Joshua chapter 6

They conquer Jericho.

 


 

THEY CONQUER JERICHO

 

VERSE 1. Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the children of Israel. No one went out, and no one came in.

Jericho was tightly shut up. Rahab said everyone was afraid of Israel.

Jericho seems to have a history of fear. They even built a wall to keep people out.

No one went out, and no one came in. A fixed location is a disadvantage.

 

VERSE 2. The LORD said to Joshua, “Behold, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the mighty men of valor.

The LORD. Is this the LORD God? Or is it the Commander of the LORD’s Army? Or both?

I have given. The tense of the Hebrew verb is prophetic perfect. It is describing a future action as if it were already accomplished.

Jericho into your hand. Interpreted simplistically, this is a preposterous statement. It would have seemed foolish.

Yet it is the LORD speaking. It is the perfect scheme for this battle. And it will happen.

 

VERSE 3. All of your men of war shall march around the city, going around the city once. You shall do this six days.

march around the city. This is the battle plan. It is quite unusual.

They will not be using the expected weapons of warfare, such as battering rams or scaling ladders.

 

VERSE 4. Seven priests shall bear seven shofars of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day, you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the shofars.

Seven priests shall bear seven shofars. There are seven priests, seven trumpets, seven days, and seven circuits of the wall on the seventh day.

the priests shall blow the shofars. Back in Numbers chapter 2, they were instructed to make two shofars:

Numbers 10:2. Make two shofars of silver. You shall make them of beaten work. You shall use them for the calling of the congregation, and for the journeying of the camps.

They were to be a signal to the entire nation. And somehow they were so loud they could heard by the entire nation.

The entire nation included about two million people. They were spread out for miles in every direction.

The two shofars could be heard at the most distant parts of the nation. And they could be heard over the ambient background noise of two million people.

The fact that only two Shofars could be that loud suggests a miracle took place each time they sounded.

Now there are seven!

How loud are seven Shofars? Will they trigger seismic events?

 

VERSE 5. It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the shofar, all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the city wall will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, every man straight in front of him.”

when they make a long blast. What was the significance of the blaring trumpets?

They were “jubilee trumpets” used in connection with Israel’s solemn feasts. They proclaimed the presence of the LORD God:

Numbers 10:10. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your set feasts, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the shofars over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be to you for a memorial before your God. I am the LORD your God.

Those seven trumpets declare that the LORD of heaven and earth is weaving his way around this doomed city.

 

VERSE 6. Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven shofars of rams’ horns before the LORD’s ark.”

Back at the burning bush, Moses argued at length against the plan of the LORD.

But Joshua responds with unquestioning obedience. Immediately, he calls together the priests and tells them the plan.

Joshua is a great hero of action-faith.

 

VERSE 7. They said to the people, “Advance! March around the city, and let the armed men pass on before the LORD’s ark.”

They said to the people, “Advance! The priests spring into action. In this instance, like Joshua, they exemplify action-faith.

 

VERSE 8. It was so, that when Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests bearing the seven shofars of rams’ horns before the LORD advanced and blew the shofars, and the ark of the LORD’s covenant followed them.

shofars. Or “trumpets.”

 

VERSE 9. The armed men went before the priests who blew the shofars, and the ark went after them. The shofars sounded as they went.

The armed men went before the priests. The procession is led by the armed guard, marching under their tribal banners.

the priests who blew the shofars. These priests are next. There are seven shofars. Presumably there are seven priests.

the ark went after them. The Ark of the Covenant follows the priests with the shofars.

 

VERSE 10. Joshua commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.”

neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth. They were to march in absolute silence. The only sound to be heard is the seven Shofars.

 

VERSE 11. So he caused the LORD’s ark to go around the city, circling it once. Then they came into the camp, and stayed in the camp.

circling it once. In those days, the size of Jericho was about eight or nine acres. A healthy person could walk around it in less than 30 minutes.

Then they came into the camp. This must have amazed the people of Jericho. They probably anticipated an attack.

 

VERSE 12. Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the LORD’s ark.

Joshua rose early in the morning. Joshua does not delay in doing the will of the LORD God.

And neither does the Lord Jesus Christ:

Mark 1:35. Early in the morning, while it was still dark, he rose up and went out, and departed into a deserted place, and prayed there.

 

VERSE 13. The seven priests bearing the seven shofars of rams’ horns in front of the LORD’s ark went on continually, and blew the shofars. The armed men went in front of them. The rear guard came after the LORD’s ark. The shofars sounded as they went.

shofars. Or “trumpets.”

 

VERSE 14. The second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. They did this six days.

They did this six days. No walled citadel had ever been conquered in this manner.

 

VERSE 15. On the seventh day, they rose early at the dawning of the day, and marched around the city in the same way seven times. On this day only they marched around the city seven times.

they marched around the city seven times. This is unique. They had not done this before.

It is a new thing.

 

VERSE 16. At the seventh time, when the priests blew the shofars, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the LORD has given you the city!

Joshua said to the people. An entire nation of two million people is standing on a vast plain. How do they hear Joshua? Maybe a miracle took place?

Shout, for the LORD has given you the city! This is their shout of TRIUMPH!

 

VERSE 17. The city shall be devoted, even it and all that is in it, to the LORD. Only Rahab the prostitute shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.

Rahab the prostitute. After 40 years in the desert, the first place these two men of God visited was a brothel.

The Hebrew word for “prostitute” is הָנָז (“zanah”). It means to commit fornication, be a harlot, play the harlot, to commit adultery, to be a cult prostitute.

 

VERSE 18. But as for you, only keep yourselves from what is devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted it, you take of the devoted thing; so you would make the camp of Israel accursed and trouble it.

They are to destroy the cities and everything in them. The motive seems theological.

 

VERSE 19. But all the silver, gold, and vessels of bronze and iron are holy to the LORD. They shall come into the LORD’s treasury.”

 

VERSE 20. So the people shouted and the priests blew the shofars. When the people heard the sound of the shofar, the people shouted with a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight in front of him, and they took the city.

the people shouted. Two million people shouted at the same time.

the priests blew the shofars. The seven shofars sounded.

the wall fell down flat. As the walls fell, so too did the city of Jericho.

 

VERSE 21. They utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, both young and old, and ox, sheep, and donkey, with the edge of the sword.

For the people of Jericho, this was an extinction event.

 

VERSE 22. Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house, and bring the woman and all that she has out from there, as you swore to her.”

Go into the prostitute’s house. Rahab’s house was in the wall itself.

Looking at the city from a distance, the Israelites would have seen the entire wall collapse, all at once.

Except for one tiny portion where Rahab’s house was located.

 

VERSE 23. The young men who were spies went in, and brought out Rahab with her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. They also brought out all of her relatives, and they set them outside of the camp of Israel.

spies went in. The very two men who made the promise to Rahab were the ones sent in to rescue her.

brought out Rahab. Rahab was indeed spared, just as the spies had promised!

 

VERSE 24. They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only they put the silver, the gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron into the treasury of the LORD’s house.

They burned the city with fire. Collapsing the city by a cataclysmic shout wasn’t enough. Nor was exterminating every living being in the city.

Now they burn the rubble.

 

VERSE 25. But Rahab the prostitute, her father’s household, and all that she had, Joshua saved alive. She lives in the middle of Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

The Old Testament foresee Gentiles coming to faith in the One God of Israel and bringing gifts to Jerusalem. Here are the key Bible verses about this »

 

VERSE 26. Joshua commanded them with an oath at that time, saying, “Cursed is the man before the LORD who rises up and builds this city Jericho. With the loss of his firstborn he will lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he will set up its gates.”

 

VERSE 27. So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was in all the land.

the LORD was with Joshua. This isa great moment. But it will soon threaten to come tumbling down:

Joshua 7:12. Therefore the children of Israel can’t stand before their enemies. They turn their backs before their enemies, because they have become devoted for destruction. I will not be with you any more, unless you destroy the devoted things from among you.

 


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JOSHUA

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