Understanding the Relationship between Personal Sin and Corporate Punishment: An Examination of Joshua 7
Keywords:Joshua 7, Personal and Corporate Sin, Corporate Judgment
Joshua 7 presents a story of personal sin that results in corporate judgment. In Joshua 7, Achan stole from the things devoted to destruction leading to Israel’s judgement and defeat at Ai (7:4–5). God declared, “Israel has sinned” (7:1, 11), yet only one individual, Achan, had sinned. God links Achan’s sin to their defeat (7:12) and says that Israel has become “devoted to destruction” (7:12), just like in Jericho. The only remedy was to destroy the devoted things, including Achan, his family and all his property (7:13, 15, 25–26). Some scholars suggest that the stolen things polluted or defiled the nation; others claim the issue is one of corporate personality or solidarity, while others leave it in the realm of mystery. This study seeks to determine the relationship between personal sin and corporate responsibility through discourse analysis and textual analysis. The scope of the study will be delimited to Joshua 7, in the context of Joshua 8 and 22 and any other relevant sections of the entire book of Joshua. This study has found that corporate accountability best describes the relationship between personal sin and corporate punishment. Corporate accountability reminded Israel of its responsibility to the community’s overall well-being. Joshua 7 demonstrates that sin has repercussions for others since no sin is committed in a vacuum, as it affects those around us.