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THE STORY OF A WEDGE OF GOLD
Joshua vii: 1, to viii: 35.
HILE the Israelites at God's word were destroying the city
of Jericho there was one man who disobeyed God's
command. A man named Achan, of the tribe of Judah, saw
in one house a beautiful garment that had come from
Babylon, and a wedge-shaped piece of gold and some
silver. He looked at it, longed to have it for his own,
took it secretly to his tent, and hid it. He thought
that no one had seen him do this thing. But God saw it
all; and Achan's robbery of God, to whom everything
belonged that was in Jericho, brought great trouble to
From Jericho there was a road up the ravines and
valleys leading to the mountain country. On one of the
hills above the plain stood a little city called Ai.
Joshua did not think it needful for all the army to go
and take Ai, because it was a small place. So he sent a
small army of three thousand men. But the men of Ai
came out against them, and killed a number of them, and
drove them away, so that they failed to take the city.
And when the rest of the people heard of this defeat
they were filled with fear. Joshua was alarmed, not
because he was afraid of the Canaanites, but because he
knew that God was not with the men who went against Ai.
And Joshua fell on his face before the Lord, and said:
"O Lord God, why hast thou led us across Jordan only to
let us fall before our enemies? What shall I say, O
Lord, now that the men of Israel have been beaten and
And God said to Joshua:
"Israel has sinned. They have disobeyed my words, and
have broken their promise. They have taken the treasure
that belongs to me, and have kept it. And that is the
reason why I have left them to suffer from their
enemies. My curse shall rest
 on the people until they bring back that which is
stolen, and punish the man who robbed me." And God told
Joshua how to find the man who had done this evil
The next morning, very early, Joshua called all the
tribes of Israel to come before him. When the tribe of
Judah came near God showed to Joshua that this was the
tribe. Then as the divisions of Judah came by God
pointed out one division; and in that division one
household, and in that household one family, and in
that family one man. Achan was singled out as the man
who had robbed God.
And Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give honor to the
Lord God, and confess your sin to him; and tell me now
what you have done. Do not try to hide it from me."
And Achan said, "I have sinned against the Lord. I saw
in Jericho a garment from Babylon, and a wedge of gold,
and some pieces of silver, and I hid them in my tent."
Then Joshua sent messengers, who ran to the tent of
Achan, and found the hidden things, and brought them
out before all the people.
Then, because Achan's crime had harmed all the people,
and because his children were with him in the crime,
they took them all, Achan, and his sons and his
daughters, and the treasure that had been stolen, and
even his sheep and his oxen, and his tent, and all that
was in it. And the people threw stones upon them until
all were dead; then they burned their bodies and all
the things in the tent. And over the ashes they piled
up a heap of stones, so that all who saw it would
remember what came to Achan for his sin.
Thus did God show to his people how careful they must
be to obey his commands, if they would have God with
them. After this Joshua sent another army, larger than
before, against Ai. And they took the city, and
destroyed it, as they had destroyed Jericho. But God
allowed the people to take for themselves what they
found in the city of Ai.
Then they marched on over the mountains, until they
came near to the city of Shechem, in the middle of the
land of Canaan. The people of the land were so filled
with fear that none of them resisted the march of the
Israelites. Near Shechem are the two mountains, Ebal on
the north, and Gerizim on the south. Between these is a
great hollow place, like a vast bowl. There Joshua
gathered all the people of Israel, with their wives and
 In the midst of this place they built an altar of
unhewn stones heaped up, for they had left the
Tabernacle and the brazen altar standing in the camp at
Gilgal, by Jordan. On this new altar they gave
offerings to the Lord and worshipped.
Then before all the people Joshua read the law which
Moses had written. And all the people, with their
wives, and even the little children, listened to the
law of the Lord. Half of the tribes stood on the slope
of Mount Ebal on the north, and these, as Joshua read
the words of warning which God had given to those who
should disobey, all answered with one voice "Amen." And
the other half of the tribes stood on the slope of
Mount Gerizim on the south; and as Joshua read God's
words of blessing to those who should obey the law,
these answered "Amen."
When they had done all this, and thus given the land to
the Lord and pledged themselves to serve God, they
marched again down the mountains, past the smouldering
ruins of Ai, past the heap of stones that covered
Achan, and past the broken walls of Jericho, back to
the camp at Gilgal beside the river.
JERICHO AS IT NOW IS