Joshua Chapter 7-8 in detail
A few major themes are
• Corporate vs individual responsibility
• The Israelites as of end of Chap 8 seem to be quite faithful overall to covenant
• Herem – the wiping out of native peoples
7:1—–Violation of proscription (2x cherem) – Achan is introduced. Narrator says YHVH is incensed – before we see YHVH take any action
7:2—–More spies to check out Ai
7:3 – 4-Spies say 2-3 thousand men is enough – but they are routed – presumably the routing is what makes them “turn their backs on their enemy” – see Jos 7:8 and 7:12 – the enemy forces them to turn.
7:7—-Joshua says “Why did you lead this people only to deliver…? If only we had been content.” This is different from Ex 16:3 If only we had died in Egypt when we sat by the fleshpots.
7:8—-“Turned tail” hafach (“turn”) Israel oreyph (“back of neck”) – (note, Ruth’s sister-in-law is named Orpah which is sometimes taken to indicate that she turns the back of her neck to Naomi – same consonants)
7:12—-oreyph (“back of neck”) yiphnu(“turn”) (BDB = “turn one’s back before a foe”)
7:9—–“What about your great name?”
7:10 -13-Israel has sinned – someone has partaken of proscribed – (Achan – see Fewell note on Achan vs Rahab). Cherem in each verse 11-13.
7:19—–Joshua asks Achan to confess How is this confession different from/same as confession on Yom Kippur?
7:21—–Achan says he took “spoil” – does not mention cherem – he is putting himself in a better light (see CRHB). Achan “covets” – see Ex 20.14: Thou shalt not covet – same verb
7:25—–All Israel pelts him with stones (Achan) and puts “them” to the fire and stones “them”. (per CRHB this text is difficult) To get rid of a corporate evil, Israel provides a corporate punishment
8:2—–Why can the people take spoil and booty? Why was Ai not proscribed? God is the “general here”- God tells them how to set the ambush. (per CRHB – note that after Achan’s misfortune the severity of the ban is reduced. May be connected to larger biblical tendancy for God to ease rules after realizing that an unreachable standard has been set. cf God allowing humans to eat meat after the flood – pg 80.) Compare to Jos 6:17-19
8:3—–They send 30 thousand men; the first time only 3,000 (7:4). No wonder they won the second time.
8:5—–Joshua marches with his troops
8:10—-rose early in the morning: vayashchem yehoshua baboker
8:18-19–YHVH tells Joshua to hold out his javelin “for I will deliver it” and also the ambush rushes in. See EX 17:8-13 – Aaron and Hur hold up Moses’ arm in the battle against Amelek. Compare and contrast the working of Joshua’s javelin to Moses’ arm. What are the differences/similarities and what do they signify?
8:25—–12,000 killed – man and women – entire population (children too it appears. What about that?)
8:26—-Joshua does not draw back javelin until all exterminated (hacherim – cherem)
8:27—-As God permitted they take cattle and spoil as booty
8:30-35-Altar and inscribing the teaching of Moses. All Israel divides in two for blessings and curses. Joshua reads the book of the Teaching to all: men, women, children strangers.
See Deut 27:1 – 28:68
27:1 = instructions to set up stones when they cross and inscribe teaching
27:11-12 = instructions about curse and bless
BDB = Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon
CRHB = Corporate Responsibility in the Hebrew Bible. Chapter 4 Joel S. Kaminsky.