The story of the fall of Jericho is recorded in Joshua 6:1–24. After 40 years of sojourning in the wilderness, the Hebrews entered Canaan, but they had not subdued it. The land was inhabited by a powerful race, and was guarded by fortresses, “cities great and fenced up to heaven” (Deuteronomy 9:1).
One of the strongest fortresses in the land was the large and wealthy city of Jericho. This city was one of the main centers of idol worship, that was devoted to Ashtaroth, the goddess of the moon. Here was practiced and vilest ceremonies of the Canaanites’ worship.
Before attaching Jericho, Joshua desired an assurance of divine guidance, and God answered his request. For he saw an armed warrior, “with his sword drawn in his hand.” Joshua asked, “Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” The man answered, “As Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come” (Joshua 5:13,14).
And the Lord gave Joshua instructions to capture Jericho: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat” (Joshua 6:2-5).
For six days the host of Israel marched around the city but no assault was to be made. The army was simply to march around of the city, bearing the ark of God. And when the round was done, the army returned in silence. But on the seventh day, Joshua marshaled the armies seven times around the city, and at the mighty sound of the trumpets, they were instructed to shout with a loud voice, for God would give them the city. Although the walls were made of solid stone, with their massive towers and battlements, they came down at God’s command.
Before the capture of Jericho, God commanded “The city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein” (Joshua 6:18). All the inhabitants of the city (v. 21) were to be destroyed save the faithful Rahab, with her household in fulfillment of the promise of the spies (Joshua 2:14; 6:25).
The complete destruction of the people of Jericho was but a fulfillment of the commands previously given through Moses concerning the inhabitants of Canaan “But of the cities of these peoples … you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive” (Deuteronomy 20:16; 7:2). The inhabitants were granted 40 years to repent but instead they persisted in their evil ways.
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down” (Hebrews 11:30). From a military point of view, the plan that Joshua carried out to conquer Jericho seemed impossible to succeed, but the orders he gave were according to God’s instructions. And God’s Words don’t fail. Joshua’s obedience to God’s will revealed that he was indeed a man of faith.
In His service,
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