The children of Israel committed a trespass - It is certain that one only was guilty; and yet the trespass is imputed here to the whole congregation; and the whole congregation soon suffered shame and disgrace on the account, as their armies were defeated, thirty-six persons slain, and general terror spread through the whole camp. Being one body, God attributes the crime of the individual to the whole till the trespass was discovered, and by a public act of justice inflicted on the culprit the congregation had purged itself of the iniquity. This was done to render every man extremely cautious, and to make the people watchful over each other, that sin might be no where tolerated or connived at, as one transgression might bring down the wrath of God upon the whole camp. See on Joshua 7:12 ; (note).
The accursed thing - A portion of the spoils of the city of Jericho, the whole of which God had commanded to be destroyed.
For Achan , the son of Carmi , etc. - Judah had two sons by Tamar: Pharez and Zarah. Zarah was father of Zabdi, and Zabdi of Carmi, the father of Achan. These five persons extend through a period of 265 years; and hence Calmet concludes that they could not have had children before they were fifty or fifty-five years of age. This Achan, son of Zabdi, is called, in 1 Chronicles 2:6 , Achar, son of Zimrie; but this reading is corrected into Achan by some MSS. in the place above cited.
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