26 “‘Surely no man may consecrate a firstborn that already belongs to the Lord as a firstborn among the animals; whether it is an ox or a sheep, it belongs to the Lord. 27 If, however, it is among the unclean animals, he may ransom it according to its conversion value and must add one-fifth to it, but if it is not redeemed, it must be sold according to its conversion value. 28 “‘Surely anything that a man permanently dedicates to the Lord from all that belongs to him, whether from people, animals, or his landed property, must be neither sold nor redeemed; anything permanently dedicated is most holy to the Lord. 29 Any human being who is permanently dedicated to the Lord must not be ransomed; such a person must be put to death. 30 “‘Any tithe of the land, from the grain of the land or from the fruit of the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.
1 But the Israelites disobeyed the command about the city’s riches. Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, stole some of the riches. The Lord was furious with the Israelites. 2 Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai (which is located near Beth Aven, east of Bethel) and instructed them, “Go up and spy on the land.” So the men went up and spied on Ai. 3 They returned and reported to Joshua, “Don’t send the whole army. About two or three thousand men are adequate to defeat Ai. Don’t tire out the whole army, for Ai is small.”
Notes and References
"... the Ai story states that all the inhabitants of Ai were put to the ban (Joshua 8:25–26). The requirement that all inhabitants of a town be put to death occurs in the Deuteronomistic overwriting of the rules of war that is introduced by a sudden distinction between distant towns, that should be offered terms of peace, and all the towns of Canaan, that are automatically subject to hērem. Ḥērem was originally conceived as a spontaneous devoted offering, not unlike a vow, and often consisted of the fruits of war (see Mesha stele, KAI 181:17; Leviticus 27:28; Numbers 21:2-3; Joshua 6:17, 19). But Deuteronomistic ideology transformed the concept into an imperative rule that automatically applies to all the indigenous inhabitants of Canaan. Today most scholars agree that the law of hērem in Deuteronomy 20:15-18 is a late addition to Deuteronomy that probably derives from the Babylonian period ... I suggest that the early kernel of the conquest narrative in Joshua 6–10 was designed to illustrate the application of the Deuteronomic rules of war in Deuteronomy 20:10–14. Jericho and everything within it—living and inanimate - is devoted to YHWH as a first fruits offering (Joshua 6), while Ai (Joshua 7-8) represents a city that does not capitulate ..."
Edenburg, Cynthia "Paradigm, Illustrative Narrative, or Midrash: The Case of Josh 7-8 and Deuteronomic/istic Law" in Berner, Christoph (ed.) The Reception of Biblical War Legislation in Narrative Contexts: Proceedings of the EABS Research Group "Law and Narrative" (pp. 163-178) De Gruyter, 2015