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JOSHUA 6

PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
March Around Jericho The Destruction of Jericho The Siege of Jericho The Fall of Jericho Capture of Jericho
6:1-5 6:1-5 6:1-7 6:1-5 6:1-5
6:6-11 6:6-7 6:6-7 6:6-9
6:8-11 6:8-11 6:8-11
6:10
6:11-13
6:12-14 6:12-14 6:12-14 6:12-14
6:14-16
Jericho Captured and Destroyed The Fall of Jericho
6:15-21 6:15-21 6:15-21 6:15-19 Jericho Placed Under the Curse of Destruction
6:17-19
6:20-21 6:20-21
Rahab Spared Rahab's House Preserved
6:22-25 6:22-25 6:22-25 6:22-25 6:22-23
6:24-25
A Curse on Anyone Who Rebuilds Jericho
6:26-27 6:26-27 6:26 6:26 6:26
6:27 6:27 6:27

READING CYCLE THREE(from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT THE PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired but it is the key to following the original author's intent which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

CONTEXTUAL INSIGHTS

A. Joshua 6-12 describe the major military campaigns of Joshua.

 

B. The first half of the book of Joshua, Joshua 1-12, describes the entering into (Joshua 1-5) and conquest (Joshua 6-12) of the Promised Land. There are three distinct geographical movements of Joshua's army.

1. the central campaign, Joshua 6-8

a. Jericho

b. Ai

c. covenant ceremony at Shechem

2. the southern campaign, Joshua 9-10

a. Gibeon ruse

b. the five kings

3. the northern campaign, chapters Jos. 11:1-15

a. Hazor

4. summary, Jos. 11:16-23; 12:1-24

 

C. Notice the number of double verbals of the same root in this chapter. This is a characteristic of Joshua.

1. "tightly shut," Jos. 6:1, BDB 688, KB 742, Qal perfect and Pual participle

2. "take up," Jos. 6:6, BDB 669, KB 724, Qal imperative and Qal imperfect

3. "blew," Jos. 6:9, BDB 1075, KB 1785, Qal perfect and Qal participle

4. "walk," Jos. 6:9, BDB 229, KB 246, Qal participle and Qal infinitive absolute

5. "shout," Jos. 6:10, BDB 929, KB 1206, Hiphil imperative and Hiphil perfect

6. "took up," Jos. 6:12-13, BDB 669, KB 724, Qal imperfect and Qal participle

7. "went," Jos. 6:13, BDB 229, KB 246, Qal participle and Qal infinitive absolute (twice)

8. "brought out," Jos. 6:23, BDB 422, KB 425, Hiphil imperfect and Hiphil PERFECT

9. "was," Jos. 6:27, BDB 224, KB 242, Qal imperfect and Qal imperfect

This kind of repetition is common throughout the book. See note at Jos. 3:15.

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED TEXT): JOSHUA 6:1-5
 1Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in. 2The Lord said to Joshua, "See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors. 3"You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days. 4Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead."

6:1 "Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel" The people had heard the reports and were fearful (cf. Jos. 2:11; 5:1).

6:2 "The Lord said to Joshua" This is the theophany angel's message mentioned in Jos. 5:14. This angel, like the one in Exodus 3, speaks for God (cf. Exod. 3:2,4) and may be a physical manifestation of God (i.e., the Angel of the Lord).

SPECIAL TOPIC: THE ANGEL OF THE LORD

▣ "See" The verb (BDB 906, KB 1157, Qal imperative) is characteristic of YHWH's revelations:

1. to Moses, Deut. 1:8,21; 2:24; 4:5; 11:26; 30:15; 32:39

2. to Joshua, Jos. 6:2; 8:8

It is possibly another way of assuring Joshua that YHWH is with him as He was with Moses.

▣ "I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and its valiant warriors" YHWH is asserting the victory ("I have given," BDB 678, KB 733, Qal perfect) even before Jericho falls because He is on their side. However, there will be a test of obedience as they are commanded in verses 3ff to march around the city and perform certain acts. The theological emphasis on covenant obedience is recurrent (cf. Jos. 6:5).

6:4 Notice the repetition of the number "seven" (14 times, see Special Topic: Symbolic Numbers in Scripture): seven priests, seven trumpets, seventh day, and seven times. Seven is the number of perfection or completion based on Gen. 1:1-2:4. The fall of Jericho is an act of YHWH, not Israel.

▣ "trumpet of rams' horns" The rabbis stipulate that this must be the left horn of a male flat-tailed sheep. It was used to remind the synagogue of the lamb that God used to provide as a substitute for Isaac, Gen. 22:13. It was primarily not a musical instrument, but a loud blast for religious (cf. Exod. 19:13; Lev. 25:9), and at times, military purposes.

SPECIAL TOPIC: HORNS USED BY ISRAEL

6:5 "shout" The term (BDB 929, KB 1206, Hiphil imperfect) is used to describe a characteristic "war cry" (cf. Jos. 6:10,20; Num. 10:5,9; Jdg. 7:20; 1 Sam. 17:52; 2 Chr. 13:14-15). YHWH used

1. the daily marching around the city

2. the trumpet sound

3. the war cry

4. an earthquake

to deliver Jericho into Israel's hands (cf. Jos. 6:2)! One good example of a military cry can be seen in Num. 10:35-36 in connection with the ark.

▣ "the wall of the city will fall down flat" One can almost see the consternation on the part of the elders when Joshua explained this plan to them, for this was not normal military procedure! However, it was the word of God and throughout the Pentateuch we have seen that God has required His people to do that which seems illogical (cf. Numbers 2) as a test of obedience which shows their faith in His word and promises.

The mechanism for the destruction of the wall was probably an earthquake, but the timing, intensity, and locality are supernatural (cf., Egyptian plagues and crossing the Jordan).

NASB (UPDATED TEXT): JOSHUA 6:6-11
 6So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, "Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord." 7Then he said to the people, "Go forward, and march around the city, and let the armed men go on before the ark of the Lord." 8And it was so, that when Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the Lord went forward and blew the trumpets; and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them. 9The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while they continued to blow the trumpets. 10But Joshua commanded the people, saying, "You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you, 'Shout!' Then you shall shout!" 11So he had the ark of the Lord taken around the city, circling it once; then they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.

6:6-11 This paragraph contains several imperatives. As YHWH commands Joshua, he passes them on.

1. "take up the ark," Jos. 6:6, BDB 669, KB 724, Qal imperative

2. "go forward," Jos. 6:7, BDB 716, KB 778, Qal imperative

3. "march around," Jos. 6:7, BDB 685, KB 738, Qal imperative

4. "shout," Jos. 6:10, BDB 929, KB 1206, Hiphil imperative 

 

6:6 "the ark of the covenant" After the crossing of the Jordan, the Cloud which had represented YHWH's presence with the people was removed. Now the ark was the visible symbol of His presence. See Special Topic: Ark of the Covenant.

6:7 "Then he said to the people" The Masoretic text has "they," which may refer to the officers mentioned in Jos. 1:10 and 3:2.

6:9 "The armed men went before the priests" Two Jewish commentators of the Middle Ages, Kimchi and Rashi, say that this refers to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh mentioned in Jos. 4:12-13. This would not have been the normal marching order of the camp.

The term "armed men" (BDB 323, KB 321, Qal passive participle) means "fully equipped for battle" (cf. Jos. 6:7,9,13; 4:13; 2 Chr. 20:21; 28:14).

6:10 "You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard, nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you, 'Shout!'" This same truth must be related to 6:8,13. Some people say that this shows that there are two composite accounts, but really what we have are the priests who could blow the horn every day or at will, and the fighting men who could not speak until the seventh day!

NASB (UPDATED TEXT): JOSHUA 6:12-14
 12Now Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually, and blew the trumpets; and the armed men went before them and the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while they continued to blow the trumpets. 14Thus the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp; they did so for six days.

6:13 "ram's horns" It (BDB 385,, see note at Jos. 6:4) was the left horn of a male flat-tailed sheep.

▣ "went" Notice how many times this verb (BDB 229, KB 246) is used in this verse—five times. This literary style seems repetitive to moderns.

NASB (UPDATED TEXT): JOSHUA 6:15-21
 15Then on the seventh day they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times; only on that day they marched around the city seven times. 16At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, "Shout! For the Lord has given you the city. 17The city shall be under the ban, it and all that is in it belongs to the Lord; only Rahab the harlot and all who are with her in the house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. 18 But as for you, only keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it. 19But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord." 20So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city. 21They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.

6:17 "The city shall be under the ban" This is the word herem (BDB 356), which means "devoted to God for destruction." It is the concept of holy war where everything in the city that breathed must die because it is given to God and, therefore, it becomes too holy for human use. The one exception is Rahab, the harlot, and her family, because of the help she gave to the spies and their oath in YHWH's name to protect her.

6:18 "keep yourselves from the things under the ban" YHWH's people must restrain (BDB 1036, KB 1581, Qal imperative) themselves. Chapter 7 will describe the consequences of disobedience!

6:21 This is a description of holy war. It seems very cruel to us in our day, but one must remember that it was a common military practice in the day in which it was done (e.g., Moabite inscription from Mesha, KAI 181:17). It was also an act of divine judgment based on Gen. 15:16. That which was given to YHWH became holy and could not be used by humans (cf. Lev. 27:28-29).

NASB (UPDATED TEXT): JOSHUA 6:22-25
 22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, "Go into the harlot's house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her." 23So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel. 24They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. 25However, Rahab the harlot and her father's household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

6:22 "Go. . .bring" These are two more imperatives. Joshua is present and directing the course of events.

1. "go into," BDB 97, KB 112, Qal imperative

2. "bring out," BDB 422, KB 425, Qal imperative

 

6:23 "the young men" This term (BDB 654) denotes a young person under the supervision of another. However, in Jos. 2:1,3; 6:22, they are called "men" (BDB 35). It is possible that the term does not refer to age in this context, but to these spies who must report back to Joshua.

▣ "and placed them outside the camp of Israel" Because Rahab, at this point, was still a Canaanite, and, therefore, ceremonially unclean, she was removed from the holy people for a time (cf. Deut. 23:14). However, Jos. 6:25 shows that she was later fully included in the covenant community (people can change/be changed!).

6:24 Burning was a sign of the herem (ban, cf. Deut. 13:16). That which was physical was turned into the invisible and rose up in smoke to God. Several cities were burned by Joshua (Jericho, Ai, 8:28; Hazor, 11:6,9,11,13). However, not all cities were dedicated to YHWH. Israel inhabited many Canaanite cities.

▣ "the house of the Lord" This obviously refers to the tabernacle here (cf. Exod. 25-27), but in the OT it usually refers to the temple in Jerusalem.

NASB (UPDATED TEXT): JOSHUA 6:26-27
 26Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, "Cursed before the Lord is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates." 27So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

6:26 "Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time" This oath would involve calling YHWH's name into play on someone who acted in the way that was cursed. We learn from 1 Kgs. 16:34 that this curse was literally fulfilled in the life of Hiel, the Bethelite.

6:27 This refers to the fear of the Canaanite population ("their hearts melted").

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. What is significant about the unusual military procedure used to capture Jericho?

2. Why is Rahab such a wonderful example of God's grace?

3. Describe "holy war."

 

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