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1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
The city of Jericho stood five miles to the west of Jordan and 800 feet below sea level.
Its name means "place of fragrance" or "city of the moon". It is called "the city of Palm trees" in Deut. 34:3.
Although covering an area of only six acres, the city presented an imposing challenge to any prospective aggressor. Its walls reared skyward to a height of thirty feet. Surrounded by a wall twelve feet thick, there was an additional outer wall six feet thick. The overthrow of such a city would appear an almost insuperable objective.
Ancient trade routes from the east crossed Jordan near Jericho, then branched northward, southward and westward. Any invading force holding Jericho could effectively divide the north from the south, and close off further advances from the east. And this was precisely the operation the Israelites were about to mount.
With the allocation of cantonments to the tribes of Israel, Jericho came into the province of Benjamin (18:21). Because of the presence of the Israelites on the western side of Jordan,
"Jericho was shut up and barred" (Roth.). The inhabitants were alarmed and fearful.
Before the Israelites had made any move against them, the people of Jericho had adopted a course of action appropriate to a city under siege. The extent of their anxiety must have been considerable.
2 And Yahweh said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
Although it is clear the angel was speaking, he is termed "Yahweh". This is a common scriptural idiom, as such an angel speaks in the Name of Yahweh and on behalf of the One Eternal Spirit (cp. Gen.18:1-13; Ex. 3:1-4; 23:20-23, etc.).
Yahweh would deliver the city into the hands of the Israelites. Joshua was to manifest
an unshakeable faith that this would be accomplished. Success would be certain, if God's word was heeded and obeyed.
3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
Joshua was told that the army of Israel was to "make" a "circuit" around the city of Jericho, once daily for six days (J.B.) From the time the army began to compass the walls it would have taken less than one hour to complete the circuit.
The six days typify the six one-thousand-year "days" during which the saints of God have been engaged in the warfare of faith. "Six" is also the symbolic number to represent flesh (Gen. 1:26, 31; Rev.13:18).
4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
On the seventh one-thousand-year "day" they will be given the victory, which will become a "sabbath" rest of 1,000 literal years. Israel were being taught that it would take six days to bring down the power of flesh in its opposition to the will of God. As a man of considerable military experience and ability, Joshua might well have been shocked at such instructions. He could have asked: "Why should we only march, and not fight? Why extend the campaign over seven days? Why the need to keep silence, shouting only on the seventh day?"
He could have asked these and many other questions. But he did not do so. He received his strange orders in silence. Thoughtfully, he cogitated upon the words he had heard. Unusual
instructions these may have been; but they came from Yahweh, and would therefore be accepted without question by this man of faith. In every generation all who would be pleasing to God must do likewise. Faith must be the dominant factor in the life of all God's servants.
5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
6 And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of Yahweh.
Yahweh could in an instant flatten the defensive wall, but He chose to magnify his name to the nations by a typical victory over flesh. He also gave precise instructions to Israel which had to be followed in faith to overcome. Their active compliant participation was essential if Yahweh was to deliver them.
The number "seven" (Heb. shibah) has been derived from a word meaning "to swear an oath" (Heb. shaba). The root word occurs in such passages as Gen. 21:31; Ps. 110:4; 132:11, etc. Seven is also the prime covenant number.
As seven trumpets were associated with the bringing-down of the walls of Jericho, so in the Apocalypse seven trumpets are associated with the destruction of latter-day Babylon.
Each of the seven priests were to carry a Shofar trumpet, such as was commonly used for calling the nation to war and to announce the year of Jubilee (Judg. 3:27; Lev. 25:9). Significantly, the Shofar is referred to prophetically in relation to the future restoration of Israel, which will be effected after the destruction of latter-day Babylon (Isa.27:13).
Joshua was instructed that the ritual of marching around Jericho each day was to be performed for six consecutive days, and on the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times. This injunction was astonishing, for it completely contravened the accepted
laws concerning the sabbath! How could Israel follow this directive, whilst at the same time preserve the Mosaic ordinances concerning the sabbath day? It was not possible to do both (cp. Ex. 20:9-11).
What was to be learned from this apparent paradox? The Israelites were being shown quite clearly that their hope of eternal salvation could not be attained through the Law of Moses. They were to understand that Yahweh would provide some other way quite apart from the Law. The fact that they were to circle the city on seven successive days and then seven times on the seventh day, stressed the key to attaining redemption: "complete" dedication to Yahweh upon the basis of the Abrahamic "covenant".
If such dedication is consistently manifested by Believers, they must ultimately gain the victory: the forces of sin will be defeated; and the cities of the gentiles, which represent their
power and their systems, will likewise be utterly demolished; and Christ and his victorious brethren will reign supreme and have "dominion" over all the earth (2 Cor. 10:4-5; Rev. 16:19; 18:2; Gen. 1:26;Ps. 8:6; Heb. 1:7-10).
On completion of the seventh circuit on the last day, the priests were to "make a long blast" with the ram's horn. Such direction would remind the Israelites of their earlier assembly at the foot of Sinai, when the piercing sound of a similar trumpet signalled the awesome presence
of Yahweh (Ex. 19:16).
At that point, all the people were to "shout". This would be an act of triumph; a gesture indicating that a crushing victory had been gained. This was to be done in faith, for they were to give such an exultant shout before the walls of Jericho came down!
At every step of the events which were to bring Israel to triumph over Jericho, Yahweh demanded from His people only one thing: the exercise of faith. If the people carefully followed Yahweh's instructions, He would at that moment reward their faith.'The wall of the city shall fall down under it", they were assured (Roth.). This statement suggests that the
walls of Jericho would collapse from their foundations. Unquestionably, a miracle would be required to cause this to happen.
When this occurred, the army of Israel was to ''ascend up" against the city, "each man going straight ahead" (J.B.). None were to pause or waver. It was not a moment for indecision. Those who would follow faithfully in the footsteps of Christ must develop this disposition.
In the warfare of faith it is necessary to go "straight ahead".
Yahweh's singular commandment to the Israelites who had stood petrified with fear at the edge of the Red Sea was: "Go forward!" Paul's attitude is worthy of emulation:
"I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. . ." (Phil. 3:14).
Bro John Ullman - Joshua His life an times.
7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the Lord.
8 And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns passed on before the Lord, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of Yahwehfollowed them.
9 And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.
An additional instruction which was of considerable significance had been stressed.
As a means of building up morale prior to combat, no instruction could have been more extraordinary than this. Traditionally, soldiers are sent into battle screaming and shouting. This is a means of fortifying their own courage, and instilling fear into the hearts of the enemy.
An experienced military leader, Joshua may have considered such an order unreasonable. However, he was a man of faith; and his faith far outweighed any fleshly inclinations. He humbly accepted the instruction, and conveyed it to the people. What were they to learn from this command? This was a time for thoughtful meditation on the part of God's people.
"He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction. . . a fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. . ." (Prov. 13:3; 18:7).
Job, when faced with the stark reality of his total dependence upon the power and the goodness of Yahweh, said: "Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. . . " (Job 40:3-4).
The Israelites were not embarking upon a strictly military operation, but a religious one. The walls of Jericho were not to be brought down by the arm of flesh, but through the exercise of faith. Silence was to be maintained "until the day" when victory became a reality (v.10).
Herein is expressed a wonderful type. Throughout the ages, Yahweh's true saints press on towards the kingdom, quietly and patiently, accepting the trials and difficulties which are strewn along the way. But the day will come when their period of probation will come to an end; for their faith will have been proven under trial. In that day the saints will be "joyful" and will "sing aloud " because Yahweh has given them the victory over sin, and over all the forces of gentilism. God's saints shall "shout for joy. . ." (Ps. 149:5; 132:9).
At that time, the beginning of the "seventh" one-thousand-year day, Babylon the great will be destroyed, together with all gentile systems associated therewith. Yahweh will say to His redeemed and immortalised saints:
"Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. . ." Yahweh's "controversy with the nations" will result in the vindication of His saints, and the establishment of His kingdom upon the earth (Rev. 18:6; Jer. 25:31).
Bro John Ullman. Joshua His life and times.
11 So the ark of Yahweh compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.
12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of Yahweh.
13 And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of Yahweh went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of Yahweh, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
It is difficult to comprehend the extent of terror experienced by the people of Jericho. Anticipating a full-scale military operation on the part of the Israelites, the people would have lined the walls on the first day when news came to hand that the army of Israel was heading for the city. Expecting to receive the full fury of a strongly-mounted attack, the people of Jericho would have watched silently, in openmouthed amazement, as the Israelites began to encompass the city.
The Canaanites watched the processional march, noting the order: the armed men, the priests with trumpets, the ark, followed by the rest of the army. The fact that the Israelites did not fight, but kept total silence as they marched in dignified procession, together with the presence of the ark, would have impressed the people of Jericho with one inescapable
conclusion: the Israelites were engaged upon a religious ritual, the ark testifying to the "presence" of Israel's God.
This is quite remarkable, for it provides an example of the "longsuffering" of God (Ex. 34:6; Num. 14:18; Rom. 2:4; 1 Pet. 3:20, etc.). During the six days the people of Jericho had ample time to observe the Israelites, and to reflect upon their own situation.
Theywere granted six days during which time the people of the city could have emulated the faith of Rahab. But they remained stubbornly set in their ways, totally rejecting the longsuffering of Yahweh. Similarly, during six thousand years of human history, mankind has had opportunity to seek the God of Heaven, and submit in all humility to His word and His will. But with an obstinacy similar to that of the people of Jericho the majority of the human race have remained in their sins, reprobate and unrepentant.
Their activities for the first day concluded, the Israelites returned to their camp. What would have been their thoughts as they silently and soberly made their way back to Gilgal? It seemed apparent that they had achieved nothing. Jericho still stood; the people of the city were still entrenched. It seemed nothing had been accomplished to further Israel's cause. This was not so. God's instructions had been obeyed. That was the matter of prime importance at that time.
Day after day for six days it was the same. And the daily lives of God's true saints follow a similar pattern: they struggle onward in the Truth, yet outwardly appearing to achieve little. The great and fearful system of latter-day Babylon remains as powerful and influential as
ever. But those who walk before Yahweh "in spirit and in truth" are developing characters which are moulded by His word. They are increasingly becoming enriched in faith. Thus through God's influence they are being developed, in preparation for the time when He will
consider them worthy to be granted the final and ultimate victory.
Until that triumphant day dawns, God's true saints throughout the six one-thousand-year "days" of human history humbly submit to the will of their God, assured that finally victory will be theirs if they "faint not".
Bro John Ullman - Joshua His Life and Times
14 And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.
15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.
Two significant expressions occur in v.15 in regard to the seventh day. It is recorded that they arose "as the dawn went up" (Lit., Heb.). And it will be at the dawning of the new millenial day that Christ and his glorified brethren will go forth to bring down the forces of latter day Babylon, and shed abroad the "light" of a new era for the world.
It is further stated that they set off from Gilgal "after the same manner". This phrase, rendered from the Hebrew mishpat, literally signifies "a verdict" or "a judgment". Thus, they went forth to pronounce the verdict and bring destructive judgment upon the city and people of Jericho. This day they would understand why they had been told to follow such a strange pattern of activity during the seven-day period. They would learn more fully a wonderful divine principle which men and women of faith down through the ages have learned:
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. . ." (Isa. 55:9).
Throughout the remainder of their military campaigns against the Canaanites, the Israelites would remember not only their victory at Jericho, but the way in which it was attained. With sober clarity, the overriding lesson was set before them: it is Yahweh who gives the victory
- in His own way and in His own time.
The cycle of seven days which resulted in the destruction of Jericho typified all the major military campaigns the Israelites were to fight against the Canaanites.
The seven days also typified the completion of Yahweh's warfare against sin; for, at the end of the seventh one-thousand-year "day" Adamic nature will be finally abolished from the earth and God will become "all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28).
Travelling along the plain, the high walls of Jericho once again came into the view of the Israelites. They approached the city. To the consternation and puzzlement of the inhabitants, instead of making one circuit to which the people of Jericho had become accustomed,
the Israelites now marched around the city seven times.
16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for Yahweh hath given you the city.
"The city shall be devoted, or set apart", said Joshua (A.V. marg., Roth.,J.B.). Which was to say, the city was to be treated as the "firstfruits" of conquest in the land, and that the city should therefore be entirely set apart and devoted to Yahweh (cp. Lev.27:21, 28, 29; Ezek.
17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
There was to be only one exception: Rahab and her family. The reason? She had already set herself apart and devoted herself to Yahweh.
18 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.
[Admin note: The Amplified version is helpful here.... 'The city and everything that is in it shall be under the ban [that is, designated to be destroyed as a form of tribute] to Yahweh; only Rahab the prostitute and all [the people] who are with her in her house shall [be allowed to] live, because she hid and protected the messengers (scouts) whom we sent. 18 But as for you, keep yourselves [away] from the things under the ban [which are to be destroyed], so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban [for personal gain], and put the camp of Israel under the ban (doomed to destruction), and bring disaster upon it.]
The men of Israel were to "beware of the ban" (J.B.), otherwise they, too, would become "devoted" to Yahweh and to destruction. Joshua pointed out that "the camp of Israel" could become "devoted" if this commandment should be disregarded.
19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.
20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
They could not have been prepared for the sight which met their gaze. The ground began to tremble beneath their feet. The eyes of every Israelite were directed towards the walls of Jericho. The ground began to heave. The walls shuddered and swayed. Jagged cracks appeared in the masonry and the walls began to split apart, falling outwards, hitting the earth with a shattering, thunderous roar which drowned the screams of the city's inhabitants. The air was filled with choking dust and fine dry particles of powdered rubble.
Joshua's record bluntly states: "The walls fell down flat". However, in Paul's comment upon that statement, his inspired wording is quite explicit: "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed seven days. . ." (Heb. 11:30). Which is simply another way of saying that the people were required to manifest faith before Yahweh would give them the victory. Such is an unchanging principle in God's dealings with men.
21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.
Rushing forward, the men of Israel unleashed their attack against the defenceless city. What of the people of Jericho? There may be a tendency to experience an emotional pang of sympathy for the wretched inhabitants of the city, whose lives were forfeit.
Sympathy for them would be misdirected. It has been demonstrated that Yahweh allowed them six days in which they might have considered their position. They had declined to repudiate their Canaanitish ways. Doubtless they felt secure within their city walls. Flesh
tends to imagine that its walls of protection are impregnable. But all defences of the flesh will always prove insecure when confronted with the power of Yahweh. Like all men of flesh, the people of Jericho rested their hopes upon unstable "foundations" - literally and
Such action was strictly in conformity with the requirements of the Law (Deut. 7:1-4). Similarly, those who would strive to serve Yahweh as members of the Body of Christ must "destroy" every vestige of gentile influence which could otherwise lead them from
Yahweh. The lesson is clear! In serving Israel's God, there can be no compromise with sin.
It should also be understood that the Canaanites were an evil people. In ordering their destruction Yahweh was demonstrating His judgment against the ungodly.
Before Israel entered the land they had been told: "Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of
these nations Yahweh thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that He may perform the word which Yahweh sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (Deut. 9:5).
So the men of Israel destroyed the people of Jericho "with the edge of the sword" - a symbol for the word of God, which is the basis of all divine judgment (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17; John 12:48).
...Likewise, under the judgments of the Seventh Vial, when Christ and his saints "execute the judgements written" the nations will learn this, because "the cities of the nations" will fall (Ps.149:9; Rev. 16:19).
Bro John Ullman - Joshua His Life and Times.
22 But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot's house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her.
There was to be only one exception: Rahab and her family. The reason? She had already set herself apart and devoted herself to Yahweh.
Before the Israelites commenced the last phase of their warfare against Jericho, Joshua had two men brought into his presence. These were the two spies whom Rahab had protected, at enormous risk to her own life. These two were appointed to deliver Rahab at the appropriate
time. If Yahweh's retribution is exact, how exquisite are His ways for rewarding faithfulness. The very men whom she had preserved were designated to fufil the promise they had made to her.
23 And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel.
Rahab's house was "upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall" (2:15). Which means that when all the walls of Jericho * * fell down flat" there remained one sliver of wall intact! And prominently featured in that section of wall was Rahab's window: and in the window,
for all to see, hung the ''scarlet of her expectation. . .".
In the midst of a situation of such high tension and drama, what a sublime touch this picture adds to the scene. All the men of Israel were able to watch, transfixed, as the walls of the city came crashing down; and then to observe the one small section of wall which remained
upright, unscathed, almost like a pole or stake lifted up - such as that upon which the Son of God died. And they saw the unmistakeable blood-red scarlet in the window.
As all the rest of the walls were brought down by faith, so one narrow section remained intact through faith. Joshua's command: "Bring her out!" was not unlike Christ's call to
Lazarus: "Come forth!" There at Jericho, the scene of such devastation and destruction, deliverance came to Rahab and her family.
Salvation out of the midst of death. An inspiring example of the goodness and mercy of Yahweh. One to sustain men and women of faith throughout history, until the coming of the Lord from heaven. It should not be forgotten that the faith of Rahab ultimately brought about the deliverance of others: "Her father, and her mother, and her brethren. . ." Faith is expansive. A manifestation of individual faith may be disclosed to others, affecting them and drawing them to Yahweh.
However, although Rahab had displayed a wonderful trust in God, neither she nor the members of her family were yet ready for acceptance into "the hope of Israel". The lesson taught at this point was most profound: The two men who brought them down from the house
were told to "set them outside the camp of Israel" (Roth.)· The word is a strong one. It means "to sever or separate".
Among the Israelites, to be sent outside the camp signified a state of uncleanness (Lev. 14:40). Though delivered from Jericho, Rahab and her family were not permitted to enter the camp of Israel because they had not yet been confirmed into covenant-relationship with Yahweh. The males would require to be circumcised, and the entire family appraised
of their newly-discovered responsibilities.
Such principles were deeply respected by the people of Israel at this time (cp. Num. 5:2; 31:19). They would have avoided many pitfalls and tragedies had they continued to remain loyal to the twofold divine principle of separation and dedication.
After a short period, Rahab and her family dwelt among the Israelites. Because of her faith and works she was rewarded. Together with her family, she became "renewed" in "the spirit" of her "mind" through the influence of the Truth (cp. Eph. 4:22-24; Jas. 2:25-26)...Through faith, she became a recipient of the grace of God (Eph. 2:8). And so shall others who display a similar disposition... Rahab will yet benefit even more fully in the future at Christ's coming; for the real "hope" of her "expectation" is yet to be realised.
Bro John Ullman - Joshua His Life and Times.
24 And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord.
25 And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
26 And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before Yahweh, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.
Setting a type for the coming destruction of all gentile power throughout the earth, Jericho was razed to the ground and "burnt" with "fire" - a symbol for divine judgment (Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29,etc.).
The city ceased to exist. And as the Israelites looked with awe upon the extent of Yahweh's judgment upon that place, "Joshua imposed an oath" (Roth.)...And so it was to be.
With terrible fulfilment the curse came upon Hiel, a native of Bethel. Foolishly, he determined to rebuild Jericho in the days of Ahab, more than 600 years after Joshua. The result of his disregard for Joshua's pronouncement proved disastrous (1 Kings16:34). Jericho had been declared a city "devoted" to Yahweh. Any who chose to ignore this declaration would receive swift justice.
To this day, the ruins of the city provide stark testimony to the truth of Joshua's verdict upon it.
27 So Yahweh was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.
As a result of this astonishing victory, it was widely proclaimed throughout the camp of Israel that "Yahweh was with Joshua". The Israelites learned the lesson which they were intended to absorb from the events which occurred at Jericho. All who wish to avoid eternal
destruction must join themselves, willingly and submissively, to the Mighty God of Israel.
Joshua had proven a faithful leader. Thus, "his fame was noised throughout all the country. . .".
Those who earnestly desire to be found worthy of an inheritance in God's kingdom will remain closely associated with the greater Joshua the Lord Jesus Christ - who is able to develop within them a faith which will "overcome the world" (1 John 5:4). In due time he will lead his faithful brethren to a glorious victory over the forces of darkness and sin, and bring them to absolute triumph over all the powers of gentilism. Yet, as at Jericho, the victory will really belong to Yahweh. And His Name will be vindicated above all others throughout the earth