Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 6:1

Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Jericho;   Miracles;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Sieges;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Holy Land;   Sieges;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ark;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Alarm;   Conquest of Canaan;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Jericho;   Trinity;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jericho;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ark;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Jericho;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Joshua (2);   Joshua, Book of;   Palestine (Recent Exploration, I.e. as of 1915);   Siege;   Strait;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Now Jericho was straitly shut up - The king of Jericho, finding that the spies had escaped, though the city was always kept shut by night, took the most proper precaution to prevent every thing of the kind in future, by keeping the city shut both day and night, having, no doubt, laid in a sufficiency of provisions to stand a siege, being determined to defend himself to the uttermost.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-6.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

This verse is strictly parenthetical. It is inserted to explain the declaration commenced Joshua 5:14, and interrupted by Joshua‘s question and obeisance Joshua 5:14-15, but resumed in Joshua 6:2.

Straitly shut up - See the margin, i. e., not only shut, but barred and bolted.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-6.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Joshua 6:1". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/joshua-6.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE CAPTURE OF JERICHO

Crucial to the entire conquest of Canaan was the capture of the strategically-important bastion of Jericho which controlled the approaches to the highlands. Enemies of the Word of God have probably wasted more ink in trying to discredit or destroy the record of this wonderful chapter than they have wasted on any other project except a denial of the resurrection of Christ. That Israel's capture of Jericho was by Divine and miraculous assistance is the unqualified declaration of this chapter, but nothing stops the mouths of the unbelievers who simply will not have it so! Note the following:

"The Rahab clan in the city would open the gates or find some other way to let the invaders in.[1] A mine (of explosives) was planted under the walls while the men of Jericho were distracted by the Israelites marching around the city.[2] The marchers served to distract the attention of the watchers from Israelite sappers at work undermining the walls![3] It has been thought that perhaps the resounding shout of the Israelites on the seventh day, operating upon a principle of vibration, such as that by which, "an opera singer can break a glass by hitting the right note,"[4] could have caused the walls to fall down."

To all such unbelieving "explanations" of the wonder that is recorded in this chapter, Keil has this appropriate reply:

"The different attempts that have been made to explain the MIRACULOUS overthrow of the walls of Jericho as a natural occurrence, whether by earthquake, or storming, or mining, for which the inhabitants had been thrown into a false security by the marvelous procession repeated day after day, were quite unprepared, really deserve no serious refutation, being, all of them arbitrarily forced upon the text."[5]

Keil's words in the above quotation strike us as being entirely true, and yet we do not think it may fairly be denied that God's frequent use of the NATURAL world in the achievement of His purpose might also, in ways unknown to us, have been a feature of this wonder here. "It is possible to suppose, without minimizing the Divine guidance of events, that the physical cause was an earthquake, as in the case of the damming up of the Jordan."[6] Something of the geographical and archeological information bearing upon this part of the Divine record should be observed. The expedition of John Garstang (1930-1936) resulted in the conclusion that the site of ancient Jericho had been discovered, and, that, according to the archeological evidence it had been destroyed between 1400 B.C. and 1385 B.C., which is close enough to the probable date of the conquest that this writer is not willing, simply upon the basis of Kathleen Kenyon's expedition (1952-1958) with her conclusion that Garstang's Jericho fell 300 years earlier, to accept the assurance in which some deny Garstang's conclusion. There is too much uncertainty about that. As Morton put it, "This is inconclusive."[7] Indeed it it is! Furthermore, archeologists have simply NOT demonstrated their ability to arrive at trustworthy estimates of ancient dates. The comment of J. A. Thompson on this subject do not in any way destroy the general opinion about Jericho as outlined by Garstang.[8] About the fall of Jericho, he said, "The town was burned several times, and the features noted by Garstang could have been found also in other cities."[9] Archeology, at best, is an INEXACT SCIENCE, and the problems are too complicated to allow any attempt to unravel all of them here, but we may summarize Thompson's view, in his own words: "There can be no doubt that archeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition."[10]

As regards the size of Jericho, it was by no means a large city by modern standards, nevertheless a very powerful and important city. Woudstra gave the dimensions of a number of ancient cities thus: (1) Jericho was 225 10:80 meters, about 600 meters in circumference. (2) Jerusalem at the time of David's capture of it was 400 10:100 meters. (3) Shechem was 230 10:150 meters.[11] "Most of the remains in that area from the times of Joshua have been eroded and washed away."[12]

With these preliminary considerations, we now turn our attention to the text itself, assured that it has already successfully weathered the attacks of over 3,000 years by those who have sought in vain to discredit it.

Right here begins the second major division of Joshua. (See the outline.)

"Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in."

"This verse is merely an explanatory clause inserted before the message which the Prince of the Hosts of Jehovah had come to communicate."[13] "If there is any place in the Bible where the division into chapters and verses is unsuitable, it is here."[14] Jericho was a strongly fortified and walled city, and this verse strongly suggests that heavenly intervention was necessary if Israel was to capture it.

"Straitly shut up ..." A glance at the margin reveals that this is also rendered, "did shut up, and was shut up." This, in Hebrew, is an emphatic form such as, "dying thou shalt die" (Genesis 2:17).[15]

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/joshua-6.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Now Jericho was straitly shut up, because of the children of Israel,.... Or "it shut up", or "was shutting, and was shut up"F21סגרת ומסגרת "claudens et clausa", Montanus, Vatablus. ; that is, the king and the inhabitants shut it up within; the Targum says with iron doors, and bars of brass, and it was blocked up without by the children of Israel:

none went out and none came in; none of their forces went out to make a sally on the Israelites, or to seek to make peace with them; nor any of their neighbours went in to them, to carry them any provision, or to assist them, or to be sheltered by them, not being able to do it because of the camp of Israel.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-6.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Now Jericho was straitly a b shut up c because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

(a) That none could go out.

(b) That none could go in.

(c) for fear of the Israelites.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-6.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Joshua 6:1-7. Jericho shut up.

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.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-6.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

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.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-6.html. 1828.

(6:1-12:24)Завоевание земли. Завоевание земли обетованной потребовало много времени (11:18) и многих сражений (12:1-24). Из всех этих сражений по историческим и богословским причинам автор избирает для своего рассказа четыре. Израиль начал первые два сражения против городов Иерихон (6:1-27) и Гай (7:1 - 8:29), а различные хананейские коалиции начали две другие битвы на юге (10:1–43) и севере (11:1–15). Битвы Израиля против двух центральных городов позволили ему приобрести твердый береговой плацдарм на этой земле, разделив ее на две части. Битвы за Иерихон и против южной коалиции врагов отмечены поразительным вмешательством Господа. В противовес им в битвах за Гай и против северных групп проявилась блестящая стратегия Иисуса. В этом отрывке Израиль подтвердил клятву выполнять Божий закон на этой земле (8:30–34). Вся война велась ради этого.

(6:1)Введение. Иерихон, современный Телль–эс–Султан (Tell es–Sultan), вероятно, был посвящен богу луны (его название означает «лунный город»). Он был расположен в стратегически выгодном месте с большим оазисом (в регионе, где вода была драгоценностью) и контролировал главные дороги, ведущие во внутреннюю часть страны.

 

 

Scofield's Reference Notes

holy

Trans. "consecrated," Joshua 6:19 in R.V. "holy."

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Joshua 6:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/joshua-6.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 6:1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

Ver. 1. Now Jericho was strictly shut up.] Claudens, et clausa erat: but there is no power or policy against the Lord. [Proverbs 21:30] The "Captain of God’s hosts" was before the city, and therefore ευαλωτος η πολις, - as he told Phocas, - the town was soon taken.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-6.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 1. Now Jericho was straitly shut up While every necessary preparation was making in the camp of Joshua for the attack of Jericho, the king of that city, on his part, took all possible precautions for his security. Having refused the offers of peace, which were doubtless made him by the Hebrew general, (see Deuteronomy 20:10.) and resolved to defend himself to the last extremity, he had shut himself in Jericho, and set so good a guard there, that Joshua, who kept the place blocked up, could carry on no intelligence with, nor know what passed in it. The city, according to Onkelos, was shut up with gates of iron, and bars of brass; so that no one could issue out either to fight, or to talk of peace. The adventure of the spies, who had crept into Rahab's house, was a sufficient caution not to be satisfied with keeping the place shut by night only. We may further observe, that the division of the Bible into chapters and verses is not always very exact, and may frequently mislead readers. This chapter should not naturally have begun till the 6th verse; for the five first verses are a continuation of the discourse addressed by the Captain of the Lord's hosts to Joshua, on shewing himself to him: or the foregoing chapter should have ended at ver. 12 as the account of the appearance of the angel and of the conference begins at ver. 13. It is certain, that the words in ver. 1 in this chapter, are properly only a parenthesis of the sacred historian, prudently added to shew the necessity of the miracle.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-6.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

JOSHUA CHAPTER 6

Jericho is shut up by the Israelites, Joshua 6:1. The people and seven priests with the ark go round it six days, Joshua 6:2-14. On the seventh day they go round seven times; the priests blow the trumpets; the people shout; the city accursed; nothing to be taken, but all consecrated; the walls fall down; men, women, and cattle destroyed, Joshua 6:15-21. Rahab and her kindred are saved, Joshua 6:22-25. Joshua curseth the man who should rebuild Jericho, Joshua 6:26.

Straitly shut up; not only by night, as before, Joshua 2:5, but constantly and diligently.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-6.html. 1685.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

3-15

CHAPTER XI.

THE CAPTAIN OF THE LORD'S HOST.

Joshua 5:13-15; Joshua 6:1.

THE process of circumcision is over, and the men are well; the feast of unleavened bread has come to an end; all honour has been paid to these sacred ordinances according to the appointment of God; the manna has ceased, and the people are now depending on the corn of the land, of which, in all probability, they have but a limited supply. Everything points to the necessity of further action, but it is hard to say what the next step is to be. Naturally it would be the capture of Jericho. But this appears a Quixotic enterprise. The city is surrounded by a wall, and its gates are ''straitly shut up," barred, and closely guarded to prevent the entrance of a single Israelite. Joshua himself is at a loss. No Divine communication has yet come to him, like that which came as to the crossing of the Jordan. See him walking all alone "by Jericho," as near the city as it is safe for him to go. With mind absorbed in thought and eyes fixed on the ground, he is pondering the situation, but unable to get light upon it, when something comes athwart his sphere of vision. He lifts his eyes, and right against him perceives a soldier, brandishing his sword.

A less courageous man would have been startled, perhaps frightened. His first thought is, that it is an enemy. None of his own soldiers would have ventured there without his orders, or would have dared to take up such an attitude towards his commander-in-chief. With a soldier's presence of mind, instead of moving off, he assumes an aggressive attitude, challenges this warrior, and demands whether he is friend or foe. If friend, he must explain his presence; if foe, prepare for battle. Joshua is himself a thorough soldier, and will allow no one to occupy an ambiguous position. "And Joshua went unto him, and said unto him. Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?"

If the appearance of the soldier was a surprise, his answer to the question must have been a greater. ''Nay; but as Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come." The "nay" deprecates his being either friend or foe in the common sense, but especially his being foe. His position and his office are far more exalted. As Captain of the host of the Lord, he is at the head, not of human armies, but of all the principalities and powers of heavenly places, -

"The mighty regencies Of seraphim, and potentates and thrones."

And now the real situation flashes on Joshua. This soldier is no other than the Angel of the Covenant, the same who came to Abraham under the oak at Mamre, and that wrestled with Jacob on the banks of this very Jordan at Peniel. Joshua could not but remember, when God threatened to withdraw from Israel after the sin of the golden calf, and send some created angel to guide them through the wilderness, how earnestly Moses remonstrated, and how his whole soul was thrown into the pleading - "If Thy presence go not with us, carry me not up hence." He could not but remember the intense joy of Moses when this pleading proved successful - "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." There could be little doubt in his mind who this "Captain of the host of Jehovah" was, and no hesitation on his part in yielding to Him the Divine honour due to the Most High. And then he must have felt warmly how very kind and seasonable this appearance was, just at the very moment when he was in so great perplexity, and when his path was utterly dark. It was a new proof that man's extremity is God's opportunity. It was just like what used to happen afterwards, when "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us," and was so promptly at hand for His disciples in all times of their tribulation. It was an anticipation of the scene when the ship was tossed so violently on the waves, and Jesus appeared with His "Peace, be still." Or, on that dreary morning, soon after the crucifixion, after they had spent the whole night on the lake and caught nothing, when Jesus came and brought the miraculous draught of fishes to their nets. It is the truth with which all His suffering and stricken children have been made so familiar in all ages of the Church's history: - that, however He may seem to hide Himself and stand afar off in times of trouble, He is in reality ever near, and can never forget that last assurance to His faithful people - ''Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world."

It is not likely that Joshua found any cause to discuss the question that modern criticism has so earnestly handled, whether this being that now appeared in human form really was Jehovah. And as little does it seem necessary for us to discuss it. There seems no good reason to reject the view that these theophanies, though not incarnations, were yet foreshadows of the incarnation, - hints of the mystery afterwards to be realized when Jesus was born of Mary. If these appearances looked like incarnations, it was incarnation after the pagan, not the Christian type; momentary alliances of the Divine being with the human form or appearance, assumed merely for the occasion, and capable of being thrown aside as rapidly as they were assumed. This might do very well to foreshadow the incarnation, but it fell a long way short of the incarnation itself. The Christian incarnation was after a type never dreamt of by the pagan mind. That the Son of God should be born of a woman, His body formed in the womb by the slow but wonderful process which "fashioned all His members in continuance, when as yet there was none of them" (Psalms 139:16), and that He should thus stand in relations to His fellow-men that could not be obliterated, was very wonderful; but most wonderful of all that the manhood once assumed could never be thrown off, but that the Son of God must continue to be the Son of man, in two distinct natures and one person for ever. The fact that all this has taken place is well fitted to give us unshaken confidence in the love and sympathy of our Elder Brother. For He is as really our Brother as He ever was in the days of His flesh, and as full of the care and thoughtful interest that the kindest of elder brothers takes in the sorrows and struggles of his younger brethren.

It has often been remarked as an instructive circumstance, that now, as on other occasions, the Angel of the Lord appeared in the character most adapted to the circumstances of His people. He appeared as a soldier with a drawn sword in His hand. A long course of fighting lay before the Israelites ere they could get possession of their land, and the sword in the hand of the Angel was an assurance that He would fight with them and for them. It was also a clear intimation that in the judgment of God, it was necessary to use the sword. But it was not the sword of the ambitious warrior who falls upon men simply because they are in his way, or because he covets their territories for his country. It was the judicial sword, demanding the death of men who had been tried for their sins, long warned, and at last judicially condemned. The iniquity of the Amorites was now full. We know what kind the people were who dwelt near Jericho four or five hundred years before, while the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah stood in the plain, cities that even then were reeking with the foulest corruption. It is true the judgment of God came down on these cities, but bare judgments have never reformed the world. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah removed the foulest stain-spot for the time, but it did not change the hearts nor the habits of the nations. It has seemed good to the Spirit of God to give us one glimpse of the foulness that had been reached at that early period, but not to multiply the filthy details at a future time, - after the long interval between Abraham and Joshua. But we know that if Sodom was bad, Jericho was no better. The country as a whole, which had now filled up its cup of iniquity, was no better. No wonder that the Angel bore a drawn sword in His hand. The longsuffering of the righteous God was exhausted, and Joshua and his people were the instruments by whom the judicial punishment was to be inflicted. The Captain of the Lord's host had drawn His sword from its scabbard to show that the judgment of that wicked people was to slumber no more.

It was not in this spirit nor in this attitude that the Angel of the Covenant had met with Jacob, centuries before, a little higher up the river, at the confluence of the Jabbok. Yet there was not a little that was similar in the two meetings. Like Joshua now, Jacob was then about to enter the land of promise. Like him, he was confronted by an enemy in possession, who, in Jacob's case, was bent on avenging the wrong of his youth. How that enemy was to be overcome Jacob knew not, just as Joshua knew not how Jericho was to be taken. But there was this difference between the two, that in Jacob's case the Angel dealt with him as an opponent; in Joshua's He avowed Himself a friend. The difference was no doubt due to the different dispositions of the two men. Jacob does not seem to have felt that it was only in God's name, and in God's strength, and under God's protection that he could enter Canaan; he appears to have been trusting too much to his own devices, - especially to the munificent present which he had forwarded to his brother. He must be taught the lesson ''Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord." At first Jacob dealt with his opponent simply as an obstructionist; then he discovered His Divine rank, and immediately he became the aggressor, and, spite of his dislocated thigh, held on to his opponent, declaring that he would not let Him go except He blessed him. It is otherwise with Joshua. He has no personal matter to settle with God before he is ready to advance into the land. He is in perplexity, and the Angel comes to relieve him. It is neither for reproof nor correction but simply for blessing that He is there.

The appearance of the Angel denoted a special method of communication with Joshua. We have already remarked that we do not know in what manner God's communications to His servant were made before. This incident shows that the ordinary method was not that of personal intercourse, - probably it was that of impressions made supernaturally on Joshua's mind. Why, then, is the method changed now? Why does this Warrior-angel present Himself in person? Probably because the way in which Jericho was to be taken was so extraordinary that, to encourage the faith of Joshua and the people, a special mode of announcement had to be used. One might have thought this unnecessary after the display of Divine power at the crossing of the Jordan. But steadiness of faith was no characteristic of the Israelites, and such as it was it was as liable to fail after crossing the Jordan as it had been after crossing the sea. Special means were taken to invigorate it and fit it for the coming strain. It was one of those rare occasions when a personal visit from the Angel of the Covenant was desirable. Something visible and tangible was needed, something which might be spoken of and readily understood by the people, and which could not possibly be gainsaid.

The moment that Joshua understood with whom he was conversing, he fell on his face, and offered to his visitor not only obeisance but worship, which the visitor did not decline. And then came a question indicating profound regard for his Lord's will, and readiness to do whatsoever he might be told - "What saith my Lord unto His servant?" It cannot but remind us of the question put by Saul to the Lord while yet lying on the ground on the way to Damascus - ''Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" Joshua compares favourably with Moses at the burning bush, not only now, but throughout the whole interview. No word of remonstrance does he utter, no token of unwillingness or unbelief does he show. And it cannot be said that the instructions which the Angel gave him respecting the taking of Jericho were of a kind to be easily accepted. The course to be followed seemed to human wisdom the very essence of silliness. To all appearance there was not a vestige of adaptation of means to the end. Yet so admirable is the temper of Joshua, that he receives all with absolute and perfect submission. The question "What saith my Lord unto His servant?" is very far from mere matter of courtesy. It is a first principle with Joshua that when the mind of God is once indicated there is nothing for him but to obey. What is he that he should dare to criticise the plans of omnipotence? that he should propose to correct and improve the methods of Divine wisdom? Anything of the kind was alike preposterous and irreverent. "Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." "Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, and whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and with him also who is of a humble and contrite spirit, and who trembleth at My word."

The first answer to the question "What saith my Lord unto His servant?" is somewhat remarkable. ''Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy." Rationalists have explained this as meaning that this was an ancient shrine of the Canaanites, and therefore a place holy in the eyes of Israel; but such an idea needs no refutation. Others conceive it to mean that Joshua, having crossed the Jordan, had now set foot on the land promised to the fathers, and that the soil for that reason was called holy. But if that was the reason for his putting off his shoes, it is difficult to see how he could ever have been justified in again putting them on. And when God called to Moses out of the bush and bade him do the very same thing, it surely was not because the peninsula of Sinai was holy; it was because Moses stood in the immediate presence of the holy God. And it is simply to remind Joshua of the Divine presence that this command is given; and being given it is no sooner uttered than obeyed.

And then follow God's instructions for the taking of Jericho. Never was such a method propounded to reasonable man, or one more open to the objections and exceptions of worldly wisdom. No arrangement of his forces could have been more open to objection than that which God required of him. He was to march round Jericho once a day for six successive days, and seven times on the seventh day, the priests carrying the ark and blowing with trumpets, the men of war going before, and others following the ark, making a long narrow line round the place. We know that the city was provided with gates, like other fortified cities. What was there to prevent the men of Jericho from sallying out at each of the gates, breaking up the line of Israel into sections, separating them from each other, and inflicting dreadful slaughter on each? Such a march round the city seems to be the very way to invite a murderous attack. But it is the Divine command. And this process of surrounding the city is to be carried on in absolute silence on the part of the people, with no noise save the sounding of trumpets until a signal is given; then a great shout is to be raised, and the walls of Jericho are to fall down flat on the ground. Who would have thought it strange if Joshua had been somewhat staggered by so singular directions, and if, like Moses at the bush, he had suggested all manner of objections, and shown the greatest unwillingness to undertake the operation? The noble quality of his faith is shown in his raising no objection at all. After God has thus answered his question, "What saith my Lord unto His servant?" he is just as docile and submissive as he was before. True faith is blind to everything except the Divine command. When God has given him his orders, he simply communicates them to the priests and to the people. He leaves the further development of the plan in God's hands, assured that He will not leave His purpose unfulfilled.

Nor do the priests or the people appear to have made any objection on their part. The plan no doubt exposed them to two things which men do not like, ridicule and danger. Possibly the ridicule was as hard to bear as the danger. God would protect them from the danger, but who would shield them from the ridicule? Even if at the end of the seven days, the promised result should take place, would it not be hard to make themselves for a whole week the sport of the men of Jericho, who would ask all that time whether they had lost their senses, whether they imagined that they would terrify them into surrender by the sound of their rams' horns? How often, especially in the case of young persons, do we find this dread of ridicule the greatest obstacle to Christian loyalty? And even where they have the strongest conviction that ere long the laugh, if laughter may be spoken of in the case, will be turned against their tormentors, and that it will be clearly seen who the men are whom the King delighteth to honour, what misery is caused for the time by ridicule, and how often do the young prove traitors to Christ rather than endure it? All the more remarkable is the steadiness of the priests and people on this occasion. We cannot think that this was due simply and solely to their loyalty to the leader to whom they had recently sworn allegiance. We cannot but believe that personal faith animated many of them, the same faith as that of Joshua himself. Their wilderness training and trials had not been in vain; the manifest interposition of God in the defeat of Sihon and Og had sunk into their hearts; the miraculous passage of the river had brought God very near to them; and it was doubtless in a large measure their conviction that He who had begun the work of conquest for them would carry it on to the end, that procured for Joshua's announcement the unanimous acquiescence and hearty support alike of priests and people.

And hence, too, the reason why, in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, the falling down of the walls of Jericho is specially accounted for as the result of faith: ''By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days" (Hebrews 11:30). The act of faith lay in the conviction that God, who had prescribed the method of attack, foolish though it seemed, would infallibly bring it to a successful issue. It was not merely Joshua's faith, but the priests' faith, and the people's faith, that shone in the transaction. Faith repelled the idea that the enemy would sally forth and break their ranks; it triumphed over the scorn and ridicule which would certainly be poured on them; it knew that God had given the directions, and it was convinced that He would bring all to a triumphant issue. Never had the spiritual thermometer risen so high in Israel, and seldom did it rise so high at any future period of their history. That singular week spent in marching round Jericho again and again and again, was one of the most remarkable ever known; the people were near heaven, and the grace and peace of heaven seem to have rested on their hearts.

We sometimes speak of "ages of faith." There have been times when the disposition to believe in the unseen, in the presence and power of God, and in the certain success at last of all that is done in obedience to His will, has dominated whole communities, and led to a wonderful measure of holy obedience. Such a period was this age of Joshua. We cannot say, thinking of ourselves, that the present is an age of faith. Rather, on the part of the masses, it is an age when the secular, the visible, the present lords it over men's minds. Yet we are not left without splendid examples of faith. The missionary enterprise that contemplates the conquest of the whole world for Christ, because God has given to His Messiah the heathen for His inheritance and the uttermost part of the earth for His possession, and that looks forward to the day when this promise shall be fulfilled to the letter, is a fruit of faith. And the ready surrender of so many young lives for the world's evangelization, as missionaries, and teachers, and medical men and women, is a crowning proof that faith is not dead among us. Would only it were a faith that pervaded the whole community, - princes, priests, and people alike; and that there were a harmony among us in the attack on the strongholds of sin and Satan as great as there was in the host of Israel when the people, one in heart and one in hope, marched out, day after day, round the walls of Jericho!

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/joshua-6.html.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

Chapter 6. The Taking of Jericho With the Help of YHWH.

In this chapter Joshua is assured that, although Jericho is closely shut up, and there was no obvious way in which Israel could enter it, it would be delivered into his hands, and he is therefore directed, along with the army, to march round the city on each of six days, accompanied by seven priests bearing the ark of YHWH, with seven rams’ horns sounding. And on the seventh day they were to go round it seven times in the same way, with the result that its wall would fall. Joshua communicated this order to the priests and the people, and they did as they were commanded, along with obeying other instructions he gave them, particularly that the city, and all in it, should be devoted to YHWH and nothing spared, except Rahab and her family and their possessions. Their mission was successful as YHWH had promised. All in the city were destroyed, and the city itself was burnt with fire, while the gold, silver, bronze, and iron were brought into the treasury of the house of YHWH. Rahab and her father's household were saved alive, and the chapter is closed with an adjuration of Joshua, cursing any man who should rebuild the city.

Joshua 6:1

Now Jericho had closed the gates and were shut in because of the children of Israel. None went out and none came in.’

The news of the advance of the Israelite army across the Jordan had resulted in the people of Jericho shutting the city gates permanently. Those who lived around would have moved into the city for safety and it would be crowded. But none would now leave it until the Israelite army had passed. Their hope lay in the walls of that city, which, while it was not a very large one, was very strong. They knew that with their small numbers they were no match for the Israelites. But they had plenty of food, for the wheat harvest had been gathered in. The whole pear-shaped mound is only four hundred metres long (four hundred and thirty eight yards) and two hundred metres wide at its widest point and the city would probably not occupy the whole mound.

What could happen to someone found outside the city is illustrated in Judges 1:24. It reads innocently enough but the man was probably given the choice of betraying the city or enduring a most horrific time. He would probably have ended up betraying the city anyway.

The archaeology of Jericho has produced a confusing picture. Garstang’s results were questioned by Kenyon, and Kenyon’s results, based on doubtful premises, have also been seriously questioned datewise (consider for example the criticisms of Bryant Wood). The matter is at present in abeyance. So little has been excavated that nothing can be accepted as demonstrated one way or the other. But the fact that it was unoccupied for over four hundred years from this time would have meant that few remains from this time could be expected to survive, due to weathering and predators. Thus it is doubtful if the archaeological questions related to this period will ever be solved. It was an ancient city going back to 8th millennium BC, having even at that early time a stone revetment wall and at least one round tower with a built in stairway. I was there in 1957 just after their discovery and vividly remember the great excitement at what was then a totally unexpected find. There are also remains of huts by the spring which go back even further.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-6.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

LORD, (that is, Jehovah,) and hence, too, Joshua was required to put off his shoes, (Joshua 6:15,) for, like Moses at the bush, (Exodus 3:5,) he was standing on ground made holy by the presence of the Holy One. This same angel was “entertained unawares” by Abraham in the plains of Mamre, (Genesis 18,) just after that patriarch had circumcised his son Ishmael; but before he left him he proved to be his covenant God, Jehovah.

It was very meet that this great Prince should now confer with his lieutenant, and give directions for the conquest of the first great city of Canaan which offered resistance to the Hebrew army.]

And did worship — This act of low obeisance, or of bodily prostration, is commonly practiced in the East to superiors, and does not necessarily involve the rendering of divine honours. Joshua thought that some distinguished military chieftain had appeared on the theater of war. The fact that the stranger received worship from Joshua without reproof (Revelation 22:9) indicates that he was a superior being. How incompatible is this whole account with the rationalistic exegesis which makes the appearance of the Angel only an inward vision or trance! Joshua sees the warrior at a distance, approaches and addresses him, and receives a reply. Such a description could not have been rationally given of an internal vision.

 

 

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-6.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

was straitly shut up. Hebrew "was shutting up and was shut up". Figure of speech Polyptoton (App-6) for emphasis, thus beautifully rendered. See note on Genesis 26:28.

children = sons.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-6.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

Now Jericho was straitly shut up, [ Wi-Y

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-6.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

VI.

(1) Now Jericho . . .—This verse should be read parenthetically, and Joshua 6:2-5 should be taken as the orders given to Joshua by the captain of the Lord’s host.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-6.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
was straitly
Heb. did shut up, and was shut up.
2:7; 2 Kings 17:4
because
2:9-14,24; Psalms 127:1
Reciprocal: Genesis 35:12 - the land;  Joshua 2:1 - even Jericho;  Joshua 9:3 - Jericho;  Joshua 16:7 - Jericho;  Joshua 18:12 - Jericho;  Joshua 18:21 - Jericho;  Joshua 24:11 - the men;  Psalm 78:55 - cast;  Ezekiel 1:26 - the appearance of a man;  Habakkuk 3:12 - didst march;  Luke 19:1 - Jericho;  John 1:18 - he hath;  Acts 5:1 - GeneralHebrews 11:33 - through

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-6.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

1.Now Jericho was straitly shut up, etc Jericho is said to be shut up, because the gates were not opened: as in time of war cities are guarded with more than usual care. It is added, by way of emphasis, that they were sealed, or locked up, (63) as if it were said that the inhabitants were attentive in watching, so as not to be taken by surprise. Hence, as it could not be taken by stratagem, the only hope of taking it was by open force. This tends to display the goodness of God to the children of Israel, who would have been worn out by a long and difficult siege, had not a substitute been early provided from heaven. Meanwhile there was a danger, lest being forced into a corner, they might be consumed by want and famine, as there was no means of obtaining food and provender in a hostile region. The Lord, therefore, that they might not sit down despondently before one city, assisted them by an extraordinary miracle, and opened up an entrance to them by throwing down the walls, that they might thereafter have the greater confidence in attacking other cities.

We now see the connection between the two first verses, in the one of which it is said, that Jericho was shut up, and the children of Israel thus prevented from approaching it, while in the other God promises that he will take it for them. He makes this promise with the view of preventing them from tormenting themselves with anxious thoughts. In one word, God, by this easy victory at the outset, provides against their giving way to despondency in future. We, at the same time, perceive the stupidity of the inhabitants, who place their walls and gates as obstacles to the divine omnipotence; as if it were more difficult to break up or dissolve a few bars and beams than to dry up the Jordan.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:1". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-6.html. 1840-57.