The story of Achan’s sin is recorded in the book of Joshua chapter seven. Before the capture of Jericho, God commanded that “The city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein” (Joshua 6:18). Jericho was to be under a ban, and its riches to be devoted to the Lord and His treasury. Jericho was the first fruits of Israel’s conquest of Canaan, and thus devoted to God. Sadly, this command was violated secretly by a person.
This violation was soon discovered when Israel faced defeat by the Canaanites. Joshua inquired as to the reason of this defeat and the Lord answered him, “Israel has transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff” (Joshua 7: 11).
Joshua was notified of the secret sin in the camp, and was told that it must be found out and put away before the presence and blessing of the Lord could be regained. The nation was held accountable for the guilt of the transgressor. Joshua was instructed to cast lots for the discovery of the guilty man. Step by step the search went on. First the tribe, then the family, then the household, and the man was found. And Achan the son of Carmi, of the tribe of Judah, was selected by God as the troubler of Israel.
The Punishment of Achan
Achan made full confession of his crime: “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel. . . When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekel’s weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent” (Joshua 7:20,21).
Messengers were sent to his tent, and “behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, . . . and laid them out before the Lord” (Joshua 7: 22,23). Sentence was given and immediately accomplished. “Why hast thou troubled us?” said Joshua, “the Lord shall trouble thee this day.” And all Israel stoned him with stones” (verse 25). In the book of Chronicles his memorial is written—”Achar, the troubler of Israel” (1 Chronicles 2:7).
The Love of Money – The Root of All Evil
The deadly sin that led to Achan’s death had its root in covetousness. The Bible warns, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). “Take heed, and beware of covetousness” (Luke 12:15). “Let it not be once named among you” (Ephesians 5:3). The Lord declares, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).
The Bible teaches that even believers can rob God by not giving their tithes. “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! but you say, in what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings” (Malachi 3:8). But the Lord promises blessings on the faithful, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse…And try Me now in this…If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (verse 10).
In His service,