Matthew Poole's Commentary
Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.Jericho is shut up by the Israelites, Joshua 6:1. The people and seven priests with the ark go round it six days, Joshua 6:2-14. On the seventh day they go round seven times; the priests blow the trumpets; the people shout; the city accursed; nothing to be taken, but all consecrated; the walls fall down; men, women, and cattle destroyed, Joshua 6:15-21. Rahab and her kindred are saved, Joshua 6:22-25. Joshua curseth the man who should rebuild Jericho, Joshua 6:26.
Straitly shut up; not only by night, as before, Joshua 2:5, but constantly and diligently.
And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.Who are in it, resolved and ready to defend it with their utmost strength.
And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.Go round about the city once, at convenient distance, out of the reach of their arrows;
thus shalt thou do six days, every day once. This and the following course might seem ridiculous and absurd, and is therefore prescribed and used by God, that they might learn to take new measures of things, and to expect success not from their own valour or skill, or probable means, but merely from God’s appointment and blessing; and in general, not to judge of any of God’s institutions by mere carnal reason, to which divers of their ceremonies would seem no less foolish than this action; and that they might have a full demonstration of the all-sufficiency of that God who can do what he pleaseth, even by the most contemptible means.
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.Of rams’ horns, or, of the jubilees, i.e. such trumpets wherewith they were to sound in the years of jubilee, Leviticus 25:9. Either this, or one of the other six, was certainly a sabbath day; and it is not material which was it, for the command of the Lord of the sabbath was sufficient to legitimate any action.
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.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 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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.God would have them armed, both for the defence of themselves and the ark, in case the enemies should make a sally upon them, and for the execution of the Lord’s vengeance upon that city.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.The
rereward being opposed to the armed men, may seem to note the unarmed people, who were desirous to be spectators of this wonderful work.
The priests; which is rightly supplied here from Joshua 6:4.
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.Ye shall not shout; because shouting before the time appointed would be ineffectual, and so might give them some discouragement, and their enemies matter of insulting.
So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.No text from Poole on this verse.
And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Shout, to testify your faith in God’s promise, and thankfulness for this glorious mercy, and to encourage yourselves and brethren, and to strike a terror into your enemies.
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.Accursed, i.e. devoted to utter destruction, Leviticus 27:21,29 Deu 12. This he spake by instinct or direction from God, as is evident from 1 Kings 16:34.
To the Lord; partly, because the first-fruits were appropriated to God; partly, lest the soldiers being glutted with the spoil of this rich city, should grow sensual and sluggish in their work; and partly, to strike the greater terror into the rest of their enemies.
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.Make the camp of Israel a curse, by provoking God to punish them for your sin, in which they may be one way or other involved; or at least upon the occasion of your sin: for, to speak properly God will not (the case of Adam’s sin only excepted) punish one man for the sin of another, as he hath oft declared; but the whole camp having sins of their own, God might take what occasion he saw fit to inflict this punishment.
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.Except that of which images were made, which were to be utterly destroyed, Exodus 32:20 Deu 7:25. Consecrated unto the Lord; being first made to pass through the fire, Numbers 31:22,23.
They shall come into the treasury of the Lord, to be employed wholly for the service or uses of the tabernacle, not to be applied to the use of any private person or priest.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.Being commanded to do so by the sovereign Lord of every man’s life; and being informed by God before that the Canaanites were abominably wicked, and deserved the severest punishments. As for the infants, they were guilty of original sin, and otherwise at the disposal of their Creator, as the clay is in the hands of the potter; but if they had been wholly innocent, it was a great favour to them to take them away in infancy, rather than reserve them to those dreadful calamities which those who survived them were liable to.
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.The harlot’s house, together with the wall upon which it leaned, was left standing, either by a special favour of God to her, or for the reason alleged upon Joshua 6:5.
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.Till they were cleansed from the impurities of their Gentile state, and instructed in the Jewish religion, and solemnly admitted into that church in the usual way, to which Rahab’s good counsel and example had doubtless very much prepared them; and this stupendous work of God confirmed their purposes.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.For that general command of rooting out the Canaanites seems to have had some exception, in case any of them had sincerely and seasonably cast off their idolatry and wickedness, and submitted themselves to the Israelites, as we shall see hereafter.
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.Adjured them; or, made them to swear; caused the people, or some in the name of all, to swear for the present and succeeding generations, and to confirm their oath by a curse.
Before the Lord, i.e. from God’s presence, and by his sentence, as they are said to east lots before the Lord, Joshua 18:8,10, i.e. expecting the decision from God. He intimates, that he doth not utter this in a passion, or upon a particular dislike of that place, but by Divine inspiration, as appears from 1 Kings 16:34. God would have the ruins of this city remain as a standing monument of God’s justice against this wicked and idolatrous people, and of his almighty power in destroying so great and strong a city by such contemptible means.
That riseth up and buildeth, i.e. that shall attempt or endeavour to build it. So this curse is restrained to the builder, but no way belongs to those who should inhabit it after it was built, as is evident from 2 Kings 2:18 Luke 19:1,5. The builder shall lose all his children in the work, the first at the beginning, others in the progress of it by degrees, and the youngest in the close of it, when the gates use to be set up. This was fulfilled, 1 Kings 16:34.
So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.No text from Poole on this verse.