Joshua ripped open his clothes. He, along with the elders of Israel, lay flat on their faces before the LORD's chest until evening. They put dust on their heads.
Then Joshua said, "Oh no, LORD God! Why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan? Was it to hand us over to the power of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been prepared to live on the other side of the Jordan!
Please forgive me, LORD. What can I say now that Israel has retreated before its enemies?
The Canaanites and the whole population of the land will hear of it. They will surround us and make our name disappear from the earth. What will you do about your great name then?"
The LORD said to Joshua, "Get up! Why do you lie flat on your face like this?
Israel has sinned. They have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the things reserved for me and put them with their own things. They have stolen and kept it a secret.
The Israelites can't stand up to their enemies. They retreat before their enemies because they themselves have become a doomed thing reserved for me. I will no longer be with you unless you destroy the things reserved for me that are present among you.
Go and make the people holy. Say, ‘Get ready for tomorrow by making yourselves holy. This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Israel! Things reserved for me are present among you. You won't be able to stand up to your enemies until you remove from your presence the things reserved for me.''
In the morning, come forward tribe by tribe. Whichever tribe the LORD selects must come forward clan by clan. Whichever clan the LORD selects must come forward family by family. Whichever family the LORD selects will come forward by individual soldiers.
The person selected, who has the things reserved for God, must be put to death by burning. Burn everything that belongs to him too. This is because he has violated the LORD's covenant and has committed an outrage in Israel."