Verse 2: The Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with aits king and the valiant warriors. (NASB)
- It is unclear if this is a continuation of Joshua’s conversation with the commander of God’s army (previous chapter) or if Joshua is getting this information from God another way.
- If it is the commander, then this verse equates that person with God, while the man himself does not claim to be God, only a commander of God’s army.
- If it isn’t, then it leaves the conversation with the commander relatively pointless.
Jericho Prepares to Fall: 3-20
The way that Jericho is supposed to be taken seems very random, but has a certain amount of logic to it. This was the first city that the people had taken under Joshua’s command, and the first in the Promised Land. It was important that the people followed Joshua and God fully. This was a way so crazy that it was clear the victory came from following what God had told Joshua, not from anything the Israelites did. This would reinforce the people’s belief in God, their confidence in the conquest, and their willingness to follow Joshua.
There is also a practical component to all of this. The Israelites were not warriors and never had been. They needed a win that required they would not have to fight much, but would be dramatic. Sieges are very difficult even for trained armies and by God working this way they avoided a siege, and the people only had a small amount of fighting when the walls fell down (presumably with most of the city’s fighters on them).
Verse 16: At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city. (NASB)
- The emphasis is that God is responsible for this victory. The people of Israel still had to fight the inhabitants of the city and kill them, but the main obstacle was the walls. Without the walls, the battle was essentially already won.
Verse 17-18: “The 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. “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. (NASB)
- This city is being treated as a first fruit of the conquest. The first of every animal, the first of each crop, etc are all given to God in trust that more will come. This is what is happening here as well. The first city is given over wholly to God, which means anything the temple can’t use is destroyed, in faith that more cities will come in which they can live.
- This also deals with other previous commands of how the people of the land are to be destroyed because otherwise they will lead the people of Israel astray. And the rest of Israelite history backs this up, because the survivors were definitely stumbling blocks to Israel and often led them away from God.
- Of course we know that someone did keep treasure for themselves, as Joshua 7 talks about.
Verse 19: "But 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.” (NASB)
- Bronze and iron are mentioned along with silver and gold because of their value for the time period.
- Israel did not have the means of working in iron at this time as it was just entering the area for the first time with the Philistines.
- The Israelites also did not have any access to copper and tin mines so bronze would have been precious as well.
Jericho Falls: 20-27
The destruction of a city was quite usual when a city was conquered, but usually after killing or driving out many of the old inhabitants the conqueror would rebuild with the survivors as subjects. To kill the livestock and leave the cloth, pottery, etc is surprising. To leave the city itself and never rebuild it would have been shocking to the people in the surrounding areas.
This made quite a statement of how completely the Israelites were coming to conquer. This was not a raiding party and what they did to Jericho must have further increased the fear of the Israelites in the people of the land’s eyes.
Verse 26: Then 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.” (NASB)
- Of course we know someone did try to rebuild Jericho eventually and the curse was fulfilled, see 1 Kings 15:34 for the account.
Message Ideas/Scripts/Liturgy That Use This Chapter
|Great Moments in Faith||Looking a biblical moments of faith and placing ourselves in that same situation.||Youth, Adults||General||Curriculum|