1 The Israelites, however, violated the proscription: Achan son of Carmi son of Zabdi son of Zerach, of the tribe of Yehuda, took of that which was proscribed, and Hashem was incensed with the Israelites.
3 They returned to Yehoshua and reported to him, “Not all the troops need go up. Let two or three thousand men go and attack Ai; do not trouble all the troops to go up there, for [the people] there are few.”
ג וַיָּשֻׁבוּ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו אַל־יַעַל כָּל־הָעָם כְּאַלְפַּיִם אִישׁ אוֹ כִּשְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים אִישׁ יַעֲלוּ וְיַכּוּ אֶת־הָעָי אַל־תְּיַגַּע־שָׁמָּה אֶת־כָּל־הָעָם כִּי מְעַט הֵמָּה׃
4 So about three thousand of the troops marched up there; but they were routed by the men of Ai.
ד וַיַּעֲלוּ מִן־הָעָם שָׁמָּה כִּשְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים אִישׁ וַיָּנֻסוּ לִפְנֵי אַנְשֵׁי הָעָי׃
7 “Ah, Hashem!” cried Yehoshua. “Why did You lead this people across the Yarden only to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites, to be destroyed by them? If only we had been content to remain on the other side of the Yarden!
8 O Hashem, what can I say after Yisrael has turned tail before its enemies?
ח בִּי אֲדֹנָי מָה אֹמַר אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר הָפַךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל עֹרֶף לִפְנֵי אֹיְבָיו׃
9 When the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land hear of this, they will turn upon us and wipe out our very name from the earth. And what will You do about Your great name?”
ט וְיִשְׁמְעוּ הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְכֹל יֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ וְנָסַבּוּ עָלֵינוּ וְהִכְרִיתוּ אֶת־שְׁמֵנוּ מִן־הָאָרֶץ וּמַה־תַּעֲשֵׂה לְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל׃
10 But Hashem answered Yehoshua: “Arise! Why do you lie prostrate?
י וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁעַ קֻם לָךְ לָמָּה זֶּה אַתָּה נֹפֵל עַל־פָּנֶיךָ׃
11 Yisrael has sinned! They have broken the covenant by which I bound them. They have taken of the proscribed and put it in their vessels; they have stolen; they have broken faith!
kha-TA yis-ra-AYL v’-GAM a-v’-RU et b’-ree-TEE a-SHER tzi-VEE-tee o-TAM v’-GAM la-k’-KHU min ha-KHAY-rem v’-GAM ga-n’-VU v’-GAM ki-kha-SHU v’-GAM SA-mu vikh-lay-HEM
יא חָטָא יִשְׂרָאֵל וְגַם עָבְרוּ אֶת־בְּרִיתִי אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתִי אוֹתָם וְגַם לָקְחוּ מִן־הַחֵרֶם וְגַם גָּנְבוּ וְגַם כִּחֲשׁוּ וְגַם שָׂמוּ בִכְלֵיהֶם׃
7:11 Yisrael has sinned
On the surface, it seems odd that Hashem would say that the People of Israel had sinned. Wasn’t it only Achan, the one who stole items from Yericho, who sinned? The Malbim points out that this verse teaches the critical principle of collective responsibility. The Children of Israel are not simply a collection of individuals. Rather, they are a spiritually united nation where the actions of one impact the fate of all. Therefore, when they entered Eretz Yisrael they became responsible for one another. This collective responsibility extends beyond simply avoiding negative things. All are also responsible for the positive welfare of their brothers and sisters, wherever they may be. Successfully meeting this collective responsibility is part of what makes the State of Israel great.1 comment
12 Therefore, the Israelites will not be able to hold their ground against their enemies; they will have to turn tail before their enemies, for they have become proscribed. I will not be with you any more unless you root out from among you what is proscribed.
יב וְלֹא יֻכְלוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לָקוּם לִפְנֵי אֹיְבֵיהֶם עֹרֶף יִפְנוּ לִפְנֵי אֹיְבֵיהֶם כִּי הָיוּ לְחֵרֶם לֹא אוֹסִיף לִהְיוֹת עִמָּכֶם אִם־לֹא תַשְׁמִידוּ הַחֵרֶם מִקִּרְבְּכֶם׃
13 Go and purify the people. Order them: Purify yourselves for tomorrow. For thus says Hashem, the God of Yisrael: Something proscribed is in your midst, O Yisrael, and you will not be able to stand up to your enemies until you have purged the proscribed from among you.
14 Tomorrow morning you shall present yourselves by tribes. Whichever tribe Hashem indicates shall come forward by clans; the clan that Hashem indicates shall come forward by ancestral houses, and the ancestral house that Hashem indicates shall come forward man by man.
יד וְנִקְרַבְתֶּם בַּבֹּקֶר לְשִׁבְטֵיכֶם וְהָיָה הַשֵּׁבֶט אֲשֶׁר־יִלְכְּדֶנּוּ יְהֹוָה יִקְרַב לַמִּשְׁפָּחוֹת וְהַמִּשְׁפָּחָה אֲשֶׁר־יִלְכְּדֶנָּה יְהֹוָה תִּקְרַב לַבָּתִּים וְהַבַּיִת אֲשֶׁר יִלְכְּדֶנּוּ יְהֹוָה יִקְרַב לַגְּבָרִים׃
15 Then he who is indicated for proscription, and all that is his, shall be put to the fire, because he broke the Covenant of Hashem and because he committed an outrage in Yisrael.”
17 He then had the clans of Yehuda come forward, and the clan of Zerach was indicated. Then he had the clan of Zerach come forward by ancestral houses, and Zabdi was indicated.
יז וַיַּקְרֵב אֶת־מִשְׁפַּחַת יְהוּדָה וַיִּלְכֹּד אֵת מִשְׁפַּחַת הַזַּרְחִי וַיַּקְרֵב אֶת־מִשְׁפַּחַת הַזַּרְחִי לַגְּבָרִים וַיִּלָּכֵד זַבְדִּי׃
21 I saw among the spoil a fine Shinar mantle, two hundred shekalim of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekalim, and I coveted them and took them. They are buried in the ground in my tent, with the silver under it.”
22 Yehoshua sent messengers, who hurried to the tent; and there it was, buried in his tent, with the silver underneath.
כב וַיִּשְׁלַח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ מַלְאָכִים וַיָּרֻצוּ הָאֹהֱלָה וְהִנֵּה טְמוּנָה בְּאָהֳלוֹ וְהַכֶּסֶף תַּחְתֶּיהָ׃
23 They took them from the tent and brought them to Yehoshua and all the Israelites, and displayed them before Hashem.
24 Then Yehoshua, and all Yisrael with him, took Achan son of Zerach—and the silver, the mantle, and the wedge of gold—his sons and daughters, and his ox, his ass, and his flock, and his tent, and all his belongings, and brought them up to the Valley of Achor.
26 They raised a huge mound of stones over him, which is still there. Then the anger of Hashem subsided. That is why that place was named the Valley of Achor—as is still the case.