Joshua 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.
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Joshua 6:5. The wall — Not all of it; which was unnecessary, and might have given the people better opportunity of escaping; but only a considerable part of it, where the Israelites might fitly enter: for Rahab’s house was not overthrown, Joshua 6:22. Flat — Hebrew, under it. It was not battered down with engines, which would have made part of it fall out of its place, but it fell of its own accord, and therefore in the place it did formerly stand in. God chose this way to try the faith and obedience of the people; whether they would observe a precept which, to human policy, seemed foolish, and believe a promise which seemed impossible to be performed; whether they could patiently bear the reproaches of their enemies, and patiently wait for the salvation of God. Thus, by faith, not by force, the walls of Jericho fell down.

6:1-5 Jericho resolves Israel shall not be its master. It shut itself up, being strongly fortified both by art and nature. Thus were they foolish, and their hearts hardened to their destruction; the miserable case of all that strengthen themselves against the Almighty. God resolves Israel shall be its master, and that quickly. No warlike preparations were to be made. By the uncommon method of besieging the city, the Lord honoured the ark, as the symbol of his presence, and showed that all the victories were from him. The faith and patience of the people were proved and increased.Trumpets of ram's horns - Render rather here and in Joshua 6:5-6, Joshua 6:8, etc., "trumpets of jubilee" (compare Leviticus 25:10 note). The instrument is more correctly rendered "cornet" (see Leviticus 25:9, note). Various attempts have been made to explain the fall of Jericho by natural causes, as, e. g., by the undermining of the walls, or by an earthquake, or by a sudden assault. But the narrative of this chapter does not afford the slightest warrant for any such explanations; indeed it is totally inconsistent with them. It must be taken as it stands; and so taken it intends, beyond all doubt, to narrate a miracle, or rather a series of miracles.

In the belief that a record is not necessarily unhistorical because it is miraculous, never perhaps was a miracle more needed than that which gave Jericho to Joshua. Its lofty walls and well-fenced gates made it simply impregnable to the Israelites - a nomad people, reared in the desert, destitute alike of the engines of war for assaulting a fortified town, and of skill and experience in the use of them if they had had them. Nothing line a direct interference of the Almighty could in a week's time give a city like Jericho, thoroughly on its guard and prepared (compare Joshua 2:9 ff and Joshua 6:1), to besiegers situated as were Joshua and the Israelites.

The fall of Jericho cogently taught the inhabitants of Canaan that the successes of Israel were not mere human triumphs of man against man, and that the God of Israel was not as "the gods of the countries." This lesson some of them at least learned to their salvation, e. g., Rahab and the Gibeonites. Further, ensuing close upon the miraculous passage of Jordan, it was impressed on the people, prone ever to be led by the senses, that the same God who had delivered their fathers out of Egypt and led them through the Red Sea, was with Joshua no less effectually than He had been with Moses.

And the details of the orders given by God to Joshua Jos 6:3-5 illustrate this last point further. The trumpets employed were not the silver trumpets used for signalling the marshalling of the host and for other warlike purposes (compare Numbers 10:2), but the curved horns employed for ushering in the Jubilee and the Sabbatical Year (Septuagint, σάλπιγγες ἱεραί salpinges hierai: compare the Leviticus 23:24 note). The trumpets were borne by priests, and were seven in number; the processions round Jericho were to be made on seven days, and seven times on the seventh day, thus laying a stress on the sacred number seven, which was an emhlem more especially of the work of God. The ark of God also, the seat of His special presence, was carried round the city. All these particulars were calculated to set forth symbolically, and in a mode sure to arrest the attention of the people, the fact that their triumph was wholly due to the might of the Lord, and to that covenant which made their cause His.

3-5. ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war. … Thus shalt thou do six days, &c.—Directions are here given as to the mode of procedure. Hebrew, "horns of jubilee"; that is, the bent or crooked trumpets with which the jubilee was proclaimed. It is probable that the horns of this animal were used at first; and that afterwards, when metallic trumpets were introduced, the primitive name, as well as form of them, was traditionally continued. The design of this whole proceeding was obviously to impress the Canaanites with a sense of the divine omnipotence, to teach the Israelites a memorable lesson of faith and confidence in God's promises, and to inspire sentiments of respect and reverence for the ark as the symbol of His presence. The length of time during which those circuits were made tended the more intensely to arrest the attention, and to deepen the impressions, both of the Israelites and the enemy. The number seven was among the Israelites the symbolic seal of the covenant between God and their nation [Keil, Hengstenberg]. When they make a long blast, as is usual in the close of musical sounds.

The wall of the city; not all of it, which was not only unnecessary, but inconvenient, and might have given the people better opportunity of escaping; but only a considerable part of it, where the Israelites might fitly enter; for Rahab’s house was not overthrown, Joshua 6:22.

Flat, Heb. under it, i.e. below the place they stood in; or, in its place: it was not battered down with engines, which would have made part of it fall out of its place; but it fell out without any force, and of its own accord, and therefore in the place it did formerly stand in.

And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn,.... Continue blowing, and protracting, and drawing out the sound a long time; which they did only on the seventh day; on the other days it was but a short blast they made at a time; so that this being different, it would be a good sign and token to the people to do what they are next directed to:

and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet; drawn out to a great length:

all the people shall shout with a great shout; at once, as when an onset is made in battle, or a victory is obtained:

and the wall of the city shall fall down flat; or "under itself" (a); which Jarchi interprets, in its place; that is, where it stood, and be swallowed up in it: so the Targum,"and it shall be swallowed up under it;''yet so that somewhat of it should be seen, as an attestation and proof of the miracle, as Kimchi; who says,"it means that it should be swallowed up in its place under the earth, and a little of it appear above ground for a memorial of the miracle:"

and the people shall ascend up, every man straight before him; just as they were in the order of procession; for the wall being fallen everywhere, they would have no occasion to make up to one certain place, as when a breach is only made in one place, and the besiegers are obliged to go so many a breast to enter at it; but in this case they might go straight up from whence they were, and enter the city without any obstruction and difficulty.

(a) "sub se", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "subtus se", Tigurine version; "sabter se", Masius.

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.
5. every man straight before him] Over the prostrate walls the Israelites were to advance into Jericho, and “each one straight forward,” so that, as far as possible, their order should be preserved. Compare the march of the locusts as described by Joel 2:7, “like men of war they climb a wall, and every one marches on his way.”

Verse 5. - When they make a long blast with the ram's horn. Literally, as they draw out with the horn of jubilee, i.e., blow a prolonged blast (cf. Exodus 19:13). Here the word used is horn of jubilee, but not necessarily of ram's horn, as our version, any more than the modern horn, though it takes the place of the more primitive instrument made of that material, must itself be a ram's horn. So Rosenmuller. The word. קֶרֶן in Hebrew is used in different senses, all, however, growing out of the one original sense. Thus it is used for a musical instrument, for rays of light, for the projections extending from the corners of the altar, and in Isaiah 5:1, for a mountain peak (like the German Schreekhorn, Gabelhorn, Weisshorn). Origen compares the blast of the trumpet at which the walls of Jericho fell, to the sound of the last trumpet, which shall finally destroy the kingdoms of sin. When ye hear. The Keri substitute here, as in many other places, כְּ for בְּ but unnecessarily. The Keri means at the very moment when, the Chethibh simply and less emphatically, "when" (see ver. 15). Flat. Literally, underneath it, i.e., the walls were to give way from their very foundations. Every man straight before him. There was no need to surround the city, nor to endeavour to enter it through a "practicable breach." The walls were to give way entirely, and the warriors might advance at once, in the order of battle, and from the place in which they were at the moment when they raised the shout of triumph (יָרִיעוּ) for the inhabitants of Jericho alone were evidently no match for them in numbers (cf. Joshua 10:3; Joshua 11:1-3), though they might have hoped to hold out some time under the protection of their walls. Joshua 6:5"And the Lord said to Joshua:" this is the sequel to Joshua 5:15, as Joshua 6:1 is merely a parenthesis and Jehovah is the prince of the army of Jehovah (Joshua 5:14), or the angel of Jehovah, who is frequently identified with Jehovah (see Pentateuch, pp. 106ff.). "See, I have given into thy hand Jericho and its king, and the mighty men of valour." ("Have given," referring to the purpose of God, which was already resolved upon, though the fulfilment was still in the future.) "The mighty men of valour" (brave warriors) is in apposition to Jericho, regarded as a community, and its king. In Joshua 6:3-5 there follows an explanation of the way in which the Lord would give Jericho into the hand of Joshua. All the Israelitish men of war were to go round the town once a day for six days. אחת פּעם ... הקּיף, "going round about the city once," serves as a fuller explanation of סבּותם ("ye shall compass"). As they marched in this manner round the city, seven priests were to carry seven jubilee trumpets before the ark, which implies that the ark itself was to be carried round the city in solemn procession. But on the seventh day they were to march round the town seven times, and the priests to blow the trumpets; and when there was a blast with the jubilee horn, and the people on hearing the sound of the trumpet raised a great cry, the wall of the town should fall down "under itself." The "jubilee trumpets" (Eng. Ver. "trumpets of rams' horns") are the same as the "jubilee horn" (Eng. Ver. "rams' horn") in Joshua 6:5, for which the abbreviated form shophar (trumpet, Joshua 6:5; cf. Exodus 19:16) or jobel (jubilee: Exodus 19:13) is used. They were not the silver trumpets of the priests (Numbers 10:1.), but large horns, or instruments in the shape of a horn, which gave a loud far-sounding tone (see at Leviticus 23:24; Leviticus 25:11). For בש תּקע, blow the trumpet (lit. strike the trumpet), in Joshua 6:4, בּקּרן משׁך, draw with the horn, i.e., blow the horn with long-drawn notes, is used in Joshua 6:5 (see at Exodus 19:13). The people were then to go up, i.e., press into the town over the fallen wall; "every one straight before him," i.e., every one was to go straight into the town without looking round at his neighbour either on the right hand or on the left (vid., Joshua 6:20).
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