Joshua 7:1
But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.
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(1) Achan . . . of the tribe of Judah.—The tribe of Judah is distinguished in sacred history both for great crimes and great achievements. (See Names on the Gates of Pearl.—Judah.)



Joshua 7:1 - Joshua 7:12

This passage naturally parts itself into-1. The hidden sin {Joshua 7:1}; 2. The repulse by which it is punished {Joshua 7:2 - Joshua 7:5}; 3. The prayer of remonstrance {Joshua 7:6 - Joshua 7:9}; and 4. The answer revealing the cause {Joshua 7:10 - Joshua 7:12}. We may briefly note the salient points in these four divisions, and then consider the general lessons of the whole.

I. Observe, then, that the sin is laid at the doors of the whole nation, while yet it was the secret act of one man. That Is a strange ‘for’ in verse 1-the people did it; ‘for’ Achan did it. Observe, too, with what bitter particularity his descent is counted back through three generations, as if to diffuse the shame and guilt over a wide area, and to blacken the ancestors of the culprit. Note also the description of the sin. Its details are not given, but its inmost nature is. The specification of the ‘Babylonish garment,’ the ‘shekels of silver,’ and the ‘wedge of gold,’ is reserved for the sinner’s own confession; but the blackness of the deed is set forth in its principle in Joshua 7:1. It was a ‘breach of trust,’ for so the phrase ‘committed a trespass’ might be rendered. The expression is frequent in the Pentateuch to describe Israel’s treacherous departure from God, and has this full meaning here. The sphere in which Achan’s treason was evidenced was ‘in the devoted thing.’ The spoil of Jericho was set aside for Jehovah, and to appropriate any part of it was sacrilege. His sin, then, was double, being at once covetousness and robbing God. Achan, at the beginning of Israel’s warfare for Canaan, and Ananias, at the beginning of the Church’s conquest of the world, are brothers alike in guilt and in doom. Note the wide sweep of ‘the anger of the Lord,’ involving in its range not only the one transgressor, but the whole people.

II. All unconscious of the sin, and flushed with victory, Joshua let no grass grow under his feet, but was prepared to push his advantage to the utmost with soldierly promptitude. The commander’s faith and courage were contagious, and the spies came back from their perilous reconnaissance of Ai with the advice that a small detachment was enough for its reduction. They had not spied the mound in the middle of Achan’s tent, or their note would have been changed. Three thousand, or three hundred, would have been enough, if God had been with them. The whole army would not have been enough since He was not. The site of Ai seems to have been satisfactorily identified on a small plateau among the intricate network of wild wadys and bare hills that rise behind Jericho. The valley to the north, the place where the ambush lay at the successful assault, and a great mound, still bearing the name ‘Et Tel’ {the heap}, are all there. The attacking force does not seem to have been commanded by Joshua. The ark stayed at Gilgal, The contempt for the resistance likely to be met makes the panic which ensued the more remarkable. What turned the hearts of the confident assailants to water? There was no serious fighting, or the slaughter would have been more than thirty-six. ‘There went up . . . about three thousand and they’-did what? fought and conquered? Alas, no, but ‘they fled before the men of Ai,’ rushing in wild terror down the steep pass which they had so confidently breasted in the morning, till the pursuers caught them up at some ‘quarries,’ where, perhaps, the ground was difficult, and there slew the few who fell, while the remainder got away by swiftness of foot, and brought back their terror and their shame to the camp. As the disordered fugitives poured in, they infected the whole with their panic. Such unwieldy undisciplined hosts are peculiarly liable to such contagious terror, and we find many instances in Scripture and elsewhere of the utter disorganisation which ensues. The whole conquest hung in the balance. A little more and the army would be a mob; and the mob would break into twos and threes, which would get short shrift from the Amorites.

Ill. Mark, then, Joshua’s action in the crisis. He does not try to encourage the people, but turns from them to God. The spectacle of the leader and the elders prone before the ark, with rent garments and dust-bestrewn hair, in sign of mourning, would not be likely to hearten the alarmed people; but the defeat had clearly shown that something had disturbed the relation to God, and the first necessity was to know what it was. Joshua’s prayer is perplexed, and not free from a wistful, backward look, nor from regard to his own reputation; but the soul of it is an earnest desire to know the ‘wherefore’ of this disaster. It traces the defeat to God, and means really, ‘Show me wherefore Thou contendest with me.’ No doubt it runs perilously near to repeating the old complaints at Kadesh and elsewhere, which are almost verbally reproduced in its first words. But the same things said by different people are not the same; and Joshua’s question is the voice of a faith struggling to find footing, and his backward look is not because he doubts God’s power to help, or hankers after Egypt, but because he sees that, for some unknown reason, they have lost the divine protection. His reference to himself betrays the crushing weight of responsibility which he felt, and comes not from carefulness for his own good fame so much as from his dread of being unable to vindicate himself, if the people should turn on him as the author of their misfortunes. His fear of the news of the check at Ai emboldening not only the neighbouring Amorites {highlanders} of the western Palestine, but the remoter Canaanites {lowlanders} of the coast, to make a combined attack, and sweep Israel out of existence, was a perfectly reasonable forecast of what would follow. The naive simplicity of the appeal to God, ‘What wilt Thou do for Thy great name?’ becomes the soldier, whose words went the shortest way to their aim, as his spear did. We cannot fancy this prayer coming from Moses; but, for all that, it has the ring of faith in it, and beneath its blunt, simple words throbs a true heart.

IV. The answer sounds strange at first. God almost rebukes him for praying. He gives Joshua back his own ‘wherefore’ in the question that sounds so harsh, ‘Wherefore art thou thus fallen upon thy face?’ but the harshness is only apparent, and serves to point the lesson that follows, that the cause of the disaster is with Israel, not with God, and that therefore the remedy is not in prayer, but in active steps to cast out ‘the unclean thing.’ The prayer had asked two things,-the disclosure of the cause of God’s having left them, and His return. The answer lays bare the cause, and therein shows the conditions of His return. Note the indignant accumulation of verbs in Joshua 7:11, describing the sin in all its aspects. The first three of the six point out its heinousness in reference to God, as sin, as a breach of covenant, and as an appropriation of what was specially His. The second three describe it in terms of ordinary morality, as theft, lying, and concealment; so many black sides has one sin when God’s eye scrutinises it. Note, too, the attribution of the sin to the whole people, the emphatic reduplication of the shameful picture of their defeat, the singular transference to them of the properties of ‘the devoted thing’ which Achan has taken, and the plain, stringent conditions of God’s return. Joshua’s prayer is answered. He knows now why little Ai has beaten them back. He asked, ‘What shall I say?’ He has got something of grave import to say. So far this passage carries us, leaving the pitiful last hour of the wretched troubler of Israel untouched. What lessons are taught here?

First, God’s soldiers must be pure. The conditions of God’s help are the same to-day as when that panic-stricken crowd ignominiously fled down the rocky pass, foiled before an insignificant fortress, because sin clave to them, and God was gone from them. The age of miracles may have ceased, but the law of the divine intervention which governed the miracles has not ceased. It is true to-day, and will always be true, that the victories of the Church are won by its holiness far more than by any gifts or powers of mind, culture, wealth, eloquence, or the like. Its conquests are the conquests of an indwelling God, and He cannot share His temples with idols. When God is with us, Jericho is not too strong to be captured; when He is driven from us by our own sin, Ai is not too weak to defeat us. A shattered wall keeps us out, if we fight in our own strength. Fortifications that reach to heaven fall flat before us when God is at our side. If Christian effort seems ever fruitless, the first thing to do is to look for the ‘Babylonish garment’ and the glittering shekels hidden in our tents. Nine times out of ten we shall find the cause in our own spiritual deficiencies. Our success depends on God’s presence, and God’s presence depends on our keeping His dwelling-place holy. When the Church is ‘fair as the moon,’ reflecting in silvery whiteness the ardours of the sun which gives her all her light, and without such spots as dim the moon’s brightness, she will be ‘terrible as an army with banners.’ This page of Old Testament history has a living application to the many efforts and few victories of the churches of to-day, which seem scarce able to hold their own amid the natural increase of population in so-called Christian lands, and are so often apparently repulsed when they go up to attack the outlying heathenism.

‘His strength was as the strength of ten,

Because his heart was pure,’

is true of the Christian soldier.

Again, we learn the power of one man to infect a whole community and to inflict disaster on it. One sick sheep taints a flock. The effects of the individual’s sin are not confined to the doer. We have got a fine new modern word to express this solemn law, and we talk now of ‘solidarity,’ which sounds very learned and ‘advanced.’ But it means just what we see in this story; Achan was the sinner, all Israel suffered. We are knit together by a mystical but real bond, so that ‘no man,’ be he good or bad, ‘liveth to himself,’ and no man’s sin terminates in himself. We see the working of that unity in families, communities, churches, nations. Men are not merely aggregated together like a pile of cannon balls, but are knit together like the myriad lives in a coral rock. Put a drop of poison anywhere, and it runs by a thousand branching veins through the mass, and tints and taints it all. No man can tell how far the blight of his secret sins may reach, nor how wide the blessing of his modest goodness may extend. We should seek to cultivate the sense of being members of a great whole, and to ponder our individual responsibility for the moral and religious health of the church, the city, the nation. We are not without danger from an exaggerated individualism, and we need to realise more constantly and strongly that we are but threads in a great network, endowed with mysterious vitality and power of transmitting electric impulses, both of good and evil.

Again, we have one more illustration in this story of the well-worn lesson,-never too threadbare to be repeated, until it is habitually realised,-that God’s eye sees the hidden sins. Nobody saw Achan carry the spoil to his tent, or dig the hole to hide it. His friends walked across the floor without suspicion of what was beneath. No doubt, he held his place in his tribe as an honourable man, and his conscience traced no connection between that recently disturbed patch on the floor and the helter-skelter flight from Ai; but when the lot began to be cast, he would have his own thought, and when the tribe of Judah was taken, some creeping fear would begin to coil round his heart, which tightened its folds, and hissed more loudly, as each step in the lot brought discovery nearer home; and when, at last, his own name fell from the vase, how terribly the thought would glare in on him,-’And God knew it all the while, and I fancied I had covered it all up so safely.’ It is an awful thing to hear the bloodhounds following up the scent which leads them straight to our lurking-place. God’s judgments may be long in being put on our tracks, but, once loose, they are sure of scent, and cannot be baffled. It is an old, old thought, ‘Thou God seest me’; but kept well in mind, it would save from many a sin, and make sunshine in many a shady place.

Again, we have in Achan a lesson which the professing Christians of great commercial nations, like England, sorely need. I have already pointed out the singular parallel between him and Ananias and Sapphira. Covetousness was the sin of all three. It is the sin of the Church to-day. The whole atmosphere in which some of us live is charged with the subtle poison of it. Men are estimated by their wealth. The great aim of life is to get money, or to keep it, or to gain influence and notoriety by spending it. Did anybody ever hear of church discipline being exercised on men who committed Achan’s sin? He was stoned to death, but we set our Achans in high places in the Church. Perhaps if we went and fell on our faces before the ark when we are beaten, we should be directed to some tent where a very ‘influential member’ of Israel lived, and should find that to put an end to his ecclesiastical life had a wonderful effect in bringing back courage to the army, and leading to more unmingled dependence on God. Covetousness was stoned to death in Israel, and struck with sudden destruction in the Apostolic Church. It has been reserved for the modern Church to tolerate and almost to canonise it; and yet we wonder how it comes that we are so often foiled before some little Ai, and so seldom see any walls falling by our assault. Let us listen to that stern sentence, ‘I will not be with you any more, except ye destroy the devoted thing from among you.’

Joshua 7:1. But the children of Israel — That is, one of them. It is a usual form of speech in the Holy Scriptures, to ascribe that to many indefinitely, which properly belonged only to one or two of the same body or society. Thus (Matthew 26:8) we find that to be ascribed to all the disciples which was done by Judas alone: see John 12:4. Committed a trespass in the accursed thing — Offended God by taking some of the spoils which were devoted to destruction, or appropriated to God’s treasury, with a curse upon him who took them. Achan, the son of Carmi — He is called Achar, (1 Chronicles 2:7,) a word that signifies, He troubled. It is probable that as he had troubled Israel, (Joshua 7:25,) they changed his name thus in after-times. Zabdi — Called also Zimri, 1 Chronicles 2:6. Zerah — Or Zarah, who was Judah’s immediate son, (Genesis 38:30,) who went with his father into Egypt when he was very young. And thus, for making up the two hundred and fifty-six years that are supposed to come between that and this time, we must allow Achan to be now an old man, and his three ancestors to have begotten each his son at about sixty years of age; which at that time was not incredible nor unusual. Against the children of Israel — Why did God punish the whole society for this one man’s sin? All of them were punished for their own sins, whereof each had a sufficient proportion; but God took this occasion to inflict the punishment upon the society. 1st, Because divers of them might be guilty of this sin, either by coveting to do what he actually did, or by concealing his fault, which, it is probable, could not be unknown to others, or by not sorrowing for it, and endeavouring to purge themselves from it: 2d, To make sin the more hateful, as being the cause of such dreadful judgments: and, 3d, To oblige all the members of every society to be more circumspect in ordering their own actions, and more diligent to prevent the miscarriage of their brethren.

7:1-5 Achan took some of the spoil of Jericho. The love of the world is that root of bitterness, which of all others is most hardly rooted up. We should take heed of sin ourselves, lest by it many be defiled or disquieted, Heb 12:15; and take heed of having fellowship with sinners, lest we share their guilt. It concerns us to watch over one another to prevent sin, because others' sins may be to our damage. The easy conquest of Jericho excited contempt of the enemy, and a disposition to expect the Lord to do all for them without their using proper means. Thus men abuse the doctrines of Divine grace, and the promises of God, into excuses for their own sloth and self-indulgence. We are to work out our own salvation, though it is God that works in us. It was a dear victory to the Canaanites, whereby Israel was awakened and reformed, and reconciled to their God, and the people of Canaan hardened to their own ruin.Committed a trespass - (compare Leviticus 5:15 note), "acted treacherously and committed a breach of faith." This suitably describes the sin of Achan, who had purloined and hidden away that which had been dedicated to God by the ban Joshua 6:19.

The "trespass" was the act of one man, yet is imputed to all Israel, who also share in the penalty of it Joshua 7:5. This is not to be explained as though all the people participated in the covetousness which led to Achan's sin Joshua 7:21. The nation as a nation was in covenant with God, and is treated by Him not merely as a number of individuals living together for their own purposes under common institutions, but as a divinely-constituted organic whole. Hence, the sin of Achan defiled the other members of the community as well as himself. and robbed the people collectively of holiness before God and acceptableness with Him. Israel had in the person of Achan broken the covenant Joshua 7:11; God therefore would no more drive out the Canaanites before them.

The accursed thing - Rather "in that which had been devoted or dedicated." Achan in diverting any of these devoted things to his own purposes, committed the sin of sacrilege, that of Ananias and Sapphira. Acts 5:2-3.

Achan or Achar - (the marginal reference) the "n" and "r" being interchanged, perhaps for the sake of accommodating the name to עכר ‛âkar, "trouble" Joshua 7:25. Zabdi is generally identified with the Zimri of 1 Chronicles 2:6. Zerah was twin brother of Pharez and son of Judah Genesis 38:30. In this genealogy, as in others, several generations are omitted, most likely those which intervened between Zerah and Zabdi, and which covered the space between the migration of Jacob's household to Egypt and the Exodus. (Numbers 26:5, see the note).


Jos 7:1. Achan's Trespass.

1. the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing—There was one transgressor against the cherem, or ban, on Jericho, and his transgression brought the guilt and disgrace of sin upon the whole nation.

Achan—called afterwards "Achar" ("trouble") (1Ch 2:7).

Zabdi—or Zimri (1Ch 2:6).

Zerah—or Zarah, son of Judah and Tamar (Ge 38:30). His genealogy is given probably to show that from a parentage so infamous the descendants would not be carefully trained in the fear of God.Achan takes of the accursed and devoted thing: God is angry with Israel, Joshua 7:1. Joshua sends three thousand men against Ai; they flee, and thirty-six are slain, Joshua 7:2-5. Joshua complains to God; who discovers the cause, and enjoins a lot, Joshua 7:6-15. Achan is found guilty: Joshua’s advice, and his confession, Joshua 7:16-21. He and his are stoned and burnt: the place named The valley of Achor, Joshua 7:22-26.

The children of Israel, i.e. one of them, by a very usual synecdoche or enallage, as Genesis 8:4 19:29 Matthew 26:8, where that is ascribed to the disciples, which belonged to Judas only, John 12:4. In the accursed thing, i.e. in taking some of the forbidden and accursed goods.

Zabdi; called also Zimri, 1 Chronicles 2:6. Zerah, or, Zarah, who was Judah’s immediate son, Genesis 38:30, who went with Judah into Egypt; and so for the filling up the two hundred and fifty-six years that are supposed to come between that and this time, we must allow Achan to be now an old man, and his three ancestors to have begotten each his son at about sixty years of age, which at that time was not incredible nor unusual. Against the children of Israel. Why did God punish the whole society for this one man’s sin?

Answ. All of them were punished for their own sins, whereof each had a sufficient proportion; but God took this occasion to inflict the punishment upon the society, partly, because divers of them might be guilty of this sin, either by coveting what he actually did, or by concealing of his fault, which it is probable could not be unknown to others, or by not sorrowing for it, and endeavouring to purge themselves from it; partly, to make sin the more hateful, as being the cause of such dreadful and public judgments; and partly, to oblige all the members of every society to be both more circumspect in the ordering of their own actions, and more diligent to watch over one another, and to prevent the miscarriages of their brethren, which is a great benefit and blessing to them, and to the whole society, and worthy to be purchased by a sharp affliction upon the society.

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing,.... Or concerning it, with respect to it, by taking part of what was devoted to another use, and forbidden theirs: this was done, not by the whole body of the people, only by one of them; but it not being discovered who it was, it was imputed to the whole, on whom it lay to find out the guilty person and punish him, or else the whole must suffer for it: this chapter begins with a "but", and draws a vail over the fame and glory of Joshua, observed in Joshua 6:27,

for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing; of what was devoted to the Lord and to sacred uses; this he had taken to himself out of the spoil of the city of Jericho, for his own use, contrary to the command of God: his descent is particularly described, that it might be known of what family and tribe he was; and it is traced up to Zerah, who was a son of Judah, Genesis 38:30,

and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel; because of the sin of Achan.

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the {a} accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against the children of Israel.

(a) In taking that which was commanded to be destroyed.

Ch. Joshua 7:1-5. The Sin of Achan, and Assault on Ai

1. committed a trespass] The word used here in the Septuagint Version is very striking. It is the same as that employed in Acts 5:1-2 to describe the sin of Ananias and Sapphira. They took for themselves, appropriated to themselves, sequestered from God, a portion of what had been devoted to Him at Jericho. Wyclif renders it “mystoken of the halewid thing.”

for Achan] Or, Achar, as he is called in 1 Chronicles 2:7.

the son of Zabdi] Or, Zimri, as his name is given in 1 Chronicles 2:6.

took of the accursed thing] What he took is more fully described in Joshua 7:21. His sin was rendered more heinous by the fact that he knew full well the ban which had been pronounced upon the doomed city, a ban extending to all time, and including even the whole family of any who should dare to restore the fortifications of Jericho. Cæsar in his account of the devotion of conquered towns to the gods amongst the Gauls, alluded to above, Joshua 6:17, goes on to say, “Multis in civitatibus harum rerum exstructos tumulos locis consecratis conspicari licet: neque sæpe accidit, ut neglecta quispiam religione, aut capta apud se occultare, aut posita tollere auderet; gravissimumque ei rei supplicium cum cruciatu constitutum est” (Bell. Gall. Joshua 6:17).

Verse 1. - Committed a trespass in the accursed thing. The word מָעַל, here used, signifies originally to cover, whence מְעִיל a garment. Hence it comes to mean to act deceitfully, or perhaps to steal (cf. the LXX. ἐνοσφίσαντο, a translation rendered remarkable by the fact that it is the very word used by St. Luke in regard to the transgression of Ananias and Sapphira. But the LXX. is here rather a paraphrase than a translation). It is clearly used here of some secret act. But in Leviticus 5:15 it is used of an unwitting trespass, committed בִּשְׁגָגָה, in error of fact, but not of intention. Achan. Called Achar in 1 Chronicles 2:7, no doubt from a reference to the results of his conduct. He had "troubled Israel" (עָכַר), ver. 25, and the valley which witnessed his punishment obtained the name of Achor. The copies of the LXX. vary between the two forms, the Vatican Codex having Achar; the Alexandrian, Achan. Zabdi. Zimri in 1 Chronicles 2:6. Such variations of reading are extremely common, and are increased in our version by the varieties of English spelling adopted among our translators (see Shemuel for Samuel in 1 Chronicles 6:33). The LXX. has Zambri here. Took of the accursed thing. Commentators have largely discussed the question how the sin of Achan could be held to extend to the whole people. But it seems sufficient to reply by pointing out the organic unity of the Israelitish nation. They were then, as Christians are now, the Church of the living God. And if one single member of the community violated the laws which God imposed on them, the whole body was liable for his sin, until it had purged itself by a public act of restitution (see Deuteronomy 21:1-8). So St. Paul regards the Corinthian Church as polluted by the presence of one single offender, until he was publicly expelled from its communion (see 1 Corinthians 5:2, 6, 7). The very words "body politic" applied to a state imply the same idea - that of a connection so intimate between the members of a community that the act of one affects the whole. And if this be admitted to be the case in ordinary societies, how much more so in the people of God, who were under His special protection, and had been specially set apart to His service? In the history of Achan, moreover, we read the history of secret sin, which, though unseen by any earthly eye, does nevertheless pollute the offender, and through him the Church of God, by lowering his general standard of thought and action, enfeebling his moral sense, checking the growth of his inner and devotional life, until, by a resolute act of repentance and restitution towards God, the sin is finally acknowledged and put away. "A lewd man is a pernicious creature. That he damnes his own soule is the least part of his misehiefe; he commonly drawes vengeance upon a thousand, either by the desert of his sinne, or by the infection" (Bp. Hall). Joshua 7:1At Jericho the Lord had made known to the Canaanites His great and holy name; but before Ai the Israelites were to learn that He would also sanctify Himself on them if they transgressed His covenant, and that the congregation of the Lord could only conquer the power of the world so long as it was faithful to His covenant. But notwithstanding the command which Joshua had enforced upon the people (Joshua 6:18), Achan, a member of the tribe of Judah, laid hands upon the property in Jericho which had been banned, and thus brought the ban upon the children of Israel, the whole nation. His breach of trust is described as unfaithfulness (a trespass) on the part of the children of Israel in the ban, in consequence of which the anger of the Lord was kindled against the whole nation. מעל מעל, to commit a breach of trust (see at Leviticus 5:15), generally against Jehovah, by purloining or withholding what was sanctified to Him, here in the matter of the ban, by appropriating what had been banned to the Lord. This crime was imputed to the whole people, not as imputatio moralis, i.e., as though the whole nation had shared in Achan's disposition, and cherished in their hearts the same sinful desire which Achan had carried out in action in the theft he had committed; but as imputatio civilis, according to which Achan, a member of the nation, had robbed the whole nation of the purity and holiness which it ought to possess before God, through the sin that he had committed, just as the whole body is affected by the sin of a single member.

(Note: In support of this I cannot do better than quote the most important of the remarks which I made in my former commentary (Keil on Joshua, pp. 177-8, Eng. trans.): "However truly the whole Scriptures speak of each man as individually an object of divine mercy and justice, they teach just as truly that a nation is one organic whole, in which the individuals are merely members of the same body, and are not atoms isolated from one another and the whole, since the state as a divine institution is founded upon family relationship, and intended to promote the love of all to one another and to the invisible Head of all. As all then are combined in a fellowship established by God, the good or evil deeds of an individual affect injuriously or beneficially the welfare of the whole society. And, therefore, when we regard the state as a divine organization and not merely as a civil institution, a compact into which men have entered by treaty, we fail to discover caprice and injustice in consequences which necessarily follow from the moral unity of the whole state; namely, that the good or evil deeds of one member are laid to the charge of the entire body. Caprice and injustice we shall always find if we leave out of sight this fundamental unity, and merely look at the fact that the many share the consequences of the sin of one.")

Instead of Achan (the reading here and in Joshua 22:20) we find Achar in 1 Chronicles 2:7, the liquids n and r being interchanged to allow of a play upon the verb עכר in Joshua 7:25. Hence in Josephus the name is spelt Acharos, and in the Cod. Vat. of the lxx Achar, whereas the Cod. Al. has Achan. Instead of Zabdi, we find Zimri in 1 Chronicles 2:6, evidently a copyist's error. Zerah was the twin-brother of Pharez (Genesis 38:29-30). Matteh, from נטה, to spread out, is used to denote the tribe according to its genealogical ramifications; whilst shebet (from an Arabic root signifying "uniform, not curled, but drawn out straight and long with any curvature at all") was applied to the sceptre or straight staff of a magistrate or ruler (never to the stick upon which a person rested), and different from matteh not only in its primary and literal meaning, but also in the derivative meaning tribe, in which it was used to designate the division of the nation referred to, not according to its genealogical ramifications and development, but as a corporate body possessing authority and power. This difference in the ideas expressed by the two words will explain the variations in their use: for example, matteh is used here (in Joshua 7:1 and Joshua 7:18), and in Joshua 22:1-14, and in fact is the term usually employed in the geographical sections; whereas shebet is used in Joshua 7:14, Joshua 7:16, in Joshua 3:12; Joshua 4:2, and on many other occasions, in those portions of the historical narratives in which the tribes of Israel are introduced as military powers.

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