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 7:20: 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…”