Joshua 6

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1 And Jericho was closed·​·up and had closed· itself ·up from before the sons of Israel; none went·​·out and none came·​·in.

2 And Jehovah said to Joshua, See, I have given into thy hand Jericho and her king and* the mighty·​·men of valor.

3 And you shall go·​·around the city, all the men of war, circle the city one time. Thus shalt thou do six days.

4 And seven priests shall bear seven shophars* of the jubilee before the ark; and on the seventh day you shall go·​·around the city seven times, and the priests shall sound with the shophars,

5 and it shall be when they shall draw·​·out a blast with the horn of the jubilee, when you hear the voice of the shophar, all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city shall fall under itself and the people shall go·​·up, each man to the front·​·of him.

6 And Joshua the son of Nun called to the priests, and said to them, Bear the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests Bear seven shophars of jubilee before the ark of Jehovah.

7 And they said to the people, cross·​·over and go·​·around the city, and let him who is armed cross·​·over before the ark of Jehovah.

8 And it was, as Joshua spoke to the people, the seven priests bearing the seven shophars of jubilee before Jehovah crossed·​·over, and sounded with the shophars, and the ark of the covenant of Jehovah going after them.

9 And he who was armed walked before the priests who sounded the shophars, and they who gathered·​·in the column* walked after the ark, walking and the priests sounding with the shophars.

10 And Joshua commanded the people, saying, You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard, neither shall a word go·​·out of your mouth, until the day of my saying to you, shout; then shall you shout.

11 And he caused the ark of Jehovah to go·​·around the city, circling it one time; and they came to the camp and passed·​·the·​·night in the camp.

12 And Joshua got·​·up·​·early in the morning, and the priests lifted·​·up the ark of Jehovah.

13 And seven of the priests bearing the seven shophars of the jubilee walked before the ark of Jehovah, walking and sounding with the shophars, and he who was armed walking before them, and they who gathered·​·in the column walked behind the ark of Jehovah, the priests walking and sounding with the shophars.

14 And they went·​·around the city the second day one time and returned to the camp; thus they did six days.

15 And it was, on the seventh day, that they got·​·up·​·early as the dawn came·​·up, and went·​·around the city according·​·to this manner seven times; only on that day they went·​·around the city seven times.

16 And it was, at the seventh time, the priests sounded with the shophars, and Joshua said to the people, Shout, for Jehovah has given to you the city.

17 And the city shall be devoted,* she and all that is in her, to Jehovah; only Raḥab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, for she hid·​·away the messengers whom we sent.

18 And you, only keep yourselves from the devoted·​·thing; lest when you have devoted it, you take of the devoted·​·thing and you make the camp of Israel a doomed·​·thing, and trouble it.

19 And all the silver and gold and vessels of bronze and iron, it is holiness to Jehovah; it shall come·​·into the treasury of Jehovah.

20 And the people shouted, and they sounded with the shophars; and it was, as the people heard the voice of the shophar, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell under itself, and the people went·​·up into the city, each·​·man to the front·​·of him, and they captured the city.

21 And they devoted all that was in the city, from a man even·​·to a woman, from a lad even·​·to an elder, and even·​·to an ox, and a sheep, and a donkey, to the mouth of the sword.

22 And Joshua said unto the two men that had spied·​·out the land, Go·​·into the house of the woman, the harlot, and bring·​·out thence the woman, and all that she has, as you promised to her.

23 And the lads, the spies, came and brought·​·out Raḥab and her father, and her mother, and her brothers, and all that she had; and all her families they brought·​·out, and placed them outside the camp of Israel.

24 And the city they burnt·​·up with fire, and all that was in her; only the silver and the gold, and the vessels of bronze and of iron, they gave into the treasure of the house of Jehovah.

25 But Raḥab the harlot and the house of her father and all that she had, Joshua caused to live, and she dwells among Israel to this day; for she hid·​·away the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy·​·out Jericho.

26 And Joshua promised at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before Jehovah, who rises·​·up and builds this city Jericho; with his firstborn shall he lay· her ·foundation, and with the youngest he shall set·​·up her doors.

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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Thanks to the Kempton Project for the permission to use this New Church translation of the Word.