God commanded the Israelites to destroy Jericho; and all the gold, silver, and other riches found there were to be devoted to the Lord. If any disobeyed this command then a curse was to rest upon all, and they were not to prosper.
The Israelites were to conquer the Canaanites, and drive them out of the land. So Joshua prepared to attack a city named Ai. Three thousand of his men went to capture it, but the inhabitants came out and drove them back, killing some of them. Joshua was greatly grieved. He knew that unless God made the Israelites victorious, the Canaanites would be able to overcome them, and God had appeared to fail them this time. Oh! he was sorry. But he told God the trouble, and God showed him the cause of it.
One of the Israelites, named Achan, saw among the spoil of Jericho, a handsome garment, some silver, and a bar of gold, and coveted them. He stole these things and hid them away in his tent, thinking that no one saw him; but God knew it all. Achan's sin was the cause of Israel's defeat! God showed Joshua how the man who had done the wickedness was to be discovered. Each tribe was to be brought before God, then each family of the tribe He chose, then each household of the family taken, and lastly each man of the family chosen. Finally, Achan was pointed out by God. Joshua bade him confess what he had done, and he said that he had taken the Babylonish garment and the gold and silver.
Messengers were sent to his tent, who brought what Achan had hidden; and he, with his sons and daughters, his cattle, and all that he had, and the garment, silver, and gold, were taken to a valley near by, where the people stoned them, and burned them with fire; and then raised over all a great heap of stones, which remained as a memorial to warn others against sinning as Achan had done.
[Illustration: ACHAN CONFESSING HIS SIN.]
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