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The Sin of Achan

But the Israelites[a] broke faith concerning the devoted things.[b] Achan son of Carmi son of Zabdi son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took from the devoted things;[c] and Yahweh’s anger was kindled[d] against the Israelites.[e]

Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near Beth Aven, east of Bethel, and he said to them, “Go up and spy out Ai.” And the men went up and spied out Ai. And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up and attack Ai; only two or three thousand men should go up because they[f] are few. Do not make all the people weary up there.” So about three thousand from the people went up there, and they fled before the men of Ai. The men of Ai killed about thirty-six of them, and they chased them from the gate up to Shebarim and killed them on the slope. And the hearts[g] of the people melted and became like water.

And Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the ground on his face before the ark of Yahweh until the evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.[h] And Joshua said, “Ah, my Lord! Why did you bring this people across the Jordan to give us into the hand of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content and stayed beyond the Jordan. Please, my Lord! What can I say after Israel has fled from its enemies?[i] The Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of this, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the land. What will you do, for your great name?”

10 And Yahweh said to Joshua, “Stand up! Why[j] have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned and transgressed my covenant[k] that I commanded them. They have taken from the devoted things;[l] they have stolen and acted deceitfully, and they have put them among their belongings. 12 The Israelites[m] were unable to stand before their enemies; they fled from their enemies[n] because they have become a thing devoted[o] for destruction. I will be with you no more[p] unless you destroy the devoted things[q] from among you. 13 Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow. Thus says Yahweh the God of Israel: “There are devoted things[r] in your midst, O Israel. You will be unable to stand before you enemies until you remove the devoted things[s] from your midst.” 14 In the morning you will come forward, tribe by tribe,[t] and the tribe that Yahweh will select by lot will come forward by clans, and the clan that Yahweh selects by lot will come forward by families, and the family that Yahweh selects by lot will come forward one by one. 15 The one caught with the devoted things[u] will be burned with fire, he and all that belongs to him, because he transgressed the covenant[v] of Yahweh, and because he did a disgraceful thing in Israel.”’”

16 So[w] Joshua rose early in the morning and brought forward Israel, tribe by tribe,[x] and the tribe of Judah was selected by lot. 17 And he brought forward the clans of Judah and selected the clan of the Zerahites[y] by lot. Then he brought forward the clan of the Zerahites,[z] one by one, and Zabdi was selected by lot. 18 He brought forward his family, one by one, and Achan son of Carmi son of Zabdi son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was selected by lot. 19 And Joshua said to Achan, “My son, please, give glory to Yahweh the God of Israel, and give him a doxology in court.[aa] Tell me, please, what you have done; do not hide it from me.” 20 And Achan answered Joshua and said, “It is true. I have sinned against Yahweh the God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 I saw among the spoil a beautiful robe from Shinar,[ab] two hundred shekels of silver, and one bar of gold that weighed fifty shekels; I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, and the silver is under it.”

22 Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there they were, hidden in his tent, and the silver was under it. 23 And they took them from the tent and brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites.[ac] And they spread them out before the presence of Yahweh. 24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the bar of gold, his sons and daughters, his cattle and donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and everything that was his, and they brought them to the valley of Achor.[ad] 25 And Joshua said, “Why did you bring us trouble? Yahweh will bring you trouble on this day.” And all Israel stoned them[ae] with stones;[af] and they burned them with fire after they stoned them with stones. 26 Then they placed[ag] on top of him a great pile of stones that remains to this day. And Yahweh turned from his burning anger,[ah] and thus the name of that place to this day is called the valley of Achor.[ai]


  1. Joshua 7:1 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  2. Joshua 7:1 Or “consecrated possessions
  3. Joshua 7:1 Hebrew “thing” or “consecrated possession”
  4. Joshua 7:1 Literally “the nose of Yahweh became hot”
  5. Joshua 7:1 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  6. Joshua 7:3 That is, the people of Ai
  7. Joshua 7:5 Hebrew “heart”
  8. Joshua 7:6 Hebrew “head”
  9. Joshua 7:8 Literally “Israel has turned its neck before its enemies”
  10. Joshua 7:10 Literally “For what this”
  11. Joshua 7:11 Literally “crossed my covenant”
  12. Joshua 7:11 Hebrew “thing” or “from the consecrated possession”
  13. Joshua 7:12 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  14. Joshua 7:12 Literally “they turned their neck before their enemies”
  15. Joshua 7:12 Or “consecrated”
  16. Joshua 7:12 Literally “I will not do again to be with you”
  17. Joshua 7:12 Hebrew “thing” or “consecrated possession”
  18. Joshua 7:13 Hebrew “thing” or “consecrated possession”
  19. Joshua 7:13 Hebrew “thing” or “consecrated possession”
  20. Joshua 7:14 Literally “according to your tribes”
  21. Joshua 7:15 Hebrew “thing” or “consecrated possession”
  22. Joshua 7:15 Literally “he crossed the covenant”
  23. Joshua 7:16 Or “And”
  24. Joshua 7:16 Literally “according to its tribes”
  25. Joshua 7:17 Hebrew “Zerahite”
  26. Joshua 7:17 Hebrew “Zerahite”
  27. Joshua 7:19 Some interpret “make a confession”
  28. Joshua 7:21 “Shinar” refers to Babylonia
  29. Joshua 7:23 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  30. Joshua 7:24 Hebrew “trouble”; a valley in the Jericho region
  31. Joshua 7:25 Hebrew “him”
  32. Joshua 7:25 Hebrew “stone”
  33. Joshua 7:26 Literally “they raised up”
  34. Joshua 7:26 Literally “turned from his burning nose”
  35. Joshua 7:26 Hebrew “trouble”; a valley in the Jericho region