Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
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, chap. v. 13. (Haydock) --- Men. People of the different nations had come to defend the city, chap. xxiv. 11.
Men. These went first. Afterwards the priests bore the ark, which was followed by all the people. (Calmet) --- The procession began on a Sunday. (Rabbins)
Jubilee. (Numbers 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. (Menochius)
Tune, with certain modulations, continued for a long time, Numbers x. 5. (Haydock) --- 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. (Calmet)
He said. Some manuscripts and Hebrew 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. (Kennicott) (Haydock)
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. (Calmet)
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. (Calmet) --- Sabbato opera humana prohibentur non divina. (Du Hamel)
Said, or "had said," when he gave the people the sound of the trumpet for a sign (Haydock) when they were to shout, ver. 5. He probably gave the regulations respecting the plunder of the city, before the army left the camp. (Calmet)
An anathema. That is, a thing accursed and devoted to utter destruction. (Challoner) --- Only the metal that was found, was consecrated to the Lord, (ver. 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, Deuteronomy ii. 34., and Leviticus xxvii. 21. (Calmet) --- This first city, which the Israelites attacked, was treated with peculiar severity, to terrify the rest.
Forbidden, transgression, sin. Hebrew has always anathema. (Haydock)
Treasures, probably in the tabernacle. See Numbers xxxi. 48. God claims the first-fruits of the booty, as an acknowledgment that he granted the victory, (Calmet) and all the riches of the country, to his people. (Haydock)
Men. Hebrew, "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. (Calmet)
Day. Rahab prefigured the wild olive tree, which St. Paul says was engrafted on the good olive tree, (Romans xi. 24,) and which will remain till the end of the world. (Theodoret, q. 8.) She married Salmon, of the tribe of Juda, and became the ancestor of David and of the Messias. (Calmet)
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. (Challoner) --- Gates. Some copies of the Septuagint insert here that the curse fell upon Azan (Hiel) of Bethel, 3 Kings xvi. 34. Before his time, there was a city of palm-trees, or Jericho, built in the neighbourhood. (Josephus, Jewish Wars 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.) (Calmet)