Fausset's Bible Dictionary 
("troubler"): Achar ( 1 Chronicles 2:7). Son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, of the tribe of Judah. When Jericho was cursed, with all that was in it, Achan alone, in defiance of the curse, "saw" (compare Job 31:7; Genesis 3:6; James 1:14-15), coveted, took, and hid (see Genesis 3:8; following the first sin in the same awful successive steps downward) "a Babylonian garment" (compare Revelation 17:4-5), "two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold, fifty shekels" ( Joshua 7:21). His guilty presence alone brought from Jehovah defeat upon Israel at Ai ( Ecclesiastes 9:18). Joshua, by Jehovah's direction, through lots detected the culprit, and having elicited his confession said, "Why hast thou troubled us?" (Alluding To The Meaning Of Achar Or Achan) "the Lord shall trouble thee this day." So all Israel stoned him, and burned with fire, after stoning with stones, his sons, daughters, cattle, and the stolen and personal effects.
The God who made has the power to destroy a whole family or nation for the guilt of one ( 2 Kings 23:25-27); for the individual members are not isolated atoms, but form one organic whole, and the good or the evil of one affects the whole and is laid to the charge of the whole, as constituting one moral unity, divinely constituted, not a mere civil institution, just as the whole body suffers by the sin or suffering of a single member. Achan fell under the ban by seizing what was banned, and incurred the same penalty as a town lapsing into idolatry ( Deuteronomy 13:16-17). The whole family was involved in the guilt; indeed, the sons and daughters of an age of reason must have been privy to his hiding the spoil in the earth in his tent. Though the law ( Deuteronomy 24:16) forbade the slaying of children for their fathers' sins, this did not apply to cases where, as here, Jehovah Himself commands execution. Achan's children were not taken to the valley (as some explain) as mere spectators, to take warning from their father's doom; for why then should Achan's cattle have been taken out along with him? On the other hand, Calmet argues:
(1) Had his family been stoned, would not the heap of stones have included Them Also? Whereas it is raised over HIM.
(2) His sons and daughters who, in some degree at least, acted under his authority, were certainly not punished more rigorously (by burning AND stoning) than the principal criminal.
(3) Was not the burning applied to such things as might suffer by burning, tents, garments, etc., and the stoning to what fire would little affect, etc.? But to what effect could Achan's family be first burned, and then stoned?
"They raised over him a great heap of stones," as cairns are still in the East heaped over infamous persons. Every passer by shows his detestation of the crime by adding a stone to the cairn ( Joshua 8:29; 2 Samuel 18:17). The valley of Achor (see Isaiah 65:10) is identified by some with that of the brook Cherith, before Jordan, now wady el Kelt ( 1 Kings 17:1-7). The Hebrew of 1 Kings 17:24, "they brought them up unto the valley of trouble," implies this was higher ground than Gilgal and Jericho. Thomson (The Land and the Book) on Hosea 2:15; "That valley runs up from Gilgal toward Bethel. By Achan's stoning the anger of the Lord was turned away from Israel, and the door of entrance to the promised inheritance thrown open. Thus the 'valley of Achor' (trouble), 'a door of hope,' is not a bad motto for those who through much tribulation must enter the promised land." A salutary warning to all Israel of the fatal effect of robbing God of His due through covetousness. (See Ananias .) Israel entered Canaan to take possession of land desecrated by its previous tenants, not as a mere selfish spoil, but for God's glory. The spoil of Jericho was the firstfruits of Canaan, sacred to Jehovah; Achan's sacrilegious covetousness in appropriating it needed to be checked at the outset, lest the sin spreading should mar the end for which Canaan was given to Israel.
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible 
ACHAN . Son of Carmi, of the tribe of Judah ( Joshua 7:1 ). It is brought home to Joshua ( Joshua 7:8-12 ) that the defeat at Ai was due to the fact of Jahweh’s covenant having been transgressed. An inquiry is instituted, and Achan is singled out as the transgressor. He confesses that after the capture of Jericho he had hidden part of the spoil, the whole of which had been placed under the ban ( chÃ§rem ), i.e. devoted to Jahweh, and was therefore unlawful for man to touch. According to the usage of the times, both he and his family are stoned, and their dead bodies burned the latter an even more terrible punishment in the eyes of ancient Israel. The sentence is carried out in the valley of Achor (‘troubling’). According to Joshua 7:25-26 , this valley was so called after Achan, the ‘troubler’ of Israel. Later his name was changed to Achar to correspond more closely with the name of the valley ( 1 Chronicles 2:7 ).
W. O. E. Oesterley.
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary 
the son of Carmi, of the tribe of Judah, who having taken a part of the spoils of Jericho, against the injunction of God, who had accursed or devoted the whole city, was, upon being taken by lot, doomed to be stoned to death. The whole history is recorded, Joshua 7. It would appear that Achan's family were also stoned; for they were led out with him, and all his property, "And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones." Some of the critics have made efforts to confine the stoning to Achan, and the burning to his goods; but not without violence to the text. It is probable, therefore, that his family were privy to the theft, seeing he hid the accursed things which he had stolen in the earth, in his tent. By concealment they therefore became partakers of his crime, and so the sentence was justified.
Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types 
Joshua 7:1 (c) This man is used as a type of a selfish, wicked, religious professor. He rejected GOD's word about the property of Jericho which belonged to GOD, and took some of it to enrich himself. The ungodly who join the church, partake of the Lord's supper, and teach the Bible which they do not believe are like Achan.
Joshua 7:25 (c) Achan may be taken in this place as a type of a trouble maker who, because of his sinful, hypocritical practices in the church, causes trouble there. Because of his actions the church is in a turmoil and even perhaps may be divided because of him. Such a person is to he expelled from the church as in1Corinthians5.
Smith's Bible Dictionary 
A'chan. (Troubler). An Israelite of the tribe of Judah, who, when Jericho and all that it contained were accursed and devoted to destruction, secreted a portion of the spoil in his tent.
For this sin he was stoned to death with his whole family by the people, in a valley situated between Ai and Jericho, and their remains, together with his property, were burnt. Joshua 7:19-26. From this event the valley received the name of Achor (that is, trouble). See Achor, Valley of . (B.C. 1450).
People's Dictionary of the Bible 
Achan ( Ă'Kan ), Troubler. A man of the tribe of Judah, who at the sacking of Jericho took, contrary to God's express command, a portion of the spoil. Hence the repulse before Ai. Achan's guilt being discovered, he was carried with his family and all his property into the valley of Achor, and there stoned and afterwards burned. It would seem that Achan's family shared his punishment—how far they were involved in his crime we know not—and that his possessions were destroyed. Joshua 7:1-26. He is also called Achar ( Â'Kar ).
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary 
The son of Carmi, who disobeyed the strict charge of the Lord, and purloined some of the spoils of Jericho which were doomed to destruction. This brought a curse and defeat upon the people. He was discovered by lot, and stoned with all his family in the valley of Achor, north of Jericho, Joshua 6:18; 7:1-26 . He is called Achar in 1 Chronicles 2:7 .
Holman Bible Dictionary 
1 Corinthians 2:7 Joshua 7:1 Joshua 7:11 Joshua 7:25AiJoshua
Easton's Bible Dictionary 
1 Chronicles 2:7 Joshua 7:1
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia 
ā´kan ( עכן , ‛ākhān (in 1 Chronicles 2:7 Achar, עכר , ‛ākhār , "troubler"): The descendant of Zerah the son of Judah who was put to death, in Joshua's time, for stealing some of the "devoted" spoil of the city of Jericho (Josh 7). The stem ‛ākhan is not used in Hebrew except in this name. The stem ‛ākhar has sufficient use to define it. It denotes trouble of the most serious kind - J acob's trouble when his sons had brought him into blood feud with his Canaanite neighbors, or Jephthah's trouble when his vow required him to sacrifice his daughter ( Genesis 34:30; Judges 11:35 ). In Prov ( Joshua 11:17 , 29; Joshua 15:6 , Joshua 15:27 ) the word is used with intensity to describe the results of cruelty, disloyalty, greed, wickedness. The record especially speaks of Achan's conduct as the troubling of Israel ( 1 Chronicles 2:7; Joshua 6:18; Joshua 7:24 ). In an outburst of temper Jonathan speaks of Saul as having troubled the land ( 1 Samuel 14:29 ). Elijah and Ahab accuse each the other of being the troubler of Israel ( 1 Kings 18:17 , 1 Kings 18:18 ). The stem also appears in the two proper names Achor and Ochran (which see).
The crime of Achan was a serious one. Quite apart from all questions of supposable superstition, or even religion, the ḥērem concerning Jericho had been proclaimed, and to disobey the proclamation was disobedience to military orders in an army that was facing the enemy. It is commonly held that Achan's family were put to death with him, though they were innocent; but the record is not explicit on these points. One whose habits of thought lead him to expect features of primitive savagery in such a case as this will be sure to find what he expects; a person of different habits will not be sure that the record says that any greater cruelty was practiced on the family of Achan than that of compelling them to be present at the execution. Those who hold that the Deuteronomic legislation comes in any sense from Moses should not be in haste to think that its precepts were violated by Joshua in the case of Achan (see Deuteronomy 24:16 ).
The record says that the execution took place in the arable valley of Achor, up from the Jordan valley. See Achor .
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature 
(Heb. Akan', עָכָן , prob. Troubler; Sept. Ἀχάν in Joshua 22:20, elsewhere ῎Αχαρ ), a son of Carmi, called also ACHAR ( 1 Chronicles 2:7), in commemoration of his crime and awful doom, as related in Joshua 7:1-26 (see Kitto's Daily Bible Illust. in loc.). The city of Jericho, before it was taken, was put under that awful ban, of which there are other instances in the early Scripture history, whereby all the inhabitants (excepting Rahab and her family) were devoted to destruction, all the combustible goods to be consumed by fire, and all the metals to be consecrated to God (see Deuteronomy 7:16; Deuteronomy 7:23-26). This vow of devotement was rigidly observed by all the troops when Jericho was taken, save by one man, Achan, a Judahite, who could not resist the temptation of secreting an ingot of gold, a quantity of silver, and a costly Babylonish garment, which he buried in his tent, deeming that his sin was hid. The Israelites were defeated, with serious loss, in their first attack upon Ai; and as Joshua was well assured that this humiliation was designed as the punishment of a crime which had inculpated the whole people, he took immediate measures to discover the criminal by means of the lot (q.v.). The conscience-stricken offender then confessed his crime to Joshua; and his confession being verified by the production of his ill-gotten treasure, the people hurried away not only Achan, but his tent, his goods, his spoil, his cattle, his children, to the valley (hence afterward called) of Achor (q.v.), near Jericho, where they stoned him, and all that belonged to him; after which the whole was consumed with fire, and a cairn of stones raised over the ashes, B.C. 1618. (See Pyle, Sermons, 3, 185; Saurin, Disc. Hist. 3, 78; Simeon, Works, 2, 574; Buddicom, Christ. Exodus 2, 350; Origen, Opp. 2, 415). The severity of this act, as regards the family of Achan, has provoked some remark (see A. Clarke and Keil, in loc.). Instead of vindicating it, as is generally done, by the allegation that the members of Achan's family were probably accessories to his crime after the fact, we prefer the supposition that they were included in the doom by one of those stern, vehement impulses of semi-martial vengeance to which the Jewish (like all Oriental) people were exceedingly prone, and which, though extreme (comp. Deuteronomy 24:16), was Permitted (for the terms "all that he hath" did not necessarily prescribe it) as a check to a cupidity that tended so strongly both to mutiny and impiety. (See Accursed),
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature 
A´chan (troubler); in 1 Chronicles 2:7 written Achar. From the peculiarly appropriate significance of the name, it is supposed to have been imposed after the occurrence of the facts which rendered it notorious. The city of Jericho, before it was taken, was put under that awful ban, whereby all the inhabitants (excepting Rahab and her family) were devoted to destruction, all the combustible goods to be consumed by fire, and all the metals to be consecrated to God. This vow of devotement was rigidly observed by all the troops when Jericho was taken, save by one man, Achan, a Judahite, who could not resist the temptation of secreting an ingot of gold, a quantity of silver, and a costly Babylonish garment, which he buried in his tent. But God made known this infraction, which (the vow having been made by the nation as one body) had involved the whole nation in his guilt. The Israelites were defeated, with serious loss, in their first attack upon Ai; and as Joshua was well assured that this humiliation was designed as the punishment of a crime which had inculpated the entire people, he took immediate measures to discover the criminal. As in other cases, the matter was referred to the Lord by the lot, and the lot ultimately indicated the actual criminal. The conscience-stricken offender then confessed his crime to Joshua; and his confession being verified by the production of his ill-gotten treasure, the people, actuated by the strong impulse with which men tear up, root and branch, a polluted thing, hurried away not only Achan, but his tent, his goods, his spoil, his cattle, his children, to the valley (afterwards called) of Achor, north of Jericho, where they stoned him, and all that belonged to him; after which the whole was consumed with fire, and a cairn of stones raised over the ashes. The severity of this act, as regards the family of Achan, has provoked some remark. Instead of vindicating it, as is generally done, by the allegation that the members of Achan's family were probably accessories to his crime after the fact, we prefer the supposition that they were included in the doom by one of those sudden impulses of indiscriminate popular vengeance to which the Jewish people were exceedingly prone, and which, in this case, it would not have been in the power of Joshua to control by any authority which he could under such circumstances exercise
- ↑ Achan from Fausset's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Achan from Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
- ↑ Achan from Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
- ↑ Achan from Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types
- ↑ Achan from Smith's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Achan from People's Dictionary of the Bible
- ↑ Achan from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Achan from Holman Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Achan from Easton's Bible Dictionary
- ↑ Achan from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- ↑ Achan from Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
- ↑ Achan from Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature