|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
7:10-15 God awakens Joshua to inquiry, by telling him that when this accursed thing was put away, all would be well. Times of danger and trouble should be times of reformation. We should look at home, into our own hearts, into our own houses, and make diligent search to find out if there be not some accursed thing there, which God sees and abhors; some secret lust, some unlawful gain, some undue withholding from God or from others. We cannot prosper, until the accursed thing be destroyed out of our hearts, and put out of our habitations and our families, and forsaken in our lives. When the sin of sinners finds them out, God is to be acknowledged. With a certain and unerring judgment, the righteous God does and will distinguish between the innocent and the guilty; so that though the righteous are of the same tribe, and family, and household with the wicked, yet they never shall be treated as the wicked.
Verse 14. - Taketh, i.e., by lot, as in 1 Samuel 14:42 (הַפִילוּ make it fall; cf. 1 Samuel 10:20) (cf. Jonah 1:7; also Proverbs 18:18). According to the families. The gradual centering of the suspicion upon the offender is one of the most striking features of the history. The genealogies of the children of Israel were very strictly kept, as the Books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah show. Achan's name is carefully given in the genealogy of Judah in 1 Chronicles if. 7. The subdivision of the tribes into families (or clans, Keil) and households (or, as we should perhaps say, families) was for convenience of enumeration, military organisation, and perhaps of assessment. Oehler, 'Theologie des Allen Testaments,' Sec. 101, takes the same view as Keil. The tribes, he says, were divided into מִשְׁפָהות or ׃ך׃ך אֲלָפִים, Geschlechter (LXX. δημοι, for which the best English equivalent is clans, as above); these into families or houses (בָּתִּים), or fathers' hours (בֵּת אָבות); and these again into single heads of a house (גְבָרִים). The principle, he adds of a Mosaic family, is as follows: Every "family" forms a distinct whole, which as far as possible must be maintained in its integrity. Each tribe, says Jahn ('Hebrew Commonwealth,' Book II.), acknowledged a prince (כָשִׂיא) as its ruler. As its numbers increased, there arose a subdivision of the tribe into collections of families. Such a collection was called a house of fathers, a מִשְׁפְחָה or clan, or a thousand, rut this explanation is not so satisfactory as that given above. Kurz remarks on the important part family life played among the Hebrews, with whom, in consequence of their descent from Abraham, and the importance they attached to it, the nation was developed out of the family. See Introduction.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes,.... One or more of every tribe, according to the number of them, were to be brought the next morning before Joshua and the elders of Israel, the sanhedrim and council of the nation, and very probably the tabernacle, where they assembled for this purpose:
and it shall be, that the tribe which the Lord taketh; how a tribe and so a family or household were taken is differently understood; what some of the Jewish writers say deserves no regard, as the detention of persons by the ark, or of the dulness of the stones in the Urim and Thummim: it seems best to understand the whole affair as done by casting lots (x); so Josephus (y) and Ben Gersom; and they might in this way be said to be taken by the Lord, because the disposition of the lot is by him, Proverbs 16:33; now it is said, that the tribe that should be taken, as Judah was, from what follows:
shall come according to the families thereof; that is, the families in that tribe, meaning the heads of them, as Kimchi well observes; these were to come to the place where the lots were cast:
and the family which the Lord shall take shall come by households; on whatsoever family in the tribe the lot should fall, the heads of households in that family should appear and have lots cast on them: and the household which the Lord shall take shall come man by man; that household that should be taken by lot, the men thereof, the heads of the house, should come each of them and have lots east on them, that the particular man that sinned might be discovered.
(x) Pirke Eliezer, c. 38. Samaritan. Chronic. apud Hottinger. Smegma. Oriental. l. 1. c. 8. p. 505. Jarchi in loc. (y) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 10.
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