Sins Not Covered By Sacrifice

Q. My question has two parts, one to do with sacrifices and the other with sin in the old testament. From my understanding, the sacrifices that the Israelites made were for the temporary cleansing of sin, and were supposed to reflect what Jesus would do when He came. but did they cover all sins? For example, in Joshua 7: 17-26, Joshua asked Achan if he had disobeyed God by taking spoils from the Babylonians. Achan admited that he had sinned before God, and was put to death. According to this scripture, it seems that Achan’s sin was not covered by the sacrifices which would mean that there were some sins that were so bad, that the blood sacrifices would not cover them.

The second part of my question has to do with sin in general at that time. From my understanding, adultery was punishable by death at this time, correct? So the effect of this law would mean that David should have been put to death when he sinned with Bathsheba. But, as we know, David confessed his sin, and was forgiven. But if David was forgiven by his confession, would that also mean that anyone who confessed their sin be forgiven, thereby anulling the punishment? And If so, shouldn’t Achan have been forgiven when he admitted that he had sinned against God? There seem to be different outcomes for David and Achan. On a side note, why was Achan’s whole family punished for his sin? Sorry to kinda throw that one in, but it was bugging me.

A. The Israelites were warned before the battle that everything in Jericho belonged to God and they were to leave it alone (Josh. 6:18-20). Achan disobeyed and exposed the entire community to destruction. He hid the things he had stolen in his tent, which made his whole family complicit in the crime since he couldn’t have done so without their knowledge. The deaths of Achan and his family saved the rest of the community and restored their relationship with God, assuring their subsequent victories.

In pursuing Bathsheba David committed two crimes punishable by death; adultery and murder. God spared David’s life but pronounced a very serious judgment against him that made much of his remaining life a living hell. (2 Sam 12:11-12) Sometimes death is not the worst penalty.

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