Joshua 7:12
Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except you destroy the accursed from among you.
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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.Accursed - Compare Joshua 6:17-18. 10-15. the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up—The answer of the divine oracle was to this effect: the crisis is owing not to unfaithfulness in Me, but sin in the people. The conditions of the covenant have been violated by the reservation of spoil from the doomed city; wickedness, emphatically called folly, has been committed in Israel (Ps 14:1), and dissimulation, with other aggravations of the crime, continues to be practised. The people are liable to destruction equally with the accursed nations of Canaan (De 7:26). Means must, without delay, be taken to discover and punish the perpetrator of this trespass that Israel may be released from the ban, and things be restored to their former state of prosperity. Because they were accursed, as I warned and threatened them, Joshua 6:18, they have put themselves out of my protection and blessing, and therefore are liable to the same destruction which belongs to this accursed people. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies,.... Being forsaken of God for the sin committed among them:

but turned their backs before their enemies: had not courage to face them, but fled as soon as they appeared:

because they were accursed; of God for the accursed thing that had been taken, as was threatened would be their case, should they take any of it; Joshua 6:18,

neither will I be with you any more, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you; that is, until they had put to death the person who had taken of the accursed thing, and made himself thereby accursed, and even all the camp of Israel; till this was done, the Lord would not be with them to protect and defend them, and give them success against their enemies.

Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye {f} destroy the accursed from among you.

(f) Then to allow wickedness unpunished, is to refuse God willingly.

12. except ye destroy the accursed from among you] The LXX. translate, “Except ye remove the accursed thing, the Anathema, from among you,” using the identical word for remove that St Paul uses respecting the incestuous Corinthian, “therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person,” 1 Corinthians 5:13.Verse 12. - Therefore. This plain statement disposes of the idea that the repulse before Ai was simply the result of Joshua's rashness in sending so small a body of troops. The vivid narrative of the detection of Achan, obviously taken from contemporary records, precedes the account of the final capture of the city, although Joshua, who, as we have seen, does not neglect to employ human means, resolves to take greater precautions before making a second attack. Not a hint is dropped that the former number of men was insufficient, or that Joshua had been misled by the information brought by the reconnoitring party. In the mind of the historian the defect is entirely owing to the existence of secret sin in the Israelitish camp. Except ye destroy the accursed from among. Dr. Maclear, in the 'Cambridge Bible for Schools,' calls attention to the fact that 1 Corinthians 5:13 is a quotation from the LXX. here, substituting, however, τὸν πονηρὸν for το ἀνάθεμα. Joshua and the elders of the people were also deeply affected, not so much at the loss of thirty-six men, as because Israel, which was invincible with the help of the Lord, had been beaten, and therefore the Lord must have withdrawn His help. In the deepest grief, with their clothes rent (see at Leviticus 10:6) and ashes upon their heads, they fell down before the ark of the Lord (vid., Numbers 20:6) until the evening, to pour out their grief before the Lord. Joshua's prayer contains a complaint (Joshua 7:7) and as question addressed to God (Joshua 7:8, Joshua 7:9). The complaint, "Alas, O Lord Jehovah, wherefore hast Thou brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us?" almost amounts to murmuring, and sounds very much like the complaint which the murmuring people brought against Moses and Aaron in the desert (Numbers 14:2-3); but it is very different from the murmuring of the people on that occasion against the guidance of God; for it by no means arose from unbelief, but was simply the bold language of faith wrestling with God in prayer - faith which could not comprehend the ways of the Lord - and involved the most urgent appeal to the Lord to carry out His work in the same glorious manner in which it had been begun, with the firm conviction that God could neither relinquish nor alter His purposes of grace. The words which follow, "Would to God that we had been content (see at Deuteronomy 1:5) to remain on the other side of the Jordan," assume on the one hand, that previous to the crossing of the river Israel had cherished a longing for the possession of Canaan, and on the other hand, that this longing might possibly have been the cause of the calamity which had fallen upon the people now, and therefore express the wish that Israel had never cherished any such desire, or that the Lord had never gratified it. (On the unusual form העברתּ for העברתּ, see Ges. 63, anm. 4, and Ewald, 41, b.) The inf. abs. העביר (with the unusual i in the final syllable) is placed for the sake of emphasis after the finite verb, as in Genesis 46:4, etc. The Amorites are the inhabitants of the mountains, as in Genesis 46:4, etc.
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