God, Faith, and Holy Destruction
Verses 1-11: Jericho was doomed from the outset. Because of its location within the promised land, and because God had said that His people would inhabit this land, it had to be destroyed. Before God gives Joshua the instructions on how to take the city, He tells Joshua that it is already his in verse 2. Joshua has shown his faith and here it is no different. Joshua tells the people exactly what to do, and follows God’s instructions to the letter.
Verses 12-21: Here we have the execution of the plan. Seven priests, each with a trumpet, march before the ark. They are followed by a rear guard and armed men lead them. The instructions: March around the city once every day for six days and the priests blow the trumpets. On the seventh day, march around seven times, the priests will blow the trumpets, and the people will shout after the trumpets are blown on the 7th time. Note the parallelism to the Creation story.
Once the walls fell, the people were to move into the city and kill all the people as well as the animals. They were to retrieve the valuable things such as gold, silver, or bronze vessels, but were to leave those things that could corrupt them such as items associated with idol worship and sin. Rahab, the harlot that hid the two messengers from Chapter 2, was also to be spared with her family.
Verses 22-27: Rahab is spared and she is saved by the same two messengers that she hid. Imagine her relief when they showed up, keeping their word after the walls of the city fell! Rahab stayed in Israel and remained due to the assistance she gave God’s people and her belief in the power of God. The city lay desolate and Joshua charged any that might rebuild it with being cursed.
In this chapter, we see just how completely God keeps His Word and follows through. Let’s think back along the chain of events that led to the destruction of Jericho. God made the initial promise that they would receive the land and that all the people within would be defeated. God replaced Moses with a great leader that has great faith and strong leadership in Joshua. When the commands came to cross the Jordan and to make the walls fall around Jericho, Joshua obeyed without question or without changing the plan. Lastly, the priests, armed men and people all obey Joshua completely. Without this steady faith, devotion and sense of purpose, things could have gone very differently.
It is amazing to understand that faith truly can move mountains. Or in this case, walls.