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Joshua 7:14 -

Taketh , i.e; by lot, as in 1 Samuel 14:42 ( הַפִילוּ make it fall; cf. 1 Samuel 10:20 ) (cf. Jonah 1:7 ; also Proverbs 18:18 ). According to the families. The gradual centering of the suspicion upon the offender is one of the most striking features of the history. The genealogies of the children of Israel were very strictly kept, as the Books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah show. Achan's name is carefully given in the genealogy of Judah in 1 Chronicles if. 7. The subdivision of the tribes into families (or clans, Keil) and households (or, as we should perhaps say, families ) was for convenience of enumeration, military organisation, and perhaps of assessment. Oehler, 'Theologie des Allen Testaments,' Sec. 101, takes the same view as Keil. The tribes, he says, were divided into מִשְׁפָהוֹת or אֲלָפִים i.e; Geschlechter ( LXX . δημοι , for which the best English equivalent is clans, as above); these into families or houses ( בָּתִּים ), or fathers' hours ( בֵּת אָבוֹת ); and these again into single heads of a house ( גְבָרִים ). The principle, he adds of a Mosaic family, is as follows: Every "family" forms a distinct whole, which as far as possible must be maintained in its integrity. Each tribe, says Jahn ('Hebrew Commonwealth,' Book II ), acknowledged a prince ( כָשִׂיא ) as its ruler. As its numbers increased, there arose a subdivision of the tribe into collections of families. Such a collection was called a house of fathers, a מִשְׁפְחָה or clan, or a thousand, rut this explanation is not so satisfactory as that given above. Kurz remarks on the important part family life played among the Hebrews, with whom, in consequence of their descent from Abraham, and the importance they attached to it, the nation was developed out of the family. See Introduction.

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