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Bible Commentaries

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

Joshua 6

 

 

Verses 1-14

The Siege of Jericho

v. 1. Now Jericho was straitly shut up, not only strongly fortified, but also guarded with all strictness, because of the children of Israel; none went" out and none came in. This remark is inserted by the historian by way of explanation, before he continues to describe the meeting between Joshua and the Prince of the heavenly host.

v. 2. And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho and the king thereof and the mighty men of valor. This was the divine plan and intention, assuring the immediate help of God, the overthrow of the city and its staunch and mighty defenders by a miracle.

v. 3. And ye shall compass the city, surround it completely, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once, march completely around it. Thus shall thou do six days, on each of six successive days, which probably brought the time around once more to the eve of the Sabbath.

v. 4. And seven priests shall bear before the ark, which was thus conspicuous in the line of march, seven trumpets of rams' horns, very large instruments, with a deep-toned, terrifying sound, especially when the notes were sustained; and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. The repetition on the several days of this procession about the city could only be intended to exercise Israel in unconditional faith and patient trust in the power and help of God, and to impress deeply upon the people the fact that it was the almighty power and faithfulness of Jehovah alone which gave into their hands this fortified city, one of the strongest in the land. The last day was surely the strongest test of their faith, for the besieged were probably not sparing in their jeering cries of contempt for a great host that ventured no attack, but continued on its endless procession around the city.

v. 5. and it shall come to pass that, when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, in a long-sustained, single note, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout, the cry of an army confident of victory; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, topple over and lie prostrate, and the people shall ascend up, the ranks turning to face the city, every man straight before him, in perfect order of attack, without turning either to the right or to the left. This was the order of the Prince of the angelic host as it was imparted to Joshua at that wonderful meeting.

v. 6. And Joshua, the son of Nun, having received this command from the Lord, called the priests and said unto them, Take up the Ark of the Covenant, to carry it in the intended procession, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord.

v. 7. And he said unto the people, the army that was actively engaged in this siege. Pass on and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the Lord, the host of the two and one half tribes probably passing on in review, to be followed afterward by the host of the other tribes.

v. 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, before the Ark of the Covenant, which was the visible sign of God's presence among His people, and blew with the trumpets; and the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord followed them.

v. 9. And the armed men, that is, the first division of the army, went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rearward, the last division of the army forming the rear-guard, came after the ark, probably in the same manner as on the march through the desert, the priests going on and blowing with the trumpets, sounding without intermission.

v. 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. The grim and silent procession, moving forward without a sound but the tramping of marching feet and the blasts from the priests' horns, must have made the impression of unwavering determination.

v. 11. So the ark of the Lord, the most conspicuous feature in the procession, compassed the city, going about it once; and they came into the camp and lodged in the camp, they spent the night there.

v. 12. And Joshua rose early in the morning, on the second day, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord.

v. 13. And seven priests, bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord, went on continually and blew with the trumpets, without intermission; and the armed men went before them; but the rearward came after the ark of the Lord, the priests going on and blowing with the trumpets.

v. 14. And the second day they compassed the city once and returned into the camp; so they did six days, observing the same procedure every day. It was a strange siege and one which tested the faith of the children of Israel strongly. For it was against all human reason and prudence for the army to lay aside all weapons and, instead, to march around the city with the sound of trumpets. But they followed the command of the Lord strictly and literally. It is a mark of true faith for a person to set reason aside, simply believe the Word, and trust the Lord in everything.


Verses 15-27

Rahab Saved at the Overthrow of Jericho

v. 15. And it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early about the dawning of the day, when the first indications of the new day were visible in the east, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times; only on that day they compassed the city seven times, the greater part of the day, probably till near sundown, being occupied with this marching.

v. 16. And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, or, the priests had sounded the blast on the trumpets, for the description in the Hebrew is more vivid than in the translation, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city.

v. 17. And the city shall be accursed, devoted to the Lord as under His curse and condemnation, 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, Jos_2:4.

v. 18. And ye, in any wise, by all means, keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, become polluted with the curse which God had pronounced upon the city and all it contained, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it, since the transgression of a single person would be charged to the entire people. "A devoted thing, Num_21:2-3; Deu_7:2; Deu_20:17, was that which had been doomed to the Lord, which no man might employ for his own use, but which was either put away and destroyed utterly to the honor of God, as the men and beasts in this passage, a propitiation, as it were, to the divine justice, that this might be glorified; or it was consecrated to the special service of God, as here all precious and useful metals. " (Starke. )

v. 19. But all the silver and gold and vessels of brass and iron are consecrated unto the Lord, literally, "holiness are they to the Lord," and therefore not to be taken and used for profane purposes; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.

v. 20. So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets, at the long blast after the seventh trip around the city on this last day. And it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, as commanded by the Lord,

v. 5. that the wall fell down flat, toppled over and crumbled to pieces, so that the people, the attacking soldiers, went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city, by an obvious, almighty interposition of the Lord.

v. 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, for it was the Lord's war of extermination.

v. 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, Jos_2:14.

v. 23. Arid the young men that were spies, who had performed the work of spies in the instance referred to, went in and brought out Rahab, her house having evidently not fallen, although it was built against the city wall, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, Jos_2:13, and left them without the camp of Israel, until they should have performed all the rites which were necessary to admit them into the congregation of the Lord.

v. 24. And they, the soldiers of Israel, burned 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. Thus was Jericho offered up as a first-fruits of the conquered land, because "this was the first city of Canaan which Jehovah had given into the hands of His people. This city, therefore, Israel should offer to the Lord, and even consecrate to Him as devoted, for a sign or token that they received the whole land from His hand, as a loan of what had fallen to Him, and not what they could obtain for themselves. "

v. 25. And Joshua saved Rahab, the harlot, alive, and her fathers household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day, being alive and considered a member of the people of the Lord at the time when this account was written, Cf Mat_1:5; because she hid the messengers which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. It was a reward of her act of faith.

v. 26. And Joshua adjured them, the soldiers of Israel, at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho; he shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, lose his oldest son at that time, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it, he being taken by death at the completion of the building of the city. This threat was literally fulfilled, as the history of Israel shows, 1Ki_16:34.

v. 27. So the Lord was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country, his military ability as well as his success under the guidance of Jehovah. The overthrow of Jericho showed plainly that Jehovah was battling for His people, for the walls of the city fell by faith, Heb_11:30. This faith is the victory which overcomes the world. But in the fall of Jericho we also see a type of the final overthrow of all the powers of the world, death, and hell. At the end of the world the Lord will come with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, 1Th_4:16, and the whole world will fall down in ruins as He proceeds to carry out His judgment upon His enemies.

 


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Bibliography Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Joshua 6:4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/joshua-6.html. 1921-23.

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