02 Aug Histo-RAY Commentary by Ray Moore – Joshua Chapter 6
JOSHUA 6:1-27 THE JERICHO ROAD
Joshua 6:1-14 A Strange Battle Plan
Question: Why did God choose this strange strategy for the first battle in the Promised Land?
Answer: The real battle was not with the Canaanites, but with the Israelites–not with the wall of a city, but with the human heart.
Jericho was not a large city but it was a strong fortress. It represented the necessary first step for Israel’s conquest of the land. God has promised Devine supernatural destruction of Jericho so conventional weapons were unnecessary. Total silence except for the trumpets was required. In some way, these six days of marching around Jericho and not saying a word was as great a faith as we have seen thus far in the history of Israel.
In the future, Israel would fight many battles by conventional means but this one would be different. There would be no battering rams, siege ramps, scaling ladders, and bows and arrows. There would be marching, trumpets, priests, an ark, and a loud shout.
How could this strategy be successful? In verse 2, we see the promise of God, “I have delivered Jericho into your hands.”
These were no ordinary trumpets but rather Jubilee trumpets used in connection with Israel’s feasts to proclaim the presence of God. (Numbers 10:10) The trumpets appear again in connection with the second Coming of Christ.
Throughout this six day period, Israel incarnated Psalm 108:12-13: “Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and He will tramp down our enemies.”
This is not the first time Israel waited seven days for God to do something. Moses stayed on Mt. Sinai for seven days before God spoke to him. (Exodus 24:16) In 1 Kings 20:19, the armies of Syria and Israel stood against each other for seven days before doing battle. Job’s friends sat with him seven days before they began to speak. (Job 2:11-13)
The strategy is clear. First, armed guards marching ahead of the priests, then seven priests with seven trumpets, then the ark and, finally, the rear guard following the ark.
They marched around Jericho for six days. They did all this by faith: the marching, the trumpet playing and the anticipation of victory. In Hebrews 11:30 we see, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell after the people had marched around them for seven days.”
The number seven is used 14 times in this chapter. It is the number of Devine perfection or completeness. We have seven priests, seven trumpets, seven days and seven trips. The book of Revelation describes the seven trumpets to describe the events of the last days. (Revelation 8:7-8)
Note: We all have spiritual walls that stand in the way of our spiritual victories. Anger, bitterness, lust, fear, unwillingness to forgive, selfishness, pride, materialism, and indifference to name a few. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, we have Devine power to demolish strongholds.”
Joshua 6:15-21 Strategic Battle Timing
The battle plan changed on the seventh day as the last and seventh march was underway. The trumpet sounds and they were to SHOUT!
What was Jericho like? It was actually only a six hour walk from the city of Jerusalem and it loomed as a tropical paradise 3000 feet lower in altitude and 800 feet below sea level. Jericho was located strategically. The walls were possibly twenty feet thick and twenty five feet high. Their military guards could see for miles. Jericho seemed like a safe refuge to them.
A new word is introduced in this passage, “devoted”. It appears three times.
Things belonging to paganism could not be brought over into godliness and used commonly. The Israelites could not keep anything for themselves. Why? Two reasons, Israel needed to be pure and separate from paganism and the principle of first fruits appears here. God gave the victory, God receives the spoils. God has always wanted Israel to be a separate nation. This is how they would/should accomplish it.
Verse 18 We see the threat of disobedience, “Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble to it.”
Remember Rahab and the promise of the spies to show “kindness” to her? Now we see this promise kept and “all who are with her in her house shall be spared.”
Joshua 6:22-27 Specific Battle Results
Why was Rahab spared? What she knew about the Israelites and their God, she turned into faith. She stayed in her house with the red cord. When the walls fell, that portion of the wall didn’t fall. Rahab experienced God’s mercy, became part of God’s chosen nation and became a part of the lineage of Christ. This is a beautiful picture of what God does for us also. When we come to Him in faith, he saves us from the judgment around us, plucks us from the crashing walls and places us into His chosen family.
The Israelites obeyed God completely as they “burned the whole city and everything in it but saved the precious items for the treasury.”
Not only was Jericho destroyed but “cursed before the Lord.” Actually, the curse was against fortifying the city again, not against inhabiting the site.
This chapter ends on a glorious note: “So the Lord was with Joshua and his fame spread through out the land.”
Closing: The attack on Jericho’s walls required prayer and faith. It involved obeying God and depending on Him to fight for Israel. It meant they must step out in faith even before they saw any cracks in the walls or any visible signs of victory.
Prayer: Father, thank you for fighting our spiritual battles for us and equipping us for spiritual warfare. May we always leave the strategy and the outcome in your hands. Amen