Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 6:5

It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Communion;   Trumpet;   Scofield Reference Index - Victories;   Thompson Chain Reference - Bible Stories for Children;   Children;   Home;   Miracles;   Pleasant Sunday Afternoons;   Religion;   Stories for Children;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Holy Land;   Horns;   Sieges;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Ark of the Covenant;   Music;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ark;   City;   Earthquake;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Feasts and Festivals of Israel;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Horn;   Music, Instrumental;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Horn;   Joshua;   Jubilee;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Horn;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Israel;   Jericho;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Horns;   Jubilee;   Rams' Horns;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jericho;   Rams horns;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ark;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Blast;   Horn;   Joshua, Book of;   Music;   Palestine (Recent Exploration, I.e. as of 1915);   Shittim;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Joshua, Book of;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The wall of the city shall fall down flat - Several commentators, both Jews and Christians, have supposed that the ground under the foundation of the walls opened, and the wall sunk into the chasm, so that there remained nothing but plain ground for the Israelites to walk over. Of this the text says nothing: - תחתיה העיר חומת ונפלה venaphelah chomath hair tachteyha, literally translated, is, The wall of the city shall fall down Under Itself; which appears to mean no more than, The wall shall fall down From Its Very Foundations. And this probably was the case in every part, though large breaches in different places might be amply sufficient to admit the armed men first, after whom the whole host might enter, in order to destroy the city.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-6.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn,.... Continue blowing, and protracting, and drawing out the sound a long time; which they did only on the seventh day; on the other days it was but a short blast they made at a time; so that this being different, it would be a good sign and token to the people to do what they are next directed to:

and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet; drawn out to a great length:

all the people shall shout with a great shout; at once, as when an onset is made in battle, or a victory is obtained:

and the wall of the city shall fall down flat; or "under itself"F1תחתיה "sub se", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "subtus se", Tigurine version; "sabter se", Masius. ; which Jarchi interprets, in its place; that is, where it stood, and be swallowed up in it: so the Targum,"and it shall be swallowed up under it;'yet so that somewhat of it should be seen, as an attestation and proof of the miracle, as Kimchi; who says,"it means that it should be swallowed up in its place under the earth, and a little of it appear above ground for a memorial of the miracle:"

and the people shall ascend up, every man straight before him; just as they were in the order of procession; for the wall being fallen everywhere, they would have no occasion to make up to one certain place, as when a breach is only made in one place, and the besiegers are obliged to go so many a breast to enter at it; but in this case they might go straight up from whence they were, and enter the city without any obstruction and difficulty.

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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.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-6.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And it shall come to pass, 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 ascend up every man straight before him.

The wall — Not all of it; which was unnecessary, and might have given the people better opportunity of escaping, but only a considerable part of it, where the Israelites might fitly enter: for Rahab's house was not overthrown, verse22.

Flat — Heb. under it, it was not battered down with engines which would have made part of it fall out of its place; but it fell of its own accord, and therefore in the place it did formerly stand in. God chose this way, to try the faith and obedience of the people: whether they would observe a precept, which to human policy seemed foolish, and believe a promise, which seemed impossible to be performed: whether they could patiently bear the reproaches of their enemies, and patiently wait for the salvation of God. Thus by faith, not by force, the walls of Jericho fell down.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-6.html. 1765.

Scofield's Reference Notes

And it shall come to pass

The central truth here is that spiritual victories are won by means and upon principles utterly foolish and inadequate in the view of human wisdom. 1 Corinthians 1:17-29; 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
Bibliographical Information
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Joshua 6:5". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/joshua-6.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 6:5 And it shall come to pass, 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 ascend up every man straight before him.

Ver. 5. When they make a long blast.] Importing the triumph of their trust, the victory of faith: for it was by faith that these walls fell. [Hebrews 11:30]

And the wall of the city shall fall down flat.] Corruet subtus se, that is, absorbebitur a terra, saith Vatablus, it shall be swallowed up of the earth.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-6.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 5. The wall of the city shall fall down flat The Hebrew literally is, shall fall under itself. The LXX render it, the walls shall fall down of themselves; and Onkelos has it, the wall shall fall, and be swallowed up under itself. If we are to believe the Jews, the walls of Jericho sunk entirely into the earth, without leaving the least outward trace of them; so that the Jews entered into the city on plain ground. But the text only says, that the walls fell down upon their foundations. The latter clause, and the people shall ascend up, &c. is explained two different ways. 1. Some are of opinion, that the walls of Jericho fell down only in particular places, where wide breaches were made, through which the Israelites might pass with ease; and this they suppose, because otherwise Rahab's house, which was annexed to the city-wall, must have been overturned. 2. But others think, that the whole wall was beaten down, and the house of Rahab only preserved; still more apparently to display the irresistibility of that Power, which, while it overthrows, can yet exempt from destruction: He killeth, and He saveth alive.

REFLECTIONS.—Jericho was now close besieged without, and close shut up and guarded within, by the strength of the fortifications and the number of the inhabitants; but the captain of the Lord's hosts assures Joshua that the place is his own: and, to try the obedience of the people, as well as to spread the terror of such a scene wide through the land, he issues a strange order. No military attack need be made, no engines drawn to the walls, but only the ark of God be carried in solemn procession six days round the city, by the priests, blowing with rams' horns, accompanied by all the people; on the seventh day the city must be compassed seven times, when, at the signal given of a long blast of the trumpets, the people must shout together, and the walls shall fall down flat; so that every man may go up instantly, and smite the inhabitants surprised and defenceless. Note; Though the sinner's heart be walled and barred as fast as Jericho, the word of God, spoken by his ministers, has mighty power to cast down the strong-holds of Satan; and though the instruments seem weak as these rams' horns, yet that Divine power is with them which nothing can resist.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". 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

When they make a long blast, as is usual in the close of musical sounds.

The wall of the city; not all of it, which was not only unnecessary, but inconvenient, and might have given the people better opportunity of escaping; but only a considerable part of it, where the Israelites might fitly enter; for Rahab’s house was not overthrown, Joshua 6:22.

Flat, Heb. under it, i.e. below the place they stood in; or, in its place: it was not battered down with engines, which would have made part of it fall out of its place; but it fell out without any force, and of its own accord, and therefore in the place it did formerly stand in.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". 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 it shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people shall go up, every man straight before him.”

On the seventh day, once the city had been surrounded seven times, a long distinguishing blast was to be made on the trumpet of ram’s horn. Then all the people (probably indicating all the men of war) were to shout with a great shout and the walls would collapse so that all the armed men could go straight before them into the city. Horns always symbolise power (they are the effective armament of both domestic and wild beasts) so that here there may be in the ‘seven rams’ horns’ the idea of expressing the divine perfection of the power of YHWH.

The long blast on the ram’s horn was possibly to symbolise the trumpet sound of YHWH as in Exodus 19:16; Exodus 19:19; Exodus 20:18, introducing His power revealed in what was about to happen. In Psalms 47 the sound of the ram’s horn indicates the going forth of YHWH as King (Psalms 47:5-7), a psalm which also links it with the people’s shout of triumph (Joshua 6:1; Joshua 6:5), when He goes forth to subdue the nations and to grant an inheritance to His people (Joshua 6:3-4), resulting in His reign over all things. Jericho was but the beginning of the revelation of His power.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-6.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5.All the people shall shout — This was to take place during the seventh circuit, at a concerted signal. Previous to that signal they were prohibited from uttering a word; the twelve circumambulations were to be in perfect silence, save the sound of the trumpets.

The wall of the city shall fall down flat — Hebrews, shall fall under itself, that is, to its very foundations. The portion of the wall which constituted the rear wall of Rahab’s house must have been spared. See Joshua 6:22.

Ascend up every man straight before him — The moving column of men was so long that it completely encircled the city. When the wall fell there was a wall of soldiers surrounding it on every side. The command is that this living wall contract by each man’s marching over the ruins towards the centre of the city. Escape would be impossible.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". "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 6:5. The wall — Not all of it; which was unnecessary, and might have given the people better opportunity of escaping; but only a considerable part of it, where the Israelites might fitly enter: for Rahab’s house was not overthrown, Joshua 6:22. Flat — Hebrew, under it. It was not battered down with engines, which would have made part of it fall out of its place, but it fell of its own accord, and therefore in the place it did formerly stand in. God chose this way to try the faith and obedience of the people; whether they would observe a precept which, to human policy, seemed foolish, and believe a promise which seemed impossible to be performed; whether they could patiently bear the reproaches of their enemies, and patiently wait for the salvation of God. Thus, by faith, not by force, the walls of Jericho fell down.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-6.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Tune, with certain modulations, continued for a long time, Numbers x. 5. (Haydock) --- Ground. The Rabbins say they sink in, so that the ruins might not impede the march of the army. Some think only a large breach was made, opposite to the Israelites, as the house of Rahab upon the walls was preserved. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-6.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

flat = under it. Probably into the ground. Compare Joshua 11:13. Jeremiah 49:2. See note on Joshua 6:20.

every man = Hebrew. ish App-14.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". "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 it shall come to pass, 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 ascend up every man straight before him.

When they make a long blast with the ram's horn, [ bimshok (Hebrew #4900) b

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". "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 shall come to pass, 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 ascend up every man straight before him.
make a long
16,20; Exodus 19:19; 2 Chronicles 20:21,22
the people
Judges 7:20-22; 1 Samuel 4:5; 17:20,52; 2 Chronicles 13:14,15; Jeremiah 50:15
and the wall
The words wenaphelah chomath hair tachteyha, are literally, "and the wall of the city shall fall down under itself;" which appears simply to mean, that the wall shall fall down from its very foundation; which was probably the case in every part, though large breaches in different places might have been amply sufficient first to admit the armed men, after whom the host might enter to destroy the city. There is no ground for the supposition that the walls sunk into the earth.
Isaiah 25:12; 30:25; 2 Corinthians 10:4,5; Hebrews 11:30
flat
Heb. under it.
Reciprocal: Exodus 32:17 - There is a noise;  Numbers 10:9 - if ye go;  Numbers 20:8 - speak;  Judges 20:37 - drew themselves along;  1 Samuel 4:3 - Let us;  2 Samuel 6:15 - the sound;  2 Kings 4:29 - lay my staff;  2 Chronicles 6:41 - the ark;  Ezra 3:11 - shouted;  Psalm 47:5 - sound;  Ezekiel 26:10 - enter;  Zechariah 9:14 - blow

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 6:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-6.html.