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Joshua 7:10-18

10. And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?

10. Tunc dixit Jehova ad Josuam, Surge. Ut quid tu ita procidis super faciem tuam?

11. Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.

11. Peccavit Israel, atque adeo transgressi sunt pactum meum quod praecepi illis, atque etiam tulerunt de anathemate, atque etiam furati sunt, atque etiam mentiti, atque etiam reposuerunt in vasa sua.

12. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except you destroy the accursed from among you.

12. Itaque non potuerunt filii Israel stare coram inimicis suis: cervicem vertent coram inimicis suis: 7272     The English version puts the verb in the past tense, and translates “turned their backs;” Calvin’s “vertent cervicem,” “will turn their neck;” making the expression not a declaration of what had taken place, but a denunciation of what was still to take place, is truer to the original, and has also the sanction of the Septuagint, which has αὐχένα ὑποστρέψουσιν. Luther even adds to the force of the expression by saying, “muffen ihren Feinven ven Ruden fehren;” “must turn the back on their enemies.” Calvin’s punctuation of the same verse is peculiar. By making a colon at enemies, he separates the words “quia sunt in anathema,” from the end of the first, and makes it the beginning of the second clause, which accordingly reads thus: “Because they are in anathema, (have taken of the accursed thing,) I will not continue to go with you,” etc. — Ed. quia sunt in anathema, non perseverabo esse vobiscum, nisi deleatis anathema e medio vestri.

13. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus says the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until you take away the accursed thing from among you.

13. Surge, sanctifica populum et dicas, Sanctificate vos in crastinum: sic enim dicit Jehova Deus Israel, Anathema est in medio tui Israel: non poteris stare coram inimicis tuis, donec abstuleris anathema e medio vestri.

14. In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the LORD takes shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man.

14. Accedetis ergo mane per tribus vestras, et tribus quam deprehendet Jehvoa accedet per domos: et domus quam deprehendet Jehova accedet per viros.

15. And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he has: because he has transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he has wrought folly in Israel.

15. Qui autem deprehensus fuerit in anathemate, comburetur igni, ipse, et omnia quae ejus sunt: quod transgressus fuerit pactum Jehovae, et quod fecerit nefas in Israel.

16. So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and brought Israel by their tribes; and the tribe of Judah was taken:

16. Surrexit igitur Josue mane, et accedere fecit Israelem per tribus suas, et deprehensa est tribus Juda.

17. And he brought the family of Judah; and he took the family of the Zarhites: and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man; and Zabdi was taken:

17. Tunc applicuit cognationes Juda, et deprehendit cognationem Zari, applicuit deinde familiam Zari per viros, et deprehensa est familia Zabdi.

18. And he brought his household man by man; and Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.

18. Et applicuit domum ejus per viros, et deprehensus est Achan filius Carmi, filii Zabdi, filii Zera, de tribu Juda.


10. And the Lord said unto Joshua, etc God does not reprimand Joshua absolutely for lying prostrate on the ground and lamenting the overthrow of the people, since the true method of obtaining pardon from God was to fall down suppliantly before him; but for giving himself up to excessive sorrow. The censure, however, ought to be referred to the future rather than to the past; for he tells him to put an end to his wailing, just as if he had said, that he had already lain too long prostrate, and that all sloth must now be abandoned, as there was need of a different remedy. But he first shows the cause of the evil, and then prescribes the mode of removing it. He therefore informs him that the issue of the battle was disastrous, because he was offended with the wickedness of the people, and had cast off their defense.

We formerly explained why the punishment of a private sacrilege is transferred to all; because although they were not held guilty in their own judgment or that of others, yet the judgment of God, which involved them in the same condemnation, had hidden reasons into which, though it may perhaps be lawful to inquire soberly, it is not lawful to search with prying curiosity. At the same time we have a rare example of clemency in the fact, that while the condemnation verbally extends to all, punishment is inflicted only on a single family actually polluted by the crime. What follows tends to show how enormous the crime was, and accordingly the particle גם is not repeated without emphasis; as they might otherwise have extenuated its atrocity. Hence, when it is said that they have also transgressed the covenant, the meaning is, that they had not sinned slightly. The name of covenant is applied to the prohibition which, as we saw, had been given; because a mutual stipulation had been made, assigning the spoils of the whole land to the Israelites, provided He received the first fruits. Here, then, he does not allude to the general covenant, but complains that he was defrauded of what had been specially set apart; and he accordingly adds immediately after, by way of explanation, that they had taken of the devoted thing, and that not without sacrilege, inasmuch as they had stolen that which he claimed as his own. The term lying is here used, as in many other passages, for frustrating a hope entertained, or for deceiving. The last thing mentioned, though many might at first sight think it trivial, is set down, not without good cause, as the crowning act of guilt, namely, that they had deposited the forbidden thing among their vessels. Persons who are otherwise not wholly wicked are sometimes tempted by a love of gain; but in the act of hiding the thing, and laying it up among other goods, a more obstinate perseverance in evil doing is implied, as the party shows himself to be untouched by any feelings of compunction. In the last part of the 12th verse, the term anathema is used in a different sense for execration; because it was on account of the stolen gold that the children of Israel were cursed, and almost devoted to destruction.

13. Up, sanctify the people, etc Although the word קדש has a more extensive meaning, yet as the subject in question is the expiation of the people, I have no doubt that it prescribes a formal rite of sanctification. Those, therefore, who interpret it generally as equivalent to prepare, do not, in my judgment, give it its full force. Nay, as they were now to be in a manner brought into the divine presence, there was need of purification that they might not come while unclean. It is also to be observed in regard to the method of sanctifying, that Joshua intimates to the people a legal purgation. But though the ceremony might be in itself of little consequence, it had a powerful tendency to arouse a rude people. The external offering must have turned their thoughts to spiritual cleanness, while their abstinence from things otherwise lawful reminded them of the very high and unblemished purity which was required. And they are forewarned of what is to take place, in order that each may be more careful in examining himself. Nay, the Lord proceeds step by step, as if he meant to give intervals for repentance; for it is impossible to imagine any other reason for descending from tribe to family, and coming at length to the single individual.

In all this we see the monstrous stupor of Achan. Overcome perhaps by shame, he doubles his impudence, and putting on a bold front, hesitates not to insult his Maker. For why, when he sees himself discovered, does he not voluntarily come forward and confess the crime, instead of persisting in his effrontery till he is dragged forward against his will? But such is the just recompense of those who allow themselves to be blinded by the devil. Then when first by the taking of his tribe and next by that of his family, he plainly perceived that he was urged and held fast by the hand of God, why does he not then at least spring forward, and by a voluntary surrender deprecate punishment? It appears, then, that after he had hardened himself in his wickedness, his mind and all his senses were charmed by the devil.

Though God does not bring all guilty actions to light at the very moment, nor always employ the casting of lots for this purpose, he has taught us by this example that there is nothing so hidden as not to be revealed in its own time. The form of disclosure will, indeed, be different; but let every one reflect, for himself, that things which escape the knowledge of the whole world are not concealed from God, and that to make them public depends only on his pleasure. For though a sin may seem as it were to have fallen asleep, it is however awake before the door, and will beset the miserable man till it overtake and crush him.

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