Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) March 1
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Joshua 7:1--9:21

Context
Achan Sins and is Punished

7:1 But the Israelites disobeyed the command about the city’s riches. 1  Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, 2  son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, stole some of the riches. 3  The Lord was furious with the Israelites. 4 

7:2 Joshua sent men from Jericho 5  to Ai (which is located near Beth Aven, east of Bethel 6 ) and instructed them, “Go up and spy on the land.” So the men went up and spied on Ai. 7:3 They returned and reported to Joshua, 7  “Don’t send the whole army. 8  About two or three thousand men are adequate to defeat Ai. 9  Don’t tire out the whole army, for Ai is small.” 10 

7:4 So about three thousand men went up, but they fled from the men of Ai. 7:5 The men of Ai killed about thirty-six of them and chased them from in front of the city gate all the way to the fissures 11  and defeated them on the steep slope. 12  The people’s 13  courage melted away like water. 14 

7:6 Joshua tore his clothes; 15  he and the leaders 16  of Israel lay face down on the ground before the ark of the Lord until evening 17  and threw dirt on their heads. 18  7:7 Joshua prayed, 19  “O, Master, Lord! Why did you bring these people across the Jordan to hand us over to the Amorites so they could destroy us? 7:8 If only we had been satisfied to live on the other side of the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say now that Israel has retreated 20  before its enemies? 7:9 When the Canaanites and all who live in the land hear about this, they will turn against us and destroy the very memory of us 21  from the earth. What will you do to protect your great reputation?” 22 

7:10 The Lord responded 23  to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying there face down? 24  7:11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenantal commandment! 25  They have taken some of the riches; 26  they have stolen them and deceitfully put them among their own possessions. 27  7:12 The Israelites are unable to stand before their enemies; they retreat because they have become subject to annihilation. 28  I will no longer be with you, 29  unless you destroy what has contaminated you. 30  7:13 Get up! Ritually consecrate the people and tell them this: ‘Ritually consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, because the Lord God of Israel says, “You are contaminated, 31  O Israel! You will not be able to stand before your enemies until you remove what is contaminating you.” 32  7:14 In the morning you must approach in tribal order. 33  The tribe the Lord selects 34  must approach by clans. The clan the Lord selects must approach by families. 35  The family the Lord selects must approach man by man. 36  7:15 The one caught with the riches 37  must be burned up 38  along with all who belong to him, because he violated the Lord’s covenant and did such a disgraceful thing in Israel.’”

7:16 Bright and early the next morning Joshua made Israel approach in tribal order 39  and the tribe of Judah was selected. 7:17 He then made the clans of Judah approach and the clan of the Zerahites was selected. He made the clan of the Zerahites approach and Zabdi 40  was selected. 41  7:18 He then made Zabdi’s 42  family approach man by man 43  and Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was selected. 7:19 So Joshua said to Achan, “My son, honor 44  the Lord God of Israel and give him praise! Tell me what you did; don’t hide anything from me!” 7:20 Achan told Joshua, “It is true. I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel in this way: 45  7:21 I saw among the goods we seized a nice robe from Babylon, 46  two hundred silver pieces, 47  and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels. I wanted them, so I took them. They are hidden in the ground right in the middle of my tent with the silver underneath.”

7:22 Joshua sent messengers who ran to the tent. The things were hidden right in his tent, with the silver underneath. 48  7:23 They took it all from the middle of the tent, brought it to Joshua and all the Israelites, and placed 49  it before the Lord. 7:24 Then Joshua and all Israel took Achan, son of Zerah, along with the silver, the robe, the bar of gold, his sons, daughters, ox, donkey, sheep, tent, and all that belonged to him and brought them up to the Valley of Disaster. 50  7:25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought disaster 51  on us? The Lord will bring disaster on you today!” All Israel stoned him to death. (They also stoned and burned the others.) 52  7:26 Then they erected over him a large pile of stones (it remains to this very day 53 ) and the Lord’s anger subsided. So that place is called the Valley of Disaster to this very day.

Israel Conquers Ai

8:1 The Lord told Joshua, “Don’t be afraid and don’t panic! 54  Take the whole army with you and march against Ai! 55  See, I am handing over to you 56  the king of Ai, along with his people, city, and land. 8:2 Do to Ai and its king what you did to Jericho 57  and its king, except you may plunder its goods and cattle. Set an ambush behind the city!”

8:3 Joshua and the whole army marched against Ai. 58  Joshua selected thirty thousand brave warriors and sent them out at night. 8:4 He told 59  them, “Look, set an ambush behind the city. Don’t go very far from the city; all of you be ready! 8:5 I and all the troops 60  who are with me will approach the city. When they come out to fight us like before, we will retreat from them. 8:6 They will attack 61  us until we have lured them from the city, for they will say, ‘They are retreating from us like before.’ We will retreat from them. 8:7 Then you rise up from your hiding place 62  and seize 63  the city. The Lord your God will hand it over to you. 8:8 When you capture the city, set it 64  on fire. Do as the Lord says! See, I have given you orders.” 65  8:9 Joshua sent them away and they went to their hiding place 66  west of Ai, between Bethel 67  and Ai. 68  Joshua spent that night with the army. 69 

8:10 Bright and early the next morning Joshua gathered 70  the army, 71  and he and the leaders 72  of Israel marched 73  at the head of it 74  to Ai. 8:11 All the troops that were with him marched up and drew near the city. 75  They camped north of Ai on the other side of the valley. 76  8:12 He took five thousand men and set an ambush west of the city between Bethel 77  and Ai. 8:13 The army was in position – the main army north of the city and the rear guard west of the city. That night Joshua went into 78  the middle of the valley.

8:14 When the king of Ai saw Israel, he and his whole army quickly got up the next day and went out to fight Israel at the meeting place near the Arabah. 79  But he did not realize 80  men were hiding behind the city. 81  8:15 Joshua and all Israel pretended to be defeated by them and they retreated along the way to the desert. 8:16 All the reinforcements 82  in Ai 83  were ordered 84  to chase them; they chased Joshua and were lured away from the city. 8:17 No men were left in Ai or Bethel; 85  they all went out after Israel. 86  They left the city wide open and chased Israel.

8:18 The Lord told Joshua, “Hold out toward Ai the curved sword in your hand, for I am handing the city 87  over to you.” So Joshua held out toward Ai the curved sword in his hand. 8:19 When he held out his hand, the men waiting in ambush rose up quickly from their place and attacked. 88  They entered the city, captured it, and immediately set it on fire. 8:20 When the men of Ai turned around, they saw 89  the smoke from the city ascending into the sky and were so shocked they were unable to flee in any direction. 90  In the meantime the men who were retreating to the desert turned against their pursuers. 8:21 When Joshua and all Israel saw that the men in ambush had captured the city and that the city was going up in smoke, 91  they turned around and struck down the men of Ai. 8:22 At the same time the men who had taken the city came out to fight, and the men of Ai were trapped in the middle. 92  The Israelites struck them down, leaving no survivors or refugees. 8:23 But they captured the king of Ai alive and brought him to Joshua.

8:24 When Israel had finished killing all the men 93  of Ai who had chased them toward the desert 94  (they all fell by the sword), 95  all Israel returned to Ai and put the sword to it. 8:25 Twelve thousand men and women died 96  that day, including all the men of Ai. 8:26 Joshua kept holding out his curved sword until Israel had annihilated all who lived in Ai. 97  8:27 But Israel did plunder the cattle and the goods of the city, in accordance with the Lord’s orders to Joshua. 98  8:28 Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanently uninhabited mound (it remains that way to this very day). 99  8:29 He hung the king of Ai on a tree, leaving him exposed until evening. 100  At sunset Joshua ordered that his corpse be taken down from the tree. 101  They threw it down at the entrance of the city gate and erected over it a large pile of stones (it remains to this very day). 102 

Covenant Renewal

8:30 Then Joshua built an altar for the Lord God of Israel on Mount Ebal, 8:31 just as Moses the Lord’s servant had commanded the Israelites. As described in the law scroll of Moses, it was made with uncut stones untouched by an iron tool. 103  They offered burnt sacrifices on it and sacrificed tokens of peace. 104  8:32 There, in the presence of the Israelites, Joshua inscribed on the stones a duplicate of the law written by Moses. 105  8:33 All the people, 106  rulers, 107  leaders, and judges were standing on either side of the ark, in front of the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord. Both resident foreigners and native Israelites were there. 108  Half the people stood in front of Mount Gerizim and the other half in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the Lord’s servant had previously instructed to them to do for the formal blessing ceremony. 109  8:34 Then 110  Joshua read aloud all the words of the law, including the blessings and the curses, just as they are written in the law scroll. 8:35 Joshua read aloud every commandment Moses had given 111  before the whole assembly of Israel, including the women, children, and resident foreigners who lived among them. 112 

The Gibeonites Deceive Israel

9:1 When the news reached all the kings on the west side of the Jordan 113  – in the hill country, the lowlands, 114  and all along the Mediterranean coast 115  as far as 116  Lebanon (including the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites) – 9:2 they formed an alliance to fight against Joshua and Israel. 117 

9:3 When the residents of Gibeon heard what Joshua did to Jericho 118  and Ai, 9:4 they did something clever. They collected some provisions 119  and put worn-out sacks on their donkeys, along with worn-out wineskins that were ripped and patched. 9:5 They had worn-out, patched sandals on their feet and dressed in worn-out clothes. All their bread 120  was dry and hard. 121  9:6 They came to Joshua at the camp in Gilgal and said to him and the men of Israel, “We have come from a distant land. Make a treaty with us.” 9:7 The men of Israel said to the Hivites, “Perhaps you live near us. 122  So how can we make a treaty with you?” 9:8 But they said to Joshua, “We are willing to be your subjects.” 123  So Joshua said to them, “Who are you and where do you come from?” 9:9 They told him, “Your subjects 124  have come from a very distant land because of the reputation 125  of the Lord your God, for we have heard the news about all he did in Egypt 126  9:10 and all he did to the two Amorite kings on the other side of the Jordan – King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan in Ashtaroth. 9:11 Our leaders and all who live in our land told us, ‘Take provisions for your journey and go meet them. Tell them, “We are willing to be your subjects. 127  Make a treaty with us.”’ 9:12 This bread of ours was warm when we packed it in our homes the day we started out to meet you, 128  but now it is dry and hard. 129  9:13 These wineskins we filled were brand new, but look how they have ripped. Our clothes and sandals have worn out because it has been a very long journey.” 9:14 The men examined 130  some of their provisions, but they failed to ask the Lord’s advice. 131  9:15 Joshua made a peace treaty with them and agreed to let them live. The leaders of the community 132  sealed it with an oath. 133 

9:16 Three days after they made the treaty with them, the Israelites found out they were from the local area and lived nearby. 134  9:17 So the Israelites set out and on the third day arrived at their cities – Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath Jearim. 9:18 The Israelites did not attack them because the leaders of the community had sworn an oath to them in the name of the Lord God of Israel. 135  The whole community criticized 136  the leaders, 9:19 but all the leaders told the whole community, “We swore an oath to them in the name of 137  the Lord God of Israel. So now we can’t hurt 138  them! 9:20 We must let them live so we can escape the curse attached to the oath we swore to them.” 139  9:21 The leaders then added, 140  “Let them live.” So they became 141  woodcutters and water carriers for the whole community, as the leaders had decided. 142 

1 tn Heb “But the sons of Israel were unfaithful with unfaithfulness concerning what was set apart [to the Lord].”

2 tn 1 Chr 2:6 lists a “Zimri” (but no Zabdi) as one of the five sons of Zerah (cf. also 1 Chr 7:17, 18).

3 tn Heb “took from what was set apart [to the Lord].”

4 tn Heb “the anger of the Lord burned against the sons of Israel.”

sn This incident illustrates well the principle of corporate solidarity and corporate guilt. The sin of one man brought the Lord’s anger down upon the entire nation.

5 map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

6 map For the location of Bethel see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

7 tn Heb “and they returned to Joshua and said to him.”

8 tn Heb “Don’t let all the people go up.”

9 tn Heb “Let about two thousand men or about three thousand men go up to defeat Ai.”

10 tn Heb “all the people for they are small.”

11 tn The meaning and correct translation of the Hebrew word שְׁבָרִים (shÿvarim) is uncertain. The translation “fissures” is based on usage of the plural form of the noun in Ps 60:4 HT (60:2 ET), where it appears to refer to cracks in the earth caused by an earthquake. Perhaps deep ravines or gorges are in view, or the word is a proper noun (“all the way to Shebarim”).

12 sn The precise geographical location of the Israelite defeat at this “steep slope” is uncertain.

13 tn Or “army’s.”

14 tn Heb “and the heart of the people melted and became water.”

15 sn Tearing one’s clothes was an outward expression of extreme sorrow (see Gen 37:34; 44:13).

16 tn Or “elders.”

17 tn Heb “and fell on his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel.”

18 sn Throwing dirt on one’s head was an outward expression of extreme sorrow (see Lam 2:10; Ezek 27:30).

19 tn Heb “said.”

20 tn Heb “turned [the] back.”

21 tn Heb “and cut off our name.”

22 tn Heb “What will you do for your great name?”

23 tn Heb “said.”

24 tn Heb “Why are you falling on your face?”

25 tn Heb “They have violated my covenant which I commanded them.”

26 tn Heb “what was set apart [to the Lord].”

27 tn Heb “and also they have stolen, and also they have lied, and also they have placed [them] among their items.”

28 tn Heb “they turn [the] back before their enemies because they are set apart [to destruction by the Lord].”

29 tn The second person pronoun is plural in Hebrew, indicating these words are addressed to the entire nation.

30 tn Heb “what is set apart [to destruction by the Lord] from your midst.”

31 tn Heb “what is set apart [to destruction by the Lord] [is] in your midst.”

32 tn Heb “remove what is set apart [i.e., to destruction by the Lord] from your midst.”

33 tn Heb “by your tribes.”

34 tn Heb “takes forcefully, seizes.”

35 tn Heb “houses.”

36 tn Heb “by men.”

37 tn Heb “with what was set apart [to the Lord].”

38 tn Heb “burned with fire.”

39 tn Heb “by tribes.”

40 tn See the note on “Zabdi” in 1 Chr 7:1.

41 tn Heb “and he selected Zabdi.” The Lord is the apparent subject. The LXX supports reading a passive (Niphal) form here, as does the immediate context.

42 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Zabdi) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

43 tn Heb “by men.”

44 tn Heb “give glory to.”

45 tn Heb “like this and like this I did.”

46 tn Heb “Shinar,” a reference to Babylon (cf. Gen 10:10; 11:2; 14:1). Many modern translations retain the Hebrew name “Shinar” (cf. NEB, NRSV) but some use the more familiar “Babylon” (cf. NIV, NLT).

47 tn Heb “shekels.”

48 tn Heb “Look, [it was] hidden in his tent, and the silver was beneath it.”

49 tn Heb “poured out,” probably referring to the way the silver pieces poured out of their container.

50 tn Or “Trouble” The name is “Achor” in Hebrew, which means “disaster” or “trouble” (also in v. 26).

51 tn Or “trouble.” The word is “achor” in Hebrew (also in the following clause).

52 tc Heb “and they burned them with fire and they stoned them with stones.” These words are somewhat parenthetical in nature and are omitted in the LXX; they may represent a later scribal addition.

53 tc Heb “to this day.” The phrase “to this day” is omitted in the LXX and may represent a later scribal addition.

54 tn Or perhaps “and don’t get discouraged!”

55 tn Heb “Take with you all the people of war and arise, go up against Ai!”

56 tn Heb “I have given into our hand.” The verbal form, a perfect, is probably best understood as a perfect of certitude, indicating the certainty of the action.

57 map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

58 tn “And Joshua and all the people of war arose to go up [against] Ai.”

59 tn Or “commanded, ordered.”

60 tn Heb “the people.”

61 tn Heb “come out after.”

62 tn Heb “from the ambush.”

63 tn Heb “take possession of.”

64 tn Heb “the city.”

65 tn Heb “I have commanded you.”

66 tn Or “the place of ambush.”

67 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

68 tn Heb “and they stayed between Bethel and Ai, west of Ai.”

69 tn Heb “in the midst of the people.”

70 tn Or “summoned, mustered.”

71 tn Heb “the people.”

72 tn Or “elders.”

73 tn Heb “went up.”

74 tn Heb “them” (referring to “the people” in the previous clause, which requires a plural pronoun). Since the translation used “army” in the previous clause, a singular pronoun (“it”) is required in English.

75 tn Heb “All the people of war who were with him went up and approached and came opposite the city.”

76 tn Heb “and the valley [was] between them and Ai.”

77 map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

78 tn Some Hebrew mss read, “spent the night in.”

79 tn Heb “When the king of Ai saw, the men of Ai hurried and rose early and went out to meet Israel for battle, he and all his people at the meeting place before the Arabah.”

80 tn Or “know.”

81 tn Heb “that (there was) an ambush for him behind the city.”

82 tn Heb “All the people.”

83 tc Some textual witnesses read “the city.”

84 tn Or “were summoned”; or “were mustered.”

85 tc The LXX omits the words “or Bethel.”

map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

86 tn Heb “who did not go out after Israel.”

87 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the city of Ai) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

88 tn Heb “and ran.”

89 tn Heb “and they saw, and look.” The Hebrew term הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) draws attention to the scene and invites the audience to view the events from the perspective of the men of Ai.

90 tn Heb “and there was not in them hands to flee here or there.” The Hebrew term יָדַיִם (yadayim, “hands”) is idiomatic for “strength.”

91 tn Heb “and that the smoke of the city ascended.”

92 tn Heb “and these went out from the city to meet them and they were for Israel in the middle, some on this side, and others on the other side.”

93 tn Heb “residents.”

94 tn Heb “in the field, in the desert in which they chased them.”

95 tc Heb “and all of them fell by the edge of the sword until they were destroyed.” The LXX omits the words, “and all of them fell by the edge of the sword.” They may represent a later scribal addition.

96 tn Heb “fell.”

97 tn Heb “Joshua did not draw back his hand which held out the curved sword until he had annihilated all the residents of Ai.”

98 tn Heb “according to the word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua.”

99 tn Heb “and made it a permanent mound, a desolation, to this day.”

100 tn Heb “on a tree until evening.” The words “leaving him exposed” are supplied in the translation for clarity.

101 sn For the legal background of this action, see Deut 21:22-23.

102 tn Heb “to this day.”

103 tn Heb “as it is written in the scroll of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones on which no one had wielded iron.” The expression “whole stones” refers to stones in their natural condition, i.e., not carved or shaped artificially with tools (“wielded iron”).

104 tn Or “peace offerings.”

105 tn Heb “and he wrote there on the stones a duplicate of the law of Moses which he wrote before the sons of Israel.”

106 tn Heb “All Israel.”

107 tn Or “elders.”

108 tn Heb “like the resident alien, like the citizen.” The language is idiomatic, meaning that both groups were treated the same, at least in this instance.

109 tn Heb “as Moses, the Lord’s servant, commanded to bless the people, Israel, formerly.”

sn Moses’ earlier instructions are found in Deut 11:29.

110 tn Or “afterward.”

111 tn Heb “There was not a word from all which Moses commanded that Joshua did not read aloud.”

112 tn Heb “walked in their midst.”

113 tn Heb “When all the kings who were beyond the Jordan heard.”

114 tn Or “foothills”; Heb “the Shephelah.”

115 tn Heb “all the coast of the Great Sea.” The “Great Sea” was the typical designation for the Mediterranean Sea.

116 tn Heb “in front of.”

117 tn Heb “they gathered together to fight against Joshua and Israel [with] one mouth.”

118 map For location see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

119 tc Heb “and they went and [?].” The root and meaning of the verb form יִצְטַיָּרוּ (yitstayyaru) are uncertain. The form is most likely a corruption of יִצְטַיָּדוּ (yitstayyadu), read by some Hebrew mss and ancient versions, from the root צוּד (tsud, “take provisions,” BDB 845 s.v. II צוד) which also occurs in v. 11. Note NRSV “they went and prepared provisions”; cf. NEB “They went and disguised themselves”; NIV “they went as a delegation.”

120 tn Heb “all the bread of their provisions.”

121 tn Or “moldy.”

122 tn Heb “in our midst.”

123 tn Heb “we are your servants.”

124 tn Or “servants.”

125 tn Heb “name.”

126 tn Heb “the report about him, all that he did in Egypt.”

127 tn Heb “your servants.”

128 tn Heb “in the day we went out to come to you.”

129 tn Or “moldy.”

130 tn Heb “took.” This probably means they tasted some of the food to make sure it was stale.

131 tn Heb “but they did not ask the mouth of the Lord.” This refers to seeking the Lord’s will and guidance through an oracle.

132 tn Or “assembly.”

133 tn Heb “Joshua made peace with them and made a treaty with them to let them live, and the leaders of the community swore an oath to them.”

134 tn Heb “At the end of three days, after they made the treaty with them, they heard that they were neighbors to them and in their midst they were living.”

135 tn Heb “by the Lord God of Israel.”

136 tn Or “grumbled against.”

137 tn Heb “to them by….”

138 tn Or “touch.”

139 tn Heb “This is what we will do to them, keeping them alive so there will not be upon us anger concerning the oath which we swore to them.”

140 tc Heb “and the leaders said to them.” The LXX omits the words “and the leaders said to them.”

141 tn The vav (ו) consecutive construction in the Hebrew text suggests that the narrative resumes at this point. The LXX reads here, “and they will be,” understanding what follows to be a continuation of the leaders’ words rather than a comment by the narrator.

142 tn Heb “as the leaders said to them.”



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