Joshua 7:23
They took the things from inside the tent, brought them to Joshua and all the Israelites, and spread them out before the LORD.
The Eye, the Heart, and the HandS. Martin.

Here we have much profitable study. Some sins are peculiar to certain ages or countries. But greed is found in all lands and times. It specially thrives in periods of wealth and of prosperity. It creeps in where faults of uglier aspect are denied admission. It flourishes wherever the power of religion has decayed while its profession continues. Here is an instance of its action in all its meanness, disclosure, mischief, and retribution. Consider it.

I. Mark ACHAN'S FAULT. There was this feature peculiar in the capture of Jericho - that man had no hand in it. It was God's work throughout. No risk, no loss was entailed on Israel. The earthquake of God - if such was the mode of its destruction - threw the walls down fiat. The capture, God's work; the spoil was, in a special sense, God's spoil. The first fruits of their booty; He required the entire consecration of all the gold and silver to His service. In all their subsequent operations of wax the spoil they take will be their own. In this God claims all. In such a prescription there was nothing that was unreasonable, but much that was divinely wise. Israel as a whole obeyed the Divine command, doubtless helped thereto by the solemnity which the presence and miracles of God imparted to their task. The destruction - righteously ordained - was carried out as God ordered. The whole of the wealth that was indestructible was reserved for God. But Achan is tempted. He suddenly lights on one hundred ounces of silver and twenty-five ounces of gold - a large sum in those days - probably more in purchasing power than a thousand pounds today. To see is to covet intensely, and to find a score of reasons rising within him for disobedience. "To take it hurts no one." "Nobody need know anything about it." "The sanctuary is quite rich enough." "There will be plenty left untouched by his more scrupulous neighbours." "It will stock a farm and build a house." So the vivid imagination of greed discovers a multitude of reasons for taking the spoil. And, somehow, the suddenness of the opportunity and the impulse stuns all his better nature and makes it speechless. There is no voice to remind him that he will despise himself, or that he imperils his nation. It is nothing to him that within an hour, and just at hand, God's omnipotence had been working a miracle. Under the very shadow of the Almighty he dares to sin. And every thought but that of his material advantage banished from his mind, he takes the forbidden treasure, and, concealing it in his clothes, hurries with it to his tent, and, with or without the connivance of his family - more probably the former - buries it in the earth. It is these sudden temptations that test a man. A good habit is the only protection from a bad impulse. Had he been habitually honourable, he would not so have sinned. But he was one of those who like to be deemed smart and clever, and who often imagine that self preservation is "the fulfilling of all law." Did he enjoy his loot that night? Probably with some faintest misgiving he enjoyed it greatly, and his wife and family and himself made out a most plausible case of self justification, and built pleasant castles in the air out of their treasures. But -

II. Mark how ACHAN'S SIN FINDS HIM OUT. No sin is ever entirely concealed. Every virtue puts its seal upon the brow, and every fault its mark. When concealment is perfect, the man is still embarrassed - preoccupied. His taste, and with his taste his look, degenerates. Something of restlessness makes at least his spirit a "fugitive and a vagabond in the earth." His eye is on fence, and he alternates between a glance which, in its curiosity to know whether you suspect him, glares on you, and the averted look which shuns your eye altogether. So every fault, however secret, gives some tokens of something being wrong - so much so, that the special form of wrong can often be detected in the mere look. And in addition, how strikingly is it the case that often just one precaution has been left untaken that brings the truth to light. God is light, and is always illuminating by His providence our hidden deeds of darkness; sometimes by methods more, and sometimes by methods less miraculous, God does this. In this instance how swift, terrible, and certain is the discovery! The unexpected, needless failure of the attack on Ai, where success was easy, suggests something wrong. In answer to Joshua's prayer, God's oracle reveals it. The culprit is not named, but, using the lot probably, the tribe to which he belongs, then his division of the tribe, then his family, then himself, are successively indicated; and he who but a day or two before felt so secure in the absolute secrecy of his crime, stands revealed to all the people in all the meanness of his greed! Your sin and my sin will find us out. It is better for us to find it out, to own and end it. Plume not yourself on craft or subtlety. For God's light will disclose whatever God's eye discerns. If you do not wish a wrong thing to be known, keep it undone. All sin finds out the doer of it.

III. Mark THE RESULTS OF HIS WRONG. How different from what they dreamed! There was no comfort; no farm, no castle ever came of it - only shame, disappointment, death. Mark specifically its mischiefs.

1. Israel was damaged. In the two attacks on Ai rendered necessary by this sin, many lives were lost needlessly. The heart of the people was discouraged, and the success of their enterprise imperilled.

2. Then there is the probable corruption of the man's family, the digging and hiding being hardly possible without their knowledge. It is an awful penalty of a parent's sin that it tends so directly and strongly to corrupt the children. Let us see that those whom God has given us be not harmed by what they see in us.

3. It involves all his family in the penalty of death. The law of Moses was explicit that the child should not be put to death for the father's sin. But here - whether because the family had been partakers of his crime, or because that crime was one of terrible presumptuousness - the family share his fate. Whatever the reason, it reminds us of the fact that God "visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those that hate him, and shows mercy unto thousands [of generations] of them that love him and keep his commandments." Here the parent's fault involves the family in ruin. Such is too often the case. Let us guard against the possibility of it.

4. It costs him his own life: he is stoned to death. Late repentance perhaps letting him make a fairer start in the other world, but not availing to prolong his existence here. How dearly he paid for his silver and his gold! How commonly men do this; how much they part with to get what sometimes only hurts them when they gain it! Let not greed be our ruin. Be generous in self protection, if from no higher motive. Only goodness is wisdom, and they consult worst for their own advantage that seek to further it with craft or with impiety. - G.

Achan answered... I coveted and took.
I. THE EYE AN OCCASION OF SIN. We will suppose that Achan came into contact with this Babylonish garment in the course of his duty. He could not help seeing it, and therefore there was no harm in seeing it; in the simple contact of this garment with his eye, and of this silver and gold with his eye, there could be no wrong; this was a permission of Divine Providence. The sin was in the looking at it. He saw; and instead of turning his eye away from the temptation, he continued to look, and he looked until he coveted, and he coveted until he took. And we will suppose that you cannot help seeing things which suggest the thought of doing wrong, and which excite the desire to do wrong; but you can help fixing your eyes upon them, and keeping your eyes intent upon them.

II. MARK THE PROGRESS OF SIN. It was an evil thing to continue looking; it was a greater evil to desire to take. The desire springing up, what did Achan with respect to it? Instead of trying to quench it, he fed it. He let imagination fly and work, and, under the influence of that imagination, and the thinking connected with that imagination, the desire to possess this garment, and to lay hold of this silver and gold, became in his heart exceedingly strong, and mastered him. Under the power of that desire he stretched forth his hand and took. Just see here the progress of the sin — I saw, I coveted, I took; I first took that which was doomed to be destroyed, and then I took that which was devoted to the service of my God.

III. LOOK AT THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN. When Achan saw, and coveted, and took, the taking promised him great things. There is nothing in the universe so deceitful and so treacherous as doing wrong. Doing wrong always promises some good result, and doing wrong has never yet realised it, nor ever can.

IV. LOOK AT THE COWARDICE OF THE TRANSGRESSOR. He hid these things. He first put them among his furniture. I dare say he thought that there would be no notice taken of it. Then, when a stir is made about the matter, and the lot begins to be used, what did he? Instead of having the courage and manliness to remove suspicion from his fellows, and to say, "I am the sinner," he hides in the earth, in the midst of his tent, the treasures and the garment which he has taken. This seems to be a general fact in connection with sin: "The wicked fleeth when no man pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion."

V. LOOK AT THE FOLLY AND THE MADNESS OF PERSISTING IN TRANSGRESSION. The wages of sin, what are they? You see this illustrated here. "The wages of sin is death." Achan, instead of gaining anything by this transgression, lost all. He lost net only the spoil he had taken, but he lost even life itself. Now this is God's arrangement, that he whose transgressions are not pardoned shall die, and shall die a second death. Tell me, then, what is a man profited if he gain the world, and die that second death?

(S. Martin.)

I. This principle applies to THE EFFORTS OF MEN TO PROMOTE THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIANITY. It is common to hear Christians mourning their spiritual barrenness; regretting their little progress in the great work of self-discipline and personal sanctification. They refer the cause sometimes to the circumstances in which they are placed, and sometimes to the profitless ministry which they attend, whereas there is some Achan within — some unholy principle or passion that is neutralising every effort, and rendering the spirit powerless to strike one conquering blow.

II. This principle applies to THE EFFORTS WHICH INDIVIDUAL CHURCHES MAKE TO PROMOTE CHRISTIANITY IN THEIR OWN NEIGBOURHOOD. Some sweeping system of discipline must come before your efforts to evangelise will be of much avail. The tares must be plucked from the wheat.

III. This principle applies to THE EFFORTS WHICH THE GENERAL CHURCH IS EMPLOYING TO PROMOTE CHRISTIANITY THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. The self-seeking spirit hinders the spread of the Gospel.

1. By preventing that agency which is indispensable for the purpose. Self-sacrifice.

2. By prompting that agency which must necessarily neutralise its aim. Priestcraft. Slavery. War.



II.THE DECEITFUL NATURE OF SIN (Job 20:12-15; Habakkuk 2:11).





(T. Webster, B. D.)

I.THE GLANCE: "I saw."

II.THE GREED: "I coveted."

III.THE GUILT: "I took."

(Thomas Kelly.)

I.THE FASCINATION: "Babylonish garment."

II.THE FEELING: "I coveted."


IV.THE FEAR: "I hid them."

V.THE FATE: "Israel stoned him."

(Thomas Kelly.)

I.THE TEMPTING SIGHT: "A goodly Babylonish garment," &c.

II.THE COVETOUS HEART: "I coveted them."



V.THE JUDICIAL SEARCH: "Joshua sent," &c.

VI.THE LAWFUL SEIZURE: "They took them."

VII.THE RELIGIOUS CEREMONY: "Laid them out before the Lord."


IX.THE ADMONITORY MEMORIAL: "Raised over him a great heap of stones."

X.THE APPEASED AVENGER: "So the Lord turned," &c.

(J. Henry Burn, B. D.)

God, who looks deeply into the hidden springs of human conduct, is careful to lay a special emphasis upon the more subtle evil of covetousness. 'It deserves attention that, along with murder, theft and lying, it has one entire commandment to itself. Drunkenness, violence, sensuality, luxurious living, corruption and bribery are doubtless making havoc with reputations, with human life and with immortal souls. But who shall say how often these open vices draw their inspiration or the means of gratification from "the love of money, which is," in very deed, "a root of all evil"? Many of the more violent sins are like fire in dry stubble — they burn out rapidly. But avarice is like those fish which can best thrive in Arctic seas — it flourishes in the chilly blood of old age.

I. In turning our attention to the dealings of God with Israel concerning Achan's transgression let us briefly REVIEW THE FACTS.

II. These dealings of God with Achan's family and with Israel because of one man's sin bring before us in a startling shape that great mystery — FELLOWSHIP IN GUILT AND IN SUFFERING. Bishop Butler states a fact of daily experience when, in his irrefutable reply to objections against the mediation of Christ (" Analogy" pt. 2. ch. 5.), he reminds us that nearly the whole of what we enjoy or suffer comes to us through our relation to other men. Every thinking man can see for himself that the conduct of parents shapes the destiny of their children. Drunkenness, sensuality and gluttony stamp themselves upon the offspring that is yet unborn. The more obvious operations of the law are visible to our feeble eyes. How much farther it extends is known only to God or as He reveals it to us. When the attempt is made to break the force of this analogy by saying, "It is all natural," that same sagacious thinker reminds us that "natural" means are appointed by Him who is the Author of nature. So it appears that, explain the facts as we may, deny them if we dare, we cannot get rid of the principle so long as we hold to a belief in an almighty Creator.

III. From this discussion, notwithstanding our imperfect apprehension of its great theme, CERTAIN CONCLUSIONS SEEM TO FOLLOW WHICH ARE OF IMMENSE PRACTICAL IMPORTANCE.

1. How vain to hope for escape from punishment so long as sin remains unrepented of!

2. A wise regard to our own happiness will make us deeply interested in the welfare of our neighbour. God holds us accountable in this regard to an extent that many seem not to dream of.

3. It especially becomes parents to consider the influence which, in the nature of things, they must exert over the destiny of their children. Not miserable Achan only, but far better men, as Noah, Lot, Eli, and David, are sad examples of this. "The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked, but He blesseth the habitation of the just."

4. Among other duties it is incumbent upon such parents to consider well what place shall be made in their plans for "goodly" garments and for shekels of gold and silver. There may be, there often is, a place for such things, but it becomes us to consider the text upon which our Lord preached that wonderful sermon, the parable of the rich fool: "Take heed and beware of covetousness," &c.

(W. E. Boggs, D. D.)

In the progress of the evil, temptation entered by the eye, that chief inlet of corruption to the heart. He might be characterised by all that was evil: an evil eye, an evil heart, and an evil hand. Correct imitator of the first transgressor! David's distress and dishonour originated in the same course; and so did the covetousness of Ahab, who could not see Naboth's vineyard without conceiving the purpose of making it his own. Thus the eye, exquisitely nice in construction, beautiful in form, and precious in use, formed too for purposes of purity and pleasure, is pressed into the service of sin, and has opened to the heart, that deep and rising fountain of evil, that spring of moral corruption, endless forms of sin and allurement. In the advance of sin the temptation laid hold of his affections, those strong ties of inward life, and too frequent controllers of outward action. The first conceptions of evil, and its last impressions, are in the heart: the eye is but as a servant in its employ. When I saw, &c., then I coveted them. The only thing that remained was to make them his own, for which we may conceive many palliating considerations were admitted, matured by unbelief. Oh! to what cruelties and outrage have forbidden desires, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, impelled on many who, in love of power, wealth, and pleasure, have not only laid hands on what God has prohibited, but, with property, taken away the very lives of its owners! "I took them." The hand, as the eye, now became the servant of the heart to perfect its evil wishes. Ah! little did he consider that the whole progress of this action was marked with a curse — the sight, the desire, and the act of sin, and that therein he had even appropriated a curse from which he would never be able to free himself. "And, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent." What perplexities did these riches bring! a thousand embarrassments felt, before a place could be found for their deposit! — at last, his tent; not among the things seen, nor were they deemed safe in the privacy of his most concealed possessions, but, as though dead to his heart, and never again to see the light, he gave them burial beneath his tent! Neither friend, nor wife, nor children, could be entrusted with the secret. Oh! that any should transact what fear or shame induces them to conceal from the observation of others, and even sometimes what they could not endure their nearest friends should know! But what can all avail when men cannot hide themselves, or any of their actions, from the eye of infinite purity, which sees into every dark recess of infidelity and corruption. In this instance of confession one melancholy reflection arises — it was out of the order of mercy as to this life, and therefore unavailing. Instead of preceding detection, it was after conviction, and but the desperate necessity of his case, wanting the ingenuousness which ever characterises the sincere penitent as the hater of his own offence. Whatever his situation in the next world, it may be viewed as a faint picture of their ineffectual confessions and unavailing miseries who shall appear convicted and condemned at the bar of God. The awfulness of the sentence naturally throws our reflections upon the aggravations of the offence. "He that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath." The reason assigned vindicates the severity of justice. "Because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel." Achan acted against the mightiest displays of vengeance and love, the obligations of favours received, and the awful severities of justice executed upon idolaters. To all the wonders of providence and grace displayed through many years, the interposition of power so recently experienced in the destruction of Jericho, added new claims of obedience. The covenant relation in which he stood to God as one of His professing people, and the instructions of revelation with which he was favoured, gave an aggravation to his offence, beyond whatever could characterise the sin of idolaters. The ruinous consequences that followed. Many the evils which had resulted to others, but the most awful fell upon himself and family. To the loss of men, the distress of the camp, the triumphs of the enemy, and the dishonour cast upon the Divine name, ensued the execution of a sentence the most exemplary. How terrible this scene of judgment, more awful than the burning of Jericho. For how small a portion of ill-gotten gain, and how short a time, did he lose life, and all the good to be enjoyed in the land of Canaan. All Israel concurred in the execution of the sentence: it is so spoken of as though every man had cast a stone, and every one thrown fuel to the fire. How awful their case, and how aggravated their crimes, when even those they have lived among are employed by God, as the executioners of His justice.

(W. Seaton.)

I. We find, in the case of Achan, that THE WANDERING AND WANTON EYE WAS THE FIRST AVENUE OF MISCHIEF. Yet this is the very function to which the great Teacher appeals as the first guardian against sin: "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation." There is an eye in the heart as well as in the head, and Christ, knowing how easily the one is decoyed, enjoins wakefulness upon the other. Keep both open, and let the eye of the conscience supervise and test all that the eye of sense may contemplate. I once went into a garden where a lady and her little child were engaged in putting in some spring roots and seeds. By some mischance, the little plants had got mixed up with some which were only worthless weeds. The child, anxious to be busy, was thrusting all alike indiscriminately into the soil, till the mother checked the little eager hand, and said, "Bring them to me, and let me see them before you put them in, that I may tell you which to plant and which to throw away." And there was an added pleasure in this work of testing and submitting which made the child not only more useful but more happy. And thus, when the child-eye of the sense beholds something which seems goodly and fair, let it be brought to the inspection of the mother-eye of the conscience before it is taken and sown and assimilated into the soil of character. "I saw." The spirit of these times, and of modern habits, addresses itself to this avenue of the heart. The eye of the voluptuary is opened to let in the comely procession which turns the world into a huge Babylonish seraglio. His life is a closing dalliance among houri, till the fever of ignited lust attains its climax of delirium, and then, having conceived its progeny of illusions, brings forth its only permanent offspring — death (James 1:15). The eye of the man of luxury is opened to turn the world into one vast Babylonish kitchen, and the great problem of living is, "What shall I eat? What shall I drink?" We know the guerdon and the result of all such entrail-worship. The meat turns to worms within the pampered lips, and the consequential sequence is — "whose god is their belly, whose end is destruction." The eye of the slave of commerce looks at the world as one great Babylonish mart. There is the wedge of gold, appearing and re-appearing in a thousand shapes. Now it is a lump of solid bullion, now it is melted, minted, stamped into coin; now it is bartered for scrip, now cropping up in consols, now in coupons, now in debentures (a coffin and a grave being the simple end of all the race and turmoil); but through all the changes the wedge is at its wedge-like work, splitting asunder, as it is driven home into the fibres of the life-character, all that gives life its buoyancy, or character its weight, until the whole fabric of the manhood is shivered and destroyed, and the mart becomes a mausoleum, as sin, perfected, brings forth death. And the eye of the proud or the votary of fashion turns the world into a vast Babylonish shop. Life is one interminable Regent Street. There is the goodly Babylonish garment folding and unfolding, and as it rustles while the smiling courtiers hold it up, first in this light, then in that, it seems to whisper a silken accompaniment to the anxious duet of prudery and foppery which the dolls of fashion are for ever singing," Wherewithal shall I be clothed?" Lust! Luxury! Commerce! Fashion! They all come like besiegers to this gateway of the eye, and try to storm it. It is the first and the last of these, perhaps, which most hotly assail young men — lust and fashion, both kindred evils, both sore enemies of the soul. The lust of the eye and the pride of life. Beware of them!

II. Seeing is WANTING. There is a covetousness of the sense which looks and craves; there is a covetousness of the soul which looks and learns. The first is the lust which consumes itself to death; the second is the patience which watches unto life eternal. Be yours the wiser choice. Don't shut your eyes upon the beauty of the garment or the richness of the gold, but look, that you may adorn the spirit with the beauty, and enrich the soul upon the wealth.

III. FATAL GRADUATION — the eye, the appetite, the act. The glance, the greed, the gathering. The look, the lust, the larceny. I see a man before me in this place who has looked upon the office and position of another, and who has longed for it, and has begun to take it, by falsehood and innuendo against his character. I see another who has grudged a neighbour his good fortune, and has tried to steal his wedge of gold by driving in the wedge of scandal and detraction to destroy his credit.

IV. THE SAME PATH MUST EVER LEAD TO THE SAME END. The lust is soon satiated, and then begins to crave and rage again. The Delilahs who charmed can charm no more; all they can do is to point the white and taper fingers with which they beckoned in derision at your shame, and part the coral lips that smiled you into sin to hiss the taunt, "The Philistines be upon thee." The tresses that you played with are stiffened to Cassandra's snakes, to sting you into fiercer pain. The luxury is soon gone. The Babylonish kitchen is soon empty, and all that is left is but the reek of the past banquet, which sickens and repels. The gold is soon spent, and only emptiness remains. The Babylonish garment is soon threadbare and worn out, and shabbiness, nakedness, and chill are all that linger now. The path along which you look with wanton eye leads to lust, and the lust to sin, and at the end of all is nothing but a grave. The last garment is the shroud — the last shekel is the funeral fee — the last beckoner is death.

(Arthur Mursell.)

The man in the text, in one view, it should seem at first sight, was an object of pity; for gold and silver and fine clothes, to be had for carriage, formed a great temptation. Hence arises a question, why doth providence put in our way such agreeable objects, and yet forbid us to touch them? Let us give glory to God by acknowledging that by such means we are exercised, first as creatures to discover the natural grandeur of our own passions, the incompetence of the world to make us happy, and if reason be not asleep the all-sufficiency of God. Next, these exercises try us as servants, and by the emotions of depraved passions we become acquainted with the natural rebellion of an evil heart, that disputes dominion with God. By an habitual deadness to these, because God commands it, we discover the true religion of a renewed mind, and enter on the enjoyment of conscious rectitude, a preference of virtue, the felicity of heaven. Why, then, do we blame Achan? Because he was not a boy, for none but men above twenty bore arms, and he was old enough to know that he ought not to have disobeyed his general, or his God. Because he was a Jew, and of the tribe of Judah, and had been brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Because he must have heard what mischief, the golden calf, the iniquity of Peer, and the murmuring at Kadesh had brought upon his countrymen. Because he knew God had expressly forbidden plunder. Had he exercised his understanding, some or all these reasons would have cooled his passion for perquisites. In like manner we say of ourselves. We have temptations and passions; but we have reason, too, to resist them. We have passions; but we have had a Christian education, and have been apprised of the danger of gratifying them. We have passions; but we have eyes and ears, and live among people who daily die for gratifying the same passions which we feel. We covet; but God says, "Thou shalt not covet any thing that is thy neighbour's." To covet is to desire beyond due bounds. God hath set these due bounds. He hath bounded passion by reason, and reason by religion and the nature of things.

1. Covetousness is unjust. Let the prince enjoy the privilege of his birth; let the man who hath hazarded his life for wealth possess it in peace; let the industrious enjoy the fruit of his labour; to transfer their property to myself without his consent, and without putting something as good in the place, would be an act of injustice. Only to covet is to wish to be unjust.

2. Covetousness is cruel. A man of this disposition is obliged to harden his heart against a thousand plaintive voices, voices of poor, fatherless, sick, aged, and bereaved people in distress; voices that set many an eye a-trickling, but which make no impression on a covetous man.

3. Covetousness is ungrateful. Shall the whole world labour for this old miser, one to feed him, another to guard him, and all to make him happy, and shall he resemble the barren earth that returns nothing to him that dresseth it? This is a black ingratitude.

4. Covetousness is a foolish vice; it destroys a man's reputation, makes everybody suspect him for a thief, and watch him; it breaks his rest, fills him with care and anxiety, excites the avarice of a robber, and the indignation of a housebreaker; it endangers his life, and, depart how he will, he dies unblest and unpitied.

5. Covetousness is unprecedented in all our examples of virtue. It is Judas, who hanged himself, and not such as Peter, whom covetous men imitate.

6. Covetousness is idolatry. It is the idolatry of the heart, where, as in a temple, a miserable wretch excludes God, sets up gold instead of Him, and places that confidence in it which belongs to the great Supreme alone. Achan, and all such as he, cause a great deal of trouble, and to pass everything else let us only observe what covetous men do with their wealth. "Behold, it is hid in the earth in the midst of my tent." Observe a miser with his bag. With what an arch and jealous leer the wily fox creeps stealthily about to earth his prey!He hath not a friend in the world, and judging of others by himself, he thinks there is not an honest man upon earth, no, not one that can be trusted.

1. Remark his caution. He turns his back on his idol, trudges far away, looks lean, and hangs all about his own skeleton ensigns of poverty, never avoiding people in real distress, but always comforting himself with the hope that nobody knows of his treasure, and that therefore nobody expects any assistance from him.

2. Take notice of the just contempt in which mankind hold this hoary mass of meanness. He thinks his wealth is hid; but it is not hid, his own anxious side-looks betray the secret. People reckon for him, talk over all his profits, omit his expenses and losses, declare his wealth to be double what it is, and judge of his duty according to their own notions of his fortune. One lays out his good work for him, another rates him at so much towards such a charity, and all execrate him for not doing what is not in his power.

3. Mark his hypocrisy. He weeps over the profligacy of the poor, and says it is a sad thing that they are brought up without being educated in the fear of God. He laments every time the bell tolls the miserable condition of widows and orphans. He celebrates the praise of learning, and wishes public speakers had all the powers of a learned criticism, and all the graces of elocution. He prays for the downpouring of the Spirit, and the outgoings of God in His sanctuary, and then, how his soul would be refreshed! What a comfortable Christian would he be then! Tell him that the gratitude of widows, the hymns of orphans, and the blessings of numbers ready to perish, are the presence of God in His Church. Tell him all these wait to pour themselves like a tide into his congregation, and wait only for a little of his money to pay for cutting a canal. See how thunderstruck he is! His solemn face becomes lank and black; he suspects he has been too liberal already, his generosity has been often abused. Why should he be taxed and others spared? The Lord will save His own elect; God is never at a loss for means, no exertions will do without the Divine presence and blessing; and besides, his property is all locked up, "Behold, it is hid in the earth in the midst of my tent!" Let us respect truth even in the mouth of a miser. This ignoble soul tells you that he would not give a wedge of gold to save you all from eternal ruin; but he says God is not like him, God loves you, and will save you freely. This is strictly and literally true. There have been thousands of poor people besides you who have been instructed and animated, converted and saved, without having paid one penny for the whole; but this, instead of freezing, should melt the hearts of all who are able, and set them a-running into acts of generosity. I conclude with the words of . "Joshua," said he, "could stop the course of the sun; but all his power could not stop the course of avarice. The sun stood still, but avarice went on. Joshua obtained a victory when the sun stood still; but when avarice was at work, Joshua was defeated."

(R Robinson.)

"I coveted." What multitudes of sinners of that class are to be found — revenge, theft, adultery, murder, carried on in the feelings. This is the secret of the sudden falls and failures in society. Achan must have had a weakness for at least looking at questionable and unlawful things before this trouble. Woe to the man who cannot confront a bad impulse with the solid masonry of a good character! Unless we thus fence ourselves off from evil, our downfall will be only a matter of time. Only character, evolved from the principles of truth and righteousness, can withstand the seductive influences of the world and the attacks of the powers of darkness. The influence of home and friends is all that keeps many people straight and respectable. Like coopers' casks, they are held upright and in shape by the hoops of external influences that surround them. Woe to the man whose restraints are all on the outside! The internal, more than the external, should suggest our conduct, and shape our activities. It is the Japanese, I think, who say that a snake is quite orderly and straight so long as you keep it in a bamboo stick, but the moment it gets out it begins to wriggle and act snaky. So there are many who are quite decorous and respectable while in the bamboo of home influences who show the old serpent and act snaky enough when such restraints are taken away.

(T. Kelly.)

Jericho was one of the largest and richest cities in all ancient Canaan. At one time, indeed, and but for the terrible ban pronounced by Joshua, Jericho might have taken the place of Jerusalem itself as the chief city of ancient Israel. Jericho was an excellently situated and a strongly fenced city. There were great foundries of iron and brass in Jericho, with workshops also in silver and in gold. The looms of Babylonia were already famous over all the eastern world, and their rich and beautiful textures went far and near, and were warmly welcomed wherever the commercial caravans of that day carried them. "A goodly Babylonish garment" plays a prominent part in the tragical history that now opens before us. The rich and licentious city of Jericho was doomed of God to swift overthrow and absolute extermination, but no part of the spoil, neither thread nor shoe-lachet, was to be so much as touched by Joshua or any of his armed men. Nothing demoralises an army like sacking a fallen city. "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life." And Joshua and all his men received a crown of life that night — all his men but one. Who is that stealing about among the smoking ruins? Is that some soldier of Jericho who has saved himself from the devouring sword?

1. Everybody who reads the best books will have long had by heart Thomas a Kempis's famous description of the successive steps of a successful temptation. There is first the bare thought of the sin. Then, upon that, there is a picture of the sin formed and hung up on the secret screen of the imagination. A strange sweetness from that picture is then let down drop by drop into the heart; and then that secret sweetness soon secures the consent of the whole soul, and the thing is done. That is true, and it is powerful enough. But Achan's confession to Joshua is much simpler, and still closer to the truth: "I saw the goodly Babylonish garment, I coveted it, I took it, and I hid it in my tent." Had Joshua happened to post the ensign of Judah opposite the poor part of the city this sad story would never have been told. But even as it was, had Achan only happened to stand a little to the one side, or a little to the other side of where he did stand, in that case he would not have seen that beautiful piece, and not seeing it he would not have coveted it, and would have gone home to his tent that night a good soldier and an honest man. But when once Achan's eyes lighted on that rich garment he never could get his eyes off it again. As a Kempis says, the seductive thing got into Achan's imagination, and the devil's work was done. Achan was in a fever now lest he should lose that goodly garment. He was terrified lest any of his companions should have seen that glittering piece. He was sure some of them had seen it, and was making off with it. He stood in between it and the searchers. He turned their attention to something else. And then when their backs were about he rolled it up in a hurry, and the gold and the silver inside of it, and thrust it down into a hiding-place. His eyes were Achan's fatal snare. It was his eyes that stoned Achan and burned him and his household to dust in the valley of Achor. Had God seen it to be good to make men and women in some way without eyes the Fall itself would have been escaped. In his despair to get the devil out of his heart Job swore a solemn oath and made a holy covenant with his eyes. But our Saviour, as He always does, goes far deeper than Job. He knows quite well that no oath that Job ever swore, and no covenant that Job ever sealed, will hold any man's eyes in; and therefore He demands of all His disciples that their eyes shall be plucked out. He pulls down His own best handiwork at its finest part so that He may get the devil's handiwork destroyed and rooted out of it; and then He will let us have all our eyes back again when and where we are fit to be trusted with eyes. Miss Rossetti is writing to young ladies, but what she says to them it will do us all good to hear. "True," says that fine writer, "all our lives long we shall be bound to refrain our soul, and to keep it low; but what then? For the books we now forbear to read, we shall one day be endued with wisdom and knowledge. For the music we will not listen to, we shall join in the song of the redeemed. For the pictures from which we turn, we shall gaze unabashed on the Beatific Vision. For the companionships we shun, we shall be welcomed into angelic society and the communion of triumphant saints. For all the amusements we avoid, we shall keep the supreme jubilee." Yes, it is as certain as God's truth and righteousness are certain, that the crucified man who goes about with his eyes out; the man who steals along the street seeing neither smile nor frown; he who keeps his eyes down wherever men and women congregate, in the Church, in the market-place, at a station, on a ship's deck, at an inn table, where you will; that man escapes multitudes of temptations that more open and more full-eyed men and women continually fall before. You huff and toss your head at that. But these things are not spoken for you yet, but for those who have sold and cut off both eye and ear, and hand and foot, and life itself, if all that will only carry them one single step nearer their salvation.

2. Look at the camp of Israel that awful morning! It is the day of judgment, and the great white throne is set in the valley of Achor before its proper time. Look how the hearts of those fathers and mothers who have sons in the army beat till they cannot hear the last trump. Did you ever spend a night like that night in Achan's tent? A friend of mine once slept in a room in a hotel in Glasgow through the wall from a man who made him think sometimes that a madman had got into the house. Sometimes he thought it must be a suicide, and sometimes a damned soul come back for a visit to the city of its sins. But he understood the mysterious noises of the night next morning when the officers came in and beckoned to a gentleman who sat at the breakfast-table, and drove him off to a penal settlement, where he died. Groanings that cannot be imitated to you were heard by all Achan's neighbours all that night. Till one bold man rose and lifted a loop of Achan's tent in the darkness, and saw Achan still burying deeper and deeper his sin. O sons and daughters of discovered Achan! O guilty and dissembling sinners! It is all in vain. It is all utterly and absolutely in vain. Be sure as God is in heaven, and as He has His eyes upon you, that your sin wilt find you out. You think that the darkness will cover you. Wait till you see!

3. The eagle that stole a piece of sacred flesh from the altar brought home a smouldering coal with it that kindled up afterwards and burned up both her whole nest and all her young ones. And so did Achan. It was very sore upon Achan's sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had. But things are as they are. God gathers the solitary into families for good, and the good family tie still continues to hold even when all the members of the family have done evil. Once a father, always a father: the relationship stands. Once a son, always a son, even when a prodigal son. Every son has his father's grey hairs and his mother's anxious heart in his hands, and no possible power can alter that. Drop that stolen flesh! A coal is in it that shall never be quenched.

4. Make a clean breast of it, then. Go home to your tent to-night, go home to your lodgings, take up the accursed thing out of its hiding-place, and lay it out before Joshua, if not before all Israel. Lay it out and say, "Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done." And if you do not know what more to say, if you are speechless beside that accursed thing, try this; say this. Ask and say, "Is Thy name indeed Jesus? Dost Thou indeed save found-out men from their sins? Art Thou still set forth to be a propitiation? Art Thou truly able to save to the uttermost? For I am the chief of sinners," say. Lie down on the floor of your room — you need not think it too much for you to do that, or that it is an act unworthy of your manhood to do it: the Son of God did it for you on the floor of Gethsemane. Yes, lie down on the floor of your sinful room, and lay your tongue in the dust of it, and say this about yourself: say that you, naming yourself, are the offscouring of all men. For "thus and thus," naming it, "have I done." And then say this

"The dying thief rejoiced to see

That Fountain in his day" —

and see what the true Joshua will stand over you and say to you.

5. Therefore the name of that place is called the valley of Achor to this day. Achor; that is, as interpreted on the margin, "Trouble" — the valley of trouble. "Why hast thou troubled us?" demanded Joshua of Achan. "The Lord shall trouble thee this day." The Lord troubled Achan in judgment that day, but He is troubling you in mercy in your day. Yes; already your trouble is a door of hope. You will sing yet as you never sang in the days of your youth. You never sang songs like these in the days of your youth, or before your trouble came — songs like these: The Lord will be a refuge for the overwhelmed: a refuge in the time of trouble. Thou art my hiding-place; Thou shalt preserve me from trouble; Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.

(A. Whyte, D. D.)

Achan, Amorites, Canaanites, Carmi, Israelites, Joshua, Zabdi, Zarhites, Zerah, Zerahites, Zimri
Ai, Beth-aven, Bethel, Jericho, Jordan River, Shebarim, Shinar, Valley of Achor
Bring, Inside, Israelites, Joshua, Laid, Middle, Midst, Pour, Poured, Sons, Spread, Tent
1. The Israelites are smitten at Ai
6. Joshua's complaint
10. God instructs him what to do
16. Achan is taken by the lot
19. His confession
24. He and all he had are destroyed in the valley of Achor

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Joshua 7:1-26

     6173   guilt, and God
     8479   self-examination, examples

Joshua 7:11-26

     8716   dishonesty, examples

Joshua 7:20-24

     8780   materialism, and sin

Joshua 7:21-23

     5578   tents

Achan's Sin, Israel's Defeat
'But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel. 2. And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Beth-ei, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. 3. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Whether one Can, Without a Mortal Sin, Deny the Truth which Would Lead to One's Condemnation?
Objection 1: It would seem one can, without a mortal sin, deny the truth which would lead to one's condemnation. For Chrysostom says (Hom. xxxi super Ep. ad Heb.): "I do not say that you should lay bare your guilt publicly, nor accuse yourself before others." Now if the accused were to confess the truth in court, he would lay bare his guilt and be his own accuser. Therefore he is not bound to tell the truth: and so he does not sin mortally if he tell a lie in court. Objection 2: Further, just as
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Contention Over the Man Born Blind.
(Jerusalem.) ^D John IX. 1-41. [Some look upon the events in this and the next section as occurring at the Feast of Tabernacles in October, others think they occurred at the Feast of Dedication in December, deriving their point of time from John x. 22.] ^d 1 And as he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. [The man probably sought to waken compassion by repeatedly stating this fact to passers-by.] 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Eighth Commandment
Thou shalt not steal.' Exod 20: 15. AS the holiness of God sets him against uncleanness, in the command Thou shalt not commit adultery;' so the justice of God sets him against rapine and robbery, in the command, Thou shalt not steal.' The thing forbidden in this commandment, is meddling with another man's property. The civil lawyers define furtum, stealth or theft to be the laying hands unjustly on that which is another's;' the invading another's right. I. The causes of theft. [1] The internal causes
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Confession of Sin --A Sermon with Seven Texts
The Hardened Sinner. PHARAOH--"I have sinned."--Exodus 9:27. I. The first case I shall bring before you is that of the HARDENED SINNER, who, when under terror, says, "I have sinned." And you will find the text in the book of Exodus, the 9th chap. and 27th verse: "And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked." But why this confession from the lips of the haughty tyrant? He was not often wont to
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

Restraining Prayer: is it Sin?
"Thou restrainest prayer before God."--JOB xv. 4. "What profit should we have, if we pray unto Him?"--JOB xxi. 15. "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you."--1 SAM. xii. 23. "Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you."--JOSH. vii. 12. Any deep quickening of the spiritual life of the Church will always be accompanied by a deeper sense of sin. This will not begin with theology; that can only give expression to what God works
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession

The Practice of Piety in Glorifying God in the Time of Sickness, and when Thou Art Called to Die in the Lord.
As soon as thou perceivest thyself to be visited with any sickness, meditate with thyself: 1. That "misery cometh not forth of the dust; neither doth affliction spring out of the earth." Sickness comes not by hap or chance (as the Philistines supposed that their mice and emrods came, 1 Sam. vi. 9), but from man's wickedness, which, as sparkles, breaketh out. "Man suffereth," saith Jeremiah, "for his sins." "Fools," saith David, "by reason of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities,
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Exposition of the Moral Law.
1. The Law was committed to writing, in order that it might teach more fully and perfectly that knowledge, both of God and of ourselves, which the law of nature teaches meagrely and obscurely. Proof of this, from an enumeration of the principal parts of the Moral Law; and also from the dictate of natural law, written on the hearts of all, and, in a manner, effaced by sin. 2. Certain general maxims. 1. From the knowledge of God, furnished by the Law, we learn that God is our Father and Ruler. Righteousness
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Of a Private Fast.
That we may rightly perform a private fast, four things are to be observed:--First, The author; Secondly, The time and occasion; Thirdly, The manner; Fourthly, The ends of private fasting. 1. Of the Author. The first that ordained fasting was God himself in paradise; and it was the first law that God made, in commanding Adam to abstain from eating the forbidden fruit. God would not pronounce nor write his law without fasting (Lev. xxiii), and in his law commands all his people to fast. So does our
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The Knowledge of God
'The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.' I Sam 2:2. Glorious things are spoken of God; he transcends our thoughts, and the praises of angels. God's glory lies chiefly in his attributes, which are the several beams by which the divine nature shines forth. Among other of his orient excellencies, this is not the least, The Lord is a God of knowledge; or as the Hebrew word is, A God of knowledges.' Through the bright mirror of his own essence, he has a full idea and cognisance
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Beth-El. Beth-Aven.
Josephus thus describes the land of Benjamin; "The Benjamites' portion of land was from the river Jordan to the sea, in length: in breadth, it was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." Let these last words be marked, "The breadth of the land of Benjamin was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." May we not justly conclude, from these words, that Jerusalem and Beth-el were opposite, as it were, in a right line? But if you look upon the maps, there are some that separate these by a very large tract of land,
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

The Covenant of Works
Q-12: I proceed to the next question, WHAT SPECIAL ACT OF PROVIDENCE DID GOD EXERCISE TOWARDS MAN IN THE ESTATE WHEREIN HE WAS CREATED? A: When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him upon condition of perfect obedience, forbidding him to eat of the tree of knowledge upon pain of death. For this, consult with Gen 2:16, 17: And the Lord commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Holiness of God
The next attribute is God's holiness. Exod 15:51. Glorious in holiness.' Holiness is the most sparkling jewel of his crown; it is the name by which God is known. Psa 111:1. Holy and reverend is his name.' He is the holy One.' Job 6:60. Seraphims cry, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.' Isa 6:6. His power makes him mighty, his holiness makes him glorious. God's holiness consists in his perfect love of righteousness, and abhorrence of evil. Of purer eyes than
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Second Great Group of Parables.
(Probably in Peræa.) Subdivision F. Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. ^C Luke XVI. 19-31. [The parable we are about to study is a direct advance upon the thoughts in the previous section. We may say generally that if the parable of the unjust steward teaches how riches are to be used, this parable sets forth the terrible consequences of a failure to so use them. Each point of the previous discourse is covered in detail, as will be shown by the references in the discussion of the parable.]
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The book of Joshua is the natural complement of the Pentateuch. Moses is dead, but the people are on the verge of the promised land, and the story of early Israel would be incomplete, did it not record the conquest of that land and her establishment upon it. The divine purpose moves restlessly on, until it is accomplished; so "after the death of Moses, Jehovah spake to Joshua," i. 1. The book falls naturally into three divisions: (a) the conquest of Canaan (i.-xii.), (b) the settlement of the
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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