Joshua 7: Conquering the City of Ai

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 81–82


What happens when we sin and try to hide it? (see D&C 121:37). Even though other people may not know we are hiding our sins, who does know? What happens to our spiritual progress when we try to hide our sins? Joshua 7 records how the children of Israel learned a very important and impressive lesson about the importance of obedience and how it effects others, and that we cannot hide our disobedience from the Lord.

Understanding the Scriptures

Joshua 7

Trespass (v. 1)Sin 
Accursed thing (vv. 1, 11–13, 15)Things God commanded to be destroyed 
Smote (v. 5)Killed 
Rent (v. 6)Tore 
Eventide (v. 6)Evening 
Content (v. 7)Satisfied 
Sanctify (v. 13)Make clean and holy 
Taketh, take (vv. 14–18)Chooses, choose 
Thus and thus (v. 20)These are the things. 
Spoils (v. 21)Material possessions left after the people were destroyed 
Shekels (v. 21)Pieces (see Bible Dictionary, “weights and measures,” p. 789) 
Coveted them (v. 21)Wanted them 

Joshua 7:22–26—Was Achan’s Family Killed with Him?

The language of Joshua 7 makes it unclear as to whether Achan’s family was killed with him or whether they were required to watch while he was killed and the accursed spoils burned. It is possible, however, that they were killed, especially if they helped Achan hide the things he took. The whole camp was commanded not to take anything from the city.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you study Joshua 7.

Activity A iconConsequences of Sin

  1. 1.

    Elder Dean L. Larsen said, “There is no such thing as private sin” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 49; or Ensign, May 1983, 35). In what ways does the story of Achan demonstrate this truth? For example, how did Achan’s sin affect thirty-six Israelites and their families? Include in your answer how his sin affected all the camp of Israel, including Joshua, and how it affected Achan’s family.

  2. 2.

    Think of and write about a modern example of how what seems to be a person’s “private sin” can actually affect many others.