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Israel Struck Down at Ai

(A)But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things devoted to destruction. Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things; therefore the anger of Yahweh burned against the sons of Israel.

Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is near (B)Beth-aven, east of Bethel, and said to them, “[a]Go up and spy out the land.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. Then they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not have all the people go up; only about two or three thousand men need go up to strike down Ai; do not have all the people toil up there, for they are few.” So about three thousand men from the people went up there, but (C)they fled [b]from the men of Ai. And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men and pursued them [c]from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the (D)hearts of the people melted and became as water.

Then Joshua (E)tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of Yahweh until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and (F)they put dust on their heads. Joshua said, “Alas, O Lord Yahweh, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to make us perish? If only we had been willing [d]to live beyond the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their [e]back before their enemies? (G)And the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?”

10 So Yahweh said to Joshua, “Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and (H)they have also trespassed against My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things devoted to destruction and have both stolen and dealt falsely. Moreover, they have also put them among their own things. 12 Therefore the (I)sons of Israel cannot rise before their enemies; they turn their [f]backs before their enemies, for they have become devoted to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy the things devoted to destruction from your midst. 13 Rise up! (J)Set the people apart as holy and say, ‘Set yourselves apart as holy for tomorrow, for thus Yahweh, the God of Israel, has said, “(K)There are things devoted to destruction in your midst, O Israel. You cannot rise before your enemies until you have removed the things devoted to destruction from your midst.” 14 In the morning then you shall come near by your tribes. And it will be that the tribe which (L)Yahweh takes by lot shall come near by families, and the family which Yahweh takes shall come near by households, and the household which Yahweh takes shall come near man by man. 15 (M)And it will be that the one who is taken with the things devoted to destruction shall be burned with fire, he and all that belongs to him, because he has trespassed against the covenant of Yahweh, and because he (N)has committed a disgraceful thing in Israel.’”

The Sin of Achan

16 So Joshua arose early in the morning and brought Israel near by [g]tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 And he brought the family of Judah near, and he took the family of the Zerahites; and he brought the family of the Zerahites near man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 And he brought his household near man by man; and (O)Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was taken. 19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I implore you, (P)give glory to Yahweh, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and declare to me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me.” 20 So Achan answered Joshua and said, “Truly, I have sinned against Yahweh, the God of Israel, and [h]this is what I did: 21 I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred [i]shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight; then I [j](Q)coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it.”

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and behold, it was concealed in his tent with the silver underneath it. 23 And they took them from inside the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the sons of Israel, and they poured them out before Yahweh. 24 Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his [k]oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to (R)the valley of [l]Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why have you (S)troubled us? Yahweh will trouble you this day.” And all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire [m]after they had stoned them with stones. 26 Then they raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and Yahweh turned from His burning anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called (T)the valley of [n]Achor to this day.


  1. Joshua 7:2 Lit saying, Go
  2. Joshua 7:4 Lit before
  3. Joshua 7:5 Or before
  4. Joshua 7:7 Lit and had lived
  5. Joshua 7:8 Lit neck
  6. Joshua 7:12 Lit necks
  7. Joshua 7:16 Lit its tribes
  8. Joshua 7:20 Lit thus and thus I did
  9. Joshua 7:21 A shekel was approx. 0.4 oz. or 11 gm
  10. Joshua 7:21 Or desired, cf. Gen 3:6-8
  11. Joshua 7:24 Or cattle
  12. Joshua 7:24 Lit trouble, cf. 6:18; 7:25
  13. Joshua 7:25 Lit and they stoned
  14. Joshua 7:26 Lit trouble, cf. 6:18; 7:25