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and directed Moses; for no other could, in his oron name, promise him the conquest of Jericho. Joshua was commanded to rely entirely on the Lori, and not to make the usual preparations for a siege, as the whole affair would be miraculous.
The proceedings of Joshua and the armies of Israel must have had a very strange appearance in the eyes of the enemy; but certainly nothing could be better cal. culated to give glory to God, from whose hand victory would come. The priests were God's ministers, and in His name they proclaimed war with the Canaanites. All the people were commanded to keep silence; and in order to exercise their patience, they were required to march round the city for six successive days: whether the seventh was the Sabbath or not, we are not told; most likely it was ; but the Israelites could not be accused of violating the Sabbath, because they were employed in the immediate service of God, who had sanctified the day, and had lately shewn Himself visibly as PRINCE of the hosts of Israel.
What confusion must have ensued, when the walls of Jericho fell to the ground ! and how must the wretched inhabitants have been dispirited! Now the people of Israel were perfectly convinced that no adversary, how formidable soever, could stand before the Lord; and that the strongest walls were no defence to those, who were for their wickedness devoted to destruction,
Rahab was not forgotten ; the scarlet line was carefully looked for, and she and her friends were preserved. Then followed a most dreadful slaughter ; men, women, and children, fell a prey to the wrath of Gov! It was now too late for them to expect mercy: they knew what had befallen Egypt; but they rejected the warnings of Hoaven, defied the living Gon, and worshipped CREATURES, and so brought His justice upon themselves. I
The severe treatment of this city might likewise be in. tended to strike others with awe. By the expression, that the city and its inhabitants should be accursed is meant, that they should be exterminated, destroyed, and rooted out *. This curse upon Jericho was prophetic, as will appear in a future part of this history.
Rahab was afterwards married to Salmon, at that time head of the tribe of Judah,
THE PUNISHMENT OF ACHAN-THE CITY AI TAKENT.
Though Joshua had given such strict injunctions to the people, not to take of the accursed thing, meaning such as they could not take without bringing the curse of God upon themselves (namely, things which were either devoted to destruction, or to be consecrated to the LORD), a man of the tribe of Judah, whose name was Achan, seized upon some of the rich plunder, and concealed it in his tent. Joshua, unsuspicious of his trespass, and in full confidence that the Lord would continue to bless the armies of His people with success, detached a small body of 3000 men only to attack the city of Ai. Contrary to his expectations they were defeated, a few of them slain, and the rest put to flight. This defeat struck a damp upon the courage of the people, and Joshua, being at a loss how to proceed, had recourse to God.
The Lord informed him, (by Urim and Thummim, as is supposed) that His divine commands had been sacrilegiously infringed, and com. manded him to have the offender punished with death.
To find out the person who had taken the accursed
* Essay for a new translation.
+ See Joshua, Chap. vii. viii.
thing, Joshua, early the next morning, assembled the tribes together before the tabernacle, where, by casting the lot, first upon the tribes, and so proceeding from tribe to family, from family to household, and from household to particular persons, the criminal was at length discovered to be Achan.
Achan, instead of confessing his crime immediately, suffered this exact scrutiny to be made; and it is not unlikely, that those Israelites, who fell before Ai, connived at his offence, perhaps with a view of experiencing, whether the LORD would execute vengeance against him, or not.
Joshua then conjured Achan to give glory to the LORD. When Achan found that his crime could be no longer concealed, he confessed that he had taken a royal robe, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, and hid them in the earth in the midst of his tent. Search was made, and they were found in this place. It was highly necessary, for the honour of the Lord, that an example should be made of such an offender, because the Lord had given an express command, that a presumptuous sinner should be put to death * ; and the Mosaic law did not admit of atonement for individuals who committed this crime ; they were doomed to fall as a sacrifice of atonement for that nation, which was separated as a peculiar people to the Lord, and wliose privileges as such, were suspended, till the sacrilegious member was cut off. Achan, therefore, with his whole family, were condemned to be stoned to death, which sentence was executed in the valley of Achor; they were afterwards burned, and a heap of stones raised over their asles, as a monument of this dreadful judgment.
Though we are not expressly told so, there is reason to think, that Achan's family were accomplices with him, or at least privy to his crime, for he could not well have concealed these things in the midst of his tent without their knowledge. Achan had a very proper sense of his sin, and died penitent; we may therefore hope that he and his family were pardoned, and received to mercy.
It is very probable that those people who fled before Ai were elated with their success against Jericho, and imputed it to the personal valour of Israel, not to the miraculous power of the LORD.
The Lord certainly could have pointed out the sinner at once, but he chose to let the discovery be made by lot, in a solemn manner, in order to deter the people from such sacrilegious crimes for the future; that when they saw they could not conceal any thing from the knowledge of the LORD, they might fear to disobey him.
And this part of Sacred History affords a very striking warning to all persons who dare to practise wickedness in secret, as it proves that there is no concealing any thing from that great Being, who is present in all places,
Soon after the death of Achan, Joshua was commanded to go, without fear or dismay, and attack the city of Ai, and the Lord gave the people permission to exert their own skill and courage on this occasion, and to appropriate the spoil to themselves. Joshua immediately selected 30,000 men, and proceeded with his army agreeably to the directions which the Lord had given him, and gained a complete victory: the whole army of the enemy was destroyed, the city of Ai burnt and made a heap of rubbish, all the inhabitants of it were. put to the sword, and the king who was taken prisoner, was ordered to be hanged upon a gibbet till sun-set,
when he was taken down, thrown in at a gate of the city, and a heap of stones raised over him. The cattle and the spoil of the city the Israelites took as a prey for themselves.
As Joshua was now not far distant from the mountains Gerizim and Ebal, he resolved to obey the command which he had received from Moses, respecting the reading the law, and propounding the blessings and curses to the people; he therefore caused an altar to be built, and all the people, men, women, and children, assembled; the law was read according to the form prescribed ; and we are told, that there was not a word of all that Moses commanded which Joshua read not before the whole congregation of Israel.
THE GIBEONITES DECEIVE JOSHUA AND THE
It has been already observed, that the land of Ca. naan was inhabited by the descendants of Canaan the son of Ham. Canaan had eleven sons, who were the heads of as many tribes or nations; five of them, from whom the different kingdoms of the Canaanites proceeded, were named, Heth, Jebusi, Amori, Gergashi, Hivi : from them their tribes were called the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Gergashites, and Hivites. The people that are particularly called the Canaanites, are supposed, as well as the Perizzites, to have consisted of the mingled tribes of the Canaanites, who had been engaged in fierce wars with the Egyptians, and were pointed out for destruction because they were the most
" See Joshua, Chap. ix. I3