Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Joshua 7:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The children of Israel committed a trespass - It is certain that one only was guilty; and yet the trespass is imputed here to the whole congregation; and the whole congregation soon suffered shame and disgrace on the account, as their armies were defeated, thirty-six persons slain, and general terror spread through the whole camp. Being one body, God attributes the crime of the individual to the whole till the trespass was discovered, and by a public act of justice inflicted on the culprit the congregation had purged itself of the iniquity. This was done to render every man extremely cautious, and to make the people watchful over each other, that sin might be no where tolerated or connived at, as one transgression might bring down the wrath of God upon the whole camp. See on Joshua 7:12; (note).

The accursed thing - A portion of the spoils of the city of Jericho, the whole of which God had commanded to be destroyed.

For Achan, the son of Carmi, etc. - Judah had two sons by Tamar: Pharez and Zarah. Zarah was father of Zabdi, and Zabdi of Carmi, the father of Achan. These five persons extend through a period of 265 years; and hence Calmet concludes that they could not have had children before they were fifty or fifty-five years of age. This Achan, son of Zabdi, is called, in 1 Chronicles 2:6, Achar, son of Zimrie; but this reading is corrected into Achan by some MSS. in the place above cited.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Committed a trespass - (compare Leviticus 5:15 note), “acted treacherously and committed a breach of faith.” This suitably describes the sin of Achan, who had purloined and hidden away that which had been dedicated to God by the ban Joshua 6:19.

The “trespass” was the act of one man, yet is imputed to all Israel, who also share in the penalty of it Joshua 7:5. This is not to be explained as though all the people participated in the covetousness which led to Achan‘s sin Joshua 7:21. The nation as a nation was in covenant with God, and is treated by Him not merely as a number of individuals living together for their own purposes under common institutions, but as a divinely-constituted organic whole. Hence, the sin of Achan defiled the other members of the community as well as himself. and robbed the people collectively of holiness before God and acceptableness with Him. Israel had in the person of Achan broken the covenant Joshua 7:11; God therefore would no more drive out the Canaanites before them.

The accursed thing - Rather “in that which had been devoted or dedicated.” Achan in diverting any of these devoted things to his own purposes, committed the sin of sacrilege, that of Ananias and Sapphira. Acts 5:2-3.

Achan or Achar - (the marginal reference) the “n” and “r” being interchanged, perhaps for the sake of accommodating the name to עכר ‛âkar “trouble” Joshua 7:25. Zabdi is generally identified with the Zimri of 1 Chronicles 2:6. Zerah was twin brother of Pharez and son of Judah Genesis 38:30. In this genealogy, as in others, several generations are omitted, most likely those which intervened between Zerah and Zabdi, and which covered the space between the migration of Jacob‘s household to Egypt and the Exodus. (Numbers 26:5, see the note).

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Achan took some of the spoil of Jericho. The love of the world is that root of bitterness, which of all others is most hardly rooted up. We should take heed of sin ourselves, lest by it many be defiled or disquieted, Heb 12:15; and take heed of having fellowship with sinners, lest we share their guilt. It concerns us to watch over one another to prevent sin, because others' sins may be to our damage. The easy conquest of Jericho excited contempt of the enemy, and a disposition to expect the Lord to do all for them without their using proper means. Thus men abuse the doctrines of Divine grace, and the promises of God, into excuses for their own sloth and self-indulgence. We are to work out our own salvation, though it is God that works in us. It was a dear victory to the Canaanites, whereby Israel was awakened and reformed, and reconciled to their God, and the people of Canaan hardened to their own ruin.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 122

When at Oswego, New York, June, 1855, I was shown that God's people have been weighed down with clogs; that there have been Achans in the camp. The work of God has progressed but little, and many of His servants have been discouraged because the truth has taken no more effect in New York, and there have been no more added to the church. The Messenger party has arisen, and we shall suffer some from their lying tongues and misrepresentations, yet we should bear it all patiently; for they will not injure the cause of God, now they have left us, as much as they would have injured it by their influence had they remained with us. 1T 122.1

God's frown has been brought upon the church on account of individuals with corrupt hearts being in it. They have wanted to be foremost, when neither God nor their brethren placed them there. Selfishness and exaltation have marked their course. A place is now open for all such where they can go and find pasture with those of their kind. And we should praise God that in mercy He has rid the church of them. God has given many of these persons up to their own ways to be filled with their own doings. An excitement and sympathy now leads them, which will deceive some; but every honest one will be enlightened as to the true state of this company, and will remain with God's peculiar people, hold fast the truth, and follow in the humble path, unaffected by the influence of those who have been given up of God to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings. I saw that God had given these persons opportunity to reform, He had enlightened them as to their love for self and their other sins; but they would not heed it. They would not be reformed, and He mercifully relieved the church of them. The truth will take effect if the servants of God and the church will devote themselves to Him and His cause. 1T 122.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 564

In their conduct toward the patients all should be actuated by higher motives than selfish interest. Everyone should feel that this institution is one of God's instrumentalities to relieve the disease of the body and point the sin-sick soul to Him who can heal both soul and body. In addition to the performance of the special duties assigned them, all should have an interest for the welfare of others. Selfishness is contrary to the spirit of Christianity. It is altogether satanic in its nature and development. 4T 564.1

In one of His precious lessons to His disciples, our Saviour described God's care for His creatures in these words: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” He who stoops to notice even the little birds has a special care for all branches of His work. All who are employed in our institutions are under the eye of the infinite God. He sees whether their duties are performed with strict integrity or in a careless, dishonest manner. Angels are walking unseen through every room of these institutions. Angels are constantly ascending to heaven, bearing up the record with joy or sadness. Every act of fidelity is registered, every act of dishonesty also is recorded, and every person is finally to be rewarded as his works have been. 4T 564.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 239

A concealed golden wedge and a Babylonish garment troubled the entire camp of Israel. The frown of God was brought upon the people because of the sin of one man. Thousands were slain upon the field of battle because God would not bless and prosper a people among whom there was even one sinner, one who had transgressed His word. This sinner was not in holy office, yet a jealous God could not go forth to battle with the armies of Israel while these concealed sins were in the camp. 3T 239.1

Notwithstanding the apostle's warning is before us to “abstain from all appearance of evil,” some persist in pursuing a course unbecoming Christians. God requires His people to be holy, to keep themselves separate from the works of darkness, to be pure in heart and life, and unspotted from the world. The children of God, by faith in Christ, are His chosen people; and when they stand upon the holy ground of Bible truth they will be saved from fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. 3T 239.2

Brother R, you have stood directly in the way of the work of God and have brought great darkness and discouragement upon His cause. You have been blinded by Satan; you have worked for sympathy and have obtained it. Had you stood in the light you could have discerned the power of Satan at work to deceive and destroy you. The children of God do not eat and drink to please the appetite, but to preserve life and strength to do their Master's will. They clothe themselves for health, not for display or to keep pace with changing fashion. The desire of the eye and the pride of life are banished from their wardrobes and from their houses, from principle. They move from godly sincerity, and their conversation is elevated and heavenly. 3T 239.3

God is very pitiful, for He understands our weaknesses and our temptations; and when we come to Him with broken hearts and contrite spirits, He accepts our repentance, and promises that, as we take hold of His strength to make peace with Him, we shall make peace with Him. Oh, what gratitude, what joy, should we feel that God is merciful! 3T 239.4

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 519-20

The sin of one man discomfited the entire army of Israel. A wrong course pursued by one toward his brother will turn the light of God from His people until the wrong is searched out and the cause of the oppressed is vindicated. God requires His people to be tender in their feelings and discriminations, while their hearts should be enlarged, their feelings should be broad and deep, not narrow, selfish, and penurious. Noble sympathy, largeness of soul, and disinterested benevolence are needed. Then can the church triumph in God. But just as long as the church suffer selfishness to dry up kindly sympathy and tender, thoughtful love and interest for their brethren, every virtue will be corroded. Isaiah's fast should be studied and close self-examination made with a spirit to discern whether there is in them the principles which God's people are required to possess in order that they may receive the rich blessings promised. 3T 519.1

God requires that His people should not allow the poor and afflicted to be oppressed. If they break every yoke and release the oppressed, and are unselfish and kindly considerate of the needy, then shall the blessings promised be theirs. If there are those in the church who would cause the blind to stumble, they should be brought to justice; for God has made us guardians of the blind, the afflicted, the widows, and the fatherless. The stumbling block referred to in the word of God does not mean a block of wood placed before the feet of the blind to cause him to stumble, but it means much more than this. It means any course that may be pursued to injure the influence of their blind brother, to work against his interest, or to hinder his prosperity. 3T 519.2

A brother who is blind and poor and diseased, and who is making every exertion to help himself that he may not be dependent, should be encouraged by his brethren in every way possible. But those who profess to be his brethren, who have the use of all their faculties, who are not dependent, but who so far forget their duty to the blind as to perplex and distress and hedge up his way, are doing a work which will require repentance and restoration before God will accept their prayers. And the church of God who have permitted their unfortunate brother to be wronged will be guilty of sin until they do all in their power to have the wrong righted. 3T 519.3

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