Joshua 6:15-21

Joshua 6:15-21

[15] And it came to pass on the seventh  day,  that they rose early  of the day,  and compassed  the city  after the same manner  seven  times:  only on that day  they compassed  the city  seven  times.  [16] And it came to pass at the seventh  time,  when the priests  blew  with the trumpets,  Joshua  said  unto the people,  Shout;  for the LORD  hath given  you the city.  [17] And the city  shall be accursed,  even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD:  only Rahab  the harlot  shall live,  she and all that are with her in the house,  because she hid  the messengers  that we sent.  [18] And ye, in any wise  keep  yourselves from the accursed thing,  lest ye make yourselves accursed,  when ye take  of the accursed thing,  and make  the camp  of Israel  a curse,  and trouble  [19] But all the silver,  and gold,  and vessels  of brass  and iron,  are consecrated  unto the LORD:  they shall come  into the treasury  of the LORD.  [20] So the people  shouted  when the priests blew  with the trumpets:  and it came to pass, when the people  heard  the sound  of the trumpet,  and the people  shouted  with a great  shout,  that the wall  fell down flat,  so that the people  went up  into the city,  every man  straight before him, and they took  the city.  [21] And they utterly destroyed  all that was in the city,  both man  and woman,  young  and old,  and ox,  and sheep,  and ass,  with the edge  of the sword. 

What does Joshua 6:15-21 Mean?

Contextual Meaning

The warriors and priests were to remain silent as they circled the city each time except the last. God evidently used this strategy to impress on the people of Jericho, as well as the Israelites, that the deliverance was not by human might or power. It was by the Spirit of the Lord (cf. Zechariah 4:6). He commanded the final shout on the seventh day to announce His destruction of the wall. It was a shout of victory and joy for the Israelites.
"To emphasize the divine intervention, no secondary causes for the collapse of the wall are mentioned. It would be no less a miracle were we to find that God used an earthquake to bring the walls down." [1]
The writer did not explain the reasons for Israel circling Jericho once a day for six days and then seven times the seventh day. This strategy did give the king of Jericho an opportunity to surrender. The uniqueness of this approach undoubtedly impressed everyone with the supernatural character of the victory. It involved almost incredible faith for the Israelites ( Hebrews 11:30). There was probably also some significance to the number seven. This may have impressed the Israelites further that the victory was a complete work of God, following the pattern of the seven days of creation.
"The emphasis on the number seven (fourteen times in this chapter [2]), the use of ceremonial trumpets (made from ram"s horns), the presence of priests, and the prominence of the ark all indicate that the conquest of Jericho was more than a military campaign; it was a religious event. Israel must always remember that the land was God"s gift to them." [3]
"The significance of this repeated marching round the town culminates unquestionably in the ark of the covenant and the trumpet-blast of the priests who went before the ark. In the account before us the ark is constantly called the ark of the Lord, to show that the Lord, who was enthroned upon the cherubim of the ark, was going round the hostile town in the midst of His people; whilst in Joshua 6:8 Jehovah himself is mentioned in the place of the ark of Jehovah." [4]
Excavations at Jericho by John Garstang between1930,1936 , and more recently by Kathleen Kenyon between1952,1958 , have confirmed the collapse of the wall under itself as recorded. They also reveal that the invaders burned the city ( Joshua 6:24), though there was some disagreement between Garstang and Kenyon concerning when this took place. Garstang held that the collapse of the wall and the burning of the city took place at approximately the same time, as the text records. However, Kenyon believed the city burned at a much earlier date and fell at a much later date. [5] After discussing the views of Garstang and Kenyon, Bruce Waltke concluded as follows.
"Although meager, yet the textual and the archaeological evidence regarding Jericho in Late Bronze IIA and B 1400-1200 B.C.] remarkably coincide, and once again the archaeological evidence suggests a conquest during the first quarter of the fourteenth century. Even more conclusive, however, is the evidence that the city was not occupied during the mid-thirteenth century B.C, thereby precluding the option of the commonly accepted late date for the Exodus [6]." [7]
"On the basis of the scarabs and pottery found in the cemetery associated with City IV in Jericho, it is impossible to date the fall of that city subsequent to1400 B.C, despite all of the negative findings of Kathleen Kenyon (as we have previously shown). On the other hand, there are absolutely insurmountable objections to the Late Date Theory [6] on the basis of archaeological discovery." [9]
There are some things about Jericho that archaeology has not revealed.
"Jericho is a classic example of incompleteness in the archaeological record caused by the depredations of man and nature combined where-as at Dibon-the literary record (here, the Old Testament) retains phases of history lost to the excavator." [7]6
"Archaeological research thus leaves confusion and unanswered questions for the present generation. This does not lead us to abandon archaeological research. It reminds us of the great difficulties which stand in our way when we seek to utilize discoveries for historical reconstruction. Archaeology can rarely name sites. Seldom, if ever, can it determine precisely who destroyed a site. It often cannot tell who occupied a site; it can place only relative dates on sites. Only rarely can it excavate an entire site and secure all the evidence." [11]
Some Christians in recent years have taken to "prayer walking" in which they pray as they walk around a town asking God to save the residents. While modeled after the battle of Jericho, there are some significant differences. The Israelites marched around Jericho in response to a God-given directive to do so. Christians have no such command. In fact, we have been told to do something quite different: to proclaim the gospel to every creature as well as to pray for their salvation. God called the Israelites to announce bad news and to destroy Jericho, but He has called us to announce good news and to seek and save the lost. Whereas there is nothing wrong with walking around a town and praying for it, when this costs thousands of dollars, in some cases, and evangelism is not done, one wonders about the prudence of such an undertaking. Certainly we can and should pray for the lost, but there is no indication in Scripture that geographical proximity renders prayers more effective, though it may aid concentration in prayer. It might be better to stay home and pray, if we do not evangelize, and to spend our money equipping someone else to evangelize. Better still, go and do both: pray and evangelize.