato the Elder, or Marcus Porcius Cato (234-149 BC), was a Roman senator and statesman, and the first to right history in Latin.

[9] In Vita Catonis 4.

[10] Titus Maccius Plautus (254-184 BC) was a Roman playwright.  Only twenty-one of his nearly one hundred and thirty comedies survive.

[11] Publius Ælius Aristides Theodorus (117-181) was a second century Greek rhetorician.

[12] Titus Lucretius Carus (c. 99-c. 55 BC) was a Roman poet and Epicurean philosopher.  He was a proponent of a materialistic atomism, and thus a critic of religions.

[13] De Rerum Natura.

[14] Rabbi Haninah ben Teradion (second century) was a Tenna, and one of the Ten Martyrs, killed for ignoring the Roman ban on the teaching of the Torah.

[15] Hermione was a port town on the east coast of the Greek Peloponnese.  It was famous for its shipbuilders and for its porphyra (a reddish-purple dye).

[16] Apuleius’ (c. 125-c. 180) was a Latin-language, prose author. Florida contains portions of Apuleius’ speeches; and his novel, Metamorphoses, or The Golden Ass, is the only Latin novel from this period that has survived in its entirety.

[17] Gaius Petronius Arbiter (c. 27-66) was a Roman courtier during the reign of Nero, and is believed to be the author of Satyricon, a satirical novel of that period.

[18] Ezekiel 23:15:  “Girded with girdles upon their loins, exceeding in dyed attire upon their heads (סְרוּחֵ֤י טְבוּלִים֙ בְּרָ֣אשֵׁיהֶ֔ם), all of them princes to look to, after the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of their nativity…”

[19] It appears that there was somewhat more than six pounds of silver.

[20] The weight of the stater would vary from place to place, but the average ranges from a quarter- to a half-ounce.

[21] Again, the weight of the thaler would vary from place to place, but the average ranges from a half to two-thirds of an ounce.

[22] Hebrew: תַּחְתֶּיהָ.

[23] אֶרֶץ/earth is feminine.

Joshua 7:20: Achan’s Confession, Part 2

Verse 20:[1] And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done…

[Truly I have sinned,[2] etc.] The individual words, proceeding from an afflicted soul, have their own emphasis (Menochius). Truly; It is the language of one ingenuously and openly confessing; he does not excuse, after the manner of hypocrites: I; It is not the case that I would accuse another; I myself have erred (Malvenda): Against the Lord; Against the precept of the Lord, or, with the Lord alone knowing (Menochius): The God of Israel; that is to say, God, by whom I was made, even indeed as an Israelite, so that I might with good reason be held as altogether ungrateful (Masius).

Indeed I have sinned: He seems to make a sincere and ingenuous confession, and loads his sin with all just aggravations.  Against the Lord; against his express command, and just rights, and glorious attributes.  The Lord God of Israel; the true God, who hath chosen me and all Israel to be the people of his peculiar love and care.

[And thus and thus have I done] It contains a Hypotyposis[3] of what happened and a clear explanation, in which he progresses in an orderly fashion; first from the very sense of sight, as the instigator of evil things, to the soul inflamed with lust; thence unto the deed; finally unto sting of conscience, whence also the concealment followed. Which sort of series we observe to be in almost all sins (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּ֧עַן עָכָ֛ן אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אָמְנָ֗ה אָנֹכִ֤י חָטָ֙אתִי֙ לַֽיהוָה֙ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְכָזֹ֥את וְכָזֹ֖את עָשִֽׂיתִי׃

[2] Hebrew: אָמְנָ֗ה אָנֹכִ֤י חָטָ֙אתִי֙.

[3] That is, a vivid depiction of scenes or events.

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 7:11: God’s Explanation of the Defeat at Ai, Part 2

Verse 11:[1] (Josh. 7:1) Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: (Josh. 6:17, 18) for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and (see Acts 5:1, 2) dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.

[Israel has sinned] One of Israel (Lapide, Talmudists in Masius). Rather, the children of Israel. For the sin of one member is often imputed to the whole body (Drusius, similarly Masius). So that God might apply the remedy, He reveals the ills. We are rightly cured from ills only after we have a knowledge of them, having been closely examined (Malvenda).

Israel; some or one of them, as before on Joshua 7:1.

[It has transgressed my covenant] Either, because the obedience that they had promised in the covenant, Exodus 19:8; 24:7, they did not yield (Junius, Drusius); or, because they acted against my interdict (Drusius). Hence it is evident that the General did not set forth that law concerning the anathema by his own will, but by the command of God (Masius). He aggravates the offense here by degrees. They offended grievously. 1. They saved things that it was necessary to have destroyed. 2. And they took them for themselves privately. 3. And that secretly, as if anything is able to be done without my knowledge. 4. Moreover, they tried to deceive with lies. 5. They persevered in purpose, with those things stored among their furniture. Thus it is able to be translated; for also they have taken…indeed, also they have stolen, indeed also they have lied, indeed also they have stored, etc. (Piscator).

[And they have lied, וְגַ֣ם כִּֽחֲשׁ֔וּ] And also they denied (Jonathan, Arabic, Montanus), they lied (Syriac, Junius and Tremellius). Either, 1. not in word, but in deed (Lapide): by not bringing into the Lord’s treasury what he ought (Malvenda out of Junius). Or, 2. because, with Joshua preventing lest they seize upon anything of the cursed thing, all, either expressly or tacitly, are seen to promise that they were going to oblige him (Bonfrerius). All had promised that they would take nothing of the cursed thing, Joshua 6:17-20 (Menochius out of Serarius). Or, 3. inasmuch as they denied that they took it (Vatablus, Drusius). Perhaps some asked Achan concerning the cursed thing (Drusius). Or, all having been asked whether they had taken anything denied (certain interpreters in Malvenda). Or, 4. because purpose was to deny by lying, if anyone had asked (Drusius).

[And they have hidden among the stuff[2]] There are those that think his tent to be signified (Drusius); in which they had buried those things (Kimchi in Masius). I rather translate it, they stored it among their own furniture (Masius, similarly Vatablus), which he calls vessels. Ἐνοσφίσαντο (Septuagint), they converted it unto their own use (Drusius). They mixed it with their own things, persisting in their sin (Malvenda out of Junius). It is to be observed how gravely God charges that with sin, which could appear slight, being conjoined with the injury of no man, and hence how no hope of salvation would remain to us, if God should treat with us according to perfect justice, Psalm 143:2 (Masius).

Transgressed my covenant, that is, broken the conditions of my covenant which I have commanded them, and they have promised to perform, namely, obedience to all my commands, Exodus 19:8; 24:7, whereof this was one, not to meddle with the accursed thing. Of the accursed thing, which I charged them not to meddle with. And have also stolen, that is, taken my portion which I had reserved, Joshua 6:19. Dissembled; covered the fact with deep dissimulation, and a real, if not verbal, profession of their innocency. Possibly Achan might be suspected; and being accused, had denied it, or was resolved to deny it. Put it even among their own stuff; converted it to their own use, and added obstinacy and resolvedness to the crime; thus he loads this sin with divers aggravations.

[1] Hebrew: חָטָא֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְגַם֙ עָבְר֣וּ אֶת־בְּרִיתִ֔י אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוִּ֖יתִי אוֹתָ֑ם וְגַ֤ם לָֽקְחוּ֙ מִן־הַחֵ֔רֶם וְגַ֤ם גָּֽנְבוּ֙ וְגַ֣ם כִּֽחֲשׁ֔וּ וְגַ֖ם שָׂ֥מוּ בִכְלֵיהֶֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וְגַ֖ם שָׂ֥מוּ בִכְלֵיהֶֽם׃.