The Lord is leading Joshua as they cross the Jordan on dry ground and stop to build a memorial in Joshua 4:24 “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of Yahweh is strong, so that you may fear Yahweh your God forever.” The Lord tells Joshua to circumcise the Israelites, leaving them unable to defend themselves for days, but they had not done this while they were in the wilderness. Then, Joshua has an encounter in Joshua 5:13–14 when Joshua was by Jericho, he looked up, and he saw a man standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said, “Are you with us, or with our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “Neither. I have come now as the commander of Yahweh’s army.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and he bowed down and said to him, “What is my lord commanding his servant?” We sometimes forget that God is not for us because of our race or culture but he is for those that in Amos 5:15 “Hate evil and love good and establish justice”. Joshua listens as the Lord leads them to walk around the city blowing the ram’s horn once a day for six days and seven times on the seventh day in Joshua 6:16 “And at the seventh time the priests blew on the trumpets, and Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For Yahweh has given you the city” and in Joshua 6:20 “the wall fell flat”.
The Hand of Yahweh Is Strong
The Priests, with the ark of the covenant, went first and the waters parted and they move to the middle of the dry river bed. But the Lord is directing all that they do and Joshua, as commander of the army, sent fighting men across as they made their entrance into enemy territory in
Joshua 4:12–13 The children of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh crossed over armed before the Israelites, as Moses told them. 13 About forty thousand armed for fighting crossed over before the presence of Yahweh to the plains of Jericho for battle.
As all the people had come across, the Lord speaks in
Joshua 4:15–17 Then Yahweh said to Joshua, saying, 16 “Command the priests carrying the ark of the testimony to come up from the Jordan.” 17 So Joshua commanded the priests, saying, “Come up from the Jordan.”
and as they do, the waters begin to flow again. But Joshua does not turn his attention to his defensive forces, instead, they stop and build a memorial of twelve stones, one for each tribe, to remind future generations of Gods great power in
Joshua 4:20–22 And those twelve stones that they took from the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal. 21 And he said to the Israelites, “When your children ask in the future their parents, ‘What is the meaning of these stones?’ 22 you will let your children know by saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’
It is important for us to testify of the goodness of God to our children as we teach them God’s ways. This memorial though, had one other purpose in
Joshua 4:24 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of Yahweh is strong, so that you may fear Yahweh your God forever.”
Joshua Circumcised the Israelites
Joshua and his army of forty thousand fighting men have entered enemy territory and all the leaders in all the region have heard in
Joshua 5:1 And it happened, when all the kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to the west, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea heard that Yahweh dried up the waters of the Jordan in front of the Israelites until they crossed over, their hearts melted, and there was no courage left in them because of the presence of the Israelites.
This may have seemed the perfect moment to strike, yet the Lord speaks to Joshua and says “circumcise the Israelites” in
Joshua 5:2 At that time Yahweh said to Joshua, “Make for yourself knives of flint, and circumcise the Israelites a second time.”
but this would leave them defenceless for days. The men would need a week to recover and be able to fight. But Joshua heeds God’s admonition to him to “observe diligently the whole law” in Joshua 1:7 and in
Joshua 5:4–5 This is the reason why Joshua circumcised all the people: all the males who went out from Egypt, all the warriors, died in the wilderness as they went out from Egypt on the journey. 5 For all the people who left were circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness on the journey after they left from Egypt were not circumcised.
Just as the manna had ceased when they entered this land, so their responsibility to fulfill the law of Moses also came into effect. They were no longer wandering in the wilderness with their fathers, “the unbelieving race who, being rejected of the Lord, were doomed to perish in the wilderness … (Nu 14:33) … the covenant would be renewed with them”.1 and they were now moving into God’s promised plan for them.
I Have Come as Commander of Yahweh’s Army
The Lord has been leading Joshua and the children of Israel to this place, yet when Joshua asks, “Are you with us, or our adversaries?” the answer is “neither” in
Joshua 5:13–14 And it happened, when Joshua was by Jericho, he looked up, and he saw a man standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said, “Are you with us, or with our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “Neither. I have come now as the commander of Yahweh’s army.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and he bowed down and said to him, “What is my lord commanding his servant?”
Joshua’s question was a very human perspective. We think only of friend or foe. But the answer “neither” reveals something about God. Anyone that comes to him believing, he will receive. God isn’t for my race or my nationality or my culture, he is for my heart.
You Will March Around the City
Shout! For Yahweh Has Given You the City
The Lord had specific instructions for the people of Israel in
Joshua 6:8–9 And when Joshua spoke to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the presence of Yahweh went forward and they blew the trumpets; and the ark of the covenant of Yahweh followed behind them. 9 And the armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while they were blowing the trumpets.
As they marched around the city, they were not to say a word. The only sound was to be the sound of the ram’s horn until the last moment when they would all shout together in
Joshua 6:10 But Joshua commanded the people, saying, “You will not shout, and you will not let your voice be heard; a word will not go out from your mouth until the day I say to you ‘Shout!’ Then you will shout.”
and so they did for six days in
Joshua 6:13–14 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of the rams’ horns before the ark of Yahweh went on continually, and they blew on the trumpets. And the armed men went before them, and the rear guard came after the ark of Yahweh, while the trumpets blew continually. 14 And they marched around the city once on the second day, and they returned to the camp. They did this for six days.
then, on the seventh day, they circle the city seven times, only the sound of the ram’s horn until the last time around in
Joshua 6:15–16 Then on the seventh day they rose early at dawn, and they marched around the city in this manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. 16 And at the seventh time the priests blew on the trumpets, and Joshua said to the people, “Shout! For Yahweh has given you the city.
and in Joshua 6:20 “the wall fell flat”.
The Wall Fell Flat
The Israelites Broke Faith
- Joshua 4:13–24 The Hand of Yahweh Is Strong
- Joshua 5:1–7 Joshua Circumcised the Israelites
- Joshua 6:9–17 Shout! For Yahweh Has Given You the City
- Joshua 4:13-24
- Joshua 5:1-15
- Joshua 6:1-27
- Joshua 7:1-7
- 1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 146). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.