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always deaden the power of parental affection) how must that heart have been wrung with anguish at the thought of what awaited them!
The lot fell on the tribe of Judah-on the family of the Zarhites on the household of Zabdi and, at length, on Achan, the son of Carmi.
Joshua called him forth, and thus addressed him, grieved, even as a father would be at the misdoings of a disobedient child: "My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel,” (let him be glorified by the full acknowledgment of thy guilt, and the exhibition of his justice in thy punishment,) and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done, hide it not from me."
"Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel,” was the reply of the trembling Achan. "When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of sil ver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them, and behold they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it."
"I coveted them.” A covetous spirit had, doubtless, long before this swayed the breast of Achan. It had gained there a powerful ascendancy. It had become too strong to be resisted, when under the influence of such a temptation as was presented to him. Once, he might have overcome this temptation. Ah! why had he not yielded to those early and repeated admonitions of conscience against his easily-besetting sin, which so often checked, for a moment, his avaricious desires, and which, if yielded to, would have weakened, and eventually subdued them.
My young friend, is your spirit a covetous one ? Is wealth your idol ? Have you begun to bow down and worship it ? Do you gaze upon the acquisitions that you have already made, with selfcomplacent pleasure, and long for more? Are you stifling the rebukes of conscience, when it tells you that you ought not to love the world, but to place the affections of your soul supremely on God?
What will be the end of such a course ? You know not the temptations to sin which may yet address this spirit of acquisition within you, nor the crimes to which these temptations may lead. Pause ; reflect; repent, ere it is too late. Re. member Achan, and beware
The punishment of Achan. Ai taken, and destroyed
Joshua immediately sent messengers to the tent of Achan, who found the articles hid in it, as he had described. The Babylonish garment was very splendid and costly, and is spoken of by Josephus as "woven entirely of gold.” It was such an one as princes wore at that time, on great, public occasions, and probably had be. longed, if not to the king of Jericho, to some noble of his court. This, and the two hundred shekels of silver, and the wedge of gold, were brought to Joshua, and laid down before the ark of the covenant, in the presence of the Lord.
The guilt of Achan was thus publicly made manifest, beyond the possibility of a doubt. It only remained to inflict the punishment which divine justice had denounced. He was taken by the
proper officers, under the direction of Joshua —the latter, with the whole body of the Israelites accompanying them—to a valley not far distant, which was afterwards called, from what took place there, the valley of Achor, that is, of trouble. The rich garment, too; the silver and the gold; his sons and his daughters; his oxen, his asses, and his sheep; his tent, and all that Achan had, were carried with him.
An awful exhibition of the displeasure of God against sin was to take place. It was marked, indeed, with tremendous severity, but this was necessary to teach the Israelites, who were just commencing their career of conquest in taking possession of the promised land, to establish them there, under the guidance and protection of Jehovah, as a distinct people, that his commands could not be violated with impunity.
It is very probable that Joshua addressed the assembled Israelites on this occasion, explaining to them the nature of the punishment that was to be inflicted upon Achan, and exhorting them to regard it as a warning, never to be forgotten, against their commission of a similar offence. He, also, addressed the wretched culprit; showing him the aggravation of his guilt, and the evil which it had brought upon the Israelites. " Why hast thou troubled us?” said he; "the Lord shall trouble thee this day.”
At the command, then, of Joshua, and by a portion of the people, as the representatives of the whole, Achan and his children were stoned to death; and their bodies, and all that belonged to him, including the spoils of Jericho which he had stolen, were consumed by fire. This being done, a great heap of stones was raised over the ashes, an enduring monument of the transaction, and of the awful justice of the Almighty.
How this justice is to be reconciled with the involving in the fate of their father the sons and daughters of Achan, is an inquiry which may, at first, appear to be attended with some difficulty. But we often see children, in the providence of God, and in the natural course, as we term it, of events, suffering severely on account of the errors and sins of their parents. And this takes place under the divine direction. So that there is no more difficulty in the one case than in the other. Besides, sin has brought death into our world. The sons and daughters of Achan were subject to this universal token of the displeasure of God against our guilty race. Whether they were called to die by disease, or a stroke of lightning, or the opening of the earth by an earthquake, or in the manner in which they suffered, is alike consistent with the divine justice. For God has the right to take away the life of his creatures in any way that he pleases, and we may be sure that the peculiar mode of his doing it, although we may not always see the reasons of it, is the result of his infinite wisdom and goodness. In this particular case, the destruction of the whole family of Achan, with all that he had, was designed to manifest the more forcibly the displeasure of God against him, and to