Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 6:26

Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, "Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Gates;   Hiel;   Prophecy;   Thompson Chain Reference - Adjuration;   Curse, Divine;   Divine;   God;   Miracles;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Foundation;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Hiel;   Jericho;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Abiram;   Adjuration;   Curse;   Hiel;   Segub;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Anathema;   Hiel;   Segub;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Foundation;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Jericho;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Exorcism;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Abiram ;   Adjuration;   Hiel ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Adjure;   Boaz;   Elisha;   Hiel;   Jericho;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ark;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Rahab;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Abi'ram;   Hi'el;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Abiram;   Adder;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abiram;   Adjuration;   Corner-Stone;   Hiel;   Jericho;   Joshua (2);   Joshua, Book of;   Segub;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abiram;   Ban;   Corner-Stone;   Joshua, Book of;   Oath;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

And Joshua adjured them at that time - It appears that he had received intimations from God that this idolatrous city should continue a monument of the Divine displeasure: and having convened the princes and elders of the people, he bound them by an oath that they should never rebuild it; and then, in their presence, pronounced a curse upon the person who should attempt it. The ruins of this city continuing would be a permanent proof, not only of God's displeasure against idolatry, but of the miracle which he had wrought in behalf of the Israelites; and for these reasons God willed that it should not be rebuilt: nevertheless, he left men to the operation of their own free will, and recorded the penalty which those must pay who should disobey him.

He shall lay the foundation thereof, etc. - This is a strange execration; but it may rather be considered in the light of a prediction. It seems to intimate that he who should attempt to rebuild this city, should lose all his children in the interim, from laying the foundation to the completion of the walls; which the author of 1 Kings 16:34; says was accomplished in Hiel the Beth-elite, who rebuilt Jericho under the reign of Ahab, and laid the foundation of it in Abiram, his first-born, and set up its gates in his youngest son Segub: this was 550 years after Joshua pronounced the curse. But we are not sure that this means that the children either died a natural or violent death on this occasion for we may understand the history as relating to the slow progress of the work. Hiel having begun the work at the birth of his first-born, was not able to conclude before the birth of his last child, who was born many years after: and as their names are mentioned, it is very likely that the distance of time between the birth of each was well known when this history was written; and that the extraordinary length of time spent in the work, in which a multitude of vexatious delays had taken place, is that to which the prophetic execration relates. Yet the first opinion is the most probable. We must not suppose that Jericho had been wholly neglected from its overthrow by Joshua to the days of Hiel; if it be the same with the city of palm trees, mentioned Deuteronomy 34:3. We find it mentioned as an inhabited place in the beginning of Judges 1:16, a short time after the death of Joshua: And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law, went up out of the city of palm trees, with the children of Judah, etc.; and this said city (if the same with the city of palm trees) was taken from the Israelites by Eglon king of Moab, Judges 3:13. The ambassadors of David, who were disgracefully treated by Hanun king of the Ammonites, were commanded to tarry at Jericho till their beards should grow, 2 Samuel 10:4, 2 Samuel 10:5. It appears, therefore, that there was a city which went under this name long before the time of Hiel, unless we can suppose that the city of palm trees was a different place from Jericho, or that the name Jericho was given to some part of the circumjacent country after the city was destroyed, which is very probable. After Hiel had rebuilt this city, it became of considerable consequence in the land of Judea: the courses of priests lodged there, who served in their turns at the temple; see Luke 10:30. There was a school of the prophets there, which was visited by Elijah and Elisha, 2 Kings 2:4, 2 Kings 2:5, 2 Kings 2:18; and it was at this city that our Lord miraculously healed blind Bartimeus, Mark 10:46; Luke 18:35, etc. At present, Jericho is almost entirely deserted, having but thirty or forty miserable cabins in it, which serve for a place of refuge to some wretched Moors and Arabs, who live there like beasts. The plain of Jericho, formerly so celebrated for its fertility, is at present uncultivated, producing nothing but a few wild trees, and some very indifferent fruits. See Calmet.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-6.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Adjured - i. e. put an oath upon them; or, perhaps, actually caused them themselves to take an oath (compare Matthew 26:63). The words of the oath have in the original a rhythmical character which would tend to keep them on the lips and in the memory of the people.

Buildeth this city - i. e. rebuilds the fortifications. Jericho was at once occupied by the Benjamites. Joshua 18:21, and the natural advantages of the situation were such that it would not be likely to be left long desolate. Joshua speaks in the text as a warrior. He lays a ban on the re-erection of those lofty walls which had bidden defiance to God‘s host, and been by God‘s signal interposition overthrown. Hiel, the Bethelite, reckless of the prophecy recorded in our text, began and completed the circumvallation of the city a second time (see the marginal reference). Hiel did not found a new city but only fortified an existing one.

He shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born - i. e. when he begins this work his eldest son shall die, when he completes it his youngest shall die (see 1 Kings 16:34 note).

This chapter read in the light of the New Testament has indications of a further import and bearing than such as concerned Joshua and the Jews. As Joshua, the leader and captain of the Jewish theocracy, is a type of Christ, so is Jericho to be taken (with all Christian expositors) as a type of the powers opposed to Christ and His cause. The times which prepare for the close of God‘s present dispensation are signified in the days during which the people obeyed and waited; as the number of those days, seven, the number of perfection, represents that “fullness of time,” known only to God, at which His dispensation will culminate and close. Thus the circumstances which lead up to the fall of Jericho are an acted prophecy, as was that fall itself, which sets forth the overthrow of all that resists the kingdom of which Christ is the head; and particularly the day of judgment, in which that overthrow will be fully and finally accomplished. Paul, in describing that day, seems to borrow his imagery from this chapter (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16).

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-6.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Joshua adjured them at that time,.... When the city was burnt and spoiled; not that he adjured the people individually, or one by one, which was not very practicable, but in a general way:

saying, cursed be the man before the Lord; let him be cursed by him with the curses written in the book of the law; and let him be driven from him, from his presence, as Cain was:

that riseth up, and buildeth this city Jericho; that rises up in future time, and rebuilds it; for it cannot be thought that after such an adjuration anyone would start up quickly, and rebuild it:

he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it; that is, while he is laying, or as soon as he has laid the foundation of the city, his eldest son should die; and as he went on with the building, other sons of his, if he had more than two, should be taken away by death likewise; and by the time he has finished it, signified by setting up the gates of it, both for ornament and security, his youngest and last son should die also; so that his whole posterity should be taken alway, as a curse of God upon him for rebuilding the city; which was fulfilled in Hiel the Bethelite, the rebuilder of this city in the times of Ahab, five or six hundred years after this adjuration was made, when either it was forgotten, or, however, little regarded: Maimonides observesF7Maimon. Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 50. , that this was made that the miracle might remain in perpetual memory, for whoever should see the wall sunk in the earth, it would be plain and clear to him that this was not the form of a building demolished, but that it fell by a miracle; and yet this city became a very flourishing one in later times; we soon hear of the school of the prophets in it, 2 Kings 2:5; here, StraboF8Geograph. l. 16. p. 525. says, was a royal palace, where, as JosephusF9Antiqu. l. 17. c. 8. sect. 1. 2. relates, Herod died, and who speaks of an amphitheatre and hippodrome in it; in this city sometimes the sanhedrim sat, and a great number of the stationary priests dwelt, even half a station, twelve thousand of them, all which is observed by Dr. LightfootF11Chorograph. Cent. c. 47. ; our Lord himself honoured it with his presence, Luke 19:1.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-6.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Joshua adjured [them] at that time, saying, Cursed [be] the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: q he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest [son] shall he set up the gates of it.

(q) He will build it to the destruction of all his stock, which was fulfilled in Hiel of Beth-el, (1 Kings 16:34).
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "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 6:26, Joshua 6:27. The rebuilder of Jericho cursed.

Joshua adjured them at that time — that is, imposed upon his countrymen a solemn oath, binding on themselves as well as their posterity, that they would never rebuild that city. Its destruction was designed by God to be a permanent memorial of His abhorrence of idolatry and its attendant vices.

Cursed be the man  …  that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho — that is, makes the daring attempt to build.

he shall lay the foundation thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it — shall become childless - the first beginning being marked by the death of his oldest son, and his only surviving child dying at the time of its completion. This curse was accomplished five hundred fifty years after its denunciation (see on 1 Kings 16:34).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "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

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.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-6.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.

Adjured them — Or, made them to fear; caused the people, or some in the name of all, to swear for the present and succeeding generations, and to confirm their oath by a curse.

Before the Lord — That is, from God's presence, and by his sentence, as they are said to cast lots before the Lord, Joshua 18:8,10, that is, expecting the design from God. He intimates, that he doth not utter this upon a particular dislike of that place, but by divine inspiration. God would have the ruins of this city remain as a standing monument of God's justice against this wicked and idolatrous people, and of his almighty power in destroying so great and strong a city by such contemptible means.

Buildeth — That is, that shall attempt to build it. So this curse is restrained to the builder, but no way belongs to those who should inhabit it after it was built, as is evident from2Kings4:18; Luke 19:1,5.

In his youngest son — That is, he shall lose all his children in the work, the first at the beginning, others in the progress of it by degrees, and the youngest in the close of it, when the gates use to be set up. This was fulfilled, 1 Kings 16:34.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-6.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 6:26 And Joshua adjured [them] at that time, saying, Cursed [be] the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest [son] shall he set up the gates of it.

Ver. 26. Cursed be the man.] And yet there was found a man that durst rebuild it, [1 Kings 16:34] as if he would despitefully spit in the face of Heaven, wrestle a fall with the Almighty.

In his firstborn.] God’s hand was very heavy upon William the Conqueror in his issue, for his depopulations in New Forest. (a)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-6.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 26. And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, &c.— As soon as the city of Jericho was razed and destroyed, Joshua convened the chiefs and elders of the tribes, to signify to them the divine intention that this idolatrous city should never be rebuilt. Accordingly, he engaged them by oath never to raise it again; and these, certainly, bound the people in like manner, on pain of the divine malediction. This prudent general thought himself unable to erect a monument better adapted to the greatness of God, than to leave Jericho for ever buried in its ruins, thereby to announce to posterity his justice against wicked and incorrigible idolaters, and his beneficent power in favour of his people, whom he had caused to triumph over the inhabitants of Jericho in the most miraculous manner.

Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho! It is not of himself, but in the name and by the order of Jehovah, that Joshua here pronounces an anathema upon whoever shall dare to raise again the walls of Jericho. The view in which we have placed this command was pointed out by Maimonides. Joshua, says he, pronounced a curse against those who should build up Jericho, that the remembrance of the miracle which God had wrought by destroying it might never be effaced; for all who looked on these ruins thus sunk into the earth, clearly saw them to be the ruins of a city destroyed by a miracle, and not by the hand of men. More Nev. p. ii. c. 5. We may see from this passage, that Maimonides thought the walls of Jericho were swallowed up by the earth, rather than overthrown. In ancient history we meet with repeated instances of like imprecations and prohibitions to rebuild cities, whose perfidy or violence it was intended to punish, and whose power it was feared should be again revived. Thus Agamemnon cursed every one who should dare to build again the walls of Troy, Strabo, lib. xiii. p. 898; Croesus those who should rebuild Sidena. Ibid. and Scipio Africanus those who should attempt to repair Carthage. Zonar. Annal. lib. ix. p. 149. Cicero de Leg. Agr. Orat. 2.

He shall lay the foundation, &c.— i.e. "All the children of such a man, from the greatest even to the least, shall be smitten with a premature death before the enterprise be finished; his first-born shall die when he begins to rear up the walls of this city, and his younger when he setteth up the gates thereof!" This prophetic malediction was literally accomplished about five hundred and fifty years after, in the person of Hiel, the Beth-elite, who, under the reign of Ahaz, laid the foundation of Jericho, in Abiram his first-born; and set up the gate, thereof, in his youngest son Segub. When, tempted by the situation of the territory in which Jericho lay, Hiel had ventured, through a criminal ignorance of Joshua's prediction, or rather through unbelief, to rebuild this city at a small distance from the spot where it was originally placed, no one made any scruple of settling there; and the design of God seemed not to have been for prohibiting it. We see there a college of prophets; Elijah and Elisha frequented it (2 Kings 2:15-18.); and after that our Saviour honoured it with his presence and miracles. Luke 19:1; Luke 19:48. Long before Hiel's time, some one had already raised some of the ruins of Jericho. We should at least apprehend so, if Jericho was the same as the city of palm-trees; for this last subsisted in the time of Eglon, Judges 3:13.; and it was at Jericho that David ordered his ambassadors to remain till their beards, which had been cut off by the command of king Hanun, were grown again; 2 Samuel 10:4-5. Jericho, at present, is almost entirely deserted; having but thirty or forty little houses in it, which serve as a retreat for some poor Moors and Arabs who live there like the beasts. The plain of Jericho produces hardly any thing more than some few wild trees, and bad fruit, which grow spontaneously without cultivation. We must not, however, pass over the roses of Jericho, or its oil, so excellent for wounds, which they extract from a fruit called by the Arabs za-cho-ne.

REFLECTIONS.—Now is the hour of Jericho's destruction come. At Joshua's command, the hosts of Israel shout aloud; at the signal given by the trumpet's long blast, and according to their faith, this proud city's walls fall down before them. Such will be the triumphant shout of the Israel of God, when, under the conduct of the divine Joshua, they shall, in the last hour of their warfare, see all their foes laid low before them, and with their expiring breath triumph over death, their last enemy, and march through the breaches of the grave to the possession of the city of the living God.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". 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

Adjured them; or, made them to swear; caused the people, or some in the name of all, to swear for the present and succeeding generations, and to confirm their oath by a curse.

Before the Lord, i.e. from God’s presence, and by his sentence, as they are said to east lots before the Lord, Joshua 18:8,10, i.e. expecting the decision from God. He intimates, that he doth not utter this in a passion, or upon a particular dislike of that place, but by Divine inspiration, as appears from 1 Kings 16:34. God would have the ruins of this city remain as a standing monument of God’s justice against this wicked and idolatrous people, and of his almighty power in destroying so great and strong a city by such contemptible means.

That riseth up and buildeth, i.e. that shall attempt or endeavour to build it. So this curse is restrained to the builder, but no way belongs to those who should inhabit it after it was built, as is evident from 2 Kings 2:18 Luke 19:1,5. The builder shall lose all his children in the work, the first at the beginning, others in the progress of it by degrees, and the youngest in the close of it, when the gates use to be set up. This was fulfilled, 1 Kings 16:34.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". 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 Joshua charged them with an oath at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before YHWH who rises up, and builds this city Jericho. He will lay the foundation of it with the loss of his firstborn, and with his youngest son he will set up the gates of it.” ’

Having devoted everything to YHWH Joshua now devoted the mound itself to YHWH. He put on it a curse, that a city should not be rebuilt on it (Deuteronomy 13:16), in the strongest terms he could think of. The loss of a firstborn and of a youngest son were both seen as appalling tragedies, the former especially to a man, the latter to a woman. This later remarkably came to fruition over four hundred years later when someone did rebuild it (1 Kings 16:34). (This was unlikely to refer to a recognised sacrificial ritual otherwise it would not have been seen as unusual). Indeed Joshua may have intended it to be seen as signifying that the man’s whole progeny would be destroyed one by one as the building progressed, from eldest to youngest.

Such a curse on a ‘devoted’ city was seen as having great effect well beyond the bounds of Israel. The same happened to Troy and Carthage which were deliberately left desolate. It is ‘the wicked man’ who ‘dwells in cities that have been cut off, in houses which no man will inhabit’ (Job 15:28).

This does not mean that no one ever lived there, for settlement did possibly take place there (Judges 1:16; Judges 3:13 - although these may have been in tents at the oasis - Joshua 18:21; 2 Samuel 10:5; 1 Chronicles 19:5), but the idea was that it was not to be rebuilt as a city. (For the record New Testament Jericho was not situated on the old site).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-6.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

JOSHUA’S ADJURATION AND FAME, Joshua 6:26-27.

26.And Joshua adjured them — Bound them with an oath; caused them to swear. This solemn charge, attended with all the solemnity of an adjuration, was designed to prevent Israel and his posterity from erecting again the walls which had been thrown down by the power of Jehovah. Joshua would have these prostrate defences of the wicked city a perpetual and impressive memorial of punished sin, and of the power and justice of Jehovah. We do not understand that the oath bound the Hebrews not to erect houses, but simply the walls and gates: for we find, in Judges 3:13, the city of palms — the usual appellation of Jericho — spoken of as inhabited. Also, that in 2 Samuel 10:5, David orders his outraged embassy to “tarry in Jericho until their beards be grown.”

Cursed be the man before the Lord — That is, Jehovah beholding and being judge. The curse is pronounced by divine sanction, and will fall at his command upon the daring man who shall attempt to restore these fallen walls, and thereby destroy their monumental significance.

In his firstborn — That is, at the expense of his life. The meaning, evidently, of this strong poetic expression is, that the builder of the walls would suffer the loss of all his offspring, from the oldest to the youngest. [The words of the curse are in the form of poetic parallelisms, and may be rendered thus:

Cursed be the man before Jehovah,

Who rises up and builds this city of Jericho.

In his firstborn shall he lay its foundation,

And in his younger son shall he set up its gates.

Possibly this rhythmical passage, like that cited in Joshua 10:13, was taken from the book of Jasher.] For a striking fulfilment of this prophetic curse, see 1 Kings 16:34, where we find that Hiel accomplished this work, and suffered the penalty predicted five hundred and fifty years before.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-6.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 6:26. Joshua adjured them at that time — Hebrew, ישׁבע, jashbang, he made them to swear. As soon as the city was destroyed, it seems, he convened the heads of the tribes, to signify to them that it was the will of God this idolatrous city should never be rebuilt, and then engaged them to take an oath that they would leave it in ruins. And they doubtless bound the people in like manner not to rebuild it, on pain of the divine malediction. Cursed be the man before the Lord — That is, from God’s presence, and by his sentence, as Joshua is said (Joshua 18:8; Joshua 18:10) to cast lots before the Lord, expecting the decision from God. He intimates that he does not utter this of himself, or in consequence of any particular dislike of that place; but from Jehovah, and by divine inspiration. God would have the ruins of this city remain as a standing monument of his justice against this wicked and idolatrous people, and of his almighty power in destroying so great and strong a city by such contemptible means. Thus Maimonides, the Jewish rabbi: “Joshua pronounced a curse against those who should build up Jericho, that the remembrance of the miracle which God had wrought by destroying it might never be effaced; for all who looked on these ruins, thus sunk into the earth,” (he thought the walls were swallowed up rather than overthrown,) “clearly saw them to be the ruins of a city destroyed by a miracle, and not by the hand of men.” Cursed be the man that buildeth this city — That is, that shall attempt to build it. So this curse was restrained to the builder, but no way belonged to those who should inhabit it after it was built, as is evident from 2 Kings 2:18; Luke 19:5. In his youngest son — That is, he shall lose all his children in the work, the first at the beginning, others in the progress of it, and the youngest in the close, when the gates were wont to be set up. This was exactly fulfilled, as we read, (1 Kings 16:34,) Hiel the Bethelite built Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, who died in the beginning of the work, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, who died when it was finished, and the gates were setting up.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-6.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Cursed, &c. Jericho, in the mystical sense, signifies iniquity; the sounding of the trumpets by the priests, signifies the preaching of the word of God; by which the walls of Jericho are thrown down, when sinners are converted; and a dreadful curse will light on them who build them up again. (Challoner) --- Gates. Some copies of the Septuagint insert here that the curse fell upon Azan (Hiel) of Bethel, 3 Kings xvi. 34. Before his time, there was a city of palm-trees, or Jericho, built in the neighbourhood. (Josephus, Jewish Wars v. 4.) Though Hiel was so severely punished, no one made any scruple to live there. Elias and Jesus Christ himself honoured the place with their presence. The city is now almost in ruins, and the territory uncultivated. Ancient history mentions similar imprecations against obnoxious cities. Thus the Romans cursed the rebuilders of Carthage, and Agamemnon followed "the ancient custom," says Strabo, (xiii.) laying a curse upon those who should rebuild the city of Troy. The Ionians and Greeks forbad those temples to be re-established, which the Persians had destroyed, that they might remain eternal monuments of the impiety of the latter, and of the hatred which subsisted between the two nations. (Pausanias in Phoc.) (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-6.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

man. Hebrew. ish App-14.

buildeth this city i.e. its walla and gates (Joshua 6:26), for Joshua himself gave it to the Benjamltes, Joshua 18:12. Compare 2 Samuel 10:5. See note on Joshua 6:20.

he shall lay. Prophecy fulfilled in Hiel the Beth-elite. 1 Kings 16:34.

in = in [the death of] his firstborn.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "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 Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.

Joshua adjured them at that time - i:e., imposed upon his countrymen a solemn oath, binding on themselves as well as their posterity, that they would never rebuild that city. Its destruction was designed by God to be a permanent memorial of His abhorreuce of idolatry and its attendant vices.

Cursed be the man ... that riseth up - i:e., makes the daring attempt to build, or rather, to fortify it (cf. 2 Chronicles 11:6), as is evident from the setting up of the gates of it. However strange such a course may appear-and in this instance it had a prophetic reference-it was not special to Joshua, but an ancient custom, of which the writings of the classics furnish many examples.

Thus according to Strabo (b. 13:, ch. 1:, sec. 42), those who might have been desirous of rebuilding Ilium were deterred from building the city on its old site, either from some painful associations with the spot, or because Agamemnon had denounced a curse against him that should rebuild it; and Croesus, after the destruction of Sidena, within the wails of which the tyrant Glaneias sought refuge, uttered a curse upon him who should restore the walls of that place. It remains to be noticed that the person who pronounced such a general curse was himself equally bound by it as those to whom it was applied; and Joshua, who proclaimed one against the man who should rear a fortified city at Jericho, was equally bound with the people. He one against the man who should rear a fortified city at Jericho, was equally bound with the people. He virtually took the oath upon himself (cf. 1 Samuel 14:24).

He shall lay the foundation therefore in his first-born ... - shall become childless; the first beginning being marked by the death of his oldest son, and his only surviving child dying at the time of its completion; or, as some interpret the words, 'he shall begin to build the city at the birth of his oldest son; but there should occur so many and great obstacles to the progress of he undertaking, that it would not be completed until the birth of his youngest: an event which took place toward the close of his protracted life.' This curse was accomplished 550 years after its denunciation (see the note at 1 Kings 16:34). The view given above of the curse being directed against the restoration of a fortress which had been miraculously destroyed by God, removes a difficulty from the sacred history, arising from the fact, that a city was soon after built and inhabited, but without walls, on the site of Jericho (Judges 3:13; 2 Samuel 10:5). De Saulcy relates that, 'on his second visit

(1864) to Palestine, he found above 'Ain es-Sultan, or spring of Elisha, a range of mamelons, covering the foundations of the ancient Jericho, destroyed in Joshua's time. On the highest of these mamelons-probably the citadel of the town-are scattered the remains of walls six feet in thickness, and all the ground is strewed with interesting fragments of ancient pottery.'

The credulity of De Saulcy has thrown deserved suspicion on many of his alleged discoveries. But there is a strong presumption in favour of his conclusions in this instance; because Josephus asserts that ancient Jericho was situated near the fountain of Elisha ('Jewish, Wars,' b. 4:, ch. 8:, sec. 3). And Mr. Stewart ('Tent and Khan,' p. 371) says, 'To my mind the accuracy of his statement is abundantly corroborated by its vicinity to the mountains; because the spies whom Rahab had advised to flee thither for safety could easily have reached them from the fountain in a quarter of an hour. These ruins, however, probably belong to two different towns. The mounds mark the Jericho of the Canaanites, of Rahab and the spies, which fell before the blast of the horns; and the ruins further south, the Jericho visited by our Lord, the dwelling-place of Zaccheus and Bartimeus, which was built by Hiel the Bethelite, despite the calamities that Joshua had predicted would fall on the family of the man who did so.' (See also Robinson's, 'Biblical Researches,' 2:, pp. 298, 299; Porter's Handbook of Syria and Palestine, p. 192).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "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

(26) Cursed be the man . . . that . . . buildeth this city Jericho.—As the marginal reference indicates, the curse of Joshua was not incurred until Hiel the Bethelite built the city, in the reign of Ahab. But the “city of palm-trees” is (somewhat doubtfully) identified with Jericho, and this was occupied by the Moabites under Eglon, not very long after the time of Joshua (Judges 3:13, &c.), and seems to have been Eglon’s residence, where he was slain by Ehud.

The curse, fulfilled upon Hiel and his family, appears to have been finally removed by the intercession of Elisha (2 Kings 2:18-22), at the request of the inhabitants.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-6.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.
adjured
This is to be regarded as a prediction, that he who rebuilded this city should lose all his children in the interim between the laying of the foundation to the completion of the walls.
Numbers 5:19-21; 1 Samuel 14:24-46; 1 Kings 22:16; Matthew 26:63; Acts 19:13
Cursed
1 Kings 16:34; Malachi 1:4
Reciprocal: Genesis 27:7 - before the;  Leviticus 27:28 - no devoted;  Numbers 5:21 - an oath;  Numbers 21:2 - I will;  Deuteronomy 13:16 - an heap;  Deuteronomy 13:17 - the Lord;  Joshua 16:7 - Jericho;  Judges 9:57 - upon them;  2 Kings 2:4 - Jericho;  2 Kings 2:19 - the water;  Daniel 2:5 - made;  Habakkuk 2:12 - him;  Luke 19:1 - Jericho;  Acts 23:12 - under a curse

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-6.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

26.And Joshua adjured them, etc This adjuration, then, was not merely to have effect for one day, but to warn posterity through all ages that that city had been taken only by divine power. He wished, therefore, that the ruins and devastation should exist for ever as a kind of trophy; because the rebuilding of it would have been equivalent to an erasure effacing the miracle. In order, therefore, that the desolate appearance of the place might keep the remembrance of the divine power and favor alive among posterity, Joshua pronounces a heavy curse upon any one who should again build the ruined city. From this passage we gather that the natural torpidity of men requires the aid of stimulants to prevent them from burying the divine favors in oblivion; and hence this spectacle, wherein the divine agency was made conspicuous to the people, was a kind of indirect censure of their ingratitude.

The substance of the imprecation is, that if any one ever attempt to rebuild Jericho he may be made sensible by the unpropitious and mournful result that he had done a cursed and abominable work. For to lay the foundations in his first-born, were just as if he were to cast forth his son to perish, crushed and buried beneath the mass of stones; and to set up the gates in his younger son, is the same thing as to plan an edifice which could not be erected without causing the death of a son. Thus he who should dare to make the insane attempt is condemned in his own offspring. Nor did Joshua utter this curse at his own suggestion; he was only the herald of celestial vengeance.

This makes it the more monstrous that among the people of God a man should have been found, whom that fearful curse, couched in formal terms, could not restrain from sacrilegious temerity. In the time of Ahab (1 Kings 16:34) arose Hiel, a citizen of Bethel, who dared, as it were avowedly, to challenge God in this matter; but the Sacred History at the same time testifies, that the denunciation which God had pronounced by the mouth of Joshua did not fail of its effect; for Hiel founded the new Jericho in Abiram his first-born, and set up its gates in his younger son Segub, and thus learned in the destruction of his offspring what it is to attempt anything against the will and in opposition to the command of God. (68)

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:26". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-6.html. 1840-57.