The Fall of Jericho
6 Now Jericho was shut up inside and outside because of the people of Israel. None went out, and none came in. And the LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all the men of war going around the city once. Thus shall you do for six days. Seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, then all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, everyone straight before him.” So 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 trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.” And he said to the people, “Go forward. March around the city and let the armed men pass on before the ark of the LORD.”
And just as Joshua had commanded the people, the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the LORD went forward, blowing the trumpets, with the ark of the covenant of the LORD following them. The armed men were walking before the priests who were blowing the trumpets, and the rear guard was walking after the ark, while the trumpets blew continually. But Joshua commanded the people, “You shall not shout or make your voice heard, neither shall any word go out of your mouth, until the day I tell you to shout. Then you shall shout.” So he caused the ark of the LORD to circle the city, going about it once. And they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.
Then Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. And the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD walked on, and they blew the trumpets continually. And the armed men were walking before them, and the rear guard was walking after the ark of the LORD, while the trumpets blew continually. And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days.
On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the LORD has given you the city. And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.” So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword.
But to the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her, as you swore to her.” So the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and mother and brothers and all who belonged to her. And they brought all her relatives and put them outside the camp of Israel. And they burned the city with fire, and everything in it. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. But Rahab the prostitute and her father’s household and all who belonged to her, Joshua saved alive. And she has lived in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the LORD be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.
“At the cost of his firstborn shall he
lay its foundation,
and at the cost of his youngest son
shall he set up its gates.”
So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.
Joshua 6 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The Canaanites considered Jericho invincible. Built thousands of years before Joshua, it was one of the oldest cities of the world and a fortress. The walls stood 25 feet high and were 20 feet thick. When it states in the opening of Joshua 6 the city was ‘tightly shut up’ it would have been impenetrable from the enemy. Soldiers stood on the top of the walls and could see literally for miles of any attacks coming.
This was the city God first called the Israelite’s to conquer. This was the city God told them He had already delivered it into their hands. The battle plan laid out by God was most unusual with the marching around the city in silence each day until the seventh where they would march 7 times and then break their silence with a shout of victory.
Consider that from the reports Rahab had given the 2 spies of how everyone was in fear of the Israelite’s, how the people’s hearts would have lost hope. Think about how when word was carried to the surrounding kings the entire mass of Israelite’s had crossed the Jordan on dry ground, chapter 5 speaks of how “their hearts melted and no longer had courage…” It’s not hard to imagine how God’s battle plan would have been unnerving to the people living in Jericho. Sure they may have taunted them from the top of the walls at the beginning but somehow believe the Holy fear of God Almighty was pressing in upon them; almost suffocating.
But there was something far deeper at work. Yes, the Lord used this to thwart the will of the people of Jericho and stop them in their tracks with fear. But there was a tremendous thing happening within the Israelite’s. God was making it undeniably clear this battle was his, not theirs. They had to depend in faith of the instructions given and follow through.
I lay before you the Jericho Challenge. Where is God calling you beyond all reason? What is He asking of you that makes no sense? How is He instructing you to follow His instructions? Where possibly is He asking you to move in ‘silence’ until He tells you to shout in victory and claim the ground He’s given?
- Who is your Jericho?
- Where is your Jericho?
The beauty of this passage is God very specifically told Joshua He had already given, delivered Jericho into his hands even before the battle started. The enemy was already defeated! What confidence must have welled up within Joshua. People – move toward the win of what God has called of you. Live in confidence that through your prayers and intercession God is at work beyond what is reasonable. Know beyond a shadow of a doubt He has overcome the enemy.
Claim it. Believe it. Shout from the depths of your heart of His victory!
Joshua 6 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
God’s promises are already complete, even before they happen. That is how we need to view His promises in our lives. God can speak in the past tense about so many things because He is faithful. As far as Jericho went, the strategy was crazy. From a military perspective, it was foolish. Outside of God’s words, no army commander who would have believed Joshua’s strategy could achieve victory.
But they had faith, and God’s people were victorious.
A fascinating part of this story for me is that modern archeology has confirmed the fall of Jericho. In fact, these digs may explain how Rahab and her household were spared.
According to Bible Archeology, at the north end of the wall of Jericho, archaeologists made some astounding discoveries that seem to relate to Rahab.
A dig in the early 1900s discovered that a northern wall of the lower city did not fall as the others did. The mudbrick wall was still standing 8 feet high, and there were houses built against that particular wall. In other words, a window on that wall would have provided an easy escape from Jericho as it was only a short distance to the Judean wilderness (the place where the spies were hidden for 3 days).
It is very possible that Rahab’s house was located against this wall and the fact that it was still standing thousands of years later indicates that God preserved that particular wall in order for Rahab and her family to get out!