Jericho Shut Up.
1. Now Jericho was straitly shut up—This
verse is a parenthesis introduced to prepare the way for the directions
given by the Captain of the Lord's host.
2. See, I have given into thine hand
Jericho—The language intimates that a purpose already formed
was about to be carried into immediate execution; and that, although
the king and inhabitants of Jericho were fierce and experienced
warriors, who would make a stout and determined resistance, the Lord
promised a certain and easy victory over them.
3-5. ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war.
… Thus shalt thou do six days, &c.—Directions are
here given as to the mode of procedure. Hebrew, "horns of
jubilee"; that is, the bent or crooked trumpets with which the jubilee
was proclaimed. It is probable that the horns of this animal were used
at first; and that afterwards, when metallic trumpets were introduced,
the primitive name, as well as form of them, was traditionally
continued. The design of this whole proceeding was obviously to impress
the Canaanites with a sense of the divine omnipotence, to teach the
Israelites a memorable lesson of faith and confidence in God's
promises, and to inspire sentiments of respect and reverence for the
ark as the symbol of His presence. The length of time during which
those circuits were made tended the more intensely to arrest the
attention, and to deepen the impressions, both of the Israelites and
the enemy. The number seven was among the Israelites the symbolic seal
of the covenant between God and their nation [Keil, Hengstenberg].
6, 7. Joshua … called the
priests—The pious leader, whatever military preparations he
had made, surrendered all his own views, at once and unreservedly, to
the declared will of God.
The City Compassed Six Days.
8-11. the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets
… passed on before the Lord—before the ark, called "the
ark of the covenant," for it contained the tables on which the covenant
was inscribed. The procession was made in deep and solemn silence,
conforming to the instructions given to the people by their leader at
the outset, that they were to refrain from all acclamation and noise of
any kind until he should give them a signal. It must have been a
strange sight; no mound was raised, no sword drawn, no engine planted,
no pioneers undermining—here were armed men, but no stroke given;
they must walk and not fight. Doubtless the people of Jericho made
themselves merry with the spectacle [Bishop
12-14. Joshua rose early in the morning, and the
priests took up the ark of the Lord—The second day's
procession seems to have taken place in the morning. In all other
respects, down even to the smallest details, the arrangements of the
first day continued to be the rule followed on the other six.
15. on the seventh day, that they rose early about
the dawning of the day, and compassed the city … seven
times—on account of the seven circuits they had to make that
day. It is evident, however, that the militia only of the Israelites
had been called to the march—for it is inconceivable that two
millions of people could have gone so frequently round the city in a
16. it came to pass at the seventh time, …
Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the
city—This delay brought out their faith and obedience in so
remarkable a manner, that it is celebrated by the apostle (Heb 11:30).
17-19. And the city shall be
accursed—(See on Le 27:28). The
cherem, or "anathema," was a devotion to utter destruction
(De 7:2; 20:17; 1Sa 15:3). When such a ban was pronounced against
a hostile city, the men and animals were killed—no booty was
allowed to be taken. The idols and all the precious ornaments on them
were to be burned (De 7:25; compare 1Ch 14:12). Everything was either to be destroyed
or consecrated to the sanctuary. Joshua pronounced this ban on Jericho,
a great and wealthy city, evidently by divine direction. The severity
of the doom, accordant with the requirements of a law which was holy,
just, and good, was justified, not only by the fact of its inhabitants
being part of a race who had filled up their iniquities, but by their
resisting the light of the recent astonishing miracle at the Jordan.
Besides, as Jericho seems to have been defended by reinforcements from
all the country (Jos 24:11),
its destruction would paralyze all the rest of the devoted people, and
thus tend to facilitate the conquest of the land; showing, as so
astounding a military miracle did, that it was done, not by man, but by
the power and through the anger, of God.
18. and ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the
accursed thing—Generally they were at liberty to take the
spoil of other cities that were captured (De 2:35;
3:7; Jos 8:27). But this, as
the first fruits of Canaan, was made an exception; nothing was to be
spared but Rahab and those in her house [Jos 6:17]. A violation of these stringent orders
would not only render the guilty persons obnoxious to the curse, but
entail distress and adversity upon all Israel, by provoking the divine
displeasure. These were the instructions given, or repeated (De 13:17;
7:26), previous to the last
act of the siege.
Jos 6:20, 21. The Walls Fall
20, 21. So the people shouted when the priests
blew with the trumpets—Towards the close of the seventh
circuit, the signal was given by Joshua, and on the Israelites' raising
their loud war cry, the walls fell down, doubtless burying multitudes
of the inhabitants in the ruins, while the besiegers, rushing in,
consigned everything animate and inanimate to indiscriminate
destruction (De 20:16, 17). Jewish writers mention it as an
immemorial tradition that the city fell on the Sabbath. It should be
remembered that the Canaanites were incorrigible idolaters, addicted to
the most horrible vices, and that the righteous judgment of God might
sweep them away by the sword, as well as by famine or pestilence. There
was mercy mingled with judgment in employing the sword as the
instrument of punishing the guilty Canaanites, for while it was
directed against one place, time was afforded for others to repent.
Jos 6:22-25. Rahab Is
22, 23. Joshua had said … Go into the
harlot's house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she
hath—It is evident that the town walls were not demolished
universally, at least all at once, for Rahab's house was allowed to
stand until her relatives were rescued according to promise.
23. they brought out all her kindred, and left
them without the camp of Israel—a temporary exclusion, in
order that they might be cleansed from the defilement of their native
idolatries and gradually trained for admission into the society of
24. burned the city … and all …
therein—except the silver, gold, and other metals, which, as
they would not burn, were added to the treasury of the sanctuary.
dwelleth in Israel unto this day—a
proof that this book was written not long after the events related.
Jos 6:26, 27. The Rebuilder
of Jericho Cursed.
26. Joshua adjured them at that
time—that is, imposed upon his countrymen a solemn oath,
binding on themselves as well as their posterity, that they would never
rebuild that city. Its destruction was designed by God to be a
permanent memorial of His abhorrence of idolatry and its attendant
Cursed be the man … that riseth up and
buildeth this city Jericho—that is, makes the daring attempt
he shall lay the foundation thereof in his
first-born, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of
it—shall become childless—the first beginning being
marked by the death of his oldest son, and his only surviving child
dying at the time of its completion. This curse was accomplished five
hundred fifty years after its denunciation (see on 1Ki 16:34).