Joshua Chapter 6: Fall of Jericho, Rahab Saved

Dec 21st, 2009 | By | Category: Joshua, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Joshua Chapter 6: Fall of Jericho, Rahab Saved

Josh. 6:1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

Josh. 6:2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.

Why did God say, “See, I have given into thine hand Jericho”? Joshua could see that no one was allowed in or out of Jericho and that there was great fear because of the Israelites. Earlier Rahab had told the two spies that the inhabitants of Jericho feared the Israelites, for they knew God had done great miracles for them (Josh. 2:10,11). From the king on down, the people of Jericho feared. Even so, faith was required on Joshua’s part because a fortified city was usually captured by siege, and that took time.

Josh. 6:3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.

The Israelites were to go around Jericho once on each of six days.

Josh. 6:4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

In addition to priests bearing the Ark, seven priests were each to have a ram’s-horn trumpet, which would be blown with short blasts more or less continuously. Here were psychological factors, for the Jerichoites would see and hear the priests and the people, who comprised a relatively thin line of march with armed men in front, making a complete circuit. Not only would this peculiar method of warfare mystify the inhabitants of Jericho, but hearing a continuous trumpet sound would unnerve them. It would take much of the day for such a large host of Israelites to march slowly and leisurely around the city. Two other factors that would add time to the circuits were that they had to walk away from the wall and the terrain was hilly. The people of Jericho would assume that the Israelites’ slow circuiting indicated confidence in conquering the city. Thus the strange leisurely marching around Jericho, accompanied by short blasts on the trumpets, giving a more or less continuous sound, would frighten the enemy. The Jerichoites would not be able to figure out what was going on.

Q: If one circuit took most of the day, how did the Israelites make seven circuits on the seventh day?

A: The people walked much faster.

Josh. 6:5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

On the seventh day, at the end of seven circuits, the Israelites were to shout when the ram’shorn trumpets gave a long trumpet blast, and the city wall would fall down. For all seven circuits on the seventh day, the people would behave as they had for the previous six days. However, the inhabitants of Jericho would sense something was going to happen when the circuitings continued so long on the seventh day. The short trumpet blasts would be like toots, but when Joshua gave the signal at the end of seven circuits, the priests would blow a long blast.

The “trumpet” was a ram’s horn (a shofar), which made a peculiar sound that carried a great distance.

The wall of Jericho would fall down “flat”—that is, the wall would sink, or collapse, in place. A type of earthquake occurred that was miraculously timed to coincide with the people’s shout. In other words, the wall would fall down in place to the level of the ground from the timed appearance of a sink hole (like those that have occurred in Florida), thus creating a walkway into the city on all sides. By falling “flat,” the wall would provide a footpath on which the Israelites could charge into the city. Hence they would not have to climb over rocks and debris or circumvent clefts in the rock. The wall would collapse into already existing underground storage areas. Then the Israelites could run straight forward into Jericho. What an unusual type of experience—a miracle!

The people would ascend “up,” with “every man straight before him.” Jericho was on an incline. When the wall fell, each person went straight forward “up” into the city; hence the Israelites entered from all sides.

Josh. 6:6 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 LORD.

Josh. 6:7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.

Two million Israelites marched around Jericho minus the women, children, and men too old for war of the 2 1/2 tribes east of Jordan. The order of march was (1) armed men of war, (2) seven priests with trumpets, (3) priests with Ark of the Covenant, and (4) the people.

Josh. 6:8 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.

Josh. 6:9 And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, and the rearward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.

“Rearward” means the people were in the rear.

Josh. 6:10 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.

Josh. 6:11 So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.

What unusual instruction! For all seven days, not one word was to be spoken while the Israelites were in transit—until Joshua gave the signal. Not all the people would be able to see Joshua, so at the end of the seventh circuit on the seventh day, he was to signal the priests to blow a long blast on their shofars. The long blast was the signal for the people to shout.

Josh. 6:12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.

Josh. 6:13 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 rearward came after the ark of the LORD, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.

Josh. 6:14 And the second day they compassed the city once,  and returned into the camp: so they did six days.

The same procedure was followed for six consecutive days.

Josh. 6:15 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.

Josh. 6:16 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.

Josh. 6:17 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.

Josh. 6:18 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 it.

The Israelites compassed Jericho seven times on the seventh day. Only Rahab and those of her household were spared. Joshua issued a caution: “Be careful to keep yourselves from the accursed things of Jericho, lest you become accursed and make the camp of Israel a curse.” The term “accursed thing” meant that the entire city of Jericho (except Rahab and her family) was devoted to the Lord—devoted to destruction—so the Israelites were prohibited from taking anything personally. This was a sacrifice of a different nature.

Josh. 6:19 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.

Josh. 6:20 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.

Josh. 6:21 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.

When the people heard the sound of the long trumpet blast, they “shouted with a great shout.”

The “accursed thing” was different from the “consecrated” items listed in verse 19. The whole city was destroyed as the “accursed thing”—with the exception of Rahab and her family, and the silver and the gold and the brass and iron vessels. Being consecrated, the four metals were salvaged and put in the Lord’s treasury. All the rest were destroyed (the city, the people, animals, houses, clothing, and possessions). In other words, the Israelites were not to profit personally from the Jerichoites and their possessions and goods.

Review and Spiritual Significance

The six circuits (once each day) represent the first six periods of the Gospel Age (Ephesus through Philadelphia). An angel blew a trumpet (announced a special message) in each period, or church. (In all, there are seven churches, trumpets, messages, and messengers for seven periods.) In the Joshua type, seven priests blew seven trumpets. The seven priests picture the seven messengers, the seven trumpets are the Word of God, and the sound represents the seven messages.

The armed men of war represent consecrated soldiers of the Cross, who faithfully proclaim the message of truth. The armed men of war were from Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, although some from the other tribes could also have been included. The people in the rear picture the rest of the “Christian” world, which is a mixed company.

Why did the armed men precede, or go in front of, the priests? Since the seven messengers lived in the early part of the period they represented, they often died hundreds of years before the period ended, yet the armed men preceded the priests. What is the explanation? The message to each period of the Church could not be heard until it was given. Once the message was blown, from that time on, Christians of that period listened to it repeatedly (the trumpets were blown with short blasts continually). The message continued to be given after the

messenger died. Stated another way, the messenger comes and goes, but faithful Christians continue to proclaim the message in conformity to what they heard earlier—they proceed on ahead.

The Ark of the Covenant was right behind the seven priests with the seven trumpets. What does the Ark picture? In Tabernacle Shadows, the Pastor said the Ark was the embodiment of God’s plan, first with regard to the call of The Christ to glory (shown by the tables of the Law, the golden pot of hidden manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded). Up to the time of the people’s shout, the marching involves, in part, the Church in the flesh. Not until the shout does a dispensational fulfillment apply. Another illustration from Tabernacle Shadows is helpful. When Aaron, the high priest, was anointed on his head (picturing Jesus), the oil ran down his beard, shoulders, etc., to the hem of his garment. This procedure shows that the anointing takes place throughout the Gospel Age, but from the finished standpoint, The Christ (Head and body) will not be anointed until all are anointed. In other words, the anointing process occurs throughout the Gospel Age, but the fulfilled picture occurs at the very end of the age when all, Head and body, have been anointed to office and occupy the chair of authority. Similarly, marching around the city is the progressive picture, but at the end of the last seven circuits, a finished picture is seen.

The seven circuits on the seventh day (the Laodicean period) are different from the six circuits of the six previous days (the Gospel Age from Ephesus through Philadelphia). The six circuits represent the first six periods of the Church—up to the beginning of the Harvest. The seventh day pictures the day of the last messenger, that is, the Harvest period, the seventh (or Laodicean) period of the Church. Stated another way, the seven circuits on the seventh day represent the seven plagues of Revelation 16. Here, then, are two verifications that the Pastor expected to write seven Volumes:

1. In the Old Testament—seven circuits of Jericho on the seventh day.

2. In the New Testament—seven plagues of Revelation 16.

In the foreword to the old silver First Volumes, the Pastor wrote that it was his intention to write seven books. However, he wrote only six because Revelation (and Ezekiel) did not open up to him. He said he would write the Seventh Volume when he was sure he had the right interpretation.

If the seven circuits represent the seven plagues, then a time reference is set. The seventh circuit would have to be completed before the shout of the people. Jericho represents Babylon, Christendom, and this picture shows the destruction of Babylon, upon whom the seven plagues are poured. As a result of the shout, the wall fell down. When Babylon falls, the Church will be gone.

Joshua represents the glorified Jesus (like Gideon, who gave the signal for the 300 to break their earthen vessels in giving a fatal witness). In the Joshua type, every man went straight forward from his location in the circuit, and the city was taken.

Rahab pictures the Great Company, who will be forced out of Babylon when it falls. They will be a rescued class, as Rahab was.

Q: Would the people who shout be considered a somewhat enlightened (but unconsecrated) class? They do not show the faith of Rahab, but they have some knowledge. Would the people be comparable to Samson, who pictures a class that will start to recover its strength and have just enough enlightenment to act?

A: Yes. The Israelites who shouted and entered Jericho to destroy it picture a somewhat enlightened class. Antitypical Jericho is mystic Babylon, Christendom, not heathen nations.

“Jericho” has been a fortified city obstructing truth all down the age and blocking the entrance to the Promised Land. At the same time, however, the nominal Church as an obstacle has been a refining process, a proving experience, to help develop the true Church.

The people who shouted are comparable to Samson, who was blind and weak but got his strength back and acted when the stage was set. Some of those who destroy Christendom will actually die (as represented by Samson); others will not. The Jericho picture does not show the people dying, nor does the Jezebel picture with the eunuchs.

Whom do the “people” of Jericho represent? An unconsecrated class in Babylon will be destroyed as tares—their false professions to be Christians will cease. When the Israelites killed the inhabitants of Jericho, their action pictures the Lord’s Great Army attacking Christendom and the tares (Jerichoites) “dying,” or ceasing their false professions.

Q: If Jericho represents Babylon, or Christendom, how can the Israelites represent the people in Babylon?

A: Jericho was a fortified city. Antitypically, the fortifications picture entrenched doctrines, the papal hierarchy and clergy, the Knights of Columbus, and other organizations. Catholicism has different strata, or layers, of identity. Some will literally die, but all will cease to profess to be Christians. At that point, when the people cease to believe in the Roman Catholic Church, there will be no more Babylon—it will no longer exist.

Rahab represents the Great Company, but affiliated with the Great Company (as with Rahab) are family members who may believe the truth but do not consecrate. And family members who do not believe previously, will believe when things start to happen. For instance, when Babylon is about to fall, the Great Company, an enlightened class, will be testifying. At that point in time, people will start to believe them, and unconsecrated family members will listen.

No doubt Rahab testified to her family about the two spies, her feelings, and the promise that her family would be rescued (“seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger”—Zeph. 2:3). Many associated with Rahab will have some knowledge and will act upon it eventually. They will be somehow identified with Rahab, just as the sons of the prophets were identified with Elisha (they are related to the prophets but are not prophets themselves). The “sons of the prophets” are an enlightened class that consists of some of the Holy Remnant and/or friends and family of the consecrated.

The people (Israelites) who shouted wanted the destruction of Jericho. Hence these “people” picture the Lord’s Great Army. In contrast, Rahab did not take part in destroying the city but wanted to escape and not be identified with the accursed city. Discriminations will be made in the Time of Trouble, just as they were made in the French Revolution.

In this progressive picture, the people did not shout until after the seventh circuit on the seventh day and after the long trumpet blast (the message of the feet members). They had been told to keep quiet but did not know why. The message will stimulate the people to wrath and anger against the system. People in Christendom—those both without and within the Catholic Church—will become angry. The eunuchs who threw Jezebel out the window were in her own household, and dogs outside licked up her blood. Jehu, the king of Israel, first called to the eunuchs to throw down Jezebel. All of these are types of different factions identified with overthrowing the harlot.

The destruction of Jericho took place at the end of the day. The men of war, after going around Jericho seven times, had finished their transit. The priests had been blowing short blasts all day, but now, at the end of the day, they were instructed to give a long blast. Meanwhile, the people had been trailing behind; now they shouted and entered Jericho. The account is silent about the armed men, who marched ahead of the seven priests with the seven trumpets. Nothing is said about whether or not the armed men participated in the battle; they represented only a small fraction of the whole.

Note: In the progressive picture of the fall of Jericho, the armed men of the 2 1/2 tribes do not represent the Little Flock, the Great Company, and the Ancient Worthies. However, in the finished picture, when the 2 1/2 tribes occupy their respective territories, they do represent these three classes.

Comment: The Joshua picture shows that the destruction of Babylon will be sudden and complete.

When the time is right, God will provide easy access to destroy Babylon, as shown by the walls falling into miraculously provided sink holes to facilitate easy entry into Jericho. And Cyrus entered Babylon suddenly when the Euphrates River dried up; the obstacle was removed and he marched right into the city by going under the gate in the dry riverbed.

Q: Where are we in the circuitings? [Note: This question was asked in 1987.]

A: Six (out of seven) circuits on the last, or seventh, day have been completed, for six (plagues) have been “poured.” The seventh day is the Harvest period. In other words, we are on the last circuit of the last day and very close to the end of the age. All this time the people have been silent, being preoccupied in doing their own thing. But when conditions get bad— when there is trouble with employment and food, and religious and racial issues tear the populace apart—the people will be concerned, keenly observe what is happening, and take sides. With some, there will be great anger.

Josh. 6:22 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.

Josh. 6:23 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.

Josh. 6:24 And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.

The Israelites’ burning Jericho with fire shows the burning of the tares.

Josh. 6:25 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 Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

Josh. 6:26 And Joshua adjured 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 firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.

A curse was put on anyone who would rebuild Jericho. Verse 26 suggests that a person (an individual named Hiel) would do this later in history (1 Kings 16:34). When he began to build the foundation of the city, his eldest son (his firstborn) died. When he finished the city, his last son died. Many archaeologists consider Jericho to be the oldest city in the world, but they are silent about the gap in its history when it was in ruins. Nevertheless, the rebuilt city has lasted up to the present. (Note: The type ends with the curse being put on Jericho, for when antitypical Babylon is destroyed, it will never exist again. However, the “smoke” of her burning will ascend up forever as a memorial of her destruction.)

Q: Would the two spies who rescued Rahab be like the two angels who rescued Lot?

A: That could very well be. As to what they represent, that understanding may not be known until the fulfillment occurs.

Comment: It has been suggested that the three angels identified with Abraham were the Old Testament, the New Testament, and Jesus personally, whereas the two angels with Lot were just the Old Testament and the New Testament—the Word of God that will finally give Rahab the strength to at least become part of the Great Company.

Josh. 6:27 So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.

(1987–1988 Study)

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