Jos 7: "Jos 7 presents to us a drastically different scene
from those which have engaged our attention in the previous chapters, yea, so
startling is the contrast that we are reminded of that old adage, 'Truth is
stranger than fiction.' Up to this point everything had gone smoothly and
blessedly for Israel, but now their progress is suddenly halted. Hitherto we
have witnessed them, under God, going from strength to strength and glory to
glory. Strict obedience to the Divine commands had marked their every movement;
here, the very reverse obtained. They had duly attended to the essential matter
of circumcision and had kept the appointed Passover feast. On His part, the Lord
had wrought wondrously for them, bringing them through the Jordan dry-shod and
overthrowing the principal fortress of the enemy without a blow having to be
struck by Israel. But a startling contrast now confronts us: immediately
following the memorable victory at the formidable Jericho, Israel suffer
humiliating defeat at the much weaker town of Ai. A member of the tribe of Judah
had committed a grievous crime, and the whole nation suffer in consequence. As
there was a serpent in Eden and a Judas among the apostles, so there was an
Achan in the midst of an obedient Israel" (Pink).
Note: they did not return to base camp (ie to seek counsel
from God). Too much pride and ambition. Insufficient preparation.
Perhaps they were motivated by the desire to increase plunder
for each individual who went. Was Achan an instigator of this personnel cutback?
Or did they simply underestimate their enemy?
GO UP... DO NOT WEARY: A 15-mi march involving a 3,000
ft climb, through a rugged country (WEnj 24).
Notice sequence: an army of "about three thousand" (Jos 7:4);
another army of "about five thousand" (Jos 8:12); and a king "hanged on a tree"
(Jos 8:29). Cp sequence in Acts:
THEY HAVE VIOLATED MY COVENANT: What covenant?
Implicit: "Touch no unclean thing", and I will reward you: 2Co 6:17; Mat
I HAVE SINNED: There is a radical distinction between
natural regret and God-given repentance. The flesh can feel remorse, acknowledge
its evil deeds, and be ashamed of itself. However, this sort of disgust with
past actions can be quickly shrugged off, and the individual can soon go back to
his old wicked ways. None of the marks of true repentance described in 2Co 7:11
are found in his behavior. Out of a list of 11 men in the Bible who said, "I
have sinned," poss only five actually repented. They were David (2Sa 12:13;
24:10; 1Ch 21:8; Psa 41:4), Nehemiah (Neh 1:6), Job (Job 42:5,6), Micah (Mic
7:9), and the prodigal son (Luk 15:18). The other (poss less sincere) instances?
Pharaoh in Exo 9:27; 10:16; Balaam in Num 22:34; Achan in Jos 7:20; Saul in 1Sa
15:24,30; 26:21; Shimei in 2Sa 19:20; Judas in Mat 27:4.