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Achan’s Sin

Yet the children of Israel violated their obligations with regard to the things dedicated for destruction. Achan, son of Karmi, son of Zimri, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah took from the things dedicated for destruction, and the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.

Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai (which is near Beth Aven, east of Bethel) and said to them, “Go up and spy on the land.” So the men went up and spied on Ai.

Then they returned to Joshua and said to him, “All the people need not go up. Let about two or three thousand men go up and strike Ai. Since they are so few, all the people need not weary themselves.” So about three thousand men went up from among the people there, but they fled from before the men of Ai. The men of Ai struck down thirty-six men and pursued them from the gate to Shebarim. They struck them down on the mountainside, and the hearts of the people melted like water.

Then Joshua ripped his clothes. He and the Israelite elders fell on their faces to the ground in front of the ark of the Lord until evening and threw dirt upon their heads. Joshua said, “O Lord God, why did You bring this people across the Jordan to give us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to dwell on the other side of the Jordan! O my Lord, what should I say now that Israel has fled before its enemies? The Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land may hear, turn on us, and cut off our name from the earth. What will You do for Your great name?”

10 Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Stand up! Why have you fallen on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have broken My covenant that I commanded them. They took from the things dedicated for destruction. They have stolen, acted deceitfully, and put them among their own possessions. 12 Therefore the children of Israel cannot stand before their enemies. They turn their backs to their enemies because they have become dedicated for destruction. I will not be with you anymore if you do not destroy the things dedicated for destruction in your midst.

13 “Get up! Consecrate the people and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: “Things dedicated for destruction are in your midst, O Israel. You are not able to stand before your enemies until you remove the things dedicated for destruction from your midst.”

14 “ ‘In the morning you will be brought forward by tribes, and the tribe that the Lord selects by lot shall come forward by clans. The clan that the Lord selects by lot shall come forward by households, and the household that the Lord selects by lot shall come forward man by man. 15 And he who is taken with the things dedicated for destruction shall be burned with fire, he and all who belong to him, for he broke the covenant of the Lord and has done a disgraceful action in Israel.’ ”

16 So Joshua got up early in the morning and brought forward Israel by their tribes. The tribe of Judah was selected. 17 He brought forward the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was selected. He brought forward the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zimri was selected. 18 He brought forward the household of Zimri man by man, and Achan son of Karmi, son of Zimri, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was selected.

19 Then Joshua said to Achan, “O my son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and give Him praise! Tell me what you have done! Do not hold back anything from me.”

20 Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed, I sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I did: 21 When I saw among the plundered goods a beautiful robe from Babylon, two hundred shekels of silver,[a] and a gold bar weighing fifty shekels,[b] I coveted them, so I took them. They are hidden in the ground in my tent. The silver is underneath them.”

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent. There it all was hidden in the ground with the silver underneath. 23 They took it from the tent and brought it to Joshua and all the children of Israel. They spread it out before the Lord.

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

So all Israel stoned him. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones. 26 Then they erected over him a large pile of stones, which is still there today. So the Lord turned from His burning anger. Therefore the name of the place is called the Valley of Achor to this day.


  1. Joshua 7:21 About 5 pounds, or 2.3 kilograms.
  2. Joshua 7:21 About 1¼ pounds, or 575 grams.