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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Joshua 6

 

 

Verses 1-27


The Capture of Jerich

This chapter describes the first and perhaps most decisive action in the war. The impression it produced (Joshua 6:27) no doubt did much to decide the fortunes of subsequent campaigns. The strange method adopted, by divine injunction, for the reduction of the city, with its jubilee trumpets and its elaborate symbolic use of the number seven, was clearly intended to leave no doubt that the enterprise from first to last was in higher hands than Joshua's. Various attempts have been made to explain the fall of Jericho by natural causes. For instance, it has been suggested that the demonstration of the army in force round the city was intended to distract the attention of the enemy from the sapping and mining operations which were being pushed forward, and which culminated in its fall on the seventh day. Again, an earthquake has been suggested; but if such took place, it was providentially timed, and was capable of prediction by Joshua. The narrator regards the event as entirely miraculous, a direct intervention of Jehovah on behalf of His people. Such also was the tradition in Israel, and it is accepted by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 11:30): 'by faith the walls of Jericho fell down.'

3. Ye shall compass] The injunction was calculated to produce derision among the enemy, and so would be a discipline of humiliation for the Israelites. It would also put the Canaanites off their guard and hand them over an easy prey at the critical moment.

4. Rams' horns] rather, 'trumpets of jubilee' or 'loud trumpets.' It is the same word yobel used in Leviticus 25:9. Seven is a sacred number among the Semites, and in the Bible signifies 'perfection.' The symbolism is very emphatic here.

9. Rereward] RV 'rearward'=rearguard. Going on, and blowing] blowing continually.

17. Accursed] Heb. Kherem='devoted,' i.e. irredeemably devoted (Leviticus 27:28-29) to the Lord. LXX has 'anathema,' the word which St. Paul uses in Romans 9:3 and elsewhere. It appears to denote a form of consecration, but that invariably with a view to destruction. In Leviticus 27:21, Leviticus 27:28-29 devoted things are excluded from redemption. In Joshua 6:21 the word is translated in AV 'utterly destroyed.'

20. The wall fell down flat] see note at beginning of chapter. This was not the first of Israel's sieges. They had already taken the cities of the Amorites, including Heshbon, which was strongly fortified (Numbers 21).

23. And left them] lit. 'and. caused them to rest.'

25. She dwelleth in Israel even unto this day] Unless Rahab's descendants are meant, this must be the touch of a contemporary chronicler (cp. Joshua 5:1 and Joshua 6:26). On Rahab and her incorporation into Israel, see note at beginning of Joshua 2. Apparently she had long been prepared (see on Joshua 2:10) to adopt Israel's religion, and thus the greatest obstacle was removed. Yet her case, like that of Christ's other foreign ancestress Ruth, remains exceptional, and prefigures, as it were, the world-wide extent of the Messiah's kinship with man.

26. This 'inspired curse' of Joshua was fulfilled, after the lapse of some six centuries, in the reign of Ahab (1 Kings 16:34). Hiel the Bethelite incurred it, being the first, apparently, to attempt a complete rebuilding and fortification of the accursed city, although informal settlements seem to have been there from the first. It is mentioned, e.g. in Joshua 18:21, as one of ten 'cities' of Benjamin, and again in the time of David (2 Samuel 10:5). Here we have another note of comparatively early date. If the writer of this passage had known of the fulfilment, he would surely have recorded it.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/joshua-6.html. 1909.

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Saturday, December 7th, 2019
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