Joshua 7 – Israel Defeated at Ai

The Capture of Jericho; as in Joshua 6:8-20; i...

The Capture of Jericho; as in Joshua 6:8-20; illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before capturing Jericho after the walls fell, Joshua warned the people in Joshua 6:17-19 that everything of precious metal from the city will go into the Lord’s treasury.  Everything else is to be “devoted to destruction.”  Taking any of those things for yourself will bring trouble on the entire camp of Israel.  But one from the tribe of Judah – Achan – coveted some treasure and hid it under his tent floor (making his family culpable).  So the Lord was not with them when they went to Ai.

Joshua, not knowing of Achan’s sin, falls on his face crying out to God.  The Lord tells him to get up, and tells him of the sin that has brought about this defeat.  So Joshua found the guilty party just as God instructed in verse 14, and Achan, his family, and all their belongings are burned.  Achan’s sin cost unsuspecting warriors their lives needlessly.  Greed, lies – all sin often brings harm to many besides ourselves.

Joshua surely must have felt some responsibility for the defeat at Ai as well.  Where was his prayer before deciding to go to Ai?  Had he consulted the Lord, he would have known of this problem and He would have told Joshua not to go.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.


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