King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Joshua 6

The siege of Jericho. (1-5) The city is compassed. (6-16) Jericho is taken, Rahab and her family are saved. (17-27)

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The siege of Jericho

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

The city is compassed

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.

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.

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 rereward came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.

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 once: 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.

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 rereward 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.

Jericho is taken, Rahab and her family are saved

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. The Lord, in the person of the angel, who appeared to Josue, as he was praying in silent meditation, or reconnoitring the city of Jericho. C. v. 13. H. — Men. People of the different nations had come to defend the city. C. xxiv. 11.

Ver. 3. Men. These went first. Afterwards the priests bore the ark, which was followed by all the people. C. — The procession began on a Sunday. Rabbins.

Ver. 4. Jubilee. Num. x. 2. The number seven, is often used to express an indefinite number. But here a particular stress is laid upon it. See Masius. As, on the 7th year the Hebrews regained the possessions which they had sold: so now they assert their rights to the land of Chanaan. The sound of the trumpets announced joyful tidings to them. M.

Ver. 5. Tune, with certain modulations, continued for a long time. Num. x. 5. H. — Ground. The Rabbins say they sink in, so that the ruins might not impede the march of the army. Some think only a large breach was made, opposite to the Israelites, as the house of Rahab upon the walls was preserved. C.

Ver. 7. He said. Some MSS. and Heb. editions have, “they said,” though the points shew it must be singular, whatever Michaelis may object in favour of the Masora. Leusen foolishly admits here a double literal sense. Ken. H.

Ver. 11. There. This singular procession served to exercise the obedience of the people, and to teach them to despise the enemy, who durst not come out to attack them, though many were unarmed. C.

Ver. 15. Seventh day. The Jews say it was the sabbath; but of this there is no proof. Marcion hence took occasion to accuse God of inconsistency, as he forbad all working, and yet ordered the people to go round Jericho on a sabbath day. But Tertullian (iv. 12,) answers very well, that servile work is forbidden, and not the works of God or of religion, and God may change the ceremonial law as he thinks proper. C. — Sabbato opera humana prohibentur non divina. D.

Ver. 16. Said, or “had said,” when he gave the people the sound of the trumpet for a sign (H.) when they were to shout, v. 5. He probably gave the regulations respecting the plunder of the city, before the army left the camp. C.

Ver. 17. An anathema. That is, a thing accursed and devoted to utter destruction. Ch. — Only the metal that was found, was consecrated to the Lord, (v. 19,) and the family of Rahab saved. In devoting things, the person who laid on the curse, might extend its operation as he pleased. On some occasions, all was to be destroyed; on others, some things were preserved. Deut. ii. 34. Lev. xxvii. 21. C. — This first city, which the Israelites attacked, was treated with peculiar severity, to terrify the rest.

Ver. 18. Forbidden, transgression, sin. Heb. has always anathema. H.

Ver. 19. Treasures, probably in the tabernacle. See Num. xxxi. 48. God claims the first-fruits of the booty, as an acknowledgment that he granted the victory, (C.) and all the riches of the country, to his people. H.

Ver. 23. Men. Heb. “boys;” a name given to people advanced in years. — Camp. A respect for the majesty of God, would not permit the Israelites to introduce unbelievers into the camp. They were first instructed, and then the men were circumcised, and the women received baptism. C.

Ver. 25. Day. Rahab prefigured the wild olive tree, which S. Paul says was engrafted on the good olive tree, (Rom. xi. 24,) and which will remain till the end of the world. Theod. q. 8. She married Salmon, of the tribe of Juda, and became the ancestor of David and of the Messias. C.

Ver. 26. Cursed, &c. Jericho, in the mystical sense, signifies iniquity; the sounding of the trumpets by the priests, signifies the preaching of the word of God; by which the walls of Jericho are thrown down, when sinners are converted; and a dreadful curse will light on them who build them up again. Ch. — Gates. Some copies of the Sept. insert here that the curse fell upon Azan (Hiel) of Bethel, 3 K. xvi. 34. Before his time, there was a city of palm-trees, or Jericho, built in the neighbourhood. Joseph. Bel. v. 4. Though Hiel was so severely punished, no one made any scruple to live there. Elias and Jesus Christ himself honoured the place with their presence. The city is now almost in ruins, and the territory uncultivated. Ancient history mentions similar imprecations against obnoxious cities. Thus the Romans cursed the rebuilders of Carthage, and Agamemnon followed “the ancient custom,” says Strabo, (xiii.) laying a curse upon those who should rebuild the city of Troy. The Ionians and Greeks forbad those temples to be re-established, which the Persians had destroyed, that they might remain eternal monuments of the impiety of the latter, and of the hatred which subsisted between the two nations. Pausanias in Phoc. C.