Day 83 (March 24): Israelites lose Ai battle, Achan punished for disobeying God, Israelites defeat Ai, Covenant renewed, Gibeonites trick Israel, God is angry

Achan Israel tricked Achan and family are killed for their part in losing to a battle against Ai. Achan had taken loot when God told them not to.
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Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Joshua 7:1
1 Chronicles 2:7
Joshua 7:2-9:27
(1406-05 BC) Click here for a timeline of the entire Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (Joshua 7:25): Achan’s family was killed as punishment because maybe they knew of Achan’s sin, but hid it from everyone?

A. I’m not entirely sure, but it appears that they did so to purge the evil of Achan completely.  I would guess that as the patriarch of his family, Achan’s involvement in the theft and deceit is what got his family killed.

Q. (Joshua 8:2): Why can the Israelites keep war plunder sometimes and in other times, God tells them they can’t keep it.  Is it just a matter of obeying what God says?

A. I’m not sure if there is a pattern, but, yes, it is simply a matter of following God’s orders.

Q. (8:25): Here we get the town size of Ai to be 12,000.  Do you know if that is a typical town size?  If so, the Israelites numbers are much, much larger and should be no match for these towns.

A. It appears to be a small town in this era, according to what 7:3 tells us.  The spies informed Joshua that the area had few fighters, and could be taken without the full force.  My notes tell me that the journey from Jericho to Ai is around 15 miles uphill, which might explain why Joshua was not eager to send his whole force.

Q. (8:28-29): There are many references we have read thus far, including this one, that state the sites can still be seen today.  Why is this important for the author to convey to the readers?

A. The author appears to be marking locations throughout the nation as a way of saying, “if you don’t believe me, go see the sites for yourself.”

Q. (8:30-32): Why doesn’t God instruct the Israelites to set up the Tabernacle to offer sacrifices?  Is it because they are on the move right now?  Or, maybe they use it also as a monument to mark God’s territory?

A. The Tabernacle will be setup when the conquest is complete.  As we saw in Jericho, that doesn’t mean that the Ark is not in “use” as it were.

Q. (9:14): So, God was obviously upset with the Israelites for not confirming the identities of these travelers with Him.  So, the punishment is that these people tricked them and now they have to accept them into their society.  But, God wanted all the land wiped clean.  Was this part of his plan that the Israelites would now have laborers?

A. I couldn’t tell you for sure, but I can tell you that by making the oath he did, Joshua ensured that these people became a part of God’s plans for His nation.  There will be various references to Gibeonites throughout the OT as servants of Israel, and one location where the Tabernacle will be set is Gibeon (2 Chronicles 1:3-5).  Based upon the descriptions we saw for the Tabernacle, you could imagine that it required a lot of wood for the altar, and a lot of water for the washing basin.  There appears to be a lot of menial labor associated with the Tabernacle and later the temple.  Perhaps God is making provision for His people in this way.

For further study: We need to acknowledge that God is the one who does the fighting.

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Tomorrow’s reading: Joshua 10:1-12:6

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