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before him.

Ver. 3-5. Once a day for six days the entire
force of armed men, perhaps six hundred thousand
men, was to march around the city, and with them
seven * priests, bearing each a horn and blowing
upon it, preceding the ark. On the seventh day
the procession should march seven times around the
devofed city, and then a long blast from the horns
should be accompanied by a shout from the whole
army, when the walls should sink upon themselves,
and the army should march directly into the city,
every man in a straight course from his standing-
place.

Ver. 4. Trumpets of rams' horns. More truly,
" shrill clarions." The word translated " trum-
pets " means a horn, as we see by ver. 5, where

* The number " seven," used here in the enumeration of priests,
trumpets, days, and circuits, must have a special significance. Some
consider it a combination of four (the earth's number) and three
(the divine number), and thus representing God's reconcihng
peace, i.e., tlie number of redemption. Some think that here is a
reference to the seven great days of the world's history and the
final judgment.



JOSHUA, CHAP. VI. 57

6 ^ And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests,
and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant,
and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams'
horns before the ark of the Loud.

7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and com-
pass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before
the ark of the Loud.

8 ^ And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken
unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the
seven trumpets of rams' horns passed on before the
Lord, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of
the covenant of the Lord followed them.

9 ^ And the armed men went before the priests that
blew with the trumpets, and the rere-ward came after
the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the
trumpets.

the Hebrew word " horn " is used. It was a horn
that produced a loud, clear sound. The word
transhited " rams' horn " is the familiar word
"jubilee," and refers originally to an exciting
shrill clangor. Trumpet-sounds were tokens of
the divine presence and power (Ex. xix. 16).

3. The Fall of Jericho.

Ver. 7. Him that is armed. Rather, " the
selected troops." (See on chap. iv. 13.)

Ver. 8. Before the Lord, That is, " before the
ark of the Lord." The ark was God's representa-
tive, as the pillar of cloud had been previously.

Ver. 9. The chalutz, or " selected troops," went
before the ark ; and the measseph, or " massed
troops," followed the ark. This special arrange-
ment is omitted in the record of the Lord's com-
mand in ver. 2-5, where for brevity's sake the
orders are only generally stated.
3*



68 COMMENTARY ON

10 And Joshua had commanded the people, saying,
Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice,
neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until
the day I bid you shout, then shall ye shout.

11 So the ark of the Lord compassed the city, going
about it ouce: and they came into the camp, and lodged
in the camp.

12 ^ And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the
priests took up the ark of the Lord.

lo And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams'
horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually,
and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went
before them; but the rere-ward came after the ark of
the Lord, the priests going on, and blowing with the
trumpets.

14 And the second day they compassed the city
once, and returned into the camp. So they did six
days.

15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they
rose early about the dawning 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 If 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.

Yee. 10. In perfect silence the march was to
continue, till the last circuit of the last day (ver.
16).

Ver. 11. The camp^ i.e., at Gilgal.

Ver. 13. See on verses 4 and 9.

Ver. 15. Early. To give time for the seven
circuits.

Ver. 17-19. These also are special directions,
not recorded in ver. 2-5. (Comp. on ver. 9.).

Accursed. Heb. '' cherem." In Lev. xxvii. 28,



JOSHUA, CHAP. yi. 59

18 And ye, in any ynse keep yourselves from the ac-
cursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye
take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel
a curse, and trouble it.

19 But all the silver, a-nd 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.



is the law of " cherem," or the devoted thing. It
implied an entire separation to the Lord : if of
material property, by consecration to his service ;
and if of persons, to death. Hence here, Rahab
shall live, is antithetic to the general " cherem."

Ver. 18, " Only do ye beware of the cherem,
lest ye make cherem, and take of the cherem, and
put the camp of Israel to cherem.'" The last
two clauses are an enlargement of the first two ;
thus, " Beware of the cherem, so as not to take
of the cherem, lest ye make cherem, by putting
the camp of Israel to cherem.'^ (Comp. Deut.
vii. 25, 26.)

Ver. 19. Consecrated. Lit., "holiness."
Ver. 20. The directions are followed. The
priests make the long blast (yet only the word for
the ordinary blowing is used here), the host hear
and respond with a mighty shout, the walls fall in
upon themselves, as if shaken by an earthquake,
and the host march in, each man in a straight line
from his standing-place.



60 COMMENTARY ON



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.



Ver. 21. The cJierem, so far as the persons in
Jericho were concerned, was literally observed. It
is a favorite objection to the morality of th(3 Old
Testament Scriptures, and hence to its teachings
regarding God, that Israel, thus slew men, women,
and children in their conquest of Canaan. We
have already called attention to God's constant use
of Israel as his agent in this whole matter. He
who would not be counted cruel in sending the
pestilence and destroying a people, ought not to be
charged with cruelty when he uses human agency
in the same manner. So that the God of the Old
Testament cannot be called a cruel Gad any more
than the God of nature can be so accused. Such a
teaching, therefore, regarding God is nothing
against the Old Testament, or against the course
of Israel as God's people. God's ways are above
us. We cannot know his motives or his purposes.
We must acknowledge his wisdom, and be still,
knowing that he is God. He has revealed him-
self as Love, and yet we know that he permits
and ordains ruin and disaster among the children
of men. But the Judge of all the earth does
justly. In all this matter of Israel's conquest of
Canaan, we must keep ever before us the mere
agency of Israel throughout. The divine order
permeates all they do. So there is no example
here for men, without orders from Grod direct. The



JOSHUA, CHAP. VI. 61

22 But Joshua had said unto the two men that had
spied out the country, Go into the harlot's house, and
bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as
ye sware unto her.

23 And the young men that were spies went in, and
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.

2Jr And they burnt the city with fire, and all that
was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the ves-
sels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of
the house of the Lord.

25 And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and
her father's household, and all that she had; and she
dwelleth in Israel even unto this day ; because she hid
the messengers which J( shua sent to spy out Jericho.

26 ^ And Joshua abjured them at that time, saying,
Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and
buildeth this city Jericho; he shall lay the foundation
thereof in his first-born, and in his youngest son shall
he set up the gates of it.



case is unique, and cannot constitute a precedent.
(See Appendix.)

Ver. 22. All that she hath. Like the " all that
they have " of chap. ii. 13, this refers only to hu-
man beings, not to goods. It is explained in the
next verse as " all her kindred," or, literally, " all
her famihes ; " ^.e., all the households belonging to
her father's stock.

Ver. 23. Without the camp. They could not
enter until they had been ritually prepared as
proselytes.

Ver. 25. Even unto this day. (See on chap,
iv. 9.)

Ver. 26. The ruined site was to be a witness to
succeeding generations of God's favor to his people,



62 COMMENTARY ON

27 So the Lord was with Joshua; and his fame was
noised throughout all the country.

and of his judgment upon sin. Jericho was given
to Benjamin (chap, xviii. 21), and people dwelt
there after this, before Hiel rebuilt it, as we see by
Judg. i. 16, and iii. 13, as compared with Deut.
xxxiv. 3. It was simply an unfortified, open town
or straggling village ; and hence the Kenites, who
would not dwell in fortified towns, were wilHng to
abide there for a time (Judg. i. 16. Comp. Judg.
iv. 11 ; 1 Chron. ii. 55 ; Jer. xxxv. 7, 10). The
curse of Joshua was against any one who should
rebuild Jericho as a fortification. Hence he speaks
of '' foundation " and " gates."

In his first horn ; in his youngest son. " In " is
used in Hebrew for " at the price or pay of." Thus,
in Gen. xxix. 18, Jacob says, " I will serve thee
seven years in Rachel thy younger daughter ; "
that is, at the pay of Rachel. So here, " at the
cost of his first-born." It is not said that all the
man's children should die during the rebuilding,
but it seems to be implied. Hiel, of Bethel, more
than five hundred years afterward, dared the
curse, and was punished accordingly (1 Kings
xvi. 34).

Ver. 27. By the crossing of Jordan and the
taking of Jericho, under grand miraculous exhibi-
tions of God's presence and guidance, Joshua's
position as Israel's great captain was confirmed
and his name feared by the people of Canaan.



JOSHUA, CHAP. vn. 63



CHAPTER VII.

VI. The Conquest. (Chap, vii.-xii.)

1 But the children of Israel committed a trespass in
the accursed thing: for Achan, tlie son of Carmi, the
son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah,
took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord
was kindled against the children of Israel.

Thus far Israel had not gained aught by military
prowess. Miraculous intervention had secured the
crossing of the Jordan and the capture of Jericho.
But now the conquest by their own arm (under
God) was to begin. They had been vividly taught
by the events of the preceding month to be trust-
ful before God, and this necessary lesson having
been given, they were now to go forward and con-
quer the land for the Lord who sent them. But
their conduct was very soon to show that a new
teaching of God's severity against disobedience was
necessary. They were to learn that their trust in
God against their enemies w^as to be proportioned
to their own obedience to God.

1. The Repulse before Ai.

Ver. 1. The children of Israel committed a tres-
pass. The whole nation is so connected with each
family within it, that the sin of one family mars
the progress of all. If one member suffer, all suffer



64 COMMENTARY ON

2 And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which
i.s beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Beth-el, and
spake unto them, saying. Go up and view the country.
And the men went up and viewed Ai,

with it (Rom. xii. 26). God treats his people as
one, because they are one. Nature testifies to the
oneness of the race. Grace uses this nature in the
constitution of the redeemed family of God.

Committed a trespass. Lit., " deceived a deceit."
Achan practised a deceit with regard to the clierem.

Achan. He stands forth in sad conspicuity in
the record in 1 Chron. ii. 7. He was fourth in
descent from Judah, according to tliis list ; but as
many names were left out of Jewish lists (names
of unimportant men or of those who died quite
early in life), we cannot be sure that there were
only four generations between Achan and Judah.
It was a member of the leading tribe (in point of
size and birthright precedence) who first marred
the symmetry and success of Israel's conquest.

The anger of the Lord is his holiness outburn-
ing against unrighteousness. See Ex. iv. 14, where
the phrase is used toward Moses, the friend of God
(Ex. xxxiii. 11). In these anthropomorphic repre-
sentations of God, we must divest the affections of
all the sinful qualities the}" have in man.

Ver. 2. A reconnoitring party are sent to ex-
amine Ai, as the next important city to conquer
on Israel's way to the very centre of the land,
where they were to enter anew into solemn cove-
nant with God. The host still encamp at Gilgal,
stretching out over the plain to Jericho. Ai is



JOSHUA, CHAP. yn. 65

3 And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him,
Let not all the people go up; but let about two or
three thousand men go up and smite Ai: and make not
all the people to labour thither; for they are hut few.

here mentioned as beside or near Bethaven, and
east of Bethel. In 1 Sam. xiii. 5, Michmash is
said to be east of Bethaven. In Hos. x. 5, the
idol-calves of Bethel are called by a paronomasia
the calves of Bethaven, which would indicate that
Bethel and Bethaven were near together. Now
the sites of Bethel and Michmash are identified
beyond a doubt, Michmash being five miles south
and east of Bethel, its longitude being less than
three miles east of that of Bethel. Both Ai and
Bethaven must lie somewhere between these two
points, so that Michmash may be eastward of
Bethaven, and Ai, which is near Bethaven, be
eastward of Bethel. Van der Velde's identifica-
tion of Ai Avith Tell el-Hajar, and of Bethaven with
the ruins on the rocky height about a mile south-
east of Bethel, and about a mile west of Ai, is
undoubtedly correct. Tell el-Hajar i^ on the south-
ern brow of the deep Wady el-Mutyah, and shows
no other remains of antiquity than a broken cistern.
The distance of Ai from Jericho is thirteen miles,
and the route is along the base of Kuruntul, and
then directly westw^ard up the deep Wady el-Mut-
yah. This wady forms a natural road into the
heart of the country.

Ver. 3. The spies return, come back from Ai,
and advise that only a small band of two thousand
or three thousand be sent against the city. They



DO COMMEKTAKY ON

4 So there went up thither of the people about three
thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai.

5 And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and
six men : for they chased them from before the gate
even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going
down, wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and
became as water.

6 ^ And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the
earth upOn his face before the ark of the Lord until
the even-tide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust
upon their heads.

were, doubtless, full of what God had done at
Jericho, with which Ai was a very small city in
comparison, and it ma}^ have been a commendable
faith Avhich prompted their report. Ai had but
twelve thousand inhabitants in all (chap. viii. 25),
and hence may not have had over three thousand
fighting men.

Ver. 4. The little detachment probably pro-
ceeded up the Mutyah directly to the city gate,
using no stratagem whatever.

Ver. 5. About thirty and six men. Why
"about"? Perhaps some dangerously wounded
were counted in the number.

Unto Sheharhn. Or, by translation, to the hrohen
places, i.e., to the steep broken sides of the Mutyah.

And smote them in the going doivn, i.e., along the
descent of the great wady toAvard Jericho.

Melted. (See on chap. ii. 9, 11.) The people
had trusted their success rather than God. So
when success ends, they faint.

Ver. 6. Joshua and the representative council
of the Israelitish nation assume the attitude and
condition of deepest grief and abasement before



JOSHUA, CHAP. vn. 6T

7 And Joshua said, Alas! O Lord God, wherefore
hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to
deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us?
would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the
other side Jordan ! -r i ^ xi,

8 O Lord, M-hat shall I say, when Israel turneth
their backs before their enemies !

9 For the Canaanites, and all the inhabitants of the
land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and
cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou
do unto thy great name ?

the ark until the time of evening sacrifice. It
would appear from this passage and from chap,
viii. 33, that the tabernacle was not yet set up in
the new land, but awaited the arrival at its perma-
nent position. In this case the ark would be
exposed to view. The parts of the ritual that
would require the erection of the tabernacle were,
doubtless, suspended.

Ver. 7-9. There is a strange minghng of un-
belief and of zeal for God in Joshua's cry. He
suggests that God has intended to destroy his
people, and wishes they had remained in the con-
quered countries east of Jordan. He expects,
also, saddest results from the defeat. But with all
this, he shows a deep concern for the honor of
God's name, which he fears has been compromised.
The greatest of saints break down under trial,
and show how weak they are. God mercifully
remembers they are dust, and bears with them
tenderly.

Ver. 7. Would to aod. The name of God does
not appear in the Hebrew. It is simply "would
that."



68 COI^OIENTARY ON

10 1[ And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up;
wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face 'i

11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also trans-
gressed my covenant which I commanded them: for
they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have
also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it
even among their own stuff.

12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand
before their enemies, but turned their backs before their
enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be
with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from
among you.



2. Achan^s Sin and Punishment.

Ver. 10. The LoixVs speech to Joshua at this
thue must have been in the presence of the elders.
We may, tlierefore, suppose that it came through
Urim and Thummim, and by the voice of Eleazar
the high-priest. The rebuke in the words of the
Lord is a strong one. The question is sharp.

Ver. 11. Israel had both sinned in the theft and
deceit of Achan, and had broken the covenant so
solemnly made at Sinai and remembered at Gilgal.
They had taken of the cherem^ they had stolen,
they had deceived, the}^ had made the cherem
private property. In the Hebrew, the six allega-
tions are connected together by the particle " gam "
(also), five times repeated, giving great solemnity
to the charge.

Ver. 12. Tliey were accursed. Lit., "theyw^ere
for cheretn.'^ They had identified themselves with
cherem, and so must suffer, so long as this identifi
cation should continue, for all that is cherem must
be destroyed.



JOSHUA, CHAP. VII. 69

13 Up, sanctify the people, and say. Sanctify your-
selves against to-morrow: for thus saith the Lord God
of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of
thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine ene-
mies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among
you.

II: In the morning therefore ye shall be brought ac-
cording to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe
which the Lord taketh shall come according to the
families thereof: and the family which the Lord shall
take shall come by households ; and the household
which the Lohd shall take shall come man by man.

15 And it shall be, that he that is taken with the
accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that
he hath : because he hath transgressed the covenant
of the Lord, and because he hath wrought folly in
Israel.

Yer. 13. ZTp, sanctify the people. "Up" from
the bowed attitude of humiliation and grief. For
the sanctification, see on chap. iii. 5.

Ver. 14. On the morrow would be the search
for the offenders. That very evening they would
make their solemn ritiial preparation for the inves-
tigation. The fearful nature of sin is shown most
forcibly in this memorable scene. How can man
make light of that which God thus stamps with
his holy indignation and righteous judgments ?

Ver. 15. The burning with fire was the most
striking token of the consuming wrath of a holy
God. (See Heb. xii. 29, as comp. with Heb. x. 27.)

All that he hath. All his family. (See on chap,
vi. 22. See also ver. 25.) The family had, no
doubt, been cognizant of Achan's crime, and had
not revealed it, for in Deut. xxiv. 16, it is expressly
declared by God that the children shall not be put
to death for the fathers.



70 COMMENTARY ON

16 IT So Joshua rose up early in the morning, and
brought Israel by their tribes ; and the tribe of Judah
■was taken:

17 And he brought the family of Judah ; and he
took the family of the Zarhites : and he brought the
family of the Zarhites man by man: and Zabdi was
taken:

18 And he brought his household man by man; and
Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of
Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.



Folly. The word is used for a great wickedness.
For the two elements of the crime see on yer. 11.

Ver. 16. Joshua rose up early. Joshua, of
course, arose from his prostrate position before the
ark, and that evening sanctified the people. But
no mention is made of this, as it was unnecessary.
But the narrative passes over at once to the next
day and its investigation.

Ver. 16-18. The process here described was
wrought, we may suppose, through the use of the
Urim and Thummim (see Num. xxvii. 21), of
which we know almost nothing in detail. The lot
may have been used also.

Zarhites., i.e., the branch of the tribe of Judah,
called from their ancestor, Zerah, the son of
Judah. The tribe in Heb. is shevet ("rod" or
" stem"), and the family is mishpachaJi (" spread-
ing"), but in ver. 17 the tribe of Judah is called
the family of Judah, for, after all, the words are
comparative words. Next to the family was the
house, or hay it h, and then the individual man, or
ffever.

Zabdi was, perhaps, the oldest of Achan's an-



JOSHUA, CHAP. vn. 71

19 And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I
pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make
confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast
done, hide it not from me.

20 And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I
have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus
and thus have I done.

21 When I saw among the spoils a goodly Baby-
lonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and
a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted
them, and took them, and behold, they are hid in the
earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

cestors then living, his grandfather, and thus the
head of the hayith^ or house. Between Zerah and
Zabdi, in this case, there must have been several
generations omitted in the genealogy. (See on
ver. 1.)

Ver. 19. My S071, Joshua is tender, even when
acting as a judge and executioner.

Crive glory to the Lord. (Comp. John ix. 14.)
A solemn form of adjuring an accursed man to
confess. Confession is anticipating the discovery
God will make of the crime, and thus is a tribute
to his omniscience.

Ver. 21. Babylonish garment. Heb., adder eth
shinar. The adderefh was a large outer cloak.
The Babylonish or Shinar goods were well known
in ancient times throughout the East for their fine
texture and rich embroidery. The figures of men
and beasts, which some suppose were worked on such
a garment, would of themselves make the article a
forbidden one to a Jew. The Babylonian textures
are spoken of by Arrian (vi. 29). The figure of
a Babylonish king, of a period three hundred years



72 COMMENTARY ON

22 T[ So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto


1 2 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryHoward CrosbyExpository notes on the book of Joshua → online text (page 4 of 15)