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…
The wall fell down fiat. A strong city besieged; yet no trenches opened, no batteries erected against it, no engines of assault employed. Armed men in two divisions, separated by the ark and priests who precede it, compass the city once a day in silence, save for the sound of the horns blown by the seven priests. After six days the marching commences early in the morning, and the circuit is completed seven times, when the priests blow a long peculiar blast, the whole host upraises a loud cry, and behold the wall of Jericho, with its lofty battlements, totters and falls. The joyful soldiers, in perfect order, rush triumphantly into the city, and put to the sword the dismayed inhabitants. Many days have these inhabitants wondered at the strange method in which they are besieged. Fearing the Israelites, they have remained behind the shelter of their fortifications, and waited to receive their foes' attack, and lo! in a moment they are laid bare to a merciless onslaught. History is instructive; it contains lessons for all ages. Let us try and lead some lessons written clearly on the prostrate walls of Jericho.
I. We are reminded of THE INSECURE DEFENCES ON WHICH MANY RELY. All men arc not unmindful of the ills of life to which they are exposed; many distinctly recognise the fact that the castle in which they dwell is, or soon may be, surrounded by foes. But against these they have made preparation, and are confident of their ability to resist the most impetuous attack. A store of wealth has been accumulated to guard against poverty; and to be the centre of a group of friends will surely prove an adequate security against the invasion of loneliness or melancholy. Alas! how unstable are the foundations on which rest the hopes of men. Successive losses reduce the millionaire to beggary; and removals and deaths strip the gayest man of the company in which he delighted.
"After summer evermore succeeds
Barren winter, with his wrathful, nipping cold." Lest a good man should be forgotten, we erect a tablet "in lasting memory," and ere a year has elapsed a fire consumes it to ashes.
II. THE SUDDENNESS WITH WHICH TRUSTED DEFENCES ARE CAST DOWN. Often there is little warning prior to the catastrophe, scarcely the rumbling that precedes an earthquake. Feasting amid splendour, the handwriting is seen on the wall, while the enemy is entering the city by the dry bed of the river. The head of a family labouring to provide for its wants is stricken down by disease or accident, and the strong arm which kept the foe at bay is suddenly powerless.
III. THE REASON OF THE DESTRUCTION IS SOMETIMES TO BE FOUND IN THE FACT THAT MEN WERE FIGHTING AGAINST GOD. Hitherto we have considered the general lot without distinction of persons. All are subject to a reverse of fortune; "There is one event to the righteous and to the wicked." Yet the author of this last clause remarks, "Surely I know it shall be well with them that fear God; but it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he feareth not God." The downfall of the seemingly impregnable fortifications of Jericho was due to the might of Jehovah fighting on behalf of His people. It was a strife between true religion and idolatry. And today, whilst "all things work together for good to them that love God," the troubles which beset the ungodly may be intended as correctives or judgments. We cannot be oblivious of modern instances where the thunderbolt of Divine wrath has fallen on guilty nations and individuals. The hand of the Almighty can be as truly traced as in the sudden overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah. His day comes upon men "like a thief in the night," and just when the wall of defence is most needed does it full, leaving the inhabitant a prey to terrible assault. If the vessel's unseaworthiness were discovered in the harbour, what mattered it? but to find it out on the tempestuous ocean, this is misery indeed. Call to mind Voltaire's wretched lament upon his deathbed, that popular applause could then do naught to help him: "I have swallowed nothing but smoke; I have intoxicated myself with the incense that turned my head." Happy may we count ourselves when God exerts His power, and shows us the penetrable character of our security, while yet there is time to seek a remedy. Did not Paul rejoice that the bright light from heaven revealed the darkness in which he had been travelling, and that the "knowledge of Christ" completely overcame his old self-righteous ideas? His boasted privileges and conformity to law yielded at the first breath of the words of Christ, and Christianity, defied so arrogantly, reigned within his breast. Perhaps, O Christian, thou wast rating too highly some of the pleasures of earth, refined though they were, and in mercy thou hast been at a stroke deprived of them
IV. THE IRRETRIEVABLE DESTRUCTION which God effects. The walls of Jericho were not rebuilt, at least by the inhabitants; and on the man who in after years presumptuously endeavoured to act in defiance of the threat of Joshua was seen a terrible fulfilment of prophecy. The temple of Jerusalem is another example of lasting ruin. But in the spiritual realm it is no matter for regret that a curse rests upon the reconstruction of a wicked security. The obstacle to the admission of the Saviour into the heart once surmounted should never again be built up. The hold of the world once loosened should never be allowed to environ us again. Never can the hour in which the utter defencelessness of the soul was realised be blotted out of the book of memory; and all the after lessons which stern experience has taught us are indelibly imprinted upon the mind. The uprooting of our affections caused by the loss of a loved one; the failure of friendship in the time of exigency; the sickness that dismissed the shows of life and confronted us with the realities of eternity: these events have burnt themselves into our very being, and are become part of ourselves. To bring the matter to a practical issue, ask, Where do we place our trust? Is it not wisdom to choose as our refuge the unchanging God; not to trust any arm of flesh, but to rest in the mercy and love of the Eternal? Not to structures which human skill erects, but to the everlasting hills will we look for aid. "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people." - A.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: So the people shouted, and the priests blew the trumpets. It happened, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, that 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 before him, and they took the city.