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 7:11: 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׃.