Joshua 7

The sin of Achan

1 The Israelites did not obey what Joshua had said about the valuable things that belonged to God. Achan took some of these things for himself. He was Carmi's son, who was the son of Zimri, who was the son of Zerah. They were from the tribe of Judah. The Lord was very angry with the Israelites.

2 Joshua sent some men to go from Jericho to Ai. That is a city near to Beth Aven, and east of Bethel. He said to the men, ‘Go up and look at the land near there secretly.’ So, the men went to Ai to see what they could discover. 3 The men came back and they said to Joshua, ‘There are not many men in Ai. Do not send our whole army to attack it. 2,000 or 3,000 men will be enough to take the city.’

4 So about 3,000 Israelite men went to attack Ai. But the men of Ai made them run away. 5 They chased the Israelites away from the gate of the city and they killed about 36 Israelite soldiers. They chased them down the hill as far as Shebarim. They killed the Israelites as they ran down the hill. When the people of Israel heard this, they became very frightened.

6 Joshua was so upset that he tore his clothes. He fell with his face to the ground in front of the Lord's Covenant Box. He stayed there until evening time, together with the Israelite leaders. They all put dirt on their heads. 7 Joshua said, ‘Lord God, why did you ever bring us over the Jordan river? Did you bring us here so that the Amorites could destroy us? It would have been better for us to stay on the other side of the Jordan! 8 Now our army has had to run away from our enemies! Lord, there is nothing more for me to say! 9 The Canaanites and the other tribes who live in this land will hear about what has happened. They will come to attack us and they will completely destroy us all. If that happens, nobody will ever respect your great name again!’

7:6When Israelite people were very sad or upset, they tore their clothes and they put dirt on their heads.

10 The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Stand up! Why are you lying there on the ground? 11 Israel has done a bad thing. They have not obeyed the command of the covenant that I made with them. That have taken for themselves some of the valuable things that belong to me. They have taken them and they have tried to deceive me. They have hidden them among their own things. 12 That is why the Israelites are running away from their enemies. They themselves must now be destroyed because they belong to me. If you want me to continue to help you, you must destroy everything that belongs to me. You should not have taken those valuable things for yourselves.

13 So stand up now! Tell the people to make themselves clean. Make yourselves ready! Tomorrow you will come to stand in front of me. I, the Lord God of Israel tell you, “Israelite people, you have kept some of the things that I told you to destroy. You will not win against your enemies until you have removed those things!” 14 In the morning, tell the Israelites to come to me, one tribe at a time. I will choose one tribe. The clans of that tribe will come in front of me, one clan at a time. I will choose one clan. Then the families of that clan will come in front of me, family by family. I will choose one family. Then the men of that family will come to stand in front of me, one by one. 15 Then I will show you which man has taken the things that belong to me. You must kill that man and burn his body. You must kill him and everything that he has, together with all his family. He has done a very bad thing that no Israelite should ever do. He has turned against the covenant that I made with my people.’

16 Early the next morning, Joshua told the tribes to come and stand in front of the Lord. They came one tribe at a time. The Lord chose the tribe of Judah. 17 Then clans of the tribe of Judah came, one clan at a time. The Lord chose Zerah's clan. Families from Zerah's clan then came, one family at a time. The Lord chose Zimri's family. 18 Joshua then made each man from Zimri's family come, one by one. The Lord chose Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zimri, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah.

19 Then Joshua said to Achan, ‘My son, tell the truth, to show that you respect the Lord, Israel's God. Tell me what you have done. Do not try to deceive me.’

20 Achan replied, ‘It is true! I have done a bad thing against the Lord, Israel's God. This is what I have done. 21 I found a beautiful coat from Babylon, and I found 200 silver coins, and a piece of gold that weighed half a kilogram. I wanted them so much that I took them for myself. I hid them in the ground in my tent. The silver coins are under the other things.’

22 So Joshua sent some men to go to Achan's tent. They ran there and they found the things that Achan had hidden. The silver coins were under the other things. 23 The men took the things out from the tent. They brought them to Joshua and all the other Israelites. They put them all on the ground in front of the Lord.

24 Then Joshua and all the people took Achan, the son of Zerah, and the silver coins, the coat, and the heavy piece of gold. They also took his sons, his daughters, and his cows, sheep and donkeys. They took all his things to Achor valley. 25 Joshua said, ‘Why did you cause us so much trouble to come on us? The Lord will certainly give you trouble today!’

7:24‘Achor’ means trouble.

Then all the Israelites threw stones at him until he died. They also killed his family and they burned all the bodies. 26 They put a big heap of stones over him. They are still there today. That is why the place is still called ‘Trouble Valley’. Then the Lord was not angry with his people any more.