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Answering The Atheist
March 21, 2004 / Volume 4, Issue 12

Who was Achan's father? Joshua 7:1 says Carmi, while Joshua 7:24 and 22:20 say Zerah. Is there a contradiction?

Achan was the son of Carmi. Joshua 7:1 makes that clear. His great-grandfather was Zerah, who both 7:24 and 22:20 attribute as being his father. This in no way is a contradiction. The Hebrew word "ben" can be used to speak of one who is a direct relation (ie. son of), but can also refer to a grandson, or even the people of a certain nation.

In Joshua 7:1, this word is used to refer to an immediate relation, Achan being the son of Carmi. In 7:24, it is used to refer to a distant relation (great-grandfather). In Exodus 1:1, it is used to refer to the children (ben) of Israel, as a nation, the people who came from the loins of Jacob (Israel).

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible