Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 6:2

The Lord said to Joshua, "See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Communion;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Miracles;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Holy Land;   Sieges;   Theocracy, the, or Immediate Government by God;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ark;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Joshua;   Joshua, the Book of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Hand;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Jericho;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Israel, Israelite;   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, Book of;   Palestine (Recent Exploration, I.e. as of 1915);   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Angelology;   Joshua, Book of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And the Lord said unto Joshua - This is the same person who in the preceding chapter is called the captain or prince of the Lord's host, the discourse being here continued that was begun at the conclusion of the preceding chapter, from which the first verses of this are unnaturally divided.

I have given into thine hand Jericho, etc. - From Joshua 24:11, it seems as if there had been persons of all the seven Canaanitish nations then in Jericho, who might have come together at this time to help the king of Jericho against the invading Israelites. The Targum intimates that the place was very strong, having "gates of iron and bars of brass; and was shut up so closely that none came out, either to combat or make offers of peace."

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 6:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-6.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And Jehovah said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thy hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor. And ye shall compass the city, all the men of war, going about the city once. Thus thou shalt do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. And it shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall go up every man straight before him. And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of Jehovah. And they said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let the armed men pass on before the ark of Jehovah."

"Jehovah" in Joshua 6:2 is identical with "The Prince of the Hosts of Jehovah" in Joshua 5:14; and these are the instructions for which Joshua made request. This description of the manner in which Joshua is to proceed against Jericho must have shocked Joshua. If there had ever been anything in the history of the world more calculated to invite the contempt and merriment of the citizens of Jericho, we have never heard of it. "The people of Jericho must have made themselves merry with the spectacle."[16] Notice too that all of this must have been very difficult for Israel also. Think of the frustrations, day after day, from all that ceremonial marching, and all the taunts and gleeful laughter that must have been hurled at them by the citizens of Jericho. It is a wonder then, as suggested by Pink, that some of the Israelites, at least did not cry out, "What is the use of prolonging this business?"[17] It was a crucial test of the faith of Joshua when he confronted a set of Divine orders such as those "the Prince" conveyed to him here. Longacre's comment shows how unwilling men are, even today, to BELIEVE that God said this. "The story does not read convincingly to men whose thoughts move NATURALLY in the world as it is known today."[18]

The ASV and many other recent versions have mistranslated the words here given as "rams' horns." "There is no mention of rams' horns in the original Hebrew."[19] The horns used were the jubilee trumpets, long metal devices that were also used in the Feast of Trumpets. "The word from which trumpets comes here means loud trumpets or trumpets of jubilee, and is the same word found in Leviticus 25:9."[20]

Critics have been frustrated trying to find something wrong with this narrative. Holmes stated that, "It is so skillfully compiled that at first sight there is not much fault to find."[21] Of course, there are peculiarities in the construction of this narrative, but these are indications of the ancient style in which it is written. "These minor peculiarities mostly relate to the trumpets and to the ark, but these do not argue against the unity of the passage."[22] The kind of criticisms usually resorted to are merely exclamations of unbelief. Boling, for example, SUPPOSED the story to be INCREDIBLE because of all the outbuildings and dwellings that usually surrounded ancient cities, declaring that, "These instructions presuppose that Jericho is already mostly in ruins at the outset."[23] Such a criticism is illogical. All of the people had already moved inside the walls preparatory to the beginning of the assault upon the city which they expected.

The exact order of the march can be determined here by a careful study of the first eleven verses. Woudstra gave this as follows: (1) A military contingent goes around the city; (2) the heavily armed go first (Joshua 6:7,9); (3) then the priests with the horns (Joshua 6:8); (4) the ark also carried by priests; and (5) finally the rear guard.[24]

Continuing exactly in the style of ancient Hebrew writing, these verses give additional instructions scattered throughout the narrative and not concentrated at the beginning of an episode, as we might have expected. We have noticed this so often in the Bible that the absence of it would be cause for question.

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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 6:2". "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 the Lord said unto Joshua,.... The same divine Person called in the preceding chapter the Captain of the Lord's host, Joshua 5:14, now with him, and who gave him the following orders, instructions, and assurances:

see, I have given into thy hand Jericho, and the king thereof: which might be concluded from the fear that was fallen upon the inhabitants of the city and their king, and from their shutting themselves up so closely, not daring to come out against Israel: and especially from this declaration and promise of the Lord; and which should be done in such a manner, as that it would clearly appear to be of the Lord, and not men:

and the mighty men of valour; the military men, the soldiers, or army that were under the command of the king of Jericho; or, as Kimchi reads it, "though" mighty men, yet they should not be able to defend the city, or hinder its falling into their hands; for what were they to the mighty God 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 6:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-6.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

See, I have given into thine hand Jericho — The language intimates that a purpose already formed was about to be carried into immediate execution; and that, although the king and inhabitants of Jericho were fierce and experienced warriors, who would make a stout and determined resistance, the Lord promised a certain and easy victory over them.

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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 6:2". "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

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.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 6:2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-6.html. 1828.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

THE TAKING OF JERICHO

‘I have given into thine hand Jericho.’

Joshua 6:2

The city of Jericho lay over against the point where Jordan had been forded by the Israelites. It was a great city, as cities went then, finely situated on the edge of fertile plains, and with walls so strong and thick that houses were built on them. How wealthy it was we gather from the spoil that Achan took. No other city in Israel had stores of gold and silver like those of Jericho. Perhaps, too, that Babylonian garment that is named among the ill-gotten gains of Achan, speaks of some commerce between the city and the East. Jericho would have been a great city for all time, if the curse of an angry heaven had not ruined it.

I. Note that this victory was a clear necessity.—Unless that town were captured, it would be a constant menace to the invaders. They could never march another mile in safety, if such a garrison lay in their rear. Jericho blocked the way. It was filled with soldiers; it was the key to the passes; it was quite near to Gilgal, where the wives and children of Israel were encamped. Whatever the hazard, and whatever the cost, Jericho must fall. And are there no victories like that that are clear necessities to me? Is there no Jericho blocking my land of promise that must be razed whenever I cross the river? It may be a habit, it may be a friendship. But if I leave it standing I shall go trembling all my days in Canaan. At once, at every cost, it must be razed.

II. This victory began in a vision.—Joshua was a true leader. He must see Jericho with his own eyes. He steals away to reconnoitre under the shelter of the groves of palm. He spies a form there—it is a man with a drawn sword. ‘Art thou friend or foe?’ cries Joshua. And then he learns that he is face to face with the Friend of friends, the Captain of all captains. He sees, he speaks with God, before he conquers. Moses had a like experience. Do you recall that the words that Moses heard in Horeb—‘Put off thy shoes’—are the words uttered to Joshua now? Yet mark the difference of these two visions. To Moses God was mirrored in the burning bush; it spoke of an Israel suffering as by fire; purified, not consumed in the scorching heats. To Joshua God was mirrored in the warrior whose sword was in his hand ready for action. And it spoke to him of fighting and of triumph. It told him that back of Israel were the hosts of heaven. How true to our need are God’s appearances! How suited are his revelations to our times! Before my desert, I have my burning bush. Before my Jericho, my armed man.

III. This victory was delayed in mercy.—In these seven days of trumpet-blast and silence there was the long-suffering of Jehovah. Seven is the perfect number, and seven figures largely in this story. There were seven priests blowing on seven horns; there were seven days of compassing the walls; there were seven circuits on the seventh day. There was no sudden assault or swift surprise. The walls of Jericho did not fall before an unlooked-for flash of heaven’s anger. The perfect cycle of the days had run before the moment of the awful doom. The circle of God’s forbearance was complete. And we may be sure that a God of infinite mercy will take no man or city at unawares. Unwarned hearts are never castaway. God waits. He gives a sevenfold summons to repentance. We hear the trumpet-call. The ark is at the door. For He ‘willeth not that any man should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth.’

IV. This victory was won by loyal faith.—Remember what Jesus once said about faith. ‘If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed,’ He said, ‘ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove.’ The city of Jericho was not a mountain, though it seemed to Israel to be walled to heaven, yet I sometimes think that Christ had Jericho in mind when He spoke that word about the power of faith. There have been besiegers who relied on stratagem, as when Troy was entered by the wooden horse. Others have found their ally in the starvation of the garrison, as in the awful story of Jerusalem. But the power of Israel lay in trusting God, and it was trust in God that gave them victory. Where were their military engines? They had none. Were the hosts of Israel experienced besiegers? They had never stormed a walled city yet. God was their strength. They triumphed because they trusted. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down.

V. This victory was marked by promise-keeping.—In the hour of success we are apt to forget our word. The song of victory has often a selfish ring. In the tide of enthusiasm we grow absorbed in self, and the pledges of the day of trial are unremembered. But when the shout went up and the walls of Jericho fell, the word of the spies to Rahab stood unbroken. Joshua made certain that none should violate the covenant. There stood her house. The scarlet line was bound upon the window. The spies pointed it out. Rahab was safe. She and her household were taken from the ruins, and brought on their road towards the camp of Israel. And just as Joshua in the hour of victory kept his word with this woman who was a sinner, so Jesus, the greater Joshua, in His hour of triumph, keeps his word with sinful men. In His days of trial and suffering He promised far greater things to us than were ever promised to Rahab. He promised joy and peace and power and life. Now He has conquered. He has led captivity captive. And countless men can tell how the triumphing Lord has kept His word.

Illustrations

(1) ‘Israel was taught that God can do without man’s agency, though, as a rule, He graciously condescends to use it. Man is never necessary to God. “It was not by their own power, but by a higher, that the Israelites were to effect their first entrance into the promised land. Whatever might be their own part in what followed—whatever might be their own even in this—the sagacity of Joshua, the venturesomeness of the spies, the fidelity of Rahab, the seven days’ march, the well-known and terrible war cry; yet the river is crossed, and the city falls, by other means.” God’s “own arm brought salvation.”’

(2) ‘The salvation of one woman’s soul. It seems a small harvest from so splendid a capture. Rahab delivered from death, Rahab who had lived in shameful sin—that was all. But God was satisfied. There was joy in the presence of His angels over a sinner who had repented. And thus I learn the priceless worth of one human life to God. I am of greater value to Him than a universe of material things. For me He has provided forgiveness through the death of His Son. To me He offers His Holy Spirit.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Joshua 6:2". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/joshua-6.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 6:2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, [and] the mighty men of valour.

Ver. 2. And the Lord said.] The man Christ Jesus, [Joshua 5:13] that man of war. [Exodus 15:3] "Jehovah is his name": "Jehovah, mighty in battle," [Psalms 24:8] whose "weakness is stronger than men." [1 Corinthians 1:25]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-6.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 2. And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, &c.— The same person, who in the preceding chapter is called the Captain of the host of the Lord, is here named the LORD. There is no doubt, therefore, that this was a divine personage, the angel of the covenant, the Son of God.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 6:2". 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

Who are in it, resolved and ready to defend it with their utmost strength.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 6:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-6.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

And YHWH said to Joshua, “See, I have given into your hand Jericho, and its king, and the mighty men of valour.” ’

The problem for Joshua was how the Israelites could breach the walls with the means that they had at their disposal. Spears and swords would have had little effect on them. But as he was pondering the situation YHWH promised him that it was given to him by YHWH, and that its king and its soldiery would shortly be in his hands. What was to happen would be decisive for the future. As the news of it spread around (Joshua 9:3) the Canaanites would realise that it was pointless to remain shut up in their cities as Yahweh could soon demolish their walls. It affected their whole military strategy. This may explain why they always left their cities to face Israel.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 6:2". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-6.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2.The Lord said — The Hebrew word for Lord is Jehovah. The identity of Jehovah with the Captain of the host of the Lord is too plain to be disputed by any sound biblical scholar. See Joshua 5:14, note.

I have given — The past tense here strongly expresses the certainty of the future event. In the divine mind the act is already accomplished.

Mighty men of valour Heroes of might. An appositive of Jericho and its king. Their warlike character is here attested by Jehovah.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 6:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-6.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

The Lord, in the person of the angel, who appeared to Josue, as he was praying in silent meditation, or reconnoitring the city of Jericho, chap. v. 13. (Haydock) --- Men. People of the different nations had come to defend the city, chap. xxiv. 11.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 6:2". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-6.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

said. This is the continuation of the Captain"s words, Joshua 5:15. See note on Joshua 3:7.

See. Figure of speech Asterismos. App-6.

I have given. It was Jehovah"s to give.

men. Hebrew, plural of ish or "enosh. App-14.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 6:2". "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

And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.

See, I have given into thine hand. The language intimates that a purpose already formed was about to be carried into immediate execution; and that, although the king and inhabitants of Jericho were fierce and experienced warriors, who would make a stout and determined resistance, the Lord promised a certain and easy victory over them.

Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour, [ gibowreey (Hebrew #1368) hechaayil (Hebrew #2428)] - valiant warriors, as the phrase is used to signify, Judges 6:12; Judges 11:1; 1 Samuel 9:1; 2 Kings 15:20; 1 Chronicles 7:5; 1 Chronicles 7:11; 1 Chronicles 7:40. But and is not in the Hebrew text; whence it may be inferred that the last words do not point to the defenders of the beleaguered city; but are directly connected with, and applied to, "Jericho, and the king thereof." [Accordingly, the Septuagint translates the original, Idou egoo paradidoomi hupocheirion soi teen Ierichoo kai ton basilea autees ton en autee, dunatous ontas en ischui-I deliver into thine hand Jericho, and the king who is in it, being strong in military force.]

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 6:2". "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 the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
the Lord
5:13-15
See, I have
9-24; 2:9,24; 8:1; 11:6-8; Judges 11:21; 2 Samuel 5:19; Nehemiah 9:24; Daniel 2:21,44; Daniel 4:17,35; 5:18
the king
Deuteronomy 7:24; Judges 11:24
Reciprocal: Exodus 23:20 - Angel;  Joshua 12:9 - Jericho;  Joshua 20:1 - spake;  1 Kings 8:44 - whithersoever;  Ezekiel 1:26 - the appearance of a man;  Ezekiel 10:1 - as the;  John 1:18 - he hath;  1 Corinthians 1:25 - the foolishness

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 6:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-6.html.