Joshua 6

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1 Now Jericho was shut up and was barred, because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

2 And Jehovah said to Joshua, See, I have given into thy hand Jericho, and the king thereof, [and] the valiant men.

3 And ye shall go round the city, all the men of war, encompassing the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.

4 And seven priests shall carry before the ark seven blast-trumpets; and on the seventh day ye shall go round the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

5 And it shall come to pass when they make a long blast with the blast-horn, that all the people on hearing the sound of the trumpet shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall flat, and the people shall go up, each one straight before him.

6 And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said to them, Carry the ark of the covenant, and seven priests shall carry seven blast-trumpets before the ark of Jehovah.

7 And he said to the people, Pass on, go round the city, and they that are armed shall Pass on before the ark of Jehovah.

8 And it came to pass when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests carrying the seven blast-trumpets before Jehovah passed on and blew with the trumpets; and the ark of the covenant of Jehovah went after them.

9 And the armed men went before the priests who blew with the trumpets, and the rearguard came after the ark; they blew with the trumpets in marching.

10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor let your voice be heard, neither shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, shout; then shall ye shout.

11 And the ark of Jehovah went round the city, encompassing [it] once; and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.

12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests carried the ark of Jehovah.

13 And the seven priests carrying the seven blast-trumpets before the ark of Jehovah went on and blew continually with the trumpets; and the armed men went before them, and the rearguard went after the ark of Jehovah; they blew with the trumpets in marching.

14 And on the second day they went round the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did six days.

15 And it was so that on the seventh day they rose early, about the morning-dawn, and went round the city after the same manner seven times; only on that day they went round the city seven times.

16 And it came to pass the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people, Shout; for Jehovah has given you the city.

17 And the city shall be accursed, it and all that is in it, to Jehovah; 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 But in any wise keep from the accursed thing, lest ye make [yourselves] accursed in taking of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.

19 And all the silver, and gold, and vessels of copper and iron, shall be holy to Jehovah; they shall come into the treasury of Jehovah.

20 And the people shouted, and they blew with the trumpets. And it came to pass when the people heard the sound of the trumpets, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat; and the people went up into the city, each one 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 And Joshua said to 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 has, as ye swore unto her.

23 And the young men, the spies, went in and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had: all her kindred did they bring out, and they left them outside the camp of Israel.

24 And they burned the city with fire, and all that was therein; only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of copper and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of Jehovah.

25 And Joshua saved alive Rahab the harlot, and her father's household, and all that she had, and she dwelt in the midst of Israel to this day; because she hid the messengers whom Joshua had sent to spy out Jericho.

26 And Joshua swore at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before Jehovah who shall rise up and build this city Jericho! In his first-born shall he lay its foundation, and in his youngest son shall he set up its gates.

27 And Jehovah was with Joshua; and his fame was in 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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