The Bible Text

Joshua 6

← Joshua 5   Joshua 7 →

1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
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.
3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
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.
6 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 the LORD.
7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.
8 And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns passed on before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.
9 And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout.
11 So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.
12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.
13 And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the LORD, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.
14 And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.
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.
16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.
17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
18 And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.
19 But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.
20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.
22 But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot's house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her.
23 And the young men that were spies went in, and brought Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel.
24 And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.
25 And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
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.
27 So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.

← Joshua 5   Joshua 7 →


Swedenborg refers to this text in:

Apocalypse Revealed 397, 529

Arcana Coelestia 728, 2799, 2838, 2973, 5955, 8815, 9396, 9416

Doctrine of Life 59

True Christianity 284

Apocalypse Explained 55, 458, 502, 700

Commentary

The Battle of Jericho

See bibliographic information

The Seven Trumpets of Jericho, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902) or follower, gouache on board, 7 5/16 x 12 1/16 in. (18.7 x 30.7 cm), at the Jewish Museum, New York

The Battle of Jericho is a great story... and a horrifying one. Why would God want children to be slaughtered? The answer is that He didn't, but did have spiritual lessons to teach us.

First, it's important to be reminded that all places in the land of Canaan signified celestial and spiritual things about the church. These significations were present from the most ancient times.

The sons of Israel were to represent the church. The Word - the Old Testament - was written and preserved by them. In it, the places that are mentioned signify things about heaven and the church

Right before coming to Jericho, the Children of Israel crossed the Jordan River - crossing on dry land as the waters divided for them. The Jordan symbolizes our introduction into the church.

The city of Jericho, near the river, signifies instruction in the knowledges of good and truth. That kind of instruction introduces people into the church. Extending that, "Jericho" also stood for the good of life, because there has to be some initial good - some wanting to learn - before one can be instructed.

However, at the time, idolatrous nations lived in the land of Canaan, which changes the signification of the places and cities in that land into the opposite, i.e. with Jericho then signifying the profanation of truth and good.

The Writings tell us that the "city" signified the doctrine of falsity and evil, which perverted and profaned the truths and goods of the church, and its "wall" signified falsities of evil defending that doctrine. In the story, the "inhabitants" represent those who are profane.

What does profane mean in this context? Profaneness is what happens when - after an initial acknowledgment of truth and good, a person's evil loves corrupt that good and truth. In the story, Jericho was burned with fire, its wall fell down, and its people were cursed.

"fire" signifying infernal love,
"curse" a total blotting out, and
"the falling down of the wall" exposure to every evil and falsity.

The Children of Israel marched around the city once a day for 6 days, and on the 7th day, marched around it 7 times. At the Lord's commandment, they then sounded their trumpets, and shouted, and the walls fell.

Compassing the city, carrying the Ark of the Covenant, signified a survey of falsity and evil and their dispersion by the influx of Divine truth from the Lord.

The sounding of the trumpets by the priests signified the proclamation of Divine truth from Divine good. The shouting of the people signified consent and confirmation of the truth.

The number seven means holiness. There were 7 priests, 7 trumpets, 7 days, and 7 circuits of the city. They signify the proclamation of Divine truth.

The gold, the silver, and the vessels of brass and iron, were put into the treasury of the house of Jehovah. The "gold and silver" represent the knowledges of spiritual truth and good, and "the vessels of brass and iron" knowledges of natural truth and good.

In the profane hands of the idolaters of Jericho, the knowledges were profaned, becoming tools to serve direful falsities and evils. In the house of Jehovah, they could be serviceable knowledges, applied to good ends - hence their being salvaged.

Share: