(ay' kan) HEBREW: AKHAN

As the man who stole some of the forbidden spoils of Jericho, Achan the son of Carmi became legendary as "the troubler of Israel" (1 Chr. 2:7). Invading Canaan, Israel was on a mission of holy war and, before Jericho fell, the people were warned that everything in the city was "devoted to the Lord for destruction" (Jos. 6:17).

When Achan hid for himself some silver, gold, and clothing, his act defiled the whole people, and God was so angry that he caused Israel's strong army to be routed by a small force from the town of Ai. God warned Joshua that Israel had sinned, and Joshua used a system of lots to identify the culprit. When Achan confessed to the crime, he and his children were stoned to death and all his possessions, including the spoils from Jericho, were set ablaze in order to turn the Lord's "burning anger" (Jos. 7:26) from Israel.

{E2 Dictionary of Biblical People}

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