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Scripture reading – Joshua 6
Having crossed the Jordan River, Joshua and Israel faced the challenge of waging war with the Canaanites that inhabited the land God had promised Israel for an inheritance. The first fortified city to be conquered was ancient Jericho, whose high walls made it a strong fortress and a city that had to be destroyed before the people could enter Canaan and take possession of the land.
As a nation, Israel was two million strong by some estimates. The news of how Israel’s God had divided the waters of the Jordan, giving way for the people to cross on dry ground, terrified the kings of the Amorites and Canaanites. We read their hearts “melted, neither was there spirit in them any more” (Joshua 5:1). With an assurance that the LORD would be with him (Joshua 6:13-15), Joshua was ready to face the battles ahead.
Directions and Preparations for the Battle of Jericho (Joshua 6:1-5)
Fearing an imminent attack upon the city, the king of Jericho shut the gates to the fortress, and none were allowed to go out or come in (Joshua 6:1). Israel’s encampment was visible from the towers on the wall. The campfires of that multitude no doubt dotted the hillsides and the plain of Gilgal as far as the eye could see.
The LORD came to Joshua and assured him the city and its leaders were already given into his hand (Joshua 6:2). Joshua’s marching orders were unlike any that an army of warriors had ever received. Rather than a prolonged siege of the city or assailing of the walls, Joshua commanded his army to march silently around the walls.
The Silent Procession Before the Walls Fell (Joshua 6:6-21)
The soldiers of Israel went before seven priests, who carried seven “trumpets of rams’ horns,” followed by priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant (Joshua 6:3-4). Once a day, for six days, a silent procession of warriors went before seven priests bearing trumpets, who walked before the priests carrying the Ark.
Joshua had instructed the people as the LORD had commanded. Rising early on the seventh day, the parade of soldiers and priests again encircled the walls of Jericho seven times in silence (Joshua 6:5-12). However, the silence was shattered after the seventh time when the priests blew the trumpets (Joshua 6:16, 20a). Confident the LORD had given Israel the city as He had promised, the people shouted, and “the wall fell down flat,” and the people rushed straight into Jericho (Joshua 6:20b).
Remember, the LORD had accursed all that was in Jericho, save the city’s gold, silver, iron, and brass. These items the Lord claimed (Joshua 6:18-19), and it was they were placed “into the treasury of the house of the LORD” (Joshua 6:24). All the living beings of the city were to be destroyed, “both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword” (Joshua 6:21).
The Salvation and Preservation of Rahab: A Testimony of Grace (Joshua 6:22-25)
Joshua had warned the people that the city was accursed, with one exception: “Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent” (Joshua 6:17).
When the walls fell, the men who had been spies, and found safety in Rahab’s house, were commanded to “Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, [and they] brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel” (Joshua 6:22-23).
Closing thoughts: Rahab and God’s Amazing Grace
The author of Hebrews described the Battle of Jericho from the point of faith: “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31).
Rahab was spared Jericho’s destruction because she had acted in faith and believed in the God of Israel. She had come to believe and confess that the God of Israel was the True God, and Israel was His people (Joshua 6:9-12). She had welcomed the spies into her home, and when the army of Israel surrounded the city, she tied a scarlet rope around her window to symbolize her faith that she and her family would be spared.
God rewarded Rahab’s faith! Not only was she spared the destruction of Jericho, but she became the mother of Boaz and was the great-great-grandmother of King David. If you wonder how amazing God’s grace is, think about this: Rahab was named in the lineage of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5).! What a testimony of saving grace! She was spared death like all who are spared God’s judgment.
Ephesians 2:8–9 – 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Questions to consider:
1) Who was to encircle the city of Jericho? (Joshua 6:3-4)
2) How did the seventh day differ from the previous six days? (Joshua 6:15)
3) Why was Rahab and her family spared destruction? (Joshua 6:17)
4) Where did Rahab and her family live after Jericho was destroyed? (Joshua 6:25)
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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