Joshua 7:26
And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.
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7:16-26 See the folly of those that promise themselves secrecy in sin. The righteous God has many ways of bringing to light the hidden works of darkness. See also, how much it is our concern, when God is contending with us, to find out the cause that troubles us. We must pray with holy Job, Lord, show me wherefore thou contendest with me. Achan's sin began in the eye. He saw these fine things, as Eve saw the forbidden fruit. See what comes of suffering the heart to walk after the eyes, and what need we have to make this covenant with our eyes, that if they wander they shall be sure to weep for it. It proceeded out of the heart. They that would be kept from sinful actions, must mortify and check in themselves sinful desires, particularly the desire of worldly wealth. Had Achan looked upon these things with an eye of faith, he would have seen they were accursed things, and would have dreaded them; but looking on them with an eye of sense only, he saw them as goodly things, and coveted them. When he had committed the sin, he tried to hide it. As soon as he had got this plunder, it became his burden, and he dared not to use his ill-gotten treasure. So differently do objects of temptation appear at a distance, to what they do when they have been gotten. See the deceitfulness of sin; that which is pleasing in the commission, is bitter in the reflection. See how they will be deceived that rob God. Sin is a very troublesome thing, not only to a sinner himself, but to all about him. The righteous God will certainly recompense tribulation to them that trouble his people. Achan perished not alone in his sin. They lose their own, who grasp at more than their own. His sons and daughters were put to death with him. It is probable that they helped to hide the things; they must have known of them. What fatal consequences follow, even in this world, to the sinner himself, and to all belonging him! One sinner destroys much good. What, then, will be the wrath to come? Let us flee from it to Christ Jesus as the sinner's Friend. There are circumstances in the confession of Achan, marking the progress of sin, from its first entrance into the heart to its being done, which may serve as the history of almost every offence against the law of God, and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.A great heap of stones - As a memorial of Achan's sin and its punishment. (Compare Joshua 8:29; 2 Samuel 18:17.)

The valley of Achor - Compare the marginal references. This valley formed part of the northern border of Judah Joshua 15:7; and must therefore have lain among the ridges which cross the plain to the south of Jericho. But its exact site is uncertain. (Conder identifies it with Wady Kelt.)

26. they raised over him a great heap of stones—It is customary to raise cairns over the graves of criminals or infamous persons in the East still.

the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor—("trouble"),

unto this day—So painful an episode would give notoriety to the spot, and it is more than once noted by the sacred writers of a later age (Isa 65:10; Ho 2:15).

A great heap of stones; as a monument of the sin and judgment here mentioned, that others might be instructed and warned by the example; and as a brand of infamy, as Joshua 8:29 2 Samuel 18:17.

The valley of Achor; or, the valley of trouble, from the double trouble expressed Joshua 7:25.

And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day,.... That is, at the place where he suffered, or where they laid his ashes, they heaped up a pile of stones over him, as a monument whereby it might be known hereafter where he was executed and was buried; and which pile continued to the writing of this history: such sort of funeral monuments were usual with the Heathens (s) also as well as with the Jews, see Joshua 8:29; so the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger; or the effects of it ceased; the outward face of things was altered, the dealings of God in his providence with Israel were changed; though, properly speaking, there is no change in God, nor such affections and passions in him as in man:

wherefore the name of the place was called the valley of Achor unto this day; from the trouble Achan met with, and the people of Israel on his account, see Joshua 7:24; and so it was called in the days of Isaiah and Hosea, Isaiah 65:10; and where it is prophesied of as what should be in time to come: according to Bunting (t), it was twelve miles from Jerusalem; Jerom (u) says it was at the north of Jericho, but Lamy (w), following Bonfrerius, places it to the south; see Joshua 15:7.

(s) Vid. Pausan. Arcadica, sive, l. 8. p. 477. & Phocica, sive, l. 10. p. 616, 617. (t) Travels of the Patriarchs, &c. p. 98. (u) De loc. Heb. fol. 88. B. (w) Apparat. Geograph. p. 61.

And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.
26. a great heap of stones] As a memorial and a warning of his sin and its punishment. The custom of casting stones on certain graves was not unknown among other nations also, as the Arabs and the Romans. Compare Propertius 4:5. 74.

So the Lord turned] “Even to Achan himself,” remarks Bp Wordsworth, “the valley of Achor may have been made a door of hope (Hosea 2:15), because he confessed his sin, and there is reason to hope and believe that he listened to the words of Joshua, ‘My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel,’ and submitted to the punishment due to his sin.”

Verse 26. - And the Lord turned from the heat of His anger. There is no contradiction between this and such passages as 1 Samuel 15:29; James 1:17. It is not God, but we who turn. Our confession and restitution, by uniting our will with His, of necessity turn His wrath away. Yet of course it is through Jesus Christ alone that such confession and restitution is possible, and they are accepted simply because by faith they are united with His.

Joshua 7:26Then Joshua and all Israel, i.e., the whole nation in the person of its heads or representatives, took Achan, together with the things which he had purloined, and his sons and daughters, his cattle, and his tent with all its furniture, and brought them into the valley of Achor, where they stoned them to death and then burned them, after Joshua had once more pronounced this sentence upon him in the place of judgment: "How hast thou troubled us" (עכר, as in Joshua 6:18, to bring into trouble)! "The Lord will trouble thee this day." It by no means follows from the expression "stoned him" in Joshua 7:25, that Achan only was stoned. The singular pronoun is used to designate Achan alone, as being the principal person concerned. But it is obvious enough that his children and cattle were stoned, from what follows in the very same verse: "They burned them (the persons stoned to death, and their things) with fire, and heaped up stones upon them." It is true that in Deuteronomy 24:16 the Mosaic law expressly forbids the putting to death of children for their fathers' sins; and many have imagined, therefore, that Achan's sons and daughters were simply taken into the valley to be spectators of the punishment inflicted upon the father, that it might be a warning to them. But for what reason, then, were Achan's cattle (oxen, sheep, and asses) taken out along with him? Certainly for no other purpose than to be stoned at the same time as he. The law in question only referred to the punishment of ordinary criminals, and therefore was not applicable at all to the present case, in which the punishment was commanded by the Lord himself. Achan had fallen under the ban by laying hands upon what had been banned, and consequently was exposed to the same punishment as a town that had fallen away to idolatry (Deuteronomy 13:16-17). The law of the ban was founded upon the assumption, that the conduct to be punished was not a crime of which the individual only was guilty, but one in which the whole family of the leading sinner, in fact everything connected with him, participated. Thus, in the case before us, the things themselves had been abstracted from the booty by Achan alone; but he had hidden them in his tent, buried them in the earth, which could hardly have been done so secretly that his sons and daughters knew nothing of it. By so doing he had made his family participators in his theft; they therefore fell under the ban along with him, together with their tent, their cattle, and the rest of their property, which were all involved in the consequences of his crime. The clause בּאבנים אתם ויּסקלוּ does not refer to the stoning as a capital punishment, but to the casting of stones upon the bodies after they were dead and had been burned, for the purpose of erecting a heap of stones upon them as a memorial of the disgrace (vid., Joshua 8:29; 2 Samuel 18:17). - In Joshua 7:26, the account of the whole affair closes with these two remarks: (1) That after the punishment of the malefactor the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger; and (2) That the valley in which Achan suffered his punishment received the name of Achor (troubling) with special reference to the fact that Joshua had described his punishment as well as Achan's sin as עכר (troubling: see Joshua 7:25), and that it retained this name down to the writer's own time. With regard to the situation of this valley, it is evident from the word ויּעלוּ in Joshua 7:24 that it was on higher ground than Gilgal and Jericho, probably in one of the ranges of hills that intersect the plain of Jericho, and from Joshua 15:7, where the northern border of the possessions of Judah is said to have passed through this valley, that it is to be looked for to the south of Jericho. The only other places in which there is any allusion to this event are Hosea 2:17 and Isaiah 65:10.
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