Inductive Bible Study on Joshua 7 – The Sin of Achan

Joshua 7

Discussion Questions

How did God react to the fact that Achan took some of the things under the ban?

What did the Israelites do after conquering Jericho?

What was their battle plan this time around?

Why did he only send two or three thousand people?

What was the result of the battle? Why did they lose?

Could they/Joshua have done anything to prevent this? What should they have done before the battle?

What do we learn about Joshua from his response?

What does Joshua do next (verse 7)?

What can we learn from his prayer of intercession?

What was he concerned the result of this defeat would be? For the Israelites? For God?

How did God respond to his prayer?

Why do you think the whole nation suffered for one family’s sin? Why does God use “they’ in verse 11 referring to the Israelites when one family was guilty?

What can we learn about sin from this?

In what way did their sin cause them to lose the battle? What does this show us about God’s sovereignty?

What was the people’s job (13)?

How could the casting of lots be so accurate?

What can you learn from Joshua about how he confronted Achan?

What can we learn about confession from Achan?

Why was Achan punished even though he confessed?

Why did his whole family have to be punished?

What can we learn from this about God’s character?

What application can we make in our own lives from this passage?

Numbers 32:23 – Your sin will find you out.

Numbers 14:8 – God is slow to anger and abounding love…visiting the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.

Deuteronomy 24:16, Ezekiel 18:20 – A child will not be punished for a parent’s sin and vice-versa.

Proverbs 15:27 – A greedy man brings trouble to his family.

Revelation 20:12 – What we have done is recorded in the books.

Teaching Points

1. Joshua did not consult the Lord before entering battle – This time Joshua formed the battle plan by himself. First he spent spies. After their report, he sent two to three thousand men to the battle. Ai was evidently a small city. After the victory at Jericho, Joshua was confident that they could achieve another victory with a small force. See Proverbs 13:10. In this case Joshua was presumptuous. He assumed that everything was good and that God would give them victory again. But he was wrong. The mistake was costly as 36 people lost their lives. Joshua should have asked for God’s guidance before the battle. If so, likely God would have warned him that something was not right in the camp and he could have solved the problem with Achan before more people died. Application: Do not be presumptuous. Do not assume that your plans are good and that God will be with you. Before engaging on any venture or making any important decision, you should pray to the Lord and seek His will. Before you start a new Bible study, pray and ask for God’s guidance. Before quitting your job or taking a new job, pray and ask for God’s guidance. Before you move to a new house, pray and ask for God’s guidance.

2. Our sin affects others, sometimes seriously –

3. Joshua was deeply grieved by the result of this battle – As a military commander he was over hundreds of thousands of troops. But he cared deeply for them as individuals. Even though 36 people was a small number compared to the entire force, Joshua felt that each person was very important.

4. Joshua wisely intercedes for the people –

5. God’s answer to Joshua’s prayer –

6. God removed His help and the result was a defeat – Apart from Him we can do nothing.

7. Your sin will find you out –

8. The casting of lots – It was a process by which the people trusted God to determine the results to show them what they needed to know. And he did.

9. Discuss difference between how God deals with people as individuals and as groups (like a nation or a family). –

10. The punishment of Achan and his family – From Adam Clarke about the possibility that this passage means Achan was stoned and his possessions were burned (not his family) – “The text certainly leaves it doubtful, but seems rather to intimate that Achan alone was stoned, and that his substance was burnt with fire. The reading of the present Hebrew text is, They stoned Him with stones, and burnt Them with fire, after they had stoned Them with stones. The singular number being used in the first clause of the verse, and the plural in the last, leaves the matter doubtful. The Vulgate is very clear: Lapidavitque Eum omnis Israel; et cuncta quae illius erant, igne consumpta sunt, “All Israel stoned him; and all that he had was consumed with fire.” The Septuagint add this and the first clause of the next verse together: Και ελιθοβολησαν αυτον λιθοις πας Ισραηλ, και επεστησαν αυτῳ σωρον λιθων μεγαν: And all Israel stoned Him with stones, and raised over Him a great heap of stones.

From John Wesley: “If it be pretended that some of them were infants; the text doth not say so, but only calls them sons and daughters. And considering that Achan was an old man, as is most probable, because he was the fifth person from Judah, it seems most likely, that the children were grown up, and so capable of knowing, and concealing, or discovering this fact.”

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