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Is the Failure of Conquering AI really only because of Achan? - Focused on Critical Analysis on Joshua 7:2-5

Kim, Sang-Lae 1

1삼육대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Joshua 7 describes why and how the Israelites failed to conquer the city of Ai when they first tried. It appears that the chapter clearly depicts the reason as the fault of Achan. But if the sin of Acahn is the only reason, the second attempt, after punishing Achan to death, must be the same with the first. But the aspect of second attempt portrayed in chapter 8 is quite different from that of the first in 7:2-5. It means that Achan's case is not the only reason. Comparing the text of Joshua 7:2-5 with that of surrounded chapters, it is clear that the portrayal of Joshua is remarkably different from that in other battle accounts. In other words, this particular text shows no sign of Joshua being a dedicated, sharp warrior. The followings are the images of Joshua we have discovered. First, he did not order any commands to move out or withdraw. He merely kept silent or approved hesitantly. Second, he did not rise early in the morning unlike the other days. This conveys an impression that the mind of the commander in chief was indolent in the time when he should have been sensitive in the field. Third, he was not with the people as in the other battles, nor did he lead out. Fourth, he did not set up any strategy for the battle. Fifth, he did not ask for YHWH's guidance for this battle. Combining all these facts, we are able to conclude that the primary responsibility for failing this battle is on Joshua. However, the text of Joshua 7 is deliberately masking Joshua's mistakes in this campaign. First of all, Joshua 7:1 makes the reader focus on Achan's sin. There is no doubt that Achan's sin was a serious problem among the Israelites, YHWH's covenantal community. Yet the way Joshua 7 is written shows how it is trying to hide Joshua's mistake in relation to Achan's problem. In the following text, 7:2-5, Joshua is completely left out. However, even this literary strategy could not wholly cover Joshua. Critical analysis of the text helps us to understand the reality of the account more clearly beyond the intention of the text.

Citation status

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