Joshua 6

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1 (Now Jericho was all shut up because of the children of Israel: there was no going out or coming in.)

2 And the Lord said to Joshua, See, I have given into your hands Jericho with its king and all its men of war.

3 Now let all your fighting-men make a circle round the town, going all round it once. Do this for six days.

4 And let seven priests go before the ark with seven loud-sounding horns in their hands: on the seventh day you are to go round the town seven times, the priests blowing their horns.

5 And at the sound of a long note on the horns, let all the people give a loud cry; and the wall of the town will come down flat, and all the people are to go straight forward.

6 Then Joshua, the son of Nun, sent for the priests and said to them, Take up the ark of the agreement, and let seven priests take seven horns in their hands and go before the ark of the Lord.

7 And he said to the people, Go forward, circling the town, and let the armed men go before the ark of the Lord.

8 So after Joshua had said this to the people, the seven priests with their seven horns went forward before the Lord, blowing on their horns: and the ark of the Lord's agreement went after them.

9 And the armed men went before the priests who were blowing the horns, and the mass of the people went after the ark, blowing their horns.

10 And to the people Joshua gave an order, saying, You will give no cry, and make no sound, and let no word go out of your mouth till the day when I say, Give a loud cry; then give a loud cry.

11 So he made the ark of the Lord go all round the town once: then they went back to the tents for the night.

12 And early in the morning Joshua got up, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord.

13 And the seven priests with their seven horns went on before the ark of the Lord, blowing their horns: the armed men went before them, and the mass of the people went after the ark of the Lord, blowing their horns.

14 The second day they went all round the town once, and then went back to their tents: and so they did for six days.

15 Then on the seventh day they got up early, at the dawn of the day, and went round the town in the same way, but that day they went round it seven times.

16 And the seventh time, at the sound of the priests' horns, Joshua said to the people, Now give a loud cry; for the Lord has given you the town.

17 And the town will be put to the curse, and everything in it will be given to the Lord: only Rahab, the loose woman, and all who are in the house with her, will be kept safe, because she kept secret the men we sent.

18 And as for you, keep yourselves from the cursed thing, for fear that you may get a desire for it and take some of it for yourselves, and so be the cause of a curse and great trouble on the tents of Israel.

19 But all the silver and gold and the vessels of brass and iron are holy to the Lord: they are to come into the store-house of the Lord.

20 So the people gave a loud cry, and the horns were sounded; and on hearing the horns the people gave a loud cry, and the wall came down flat, so that the people went up into the town, every man going straight before him, and they took the town.

21 And they put everything in the town to the curse; men and women, young and old, ox and sheep and ass, they put to death without mercy.

22 Then Joshua said to the two men who had been sent to make a search through the land, Go into the house of the loose woman, and get her out, and all who are with her, as you gave her your oath.

23 So the searchers went in and got out Rahab and her father and mother and her brothers and all she had, and they got out all her family; and they took them outside the tents of Israel.

24 Then, after burning up the town and everything in it, they put the silver and gold and the vessels of brass and iron into the store-house of the Lord's house.

25 But Joshua kept Rahab, the loose woman, and her father's family and all she had, from death, and so she got a living-place among the children of Israel to this day; because she kept safe the men whom Joshua had sent to make a search through the land.

26 Then Joshua gave the people orders with an oath, saying, Let that man be cursed before the Lord who puts his hand to the building up of this town: with the loss of his first son will he put the first stone of it in place, and with the loss of his youngest son he will put up its doors.

27 So the Lord was with Joshua; and news of him went through all the land.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Joshua 6      

Napsal(a) New Christian Bible Study Staff and Rev. Julian Duckworth

Joshua 6: The Fall of Jericho

Here, the first conflict for Israel in Canaan presents itself: the taking of the city of Jericho, which stands directly and obstinately in the path of the Israelites, preventing them from moving forward. This conflict embodies the whole essence and scope of all the rest of the conquests in the Joshua story, which in the inner meaning is to overcome and rule the things in our lives which oppose what God wants for us.

Jericho is to be taken with a siege, and God gives Joshua a procedure to follow: You shall march round the city once a day for six days in absolute silence. Seven priests shall carry seven rams’ horns before the ark. On the seventh day you shall march round the city seven times, and then the priests shall blow their trumpets. All the people are to shout with a huge shout, and then the walls of the city will fall down flat. And all the people are to go up and take the city.

This is quite unlike any other siege, where walls have to be scaled and fire catapulted in to burn things, but... this is a spiritual siege. The siege of Jericho represents how we are to lay siege to, or deal effectively with, our own evils and tendencies. It is the description blueprint for the battle between good and evil, which is our battle too. (See Doctrine of Faith 50).

In the Bible, Jericho is sometimes called the ‘city of palm trees’, giving a lovely idea of it. Its name means “a place of fragrance”, or, “his (the Lord’s) sweet breath”. It sounds perfect, but this has been usurped by invaders and takers who are now in complete possession of this sweet city and who will hold on for all they're worth (Apocalypse Explained 502[11]). This is really an account of the influence of hell in human life, and especially our unregenerate lives, when we are open to whatever feels self-gratifying.

Jericho, we hear, is shut up tight. It is not going to be an easy matter – because the work of regeneration never is – but this also describes hell’s fear; it is shut up tight because of the Israelites (Heaven and Hell 543). In us, when we become aware of a better way to live and we want to follow the Lord - whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light - hell will soon hit back in some devious imperceptible way to hold on to what it has got. It is scared of losing us.

This takes us to the siege and its tactics. The march once a day around the city for six days, carrying the ark, is to see every part of our situation from every angle, and it is also to parade our worship and adoration of the Lord (by parading the ark). The time period, six days, is always to do with the work involved in our regeneration as we see evil and shun it, pray to God, stand back and determine. (Arcana Caelestia 10373)

The seventh day involves seven marches round the city, then the trumpets and the shouts. This is the culmination, the Sabbath. For us, it is the avowal that we know the Lord is now ruling our will and our life and there will be no turning back or weakness of giving in. Jericho is now taken! The command is that every living thing in the city is to be completely destroyed because we must be unrelenting against all the things in our lives that go against God.

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" represent knowledges of natural truth and good. In the profane hands of the idolaters of Jericho, those knowledges could be tools to serve dire falsities and evils. In the house of Jehovah, they could be serviceable knowledges, applied to good ends - hence their being salvaged. (See Heaven and Hell 487)

The prostitute Rahab (who had hidden Israel’s spies and confessed the Lord’s power) and all her family are brought out and given safekeeping. For us, this is the acknowledgement of the truth that we are sinful (as she was) and that if it were not for the Lord we would plunge into who knows what. But now we know and confess the power and truth of God. And then, the Israelites burn the city with fire and Joshua pronounces a curse on anyone who ever rebuilds this city. We are to abhor evil for what it is and be faithful to the Lord our God.

The story of the destruction of Jericho is then the pattern for all our resistance and resolve in seeing and overcoming evil, while confessing, as we do this, that the battle is the Lord’s. (Charity 166)

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