Joshua 6

Chapter 6[a]

Jericho Overtaken. 1 Now Jericho was shut up tight on account of the people of Israel, none went out and none came in. 2 The Lord said to Joshua, “Behold, I have given Jericho, its king, and its mighty warriors into your hands. 3 Your soldiers are to march all around the city once, doing that for six days. 4 Seven priests will carry seven trumpets made from ram’s horns in front of the Ark. On the seventh day you are to march around the city seven times while the priests blow their trumpets.[b] 5 Then they will make a long blast on the ram’s horns. As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, have all of the people give a great shout. The walls will fall down, and the people will go on up, every man in a straight line.”

6 So Joshua, the son of Nun, summoned the priests and said to them, “Take up the Ark of the Covenant. Have seven priests holding trumpets made from rams’ horns precede the Ark of the Lord.” 7 He gave the command to the people, “Advance! March around the city with the armed soldiers walking in front of the Ark of the Lord.” 8 When Joshua finished speaking to the people, the seven priests carrying trumpets made from rams’ horns walked in front of the Lord and moved forward, blowing their trumpets, and the Ark of the Lord followed them. 9 The armed soldiers marched in front of the priests who were blowing their trumpets, and a rear guard followed the Ark. The whole time the trumpets were being blown. 10 But Joshua commanded the people, “Do not shout or raise your voices. Do not say a thing until the day I tell you to shout. Then you are to shout.”

11 So he had the Ark of the Lord carried around the city once. They then went back into the camp where they spent the night. 12 Joshua rose early the next morning, and the priests took the Ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests carrying the trumpets made from rams’ horns went ahead of the Ark of the Lord, blowing on their trumpets as they went. The armed soldiers marched in front of them, and a rear guard followed the Ark of the Lord, with the trumpets being blown the whole time. 14 Thus they went around the city once on the second day, and then they returned to the camp. They did this for six days in a row.

15 On the seventh day they rose at daybreak and went around the city seven times just as they had before, but that day they went around the city seven times. 16 On the seventh time around when the priests blew their trumpets, Joshua commanded the people, “Shout out, for the Lord has given you the city. 17 The city and all that is in it are devoted[c] to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute shall live, she and all who are in her household, for she hid the spies whom we sent there. 18 But avoid those things that are dedicated, lest you call a curse on yourself when you take something that is dedicated and you bring a curse and destruction upon the camp of Israel. 19 All the silver and gold and objects of bronze and iron are dedicated to the Lord. They must go into the treasury of the Lord.”

20 The people shouted and the priests blew their trumpets. When the people heard the sound of the trumpets and the people let out a great shout, the wall collapsed, and each man went up in a straight line and they took the city. 21 They wiped out everything that was in the city, men and women, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, by the edge of the sword.

22 Rahab’s Family Spared. But Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the countryside, “Go to the harlot’s house and bring her out to me, her and everyone who is with her, just as you promised her that you would do.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and everyone whom she had with her. They brought out the entire family and left them outside of the camp of Israel. 24 They then burned the entire city with everything that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and the objects of bronze and iron were put into the treasury in the house of the Lord. 25 But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, along with her father’s household, and all that she owned because she had hid the spies whom Joshua had sent. She lives among the Israelites up to the present.

26 Joshua then said, “May the man who attempts to rebuild this city, Jericho, be cursed by the Lord. May he lose his firstborn[d] if he lays its foundation, may he lose his youngest if he sets up its gates.” 27 The Lord was with Joshua, and his reputation became known throughout the land.

Footnotes

  1. Joshua 6:1 The entire ceremonial that precedes the fall of Jericho gives the event the character of a liturgical action rather than of a conquest; God is at work in giving the Promised Land to his people, just as he was at the crossing of the Jordan. The account is therefore not to be taken literally but as giving religious expression to a real intervention of God, whatever the manner of this intervention may have been. The story combines two different traditions that cannot be fully harmonized. One describes a procession accompanied by the playing of trumpets; the other says that the war shout was uttered after seven processional circlings of the city made in silence.
  2. Joshua 6:4 Such trumpets were weapons of war, intended to frighten the enemy (see Jdg 7:8-20) or to direct military operations (2 Sam 2:28; 20:22; Neh 4:12-14), but they were also used in some religious ceremonies, where they were accompanied by acclamations (Lev 25:9; 2 Chr 15:14).
  3. Joshua 6:17 Devoted: a reference to the anathema (i.e., consecrated to God), by which inhabitants and animals were condemned to destruction; the warriors were obliged not to take any booty; any precious objects were reserved for the sanctuary. In this case, the anathema has the character of simple destruction rather than of a complete offering to God.
  4. Joshua 6:26 Lose his firstborn: this is fulfilled in 1 Ki 16:34 when Jericho is rebuilt by a man whose son subsequently dies.

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