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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 6

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-5

Joshua - Chapter 6

Plan to Conquer Jericho, vs. 1-5

There is no natural break between Joshua, chapters 5 and 6; the scene continues to be Joshua in the presence of the Lord, the Captain of the host. The chapter opens with a statement of the condition of Jericho.

It is closed and guarded, with no one leaving or entering. The inhabitants are greatly afraid, first because of the inexplicable escape of the spies who had got into the city, then their observation of the mighty miracle at the Jordan, when the Lord stopped the flow of the waters. The Lord now tells Joshua that Jericho will be given to him, proceeding to explain how it will be done.

Though Joshua was puzzled how he would assault it successfully, the Lord had for him a very simple plan, which required only trust in the Lord and obedience on their part. Once each day for six days the men are to march around the walls of Jericho, followed by the ark of the covenant, borne by the priests and seven more priests with rams’ horn trumpets.

On the seventh day they were to encompass the walls seven times, the priest blowing the trumpets. At the end of the seventh round the priest were to sound a loud blast of the trumpets and the people were to shout. Then the walls will fall down flat, so that the men can go straight up into the city of Jericho.

This plan left no room for doubt, and must be carried out implicitly, for it is the Lord who will have the victory, (Acts 10:20).

Verses 6-11

Six Days Marching Around, vs. 6-11

These verses explain how Joshua gave the Lord’s command to the priests and the people, and how they willingly complied with it.

In the vanguard were the armed soldiers, followed by the seven priests blowing the trumpets, leading the ark, which was the representa­tion of the Lord among them.

Finally came the rearward, or the rear-guard. The only noise to be heard was to be the mournful notes of the rams’ horns. Not a sound was to be uttered by the people, not even any conversation.

Thus it was to be until the day they were commanded by Joshua to shout, and then they could shout their loudest. These people belonged to the Lord and this orderliness and discipline would well become them as His people.

They seem to have obeyed the command completely, for the success of the plan depended on their faithfulness, (John 2:4).

Verses 12-20

Plan Effected, vs. 12-20

The maneuvering of the Israelites around Jericho surely must have affected the besieged inhabitants psychologically.

It was a strange procession which proceeded around their city. Probably they thought they were about to be attacked, but there was no foray against them. And there was no noise except the trumpet tones.

Each morning this exercise was repeated for six days exactly as before, so that at last, on the seventh day, the enemy must have been beside himself with dread and fear of this inexplicable thing.

Especially must they have anticipated the climax, when on this seventh day, the march did not stop after the first round, but continued on and on through seven rounds.

This doubtless took several hours, at the end of which Joshua gave the command and those thousands of silent lungs burst out with a mighty ringing shout. The walls fell down flat, which some commentators think means the stones were so scattered, or sunk into the ground, that there was no obstacle to the Israelites easy entry to the city.

The Lord had instructed Joshua to issue a ban against the city. All its wealth was to come into the Lord’s treasury, and the people were warned not to take anything for themselves lest it bring a curse on the person guilty and on the camp of Israel.

The first belonged to the Lord, and to take it privately would be robbing God, (2 Corinthians 8:5). Only Rahab and her family were to be spared.

Verses 21-25

Rehab Saved, vs. 21-25

The Lord’s ban on the city of Jericho was total. Every person in the city was put to death and all the cattle and beasts destroyed.

This seems heartless and cruel, but it is typical of the judgment which must come upon the earth in the end of time in order that it may be renovated and made over a fit place for the Lord’s people to dwell.

The Lord had been longsuffering with the "iniquity of the Amorites" (Genesis 15:16), but it was now "full" and judgment must fall. At some future time the conditions will be ripe for the similar judgment of the present world.

The two young men, who had been befriended by Rahab, were sent to bring her and her relatives out of the house. Rahab must have been a good evangelist, for she had a house full of kinfolk They were carried outside the camp of Israel where they must remain for a period of purification according to the law. Jericho was burned with fire, only the gold, silver, and vessels of brass and iron being saved to be put in the treasury of the Lord. Verse 25 shows that the Book of Joshua was written by a contemporary of the events, for Rahab was still living among the Israelites when it was written.

She married a prince of the tribe of Judah, Salmon, and was the mother of Boaz, the husband of Ruth, (Ruth 4:21; Matthew 1:5). Tradition says that Salmon was one of the two spies who was sheltered by Rahab in Jericho.

Verses 26-27

Jericho Cursed, vs. 26-27

Joshua’s adjuration was a solemn warning that the city of Jericho was never again to be restored as a walled community, on penalty that whoever should defy the Lord’s curse would lay its foundation in the loss of his firstborn son and raise the gates in the death of his youngest.

Some commentators think the implication is that all sons of the builder would perish during the course of its building. While Jericho had inhabitants very soon after the Israelites settled in the land it was not refortified and walled until the time of King Ahab, when a man, Hiel the Bethelite, ignored the adjuration, built the city walls and suffered the penalty (see 1 Kings 16:34).

The success of Israel against Jericho, under Joshua’s captaincy, further enhanced his prestige before the people. His fame also spread throughout the country still facing defeat at the hands of Israel and their God, (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Many lessons may be gleaned from this chapter: 1) God has a plan by which His work is to be done, and success will come to those who abide by it; 2) God’s plan is to be followed, even though it may seem logical, and right to men to do it some other way; 3) the Lord’s vanquishment of His enemies will ultimately be final and complete; 4) those who have entrusted themselves to the Lord will surely be deliv­ered, even in perilous times; 5) God’s warnings are not to be flouted, for to do so will bring down on the head of the violator His wrath.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Joshua 6". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/joshua-6.html. 1985.
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