Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 6:15

Then on the seventh day they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times; only on that day they marched around the city seven times.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ark;   Rising;   Trumpet;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Delayed Blessings;   Early Rising;   Home;   Miracles;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Rising, Early;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Ark of the Covenant;   Miracles Wrought through Servants of God;   Morning;   Sieges;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Miracle;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Joshua the son of nun;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Scripture, Unity and Diversity of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Zechariah;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Dawn;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Jericho;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Miracles;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jericho;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ark;   Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Urim and Thummim;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Dawn;   Palestine (Recent Exploration, I.e. as of 1915);   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Joshua, Book of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The seventh day - they rose early - Because on this day they had to encompass the city seven times; a proof that the city could not have been very extensive, else this going round it seven times, and having time sufficient left to sack and destroy it, would have been impossible. It is evident that in the course of these seven days there must have been a Sabbath, and that on this Sabbath the host must have encompassed the city as on the other days: the Jews themselves allow this, and Rab. De Kimchi says "He who had ordained the observance of the Sabbath commanded it to be broken for the destruction of Jericho." But it does not appear that there could be any breach in the Sabbath by the people simply going round the city, the ark in company, and the priests sounding the sacred trumpets. This was a mere religious procession, performed at the command of God, in which no servile work was done. Therefore Marcion's objection, that the God of the Hebrews showed a changeableness of disposition in commanding the Sabbath to be kept sacred at one time, and then to be broken at another, is without foundation; for I must contend that no breach took place on this occasion, unless it could be made to appear that the day on which Jericho was taken was the Sabbath which is very unlikely, and which none can prove. But if even this were to be conceded, it is a sufficient answer to all such cavils, that the God who commanded the Sabbath to be set apart for rest and religious purposes, has always authority to suspend for a season the operation of merely ceremonial laws, or to abrogate them entirely, when the purpose of their institution is fulfilled. The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 6:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-6.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

On the seventh day - Most probably a Sabbath day. The rising early would be necessary to give time for encompassing the city seven times. Jericho appears to have been a city of considerable size and population; and each passage of the large host round it could hardly have taken less than an hour and a half. Thus, with the necessary intervals of rest, the evening would be at hand when Joshua gave the signal to shout Joshua 6:16; and the work of slaughter was probably commenced just as the hours of the Sabbath were passed.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 6:15". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-6.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early at the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for Jehovah hath given you the city. And the city shall be devoted, even it and all that is therein, to Jehovah: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. But as for you, only keep yourselves from the devoted thing, lest when ye have devoted it, ye take of the devoted thing, so would ye make the camp of Israel accursed, and trouble it. But all the silver and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are holy unto Jehovah: they shall come into the treasury of Jehovah. So the people shouted, and the priests blew the trumpets: and it came to pass when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, that the people shouted with a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, both young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword."

Note the "we" in Joshua 6:17. Thus, there is another indication that we have here the account of an eye-witness and participant in this event. And who could that be if not Joshua himself? It is a reflection on many writers that they PRETEND not even to see this pronoun.

Adam Clarke pointed out that the very fact of Israel's being able to compass Jericho seven times in a single day, "is proof that the city was not very extensive."[26] According to the size of the city given above, as 600 meters in circumference, we would have in a sevenfold encompassing of the city a total of 4,200 meters, a distance considerably less than three miles. Lilley pointed out that the statement about the walls falling down flat does not mean, necessarily, that, "the entire circuit of the wall collapsed."[27] This comment should be accepted as true because Rahab's house was on the wall of the city, and God's sparing her probably meant that her house was spared, at least until sufficient opportunity for the rescue of Rahab was provided.

Joshua 6:17 here mentions the "ban," or the [@anathema] or the [~cherem], or the "devoted" status of Jericho. This aspect of the Holy War in which Israel was engaged required the total destruction of all life and property, with some specific exemptions, such as silver and gold, which went into the treasury of the Lord. For fuller teaching on this and for explanation of the various DEGREES of its enforcement, see Leviticus 17:21ff. In the case of Jericho, probably because it was the first of the Canaanite cities, there were not to be any exceptions, except the gold, silver, and bronze. Sizoo, speaking of this, said, "It is not merely a sacrifice to the deity, but rather a taboo ... In a wider sense, it refers to anything or any person irrevocably condemned to destruction (Leviticus 17:28,29; Exodus 22:20)."[28]

"And they took the city ..." (Joshua 6:20). Mercifully, we are not given the description of all that this blunt word means. The terror and the tragedy of the doomed city were of no avail. The vast hordes of the Israelites, outnumbering Jericho in double digit multiples, showed no mercy or hesitancy whatever in putting to the sword every living thing in the city. Joshua 6:21 simply designated the slaughter as complete: "every man, every woman, every child, every animal." Modern man, as a general thing, has declared himself ABOVE such a destruction as this, but humanity's arrogant conceit in doing so is a woeful misunderstanding of WHY God Himself commanded this destruction to be executed upon Jericho. The MORAL CANCER of Canaan was, at that point in time, out of control, and there was no other recourse available to terminate the wicked debaucheries and immoralities of a people running wild, unrestrained, in utter rebellion against the Creator! Modern men would do well to learn the lesson in this instead of preening themselves as being SUPERIOR to God Almighty Himself in their self-imputed morality, which they have the gall to offer as "the NEW morality"!

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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 6:15". "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

And it came to pass on the seventh day,.... Which Jarchi says was the Sabbath day, and which is a common notion of the JewsF3Seder Olam Rabba, c. 11. p. 31. Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 14. fol. 312. 2. ; but whether it was or not, it is certain that one of these seven days must be a sabbath, in which the several things ordered were done, and the procession made. Kimchi observes, that their Rabbins say this was the sabbath day; and he adds, what is pretty remarkable,"though they slew and burnt on the sabbath day, he that commanded the sabbath commanded to profane the sabbath in the subduing of Jericho;'with which compare what our Lord says, Matthew 12:3,

that they rose early, about the dawning of the day; having seven times the work to do they did on the other six days:

and compassed the city after the same manner seven times; after the same manner as they had done the six preceding days:

only on that day they compassed the city seven times; whereas on the other days they only went round it once, which distinguished this day from the rest.

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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 6:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-6.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner k seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.

(k) Beside every day once for the space of six days.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 6:15". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-6.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city … seven times — on account of the seven circuits they had to make that day. It is evident, however, that the militia only of the Israelites had been called to the march - for it is inconceivable that two millions of people could have gone so frequently round the city in a day.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 6:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-6.html. 1871-8.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 15. They compassed the city seven times.] In sign, saith one, (a) that the perseverance and continuance in faith and the actions thereof, at last obtaineth the victory: and that the nearer the end of the combat is, the more ought the faithful man to bestir him therein.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-6.html. 1865-1868.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And so it was on the seventh day, that they rose early at the dawning of the day, and went round the city in the same way seven times, only on that day they went round the city seven times.’

This was not necessarily the Sabbath, but certainly one of the seven days must have been the Sabbath. Thus the Sabbath law was abrogated for this event. The sevenfold circling, the divinely perfect circling, was to demonstrate that the divine power of YHWH was now about to be revealed. This sevenfoldness would have had deep significance both for the Israelites and for the people shut up within the city. Once the men of the city realised that they were marching round seven times on the seventh day of marching the hearts of the men in the city would have grown cold within them. They would have realised that this fearsome God was about to act. And the men of Israel would have been aware of the same.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 6:15". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-6.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

15.About the dawning of the day — Here not only Joshua rises early, as in Joshua 6:12, but also the whole army, because a great day’s work was before them. It is not to be supposed that the entire camp, several millions in number, marched together in this service, but it is probable that the entire military force was engaged.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 6:15". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-6.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Seventh day. The Jews say it was the sabbath; but of this there is no proof. Marcion hence took occasion to accuse God of inconsistency, as he forbad all working, and yet ordered the people to go round Jericho on a sabbath day. But Tertullian (iv. 12,) answers very well, that servile work is forbidden, and not the works of God or of religion, and God may change the ceremonial law as he thinks proper. (Calmet) --- Sabbato opera humana prohibentur non divina. (Du Hamel)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 6:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-6.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.

On the seventh day ... they rose early about the dawning of the day, [ ka`alowt (Hebrew #5927) hashachar (Hebrew #7837), at the rising of the morning dawn (cf. Genesis 19:15; Genesis 32:25; Genesis 32:27)] - on account of the seven circuits they had to make that day. It is evident, however, that the militia only of the Israelites had been called to the march; because it is inconceivable that 2,000,000 people could have gone so frequently round the city in a day.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 6:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-6.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.
about the dawning
Psalms 119:147; Matthew 28:1; 2 Peter 1:19
only on that day
Reciprocal: Exodus 29:30 - seven days;  Joshua 6:14 - General1 Kings 20:29 - seven days

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 6:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-6.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

15.And it came to pass on the seventh day, etc Here, also, God seemed, by leading the people so often round the city, not only to keep the matter in suspense, but purposely to sport with the miseries of the people, who were fatiguing themselves to no purpose. For why does he not order them suddenly to attack the city? Why does he keep them in their former silence, even to weariness, and not open their mouths to shout? But the happy fruit of this endurance teaches us, that there is nothing better than to leave the decisive moments and opportunities of acting at his disposal, and not, by our haste, anticipate his providence, in which, if we acquiesce not, we obstruct the course of his agency. Therefore, while the priests were sounding, God ordered a corresponding shout to be raised by the people, that in this way he might prove that he is not pleased with any impetuosity which men manifest at their own hands, but above all things requires a regulated zeal, of which the only rule is not to move either tongue, or feet, or hands, till he order. Here, the rams’ horns undoubtedly represented his authority.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-6.html. 1840-57.