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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 6

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Verse 1


This chapter is the continuation of the former. He which appeared to Joshua in the close of the foregoing chapter, begins in this to give directions, as captain of the Lord's host, how Joshua is to proceed in the reduction of Jericho. Here is the progress of the siege, and the event of it, in the overthrow of Jericho. Joshua pronounceth a curse upon the builder of Jericho, whoever in after ages should attempt it.

Joshua 6:1

If we spiritualize this history we shall find the outlines of it not uninteresting. When God layeth siege to a soul, there is no accommodation for peace. There is no truce in this war. None goeth out, and none cometh in. The sinner makes no overtures to throw down his arms and to surrender. And Jesus must have a complete victory, or the object of salvation is not answered. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 .

Verse 2

Reader! I beg of you to remark with me, that this is the same person spoken of in the preceding chapter, as captain of the Lord's host: for, certainly as there is no interruption in the history from what went before this is the beginning of the discourse, in opening the cause for which the captain of the Lord's host, appeared unto Joshua. I need not, I should hope, remind the Reader, that He which was called the captain of the Lord's host in that chapter, is in this said to be Jehovah. A plain proof that Jesus is Jehovah; One with the Father, over all, God blessed forever. Romans 9:5 . I desire the Reader to observe the Lord's expression, I have given: that is, the thing is as good as done that God appoints. We have a similar expression concerning the intercession of the Lord Jesus for Peter before his fall, which furnisheth, as in this instance, a sweet thought for faith to feed upon. Luke 22:31-32 .

Verses 3-5

This plan of omnipotence so astonishing as it appears to human reason, was evidently intended for the glory of God, and the exercise of the faith of Israel. But as the ark, in this instance as in the former, at the fording of Jordan, formed the principal object, how sweetly when beheld and explained in a gospel sense, doth it set forth the sure victory of God's people, before whom Jesus goes, leading on his army to conquest. The Lord had promised Israel that his people should possess nations, whose cities were great and fenced up to heaven. And here he graciously undertook to raze those walls to the ground before them. Deuteronomy 9:1 .

Verse 6

Every verse, and every circumstance contained in a verse, relating to the reduction and overthrow of Jericho, is important and worthy to be attended to, if we view the whole as undoubtedly it ought to be viewed, with a typical reference to our spiritual conquests, through Jesus, over all the enemies of our salvation. Observe how the campaign opens. It is with the movement of the ark. Yes; if Jesus moves forward all his people are to follow: so the church in the wilderness. Exodus 13:21 . So the church now, in following the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. Revelation 14:4 . Observe also, how the priests are to precede the ark with their trumpets. God's ministers, in all ages of the church, are his heralds, to proclaim the year of the Lord. The jubilee trumpet was certainly a type of the glorious gospel. And do not the servants of Jesus now, sound an alarm in his holy mountain, when they hold up Jesus to the view of the poor sinner, and denounce, as to the men of Jericho, vengeance to the haters of the Lord: but pardon, mercy, and peace, to the lovers of Jesus? Isaiah 27:13 .

Verses 7-8

There must have been somewhat particularly animating when the trumpets were blown, which bid defiance to the enemy, but inspired courage to the Lord's people. We have a striking instance in the encouragement it gave Ahijah against Jeroboam: 2 Chronicles 13:12 . The office of the priest was intended as encouraging also, because it promised the Lord's presence. See Deuteronomy 20:1-4 .

Verses 9-10

Though the armed men went before, yet their services would not be required. The victory God our Saviour had graciously reserved to himself. Silence throughout the camp intimated as much, similar to what was said to Israel, at the Red Sea. Exodus 14:13-14 .

Verse 11

I cannot help detaining the Reader to remark, what an odd appearance this must have made to the enemy on the walls of Jericho, who no doubt looked very anxiously on, from the moment they saw Israel had passed the river, Reader! it is so with the carnal world in their view of all the operations of faith. Jesus and his saints, like Joshua and his fellows, are men wondered at, neither can the unregenerate enter into any apprehension of what their spiritual life is: see Zechariah 3:8 with 1 Corinthians 4:9-13 .

Verses 12-13

Rams '-horns were apparently contemptible instruments. Silver trumpets had been used in the temple service. Numbers 10:2 . But is there not a sweet instruction veiled under this? Jesus worketh by base things of the world to confound things that are mighty. The foolishness of preaching is blessed of Him, to throw down the wisdom of this world, as the walls of Jericho are made to fall at the blast of the ram's-horn. How sweetly Paul recounts this, when he says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 .

Verse 14

What, perhaps, at the first view and on the first day, when the people marched round Jericho, most seriously alarmed the men of Jericho in their entrenchments; probably by the time that six days had passed, began now to excite security, and even laughter. Alas! the sinner is never so near his ruin, as, when he becomes hardened in his iniquity. When men say peace, then, sudden destruction cometh upon them. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 .

Verses 15-16

Probably this was the Lord's day; one of the seven clays must have been so; and as this was the glorious day of victory, it is more than probable that this might have been the very day. No doubt the whole process, both in the preceding six days, and now, seven times going round the walls on the seventh was intended for the exercise of the people ' s faith. And hence the Apostle next to the arm of Jesus, ascribes all the victory to this glorious principle, when he tells us, that it was by faith the walls fell down. Hebrews 11:30 . But I beg the Reader to remark with me, to what an exalted degree of faith, must the mind of Joshua have been carried, when, before a single stone fell, and exactly at finishing the seventh time of compassing the walls, he commanded the people, to shout. Dearest Jesus! what cannot a lively active faith in thy precious salvation, and the assurance of being interested in it, do? Had not Balaam this victory in contemplation, when he was constrained before the son of Zippor, to testify that the Lord his God was with Israel, and the shout of a king in his camp. Numbers 23:21 . And was not this shout, when commanded by the Lord, like the triumphs of faith answering to the promise of God, by the words of his ministers, as did the trumpets of the priests? I cannot dismiss this view of the subject without detaining the Reader just to observe, that an ancient writer upon the passage, hath very properly remarked, that as God's people compass the walls of their enemies round about by faith, during the six days of their pilgrimage, and though they sometimes go heavily on, from the body of sin and death they carry about with them, none of the enemies' entrenchments all the while seeming to give way; yet on the seventh day of salvation, when their God and Saviour shalt descend from heaven, with a shout and the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God; the whole of Satan ' s kingdom shall then fall at once before our Jesus; and his people shall go up and enter in, to the everlasting possession of their Canaan! But, Reader, remember, that in all this there is nothing of human strength or human foresight. Every event in the circumstances of God's people joins issue, with that voice, not by might tear by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord. Zechariah 4:6 .

Verse 17

Before the entry upon Jericho, Joshua gives suitable directions for the government of the people in their victory, and makes known the divine will concerning it. Reader! observe in this appointment, how the line is drawn between him that feareth the Lord, and him that feareth not. Malachi 3:18 .

Verses 18-19

Is there not a sweet spiritual sense here? Doth not God mean to say, that they who have Jesus for their portion, should see in him all they need, and not have their eyes look with an evil covetousness, after any of the perishing things around them? Habakkuk 2:9 .

Verse 20

Pause, Reader, and behold in this instance, the wonderful work of God! See how the Lord fights for his people! And when you have duly pondered the history, spiritualize it in the yet far sweeter subject of salvation by Jesus, our Almighty Joshua; and rest assured, that such, but only in an infinitely higher degree, will be the triumphs of thy God and Saviour, followed by his holy army, in the day when all the walls, which are fenced up to heaven, shall fall before him, and his redeemed return from Zion, with songs of everlasting joy upon their head., Isaiah 35:10 ; Revelation 12:10 .

Verses 21-25

I have brought these verses together into one point of view, because they present to the Reader in one and the same moment what the apostle saith: Behold the goodness and severity of God. Romans 11:22 . What was there in the character and conduct of Rahab, which could have entitled her to favor above her countrymen? Is it not plain that grace made all the difference? Doth not this history proclaim what Jehovah himself had before proclaimed, I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious. Exodus 33:19 . I hope my Reader is one of those who hath learned that grand truth: Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? Genesis 18:25 . And if so, this will serve to guide him through a thousand perplexing circumstances he may meet with, both in the works of providence and grace. We are poor blind creatures, and see but a very little way into the plan of God's government. Depend upon it, by and by, when we come to see the whole, and to know, even as we are known, this will be fully manifested, that God is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. Psalms 114:8 . I refer the Reader to what the Holy Ghost hath said on this subject, and every other of a similar nature, by his servant the apostle, as a full answer to all the impious objections of the unbeliever; Romans 9:14-26 .

Verse 26

Evidently Joshua acted in this adjuration, under the immediate influence of the Spirit of the Lord. The event proves it, for in after ages, when Hial, the Bethelite, built Jericho, what Joshua had predicted came to pass: see 1 Kings 16:34 .

Verse 27

In the strict sense of the original, that the word of the Lord was with Joshua, no doubt is meant the uncreated word, as with Moses during the whole of his ministry. Exodus 3:4 ; Acts 7:38 .


PAUSE! my soul, again and again, over the several parts of this most interesting chapter, and beg of God the Holy Ghost to give thee to see the gospel sense of it, in thine own history. How was my heart, like Jericho, shut up, when the Lord laid siege to my soul! when without were fightings, within were fears! But when the Lord seemed to delay the execution of his anger against me, and destruction did not immediately follow, my confidence, like the men of Jericho, revived, and my rebellious heart became again stout. Oh! thou dearest Jesus, thou Almighty Joshua, when by thy Spirit, thou didst break down all The walls and resistances of my carnal nature, and didst cause the weapons of sin to fall out of my hands; then didst thou conquer my soul, and make me a willing captive in the day of thy power! Reader! let you and I, while contemplating with holy joy the victory of Jesus, rejoice with trembling, in beholding the inflexible justice of God over his enemies. Oh! the discriminating grace of God to his people. Oh! for an heart to love and adore such unparalleled mercy! Lord! give us grace to lay low in the dust, in token of our nothingness, and be ever ready to ascribe the whole of salvation, from beginning to end, to God and the Lamb.

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 6". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/joshua-6.html. 1828.
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