Chapter 7 of Joshua deals with the sin in Canaan. Even though the people had crossed the Jordan, they were still prone to sin. We have one person’s sin who affects all of Israel. The sin of Achan, who is referred to as “Achar” the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the accursed (1 Chronicles 2:7). (1) This sin caused Israel to be defeated in Ai as well as caused Joshua humiliation and prays of the sad disaster to God.
When Joshua cried out to God, God gave him directions on how to put away the sin of guilt amongst them. The discovery, trail, conviction, condemnation and execution of Achan gave Israel peace again. (2) This story appears as the laws so Canaan itself, “made nothing perfect,” the perfection both of holiness and peace to God’s Israel is to be expected in the heavenly Canaan only.
Literary Analysis in Joshua 7
This passage was authored by Joshua who was the leader of the Israelites. He played a big part in this chapter as well as Achan, the son of Carmi and a soldier in the Israelite army. Joshua addresses two connected stories in this passage, the defeat of Ai and the sin of Achan. Their names signify “he troubles” (1 Chronicles2: 7).
It opens up with a small but ominous word, “but” which contrast this chapter with the Chapter 6. This little conjunction of contrast is designed to explain an important lesson; victory is always by the threat of defeat. One man, Achan, committed a trespass by hiding treasures which had been dedicated to God by the ban (Joshua 6:19). Even though this trespass was the act of one man, all of Israel shared the penalty. We have to remember Israel was a nation in a covenant with God and was treated by Him as a whole. The sin of Achan defiled the others as well as himself. Israel had broken the covenant in the person of Achan (Joshua 7:11).
Joshua compared and contrasted Joshua 2 about Rehab and the sheltering of the spies. Rehab was someone who had only heard of the God of Israel but she listened and obeyed (Joshua 2:21); while Achan was one of the sons of Israel who actually witnessed God’s fulfilling promises and power but disobeyed (Joshua 7:1). Rehab, a woman, was a Canaanite and her family survived; whereas Achan, a man, was an Israelite and his family perished. Rehab hid the spies on her roof, and Achan hid his stolen treasures under his tent. The Israelites won a great victory at Jericho by following God’s instructions, and they were humiliated at Ai when they failed to follow God’s instructions.
Israel’s sin was a grievous act against God Himself. This act of sin was the cause of Israel’s defeat at Ai as the Lord’s anger burred against Israel (Joshua 7:1, 11-12). The defeat at Ai shows the difference between the human sagacity and divine guidance. The Israelites were unteachable that they did not clearly distinguish between the two. The victory at Jericho was not theirs, but God. They forgot about that and prosperity brought presumption which grew the...