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great heap of stones unto this day. name of that place was called, The šo the Lord turned from the fierce- valley of Achor, unto this day, ness of his anger: wherefore the
It does not appear that all the people of the tribes came together. This was not necessary to reach the ends of justice; and they must have extended over a very large territory. The lot was applied only to the representatives of the people, called the "congregation," consisting of seventy elders, and constituting the highest tribunal in the land.
He brought the family of Judah. By family we are to understand, not merely the immediate family, that is, the parents and children; but these and the grand-parents, and grand-children, with other known relations. Family in our sense of the term is expressed by household in verse 18th. • “My son, give I pray thee, glory to the Lord.” Joshua addresses the criminal very kindly, and calls on him to make a full confession. This would not turn aside the sword of justice, but it would show to all that he suffered justly, and would produce toward himself a better impression.
The Babylonish garment may have possessed great value, and it may have merely seemed valuable to the soldier. Achan was born in the wilderness, and had scarcely known any thing of civilized life; and he may have estimated this garment much above its intrinsic valne. At all events it could have possessed but little real value to him, as wearing it would surely expose his crime, and bring upon him certain punishment. We all see and confess that he was very foolish. No man that violates any one of the laws of the Creator is less so.
Some have endeavored to make an argument from the Babylonish garment, to prove that the book of Joshua was not written till after the captivity at Babylon. But the argument has no force. It is probable that the nations of Canaan had commercial intercourse with the Babylonians, long before the Hebrew invasion. Besides,
some garment manufactured by the Canaanites themselves, or a garment imported from Egypt or some other nation, may have been called a “ Babylonish garment," from some supposed resemblance to articles manufactured at Babylon.
Gold and silver were also tempting articles to this soldier. There was but little of either among the Hebrews. They had been used up in the construction of the tabernacle and its furniture. The value of the gold and silver taken by the soldier was not great. But great and small are relative terms. To him the value was great. Two hundred shekels of silver and fifty shekels of gold! A shekel of silver is fifty cents, American money; and a shekel of gold is four dollars. The aggregate value was three hundred dollars !
It is not certain whether any of Achan's relatives suffered death, or were taken out into the valley merely te be witnesses of his punishment. The latter is the more probable conclusion; not merely on grounds of justice, but because the language of the history will not bear out any other construction. The 15th verse reads as follows: “He that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath." 6 All that he hath' does not embrace his relations, but only his possessions.
Besides, the record says they “stoned him with stones.' Had more than he suffered death, they should have been stoned as well as he. Hence, when it is added that they burned them with fire, the reference is to him, and "all that he had,” his Babylonish garment, and all his other possessions. The Vulgate makes him only to be killed, and his property to be burned. The Septuagint says “they stoned him with stones,” and says nothing more on the subject. The Hebrew agrees essentially with the English version. We would call the attention of the reader to the circumstance, that the burning of Achan was a post mortem infliction.
This scene took place in the valley of Achor. The name was derived from the word achór, made use of by
Joshua, and here rendered trouble. But there is reason to believe, that Joshua used that word, because the name of the criminal was Achor, not Achan. He is called Achor in 1 Chron. ii. 7, and by Josephus.
SECTION V.- THE FALL OF Al.
JOS. VIII. 1. And the Lord said unto Josh- ambush, and seize upon the city ; ua, Fear not, neither be thou dis- for the Lord your God will deliver mayed ; take all the people of war it into your hand. with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: 8. And it shall be, when ye have see, I have given into thy hand the taken the city, that ye shall set the king of Ai, and his people, and his city on fire: according to the comcity, and his land.
mandment of the Lord shall ye do. 2. And thou shalt do to Ai and See, I have commanded you. her king as thou didst unto Jericho 9. Joshua therefore sent them and her king: only the spoil there forth, and they went to lie in amof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye bush, and abode between Beth-el take for a prey unto yourselves. and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Lay thee an ambush for the city Joshua lodged that night among behind it.
the people. 3. So Joshua arose, and all the 10. And Joshua rose up early in people of war, to go up against Ai: the morning, and numbered the and Joshua chose out thirty thou- people, and went up, he and the 8und mighty men of valour, and elders of Israel, before the people sent them away by night.
to Ai. 4. And he commanded them, 11. And all the people, even the saying, Behold, ye shall lie in wait people of war that were with him, against the city, even behind the went up, and drew nigh, and came city; go not very far from the city, before the city, and pitched on the but be ye all ready:
north side of Ai: now there was a 6. And I, and all the people that valley between them and Ai. are with me, will approach unto 12. And he took about five thouthe city: and it shall come to pass, sand men, and set them to lie in when they come out against us, as ambush between Bethel and Ai, on at the first, that we will flee before the west side of the city. them,
13. And when they had set the 6. (For they will come out after people, even all the host that was on us,) till we have drawn them from the north of the city, and their the city; for they will say, They liers in wait on the west of the flee before us, as at the first; there- city, Joshua went that night into fore we will flee before them. the midst of the valley.
7. Then ye shall rise up from the
Take all the people of war with thee. This time, though the Lord would favor the Israelites, he required that they should go against the city with a formidable
force. On the former occasion, besides resting under the guilt of Achan's sin, the number of men sent against the city was inadequate to the undertaking.
Joshua was to do by Ai as he had done by Jericho, with one exception The spoil should be saved including the cattle. The reason of this exception does not appear in the record.
As the people had not eaten much animal food of late, there may have been danger of excess, if they had been allowed the animals of both these cities, an error that had proved fatal to many on another occasion before reaching Canaan.
Joshua chose out thirty thousand men. This was but a' fraction of his army - a small detachment, sent by night to form an ambuscade. If we can estimate how far such a body of men could march, in one night, we can make an estimate that will not vary far from the truth in regard to the distance.
Josephus speaks of Ai as above Jericho. Jericho was in the valley of the Jordan and near that river. Ai was on the high land back some miles from the valley. We know its neighborhood, but not its exact location.
He pitched on the north side of Ai. He must therefore have gone nearly or quite round the city. He would be least expected from that quarter, as the Hebrew camp was in the opposite direction. Joshua was now on the north, and the ambush was on the west.
He took about five thousand men, &c. It is a little remarkable that Joshua should now send five thousand men, as an ambush, to precisely the same spot to which he had sent thirty thousand before. The probability is, that the five thousand were sent to a position farther west, and nearer to Bethel, to act with reference to the latter place, whose people fought on the side of the men of Ai. viii. 17.
14. And it came to pass, when men of the city went out against the king of Ai saw it, that they Israel to battle, he and all his peo. hasted, and rose up early; and the ple, at a time appointed, before the
plain; out he wist not that there the city against them; so they were liers in ambush against him were in the midst of Israel, some behind the city.
on this side, and some on that side, 15. And Joshua and all Israel and they smote them, so that they made as if they were beaten before | let none of them remain or escape. them, and fled by the way of the 23. And the king of Ai they wilderness.
took alive, and brought him to Jan 16. And all the people that were shua. in Ai were called togetier to pur 24. And it came to pass, when sue after them; and they pursued Israel had made an end of slaying after Joshua, and were drawn away all the inhabitants of Ai in the from the city.
field, in the wilderness wherein 17. And there was not a man they chased them, and when they left in Ai or Beth-el that went not were all fallen on the edge of the out after Israel: and they left the sword until they were consumed, city open, and pursued after Israel. | that all the Israelites returned us.
18. And the Lord said unto to Ai, and smote it with the edge Joshua, Stretch out the spear that of the sword. is in thy hand toward Ai; for I 25. And so it was, that all that will give it into thine hand. And fell that day, both of men and woJoshua stretched out the spear that men, were twelve thousand, even all he had in his hand toward the the men of Ai. city.
26. For Joshua drew not his 19. And the ambush arose quick- hand back, wherewith he stretched ly out of their place, and they ran out the spear, until he had utterly as soon as he had stretched out his destroyed all the inhabitants of hand: and they entered into the city Ai. and took it, and hasted and set the 27. Only the cattle, and the city on fire.
spoil of that city, Israel took for a 20. And when the unen of Ai prey unto themselves, according looked behind them, they saw, and unto the word of the Lord, which behold, the smoke of the city as he commanded Joshua. cended up to heaven; and they 28. And Joshua burnt Ai, and had no power to flee this way or made it an heap for ever, even a that way, and the people that fled desolation unto this day. to the wilderness turned back up 29 And the king of Ai he hangon the pursuers.
ed on a tree until even-tide and as 21. And when Joshua and all Is- soon as the sun was down, Joshua rael saw that the ambush had ta- commanded that they should take ken the city, and that the smoke his carcase down from the tree, of the city ascended, then they and cast it at the entering of the turned again, and slew the men of gate of the city, and raise thereon
a great heap of stones, that re22. And the other issued out of maineth unto this day.
“Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand.” the signal to the men in ambush to do their part. They may have been near enough to see it. Of the signal may have been made by men, stationed at different