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ACHOR (ā'kôr, Heb. ‘ākhôr, disaster; see Achan). The location of this valley is uncertain. Josh.15.7 situates a place named Achor somewhere south of Debir, but this can hardly be the same Achor in which Achan played so tragic a role. A site near Jericho is required, and this certainly suits the symbolic reference in Hos.2.15 where the transformation of Achor into “a door of hope” typifies the changed expectations of the people of God in the messianic day (cf. Isa.65.10).

ACHOR ā’ kôr (עָכֹֽור, trouble), The valley in which Achan and his family were stoned to death because Achan had taken a beautiful mantle of Shinar, 200 shekels of silver, and a fifty shekel bar of gold from Jericho when no booty was to be taken. Because Achan’s sin brought trouble to Israel by the defeat at Ai, the place was named the Valley of Achor (Josh 7:24, 26). The valley is on the northern boundary of the allotment of Judah (Josh 15:7) and is thought to be the modern el-Buqe’ah, SW of Jericho. The term “Valley of Achor” is used prophetically by both Isaiah and Hosea to indicate that the Lord (Yahweh) will bring blessing in the future in the places of trouble caused by their sin (Isa 65:10; Hos 2:15).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The place where Achan was executed in the time of Joshua (Jos 7:24,26). In all the five places where it is mentioned it is described as the `emek, the arable valley of Achor. There is no ground in the record for the current idea that it must have been a locality with horrid and dismal physical features. It was on a higher level than the camp of Israel in the Jordan valley, and on a lower level than Debir--a different Debir from that of Jos 15:15. In a general way, as indicated by the points mentioned in the border of Judah, it was north of Betharabah, and south of Debir (Jos 7:24; 15:7). Many identify it with the Wady Kelt which descends through a deep ravine from the Judean hills and runs between steep banks south of the modern Jericho to Jordan, the stream after rams becoming a foaming torrent. Possibly the name may have been applied to a region of considerable extent. In Isa 65:10 it is a region on the east side of the mountain ridge which is in some sense balanced with Sharon on the west side. By implication the thing depicted seems to be these rich agricultural localities so far recovered from desolation as to be good grounds for cattle and sheep. Hosea recognizes the comforting aspect of the dreadful affair in the valley of Achor; it was a doorway of hope to pardoned Israel (Ho 2:15 (17)), and he hopes for like acceptance for the Israel of his own day.

Willis J. Beecher

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