Joshua, the Israelite leader, and all the elders came back to the camp last night after spending time with God. Although they didn't speak to each other, their angry faces showed us something went wrong.
We lost the battle at Ai yesterday. No one knew why. Joshua and the elders walked to a place outside of camp to talk with God. The news must not have been good.
Joshua sent messengers throughout the camp calling for a meeting in the morning. I wondered what he'd say. Did God have new instructions? Maybe we shouldn't have attacked Ai.
The next morning I led my household to the meeting place and sat with others in our family. Joshua stood and raised his arms to quiet everyone. "The Lord told me we lost at Ai because one of our people sinned. Someone stole from the city of Jericho and hid what he took here in the camp." He lowered his arms and closed his hands into a tight fist. Joshua was mad.
I thought about the beautiful robe, wedge of gold, and money pouch hidden in my tent. The soft material and bright colors would make me look important at a fancy dinner. No one saw me take them from the Jericho house or hide them in my tent. Nope. No one knew.
Our leader cleared his throat. "The Lord said we would not win any battles until the stolen things were destroyed."
He stared at each of us as if waiting for someone to confess. I wouldn't. I would keep the robe and money hidden until this whole situation would be forgotten.
Joshua called the leaders of each tribe forward. He stepped in front of each man then turned to the people. "The Lord showed me the sin is in Judah's tribe. The rest of you men may sit."
The leader of Judah, my tribe, stayed in front. Joshua looked at our families. He waited a few minutes again. Perhaps he still wanted the guilty person to confess. I wished he would, too. Then we could get back to work.
Joshua shook his head then took a deep breath. "Every family leader from the tribe of Judah must come forward." A large group of men stood and walked toward him, including the leader of my family, the Zarhites.
Joshua had them form a line then he stood before each one, like he did with the tribal leaders. He stopped in front of the leader of the Zarhites. "Your family. The Lord showed me the sin is in your family." The other leaders sat down. Joshua look toward the Zarhite families. He just stood there and waited for a moment. I wanted to go back to my tent, dig up the robe, and rub the rich material against my skin. I wished he'd hurry and get done.
Joshua walked toward the Zarhite families. He went to each man, one by one and stopped in front of Zabdi, my grandfather. I must admit, I started to feel nervous. The robe, gold, and money pouch couldn't have caused all this trouble? No. It must have been bigger. One of my cousins must have stolen something of great value. I was sure I didn't cause the problem.
Joshua went to each of grandfather's sons, including Camri, my dad. He stopped when he reached my dad. "The sin is in your household. Have you sons stand before me."
I looked at my brothers and wondered which one had caused the trouble. Joshua walked to each of us until he came to me. He stopped right in front of me. Me? Why did he stare at me?
Joshua shook his head. "My son, I beg you. Give glory to the Lord God of Israel. Confess what you have done. Don't hide any of the truth from me."
All of Israel stared at me with angry faces. The robe I loved hurt all these people?
Tears dripped down my face. "I--I--" My knees fell to the ground. "I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel. When I saw a beautiful robe in a Jericho house, a pouch of money, and a gold wedge I--I wanted them with all my heart. I took them and hid them in the ground under my tent. I--" How could I say anything else? My sin had hurt all of Israel.
1. What battle did Israel lose?
2. Why did they lose?
3. Why was Joshua angry?
4. How did Joshua figure out who sinned?
5. What did Achan do?
6. What did you learn from this story?
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