Why did Achan's family have to die for his sin?


Joshua 7:25

ESV - 25 And Joshua said, "Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today." And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.

Clarify Share Report Asked January 21 2017 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Although the verse cited in the question indicates Joshua as giving the order to kill all members of Achan's family, the original command to do so came directly from God (Joshua 7:15).

Earlier, prior to the conquest of Jericho, God had specifically warned Israel (Joshua 6:18), "Keep yourselves from the things [in Jericho] devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction, and bring trouble upon it." 

God was thus indicating that mere association with things taken from Jericho would result in the same destruction for people associated with the things and their taking as was to be visited on the things themselves, even to the point of requiring the destruction of the entire Israelite camp. (This indicates the depth and severity of Jericho's sins in God's eyes.) 

So, by the act of burying the things that he had taken from Jericho in his tent (where his family also lived), Achan would have brought this punishment not only upon himself, his family, and his possessions (which would all have been tainted with Jericho's sin as a result), but upon all Israel. And God was prepared to punish the entire nation for Achan's sin (Joshua 7:11-12).

From that perspective, it was thus actually an act of mercy on God's part to relent from this general threatened destruction of Israel, and to confine punishment to Achan and the members of his family (who all -- in addition to their physical proximity to the devoted items -- would also surely have been at least aware of, and thus complicit in, what Achan had done, despite the prior warnings from God).

(Additional discussion of this subject can also be found in response to the eBible question, "Why did God judge the sin of Achan so severely?")

January 21 2017 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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