The Conquest of Jericho
1Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in. 2The LORD said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors. 3“You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days. 4“Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5“It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead.” 6So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.” 7Then he said to the people, “Go forward, and march around the city, and let the armed men go on before the ark of the LORD.” 8And it was so, that when Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the LORD went forward and blew the trumpets; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them. 9The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while they continued to blow the trumpets. 10But Joshua commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout!” 11So he had the ark of the LORD taken around the city, circling it once; then they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp. 12Now Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD. 13The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew the trumpets; and the armed men went before them and the rear guard came after the ark of the LORD, while they continued to blow the trumpets. 14Thus the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp; they did so for six days. 15Then on the seventh day they rose early at the dawning of the day and marched around the city in the same manner seven times; only on that day they marched around the city seven times. 16At the seventh time, when the priests blew the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For the LORD has given you the city. 17“The city shall be under the ban, it and all that is in it belongs to the LORD; only Rahab the harlot and all who are with her in the house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. 18“But as for you, only keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it. 19“But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.” 20So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city. 21They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword. 22Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the harlot’s house and bring the woman and all she has out of there, as you have sworn to her.” 23So the young men who were spies went in and brought out Rahab and her father and her mother and her brothers and all she had; they also brought out all her relatives and placed them outside the camp of Israel. 24They burned the city with fire, and all that was in it. Only the silver and gold, and articles of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the [a]house of the LORD. 25However, Rahab the harlot and her father’s household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. 26Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, “Cursed before the LORD is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates.” 27So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.
Joshua needed guidance as he faced one of the most crucial moments of his life. Because the Lord had promised him success in conquering Jericho, he knew the outcome of the battle, but as the day of combat approached, he needed a specific strategy for victory. What he heard the Lord say must have made his jaw drop.
Can you imagine the soldiers’ thoughts as they carried out this bizarre battle strategy? In confusing times like this, it’s good to remember three requirements for benefiting from God’s instructions. We need:
- Faith to believe the Lord
- Courage to obey Him
- Patience to wait for His timing.
When God gives us clear instruction through His Word or His Spirit within us, our response shows how much we trust Him. If we truly believe Him and His promises, precise and complete obedience will follow. His victory in any area of struggle is available only to those who act upon His directions.
Submitting to the Lord’s timing is also an essential part of obedience. What would have happened if the army decided to bypass God’s plans for the first six days and skip straight to the seventh day’s march around Jericho? They would have missed the victory.
How often do we beg the Lord for guidance, yet hesitate to obey when He finally gives it? Living by faith can seem like a huge risk when His instructions make no sense or require a lengthy wait. But knowing His eternal perspective and unlimited power can strengthen our resolve to obey.