In Chapter 6, the people of Jericho have shut their city gates. Shutting the gates of a city in those times was tantamount to publically declaring that they were being overrun with enemies. Joshua roused his troops according to the Lord’s plan, to:
“‘March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets.When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in'” (vv. 2-5).
The Israelites then took over Jericho, destroying everything except for the articles of silver, gold, and bronze which went into the Lord’s treasury, and Rahab and her family who had harbored the spies. Joshua pronounces a curse on anyone who attempts to refortify Jericho:
“At the cost of his firstborn son
he will lay its foundations;
at the cost of his youngest
he will set up its gates.”
David Guzik sums up what we learned:
Faith: Joshua and Israel believed the battle plan.
Obedience: Joshua and Israel followed the battle plan exactly.
Courage: Israel followed the battle plan despite danger.
Endurance: Israel followed the battle plan over a period of time, even when it seemed that nothing was happening.
Israel did not rely on carnal scheming and worldly methods; their trust was in the LORD, not in human ingenuity.
I feel like I keep repeating the same thing, but scripture is repeating it too – Obey God and let others see. The world will not fail to see the fruits of your faith. They may not like it, they may not agree with it, but we must realize that people notice how you live. So live according to God’s word all the more, knowing that you are an active participant in God’s plan for the world!
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. -James 1:5
Lord, help us to keep in close step with the Spirit so that we can experience your power at work in the world. We pray for faith like Joshua, obedience like Israel (sometimes), courage despite discomfort, endurance in the waiting periods, and trust in You.
Now this is where my degree in archaeology meets with my passion for scripture. Jericho is still standing today so, the question is, has Joshua’s curse ever been fulfilled?
According to Professor T.F. Wright, it wasn’t until 500 years later in the time of Ahab after several acts of disobedience, a man of Bethel rebuilt the walls and gates of Jericho, making it into a defense for the northern kingdom (read about it here: 1 Kings 16:34). There are some conflicting theories and very interesting archaeological evidence on this available for further reading here: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3140746
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