Joshua 5:13 - 6:27

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

THE CONQUEST OF JERICHO

INTRODUCTION:

 

In Joshua 1:1-5:12 we have seen the invasion of Canaan.

 

In chapter 1 we saw Joshua assume the leadership of the nation of Israel following the death of Moses as the Israelites were encamped east of the Jordan River.

 

In chapter 2 we saw the two spies being sent to spy out Jericho and their meeting with Rahab.

 

In chapter 3 we saw the miracle of the 2,500,000 Israelites crossing the Jordan River at flood stage on dry land with their flocks, herds, and possessions.

 

In chapter 4, we saw two memorials being erected as a reminder of what the LORD had done in bringing the Israelites into the land of Canaan.

 

In 5:1-12 we saw the renewal of circumcision, the celebration of the passover, and the appropriation of the land’s produce.

 

At the end of chapter 5 we see the Divine Commander.

 

In chapters 6-8 we see the central campaign which consisted of the conquest of Jericho, the defeat at Ai, and the victory at Ai.

 

In Joshua 5:13 Joshua 12:24 , we will be looking at the conquest of Canaan. There is the introduction of the Divine Commander in chapter 5. This is followed by the central campaign in which Jericho and Ai are conquered. It also includes the southern and the northern campaigns and extends through chapter 12.

 

At the end of chapter 5, Joshua meets the Divine Commander.

We see –

    I.     THE INTRODUCTION OF THE DIVINE COMMANDER – 5:13-15

 

Joshua 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by [i.e. near] Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him [i.e. opposite him] with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?

 

Joshua was alone and undoubtedly wondering how Israel was going to destroy this formidable city, which, by this time, was certainly prepared for an attack.

 

The drawn sword of this individual shows that He was ready for battle.

 

Joshua 5:14 And he [i.e. the man who had his sword drawn in his hand] said, Nay [i.e. No]; but as captain [i.e. As Commander] of the host [i.e. of the army] of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

 

The LORD’S army was not just Israel. It included many angels.

 

The fact that Joshua was permitted to worship this Commander of the LORD’s army indicates that it was the LORD Himself, a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ.

 

Joshua’s act of worshiping the Divine Commander as well as his statement, What saith my lord unto his servant?, indicates that Joshua recognized this Divine Commander as being God Himself.

 

Joshua 5:15 And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

 

It is a reminder of Moses’ experience on Mount Sinai when the Lord appeared to him at the burning bush.

 

Exodus 3:1-61 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. 2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4 And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. 5 And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. 6 Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

 

Back to Joshua 5:15

Joshua needed this experience in order to realize that the battle was not really his. It was the LORD’S battle. The Lord was in charge.

 

By removing his sandals, Joshua acknowledged that this battle was the LORD’S and that he was nothing more than the LORD’S servant.

 

As we move on to chapter 6, we see the conquest of Jericho. The Divine Commander is still speaking with Joshua in chapter 6, giving instructions for the conquest of Jericho.

We note –

    I.     THE STRATEGY OF THE CONQUEST OF JERICHO – 6:1-7

 

Joshua 6:1 Now Jericho was straitly [i.e. tightly, securely] shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

 

Joshua 6:2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given [i.e. “I have delivered.” This was spoken in advance of its actual occurrence because it was so certain of fulfillment. Victory was guaranteed.] (I have given) into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour [i.e. and the valiant warriors].

 

Note that in Joshua 5:14 , the Captain of the LORD’S host. Here it is the LORD Himself Who is speaking to Joshua. It suggests that the Captain of the LORD’S host is the LORD Himself.

 

Joshua 6:3 And ye shall compass [i.e. march around] the city, all ye men of war [i.e. the warriors only, not the entire populace of Israel], and go round about [i.e. you shall go all around] the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.

 

How many men of war do you suppose there were? The text does not give the number, but note that the men of war in Numbers 1:45-46 who were able to go forth to war were 603,550. Of course, all these except Joshua and Caleb died in the wilderness; but why would the number be appreciably different. 600,000 men of war marching around the city of Jericho would be frightening to the inhabitants of Jericho.

 

Joshua 6:4 And seven priests shall bear [i.e. carry] before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass [i.e. march around] the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

 

In the Bible the number seven often symbolizes completeness or perfection. There were seven priests, seven trumpets, seven days, seven circuits of the wall on the seventh day. Though God’s plan of action may have seemed foolish to men it was the perfect scheme for this battle (Bible Knowledge Commentary).

 

Joshua 6:5 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 [600,000 men, all shouting at the same time would make a lot of noise]; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him [i.e. straight ahead of him].

 

Joshua 6:6 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 the LORD.

 

Joshua 6:7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass [i.e. proceed and march around] the city, and let him that is armed pass on [i.e. advance] before the ark of the LORD.

Next, we note –

  II.     THE SEQUENCE OF THE CONQUEST OF JERICHO – 6:8-21

 

Joshua 6:8 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 [i.e. advanced] before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.

 

Joshua 6:9 And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rereward [i.e. pronounced rear ward = the rear guard] came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.

 

Joshua 6:10 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 [i.e. until the day that I tell you to shout]; then shall ye shout.

 

Joshua 6:11 So the ark of the LORD compassed [i.e. circled] the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.

 

According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, the city of Jericho covered only about 8 or 9 acres. This would only require about a half mile of walking to go around it. It wouldn’t take too long for the Israelite army to march around it. We have no idea how wide the ranks might have been.

 

 

Joshua 6:12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.

 

Joshua 6:13 And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward [i.e. but the rear guard] came after the ark of the LORD, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.

 

Joshua 6:14 And the second day they compassed [i.e. marched around] the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.

 

Joshua 6:15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed [i.e. marched around] the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed [i.e. marched around] the city seven times.

 

Joshua 6:16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.

 

Joshua 6:17 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.

 

Joshua 6:18 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from [i.e. keep yourselves away from, abstain 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 [i.e. bring trouble on it].

 

Joshua 6:19 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.

 

The fact that the city of Jericho was accursed means that the city and everything in it was to be devoted to God. The idea is that the city’s contents, including all the people except Rahab and her family, were to be given over to the Lord by destroying them. The silver, gold, and vessels of brass and iron were to be brought into the treasury of the LORD. No loot was to be taken by the people.

 

Is there anything unclear about this instruction? No, there is not.

 

Joshua 6:20 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 [i.e. straight ahead, straight in front of him], and they took the city.

 

Joshua 6:21 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.

Finally, we note –

 III.     THE SEQUEL TO THE CONQUEST OF JERICHO – 6:22-27

 

Joshua 6:22 But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence [i.e. bring out from there] the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her.

 

Joshua 6:23 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 [i.e. left them outside] the camp of Israel.

 

Joshua 6:24 And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein [i.e. all that was in it]: 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.

 

Joshua 6:25 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.

 

We find Rahab mentioned again in the New Testament. I think you’ll find it interesting. –

Matthew 1:5-65 And Salmon begat Booz [i.e. Boaz] of Rachab [i.e. Rahab]; and Booz [i.e. Boaz] begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; 6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias [i.e. Uriah].

 

Inasmuch as the fall of Jericho would have been in approximately 1405 B.C. and the birth of David would have been in about 1080 B.C., about 325 years after the fall of Jericho, there may be some gaps in this genealogy. Only four generations are listed from Salmon to David. This would be an average of over 81 years per generation.

 

Joshua 6:26 And Joshua adjured them [i.e. charged them, made them swear an oath] 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 firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.

 

This prohibition was violated about 500 years later during the days of King Ahab. Hiel, the Bethelite, attempted to rebuild Jerecho’s walls, but it cost him the lives of his two sons Abiram and Segub.

 

I Kings 16:30-3430 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. 31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. 32 And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him. 34 In his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in [i.e. at the cost of, with the loss of] Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in [i.e. at the cost of, with the loss of] his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun.

 

Joshua 6:27 So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised [i.e. spread] throughout all the country.

 

Once again, it seems that the Captain of the LORD’S is the LORD Himself, i.e. Jehovah Himself.