Verse 24. His sons, and his daughters - Their death was a debt they owed to their own sins, which debt God may require when he pleaseth; and he could not take it in more honourable circumstances than these, that the death of a very few in the beginning of a new empire, and of their settlement in the land, might be useful to prevent the deaths of many thousands who took warning by this dreadful example, whom, if the fear of God did not, yet the love of their own, and of their dear children's lives would restrain from such pernicious practices. And it is very probable they were conscious of the fact, as the Jewish doctors affirm. If it be pretended that some of them were infants; the text doth not say so, but only calls them sons and daughters. And considering that Achan was an old man, as is most probable, because he was the fifth person from Judah, it seems most likely, that the children were grown up, and so capable of knowing, and concealing, or discovering this fact. His oxen, and his asses, and his sheep - Which, though not capable of sin, nor of punishment, properly so called, yet as they were made for man's use, so they are rightly destroyed for man's good; and being daily killed for our bodily food, it cannot seem strange to kill them for the instruction of our minds, that hereby we might learn the contagious nature of sin, which involves innocent creatures in its plagues; and how much sorer punishments are reserved for man, who having a law given to him, and that excellent gift of reason and will to restrain him from the transgressions of it, his guilt must needs be unspeakably greater, and therefore his sufferings more severe and terrible. Farther, by this enumeration it appears, that he had no colour of necessity to induce him to this fact.
Verse 25. With stones - And burned him with fire; which is easily understood both out of the following words, and from God's command to do so. They were stoned (which was the punishment of such offenders, Lev. xxiv, 14 Num. xv, 35,) and not burned to death; but God would have their dead carcases burned to shew his utmost detestation of such persons as break forth into sins of such a public scandal and mischief.
Verse 26. A great heap of stones - As a monument of the sin and judgment here mentioned, that others might be warned by the example; and as a brand of infamy, as chap. viii, 29; 2 Sam. xviii, 17. The valley of Achor - Or, the valley of trouble, from the double trouble expressed, ver. 25.