Achan takes the spoils of Jericho, Part 2

  • 50 minutes
  • Grades: 5-6
  • Lesson Plan
  • by: Rabbi Eli Kohn

Students study Sefer Yehoshua 7:1-5 in greater detail

Lesson objectives

The students will:
1. describe the sin of Achan (7:1)
2. describe the battle against Ai (7:2-7:5)


Students should be able to:
1. read the verses with understanding
2. read the verses with punctuation (use of Taamei Hamikra)
3. identify the places mentioned in the battle against Ai using the map of Eretz Yisrael
4. analyze the text using critical thinking


Students will:
1. appreciate the importance of having confidence and belief (emunah) in God.

Resources & Equipment needed

Tanakh for every student, map for every student.


1. The teacher should first read these verses clearly and then ask students to read—a different student for each verse. It is important for the teacher to read first so that the student can learn how to read a verse properly. The teacher should be particular to emphasize the words correctly and utilize Taamei Hamikra – in particular the etnachta and zakef katan– in punctuating the verse.

2. Now the teacher should reread the second verse, and ask the class a number of questions: (a) Where else are spies sent in Tanakh? Students should make suggestions, for example, Moshe in Parashat Shlach and the sending of spies to Jericho in chapter 2 of Yehoshua. It is important for students to have a Tanakh with them so that they can look up these stories and write them down. (b) Was Ai on low or high ground? Students should examine the text carefully to find a hint. (The word עלוshows Ai was on higher ground). (c)Why does Yehoshua want to capture it now? If the students do not know, suggest that perhaps the higher ground is important from a strategic point of view. Note that Jericho is on lower ground. Use the map (see appendix) to demonstrate this to the class.

3. The teacher should reread the third verse and ask the students: (a) Why did the spies suggest sending relatively few soldiers to capture Ai? (b)Does this show anything about their confidence in God? Are they perhaps overconfident?

4. The teacher should reread verses 4 and 5 and ask the class: (a) What was the result of the battle? (b) Is there any significance that precisely 36 men died? (Is there a parallel to the 36 tzadikim (righteous men) that keep the world in existence?) (c) What words are used to describe the fear of the people? This describes a people whose faith in God has been shaken.

5. These questions should be discussed and summarized in written form so that the students can have a record of the class discussion.


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