The Sins of Achan

The sins of Achan

I did promise you, I said ‘wait until the sins of Achan’.


Remember Joshua 6:17? 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted[a] to the Lord – So what did Achan do? In his greed he withheld some of the devoted things for himself.

6: 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.” 21 They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys. Only Rahab and her family escaped and were taken outside the camp of Israel.

So how did we get there -oops-how did they get there and -oops- again because we have all been there. Covetousness, greed, envy, of what is not ours.

Joshua pronounced this curse upon the ruins of Jericho ‘“Cursed before the Lord is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho:

“At the cost of his firstborn son
    he will lay its foundations;
at the cost of his youngest
    he will set up its gates.”

So Joshua became reknown throughout the Land.

Footnote Joshua 6:17 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them; also in verses 18 and 21.

The crime

Joshua chapter 7

But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things[a]; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri,[b] the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.

Footnote b See Septuagint and 1 Chron. 2:6; Hebrew Zabdi; also in verses 17 and 18. – In the Septaguint the nanes of the perpretrators are slightly different – what’s in a name? Death was their only reward.

I wonder exactly whose idea it was that the booty and people were to be immolated? Was it the the Will of the Lord God of Israel or of Joshua to keep his status as fearsome leader, experts say that very little carnage or bloodletting was inflicted on the inhabitants of Canaan yet Scripture gives the concept of something akin to Genocide for Racial Purity’s sake. Ethnic cleansing,. That this new Land was to be totally, completely of Israel with no foreign blood to possibly pollute the bloodline.

Yet let’s not stray into ignorance, repeating – “this account is to display the reknown of Joshua a man who walked with God and of the great, almighty, all powerful God of Israel, before whom the god’s of hte heathens were nought.”

Because of Accan’s sin, Israel was defeated at the Battle of Ai. They spied out the land and returned to say that there were few people at Ai and only a couple of thousand men should manage to defeat them. Two thousand went up, about 36 were killed and the remainder were shooed away like so many cats, slinking back to camp. Are you laughing, well you should be because if any army fled after losing only 36 men they wouldn’t be an army I would like defending me. Except they were the attackers.

Something was seriously wrong and Joshua tore his garments, rather pointless, and fell before the Lord, the elders covered themselves in Ashes and Joshua rued the day they ever crossed the Jordan. Joshua cried ‘ “Alas, Sovereign Lord, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan'” Pretty much the same question the people had asked Moses when they were hungry and thirsty in the wilderness.

The Lord is a trifle sharp with Joshua and tells him to get up off the ground since the reason the Israelites failed was becasue one of them had sinned – he had kept back some of the Sacred things for himself. The Lord tells Joshua that He will not be with him anymore unless he destroys whatever among Israel is devoted to destruction. Achan was devoted to destruction because he knew he was sinning and he must have known the penalty -The Nation is to Concecrate itself before appearing before the Lord in the morning:

In the morning, Joshua is to assemble the Nation, and the Tribe God chooses will be sifted. The clans of Judah came forward, and the Zerahites were chosen. He had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by families, and Zimri was chosen. 18 Joshua had his family come forward man by man, and Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was chosen.

My son give glory to the Lord pronounces Joshua – I would think that glory was the last thing on Achan’s mind. It rather seems that Joshua has no concept of the seriousness of Achan’s sin-Achan confesses himself a sinner and to withholding certain devoted objects from the Lord and tells where they are to be found – they are discovered and:

Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.”

Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor[f] ever since.

A lesson not to be forgotten by the remainder of Judah or of Israel yet how are we meant to take, to understand what has just occured.

That when something sacred and reserved to the Lord is stolen the punishment can only be death. Yet Christ tells us that the only unforgiveable sin is the one against the Holy Spirit.Perhaps the reason all were Consecrated was to save the souls of the perpretrators? Yet, the Soul that sins, it shall die. What do you think that means – that the sinning Soul sins against the holy Spirit? With what do we sin?

4 thoughts on “The Sins of Achan

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