Joshua 7:16-26 (The Valley of Achor, Part II)

Joshua 7:16-26
The Valley of Achor, Part II

A lot is going on in the Bible. Unusual patterns go on and on and on (and on). One of the great patterns that is evident once it is explained is that the first twenty-eight books have matching patterns and parallels to the twenty-eight chapters of Matthew.

Some patterns are types, some are numbers, some are word patterns. For example, Matthew 1:1 begins with, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.”  This is a direct link to Genesis 22:18, “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

Also, in Genesis 37, Joseph has a messianic dream. Likewise, in Matthew 1:20, Joseph has a dream about the coming Messiah.

In the second book of the Bible, we find in Exodus 4:22, 23 it says, “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.’”

In Matthew 2:15, we see the following link to Exodus: “And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.’” In one instance is the firstborn son, Israel, and in the other, God’s only begotten Son, Jesus our Lord.

A great one is found in Daniel (27th book) and Matthew 27. Daniel 6:17 says, “Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed.”  Likewise, Matthew 27:66 says, “So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.”

Again in Daniel 9:2, it says, “in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”

Matthew 27:9 says, “Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet.” Notice the intricacy where Jeremiah is quoted in Daniel (27)9 and Matthew 27:9.

Text Verse: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17

John speaks about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. These things can only lead us down the wrong path. That is where Achan has gone, and it will cost him.

The patterns between the first 28 Old Testament books and the Matthew chapters I mentioned above go throughout twenty-eight of both. And there are similar patterns like this in other books of the Bible as well. As for Joshua (the sixth book) and Matthew 6, the pattern is seen in our verses today.

Joshua especially highlights the silver in what was taken by Achan. It does this twice and in a most curious way. Here is the pattern along with its counterpart in Matthew.

Joshua (6th book) 7:21 says, “When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.”

Now in Matthew 6:21, it says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Also, notice the parallel in the number where both are found in verse 21 – 6 (book) 21 (verse) & 6:21.

As I said, these patterns go on and on in the Bible. There are too many and they are too precise to simply be flukes. Rather, they are purposeful hints about what is going on in the word, leading to even further insights for us to know and to then find our confidence in this precious word.

For now, knowing these patterns exist, with a part of them in today’s verses, let us proceed into the passage. Great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Valley of Achor (verses 16-26)

16 So Joshua rose early in the morning

va’yishkem Yehoshua ba’boqer – “And rose early Joshua in the morning.” These exact same words were seen in Joshua 3:1 when the people were setting out from Acacia Grove (Shittim) prior to crossing the Jordan. They were again seen in Joshua 6:12 when the armies set out to march around Jericho.

In other words, the very note concerning Joshua rising early in the morning tells us that a great and important event lies ahead, highlighted by the words. With that noted, it says…

16 (con’t) and brought Israel by their tribes,

It is masculine singular: va’yaqrev eth Yis’rael lish’vatav – “And brought near Israel to his tribes. The only other time the word shevet, or “tribe,” is formed this way is in Numbers 24:2 when Balaam looked out over all of Israel encamped in the valley below and blessed them –

“And raised Balaam his eyes and saw Israel encamped to his tribes (lish’vatav).”

In other words, as has already been seen, there is a corporate guilt upon Israel. It is as if Israel and his sons are sitting there at the moment, being judged for the anathema among them. That must be identified, singled out, and removed or the corporate guilt will remain. And so, the matter begins…

16 (con’t) and the tribe of Judah was taken.

The first identification. As noted last week, the manner in which this identification took place is not what is important. Rather, the focus is on the fact that the Lord already knows who the offender is, and there is a process by which the man will be singled out. From the tribes of Israel, Judah is taken. From there…

17 He brought the clan of Judah,

Much is written about these words –va’yaqrev eth mishpakhath Yehudah – “And brought near family Judah.” Keil says, “we should expect ‘the tribe’ (shebet) or ‘the families’ (mishpachoth) of Judah, instead of ‘the family.’” And that would normally be true.

But just as the text identifies the tribes with Israel the man (“to his tribes”), so it now identifies Judah according to “family.” It is, again, as if Judah is sitting right there being judged for what has occurred within his family. Next…

17 (con’t) and he took the family of the Zarhites;

The second identification. Again, it is singular: va’yilkod eth mishpakhath ha’zarkhi – “And he took family the Zarhite.” One family of the family of Judah is taken. It is the family of the Zarhite. Everything is being precisely identified, one unit at a time, demonstrating that the Lord is fully aware of the offender and is closing in on him. Next…

17 (con’t) and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man,

When the Zarhite family is identified, it then says that the identification goes la’gevarim, or “to the man.” By this time, the offender must be beside himself, knowing full well that he is known. And yet, he does not come forward, but still waits…

17 (con’t) and Zabdi was taken.

The third identification. The man of the Zarhite family who is singled out is Zabdi who obviously had his own sons, and it is obvious that more than one son went into battle, or else this next step would be superfluous…

18 Then he brought his household man by man,

This would be the household of Zabdi being brought forward “to the man.” It is a methodical process of eliminating the guiltless and identifying the guilty. This would be needed because it could have, until this point, been two brothers if they both went into the battle. Therefore, it is right to not just assume only one man was guilty…

18 (con’t) and Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.

The fourth identification. It is now repeated in reverse to ensure that he is carefully pinpointed. It is he alone who has done it and none other. Therefore, the leader next speaks to him…

19 Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel,

More precisely, it reads: beni sim na khavod l’Yehovah elohe Yis’rael – “My son, set, I pray, glory to Yehovah, God of Israel.” In saying, “My son,” you can feel the bond Joshua feels with the person despite what has transpired. A sense of pity can be interpreted from the words.

Achan is being asked to set (sim) before the Lord the glory that He is due, as if it is a guilt offering. Unfortunately, by doing so, he is placing himself as that guilt offering on behalf of the congregation…

19 (con’t) and make confession to Him,

v’ten lo todah – “And give to Him thanks.” The word todah comes from the word yadah – or “to throw out” with the yad, or hand. Thus, it signifies “to extend the hand” as if in adoration. One can think of a choir of worshippers raising their hands to the Lord.

Joshua is basically telling him to set himself before the Lord and to raise his hands in thanksgiving to Him. It may seem odd, but when one considers that the entire congregation stands before the Lord as anathema, Achan’s acknowledging his guilt is to give back to Israel their status as being no longer anathema.

19 (con’t) and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

This sounds like any father that has ever caught his child doing something wrong. As in such a case, Joshua conveys the same basic idea in two different ways: declare/do not hide. The word nagad means to make conspicuous or literally “to front.” The word kakhad means to secret away or conceal. This is what is expected, and this is what he will now receive…

20 And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel,

The words are emphatic and filled with a sense of superlative guilt: am’nah anoki khatati l’Yehovah elohe Yis’rael – “Truly, I, I have sinned to Yehovah, God of Israel.”

He emphatically pronounces that it was he who had done it and he acknowledges it as sin which was “to Yehovah.” It is not unlike David’s words in the 51st Psalm, where he said, l’kha l’badekha khatati – “To you, to you alone, I have sinned.”

Though this is true, the congregation stood guilty collectively for what he had done. As such, he must pay the penalty for their guilt to be removed. Achan also uses a word, omnah, or truly, found only one other time in Scripture. In Genesis 20 when Abraham confessed to Abimelech that Sarah was actually his sister, he used this same word. Next, Achan again speaks emphatically…

20 (con’t) and this is what I have done:

v’khazoth v’khazoth asiti – “and according to this, and according to this, I have done.” Of his words, Adam Clarke says, “This seems a very honest and hearty confession, and there is hope that this poor culprit escaped perdition.” That may be so, but he won’t escape temporal judgment, even if his soul is saved. For now, he says…

21 When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment,

The first failing: va’ereh ba’salal adereth shinar akhat tovah – “And I saw in the spoil garment Shinar, one beautiful.” His eyes alighted upon a garment of Shinar, meaning the plain noted in Genesis 11 where the tower of Babel was built. The meaning of the name is wholly speculative and can come from one of several possible roots.

Scholars highlight the fact that the garments from this area were particularly beautiful, skillfully made, and highly ornamented. The word used, addereth, comes from addir, or majestic. We can only speculate, but it may have been the king’s robe, or it may have been used in the temple of an idol. Next, he took…

21 (con’t) two hundred shekels of silver,

This would be two hundred by weight, not necessarily two hundred coins. As such, we could estimate it at a bit more than five pounds of silver. As of sermon typing day, this was worth about $1375 in standard ounces, not troy ounces. The main thing to consider in this is the weight.

As the narrative gives it to us, we need to determine what it signifies. Bullinger says the number two hundred signifies insufficiency. Next…

21 (con’t) and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels,

ul’shon zahav ekhad khamishim sh’qalim mish’qalo – “and tongue gold one fifty shekels his weight.” The gold was in the shape of a tongue or wedge. It would be about 1.26 pounds, and so the value of this as of sermon typing day was about $31,378. Again, this is in standard ounces.

The number fifty must be considered. It “is the number of jubilee or deliverance.” Bullinger says it is the issue of 7 x 7, and points to deliverance and rest following on as the result of the perfect consummation of time. With that noted, Achan next says…

21 (con’t) I coveted them

The second failing: va’ekh’m’dem – And desired them. It is the same word, khamad, used concerning the tree in the garden, (it was desirable to make one wise). It was used in the Tenth Commandment where it is translated as “covet.” It was also used in Deuteronomy 7:25 –

“You shall burn the carved images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it; for it is an abomination to the Lord your God.”

21 (con’t) and took them.

The third failing: va’eqakhem – “and took them.” Achan took the same path, using the same words, that brought about the fall in the first place. The woman saw (raah), she desired (khamad), and she took (laqakh). Then she passed it on to the man. It is also what James especially warns against –

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:14, 15

21 (con’t) And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.”

The words are spoken very precisely: v’hinam t’munim ba’arets b’tok ha’aholi v’ha’keseph takh’teha – “And behold them, hidden in the earth, in midst the my tent, and the silver under it.” Scholars say things like, “The mantle would naturally be placed uppermost, and be used to cover up the others” (Barnes).

But that does not explain the precise wording at all, especially singling out the silver. Nevertheless, the admission is made…

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent;

va’yishlakh Yehoshua mal’akhim va’yarutsu ha’ohelah – “And sent Joshua messengers, and they run the tent.” The word “messengers” is the same word often translated as “angels.” It is one who is dispatched to perform a duty. And they find…

22 (con’t) and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it.

The Hebrew is briefer: v’hineh t’munah b’aholo v’ha’keseph takh’teha – “And behold! Hidden in his tent. And the silver under it.” Again as with the previous verse, the silver is singled out. The other two items are not even named, but must be inferred.

23 And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord.

The idea here is that of guilt. The anathema is taken from the guilty party and brought to the leader of the people. He bore the guilt because he bore the responsibility for his people. It was brought to all the sons of Israel, surely meaning the elders who represent them, because the congregation bore the collective guilt.

And next, the Hebrew reads va’yatsiqum liph’ne Yehovah – “and poured them out before Yehovah.” One can imagine a blanket laid out and the contents of the anathema being poured out onto it revealing the guilt with the drop of each item.

What should have either been burned, ascending to the Lord as an offering, or what should have been brought into the treasury of the Lord, and which was now no longer acceptable in that capacity, lay exposed to the sight of all.

24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had,

Here it calls him “the son of Zerah.” That is an acceptable Hebraism where “son” can mean any descendant. He is Zerah’s great-grandson.

In the Hebrew, Joshua is highlighted as the main figure. Israel is mentioned at the end of the action – “And took Joshua Achan son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and tongue the gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his ox, and his donkey, and his flock, and his tent, and all that he had – and all Israel with him. The joint nature of the matter is mentioned only next…

24 (con’t) and they brought them to the Valley of Achor.

It more correctly reads, “and they took them up to the Valley of Achor.” This place, emeq akhor, is mentioned again in Joshua 15, Isaiah 65:10, and Hosea 2:15. The word emeq signifies a deep place, coming from amoq, meaning to be deep or to make deep.

The word akhor comes from the verb akhar, or trouble. Thus, it means “Trouble,” and it is a play on words based on what Joshua says in verse 25. Together, the two words mean the Valley of Akhor, or the “Depth of Trouble.”

It is uncertain exactly where this valley is located, but a really good candidate would be Wadi Qelt, a very deep canyon that runs through the surrounding area. It is where Sergio and I and our friend Yossi (with one “s” – it’s a private joke) walked from Jericho to Jerusalem and which Jesus took on His travels.

25 And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.”

Here, Joshua uses the word akhar, to trouble, twice. It gives the reason for the name of the valley. After saying this, it says…

25 (con’t) So all Israel stoned him with stones;

va’yirg’mu oto kal Yis’rael even – “And stoned him all Israel stone.” Because of this being in the singular, many scholars say that only Achan was stoned, and that the family was simply taught a lesson by watching dad get stoned to death.

That is wrong because 1) the next clause says so, 2) Joshua 22:20 says so, and 3) the law of kherem, or anathema, demanded that his entire family perish with him. Achan is singled out as the representative of his family.

As for the word “stone” being singular, it may convey the idea that someone walked up to him and clobbered him over the head with a single stone, dispatching him off to the next world. Also…

25 (con’t) and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.

va’yish’r’phu otam ba’esh va’yisq’lu otam ba’abanim – “and burned them in the fire and stoned them in the stones.” The plural of these words indicates the extent of the stoning. The entire family and all the animals were stoned. Noting that there were originally no verse numbers in the Hebrew, the words make sense when read along with the words of the next verse…

26 Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day.

Taken together with the previous verse, you can see the progression – “And stoned him (sg.) all Israel stone, and burned them (pl.) in the fire, and stoned them (pl.) in the stones, and raised over him (sg.) heap stones great to until the day, the this.”

In other words, his death and the stones over him also stand for the entire household who accompanied him in the punishment. It is a collective punishment even though it was solely his transgression. And more, the cairn of stones signifies the shameful nature of the death that the one under it received.

26 (con’t) So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger.

va’yashav Yehovah me’kharon apo – “And turned Yehovah from burning His nostril.” This takes us right back to verse 1 –

“But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.” Joshua 7:1

With the obedience of the people now realized, they no longer stand as anathema. The offense has been atoned for, and the propitious relationship has been restored…

*26 (fin) Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.

al ken qara shem ha’maqom ha’hu emeq akhor ad ha’yom ha’zeh – “Upon this is called name the place, the it, “Valley Akhor” until day, the this.” In other words, the valley got its name from what occurred.

Why, O Lord, has this come about?
What is it that has caused all this suffering?
What has happened has caused me to doubt
What is the source of this terrible thing

Lord, we look to you and wait for a word
We long to know what has caused this trouble
When the answer is given, and we have heard
We will take action to correct it on the double

Lord, don’t let anything tarnish Your great name
Be with Israel and rescue us from this terrible state
Spread around the world Your glorious fame
Let the nations know that Your name alone is great

II. Pictures of Christ

What we have in Joshua 7 is not unlike several passages in Deuteronomy. For example, Deuteronomy 21 gave several situations which Israel might face, such as finding the body of someone in a field who was clearly slain, female captives, the rights of the firstborn, what to do with a rebellious son, and what to do with a person who was hanged on a tree.

Each of these was clearly seen to anticipate the work of Christ. For example, the disobedient son pictured Israel. He was to be taken out and executed for his transgressions. Israel was the disobedient son, but Christ took their place instead.

Here, we have a passage where Israel has become anathema –

“Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction [kherem].” Joshua 7:12

But this was said of such a state in Leviticus –

“No person under the ban [kherem], who may become doomed to destruction among men, shall be redeemed, but shall surely be put to death.” Leviticus 27:29

And this is exactly what Isaiah says the state of Israel has been –

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake;
And I will not remember your sins.
26 Put Me in remembrance;
Let us contend together;
State your case, that you may be acquitted.
27 Your first father sinned,
And your mediators have transgressed against Me.
28 Therefore I will profane the princes of the sanctuary;
I will give Jacob to the curse [kherem],
And Israel to reproaches.” Isaiah 43:25-28

And more, the land itself went under the ban because of their rejection of Jesus –

“And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse [kherem].” Malachi 4:6

How can Israel, both the land and the people, be redeemed if they are devoted to destruction? That is what Joshua 7 deals with. Israel went under the ban. Achan, because of what he did, typifies Israel. They have been under the ban since their rejection of Christ. This is made clear in several New Testament passages where the comparable Greek word, anathema, is used –

“If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!” 1 Corinthians 16:22

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursedAs we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8, 9

Israel failed to love the Lord Jesus and they have preached a false gospel of law, works, and self-righteousness. Despite this, we see in Joshua 7 that national Israel’s collective guilt, which is clearly evidenced in verses 1, 12, and indeed the entire chapter, can be removed.

Verse 1 shows that they acted unfaithfully in regard to the kherem, the anathema. Israel rejected Christ making themselves anathema. In Joshua, that was specifically done by Achan (Achar as noted in 1 Chronicles 2), the serpent of trouble. The names of his ancestors give a picture – My Vineyard, My Gift, Rising of Light, Praise.

Like Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, Israel came under the ban and is subject to death. Unlike them, however, Israel falls under corporate judgment because of their corporate guilt and so the anger of the Lord burned against them.

With that, the details of the battle of Ai were given to show this. Ai means “Ruins.” That is beside Beth Aven or the House of Wickedness and east of Bethel, the House of God. In the Bible, east is the place of exile.

It is a picture of Israel in their time of rejecting Christ – exiled from God, the land is in ruins, and they are a house of wickedness – a state that they cannot defeat. In trying to do so, they were defeated, and it specifically noted that thirty-six were killed.

That number was defined as a multiple of nine and four – finality or judgment and the world number (creation). It reflects the state of Israel apart from Christ – under judgment in the world and being chased as far as “the Shevarim,” or “the crushing.” Their state is a state of ruin and it will continue to be into the tribulation.

It was especially highlighted in the words of verses 11 and 12 concerning the corporate nature of the offence, followed by the explanation of why Israel had turned their necks before their enemies. It was “because they have become to anathema.”

This is where they are and unless the matter is corrected, they will remain that way. Starting our verses today, Israel was brought forward by tribes, then the families of the tribe, then the next generation of families, and then man by man.

The process of identifying him is accomplished in the reverse of how the names are mentioned in verse 7:1 – Achan, Carmi, Zabdi, Zerah, Judah / Serpent, My Vineyard, My Gift, Rising of Light, Praise, thus forming a pattern that speaks of Jesus reversing what happened at the fall: The serpent brought sin into the Lord’s vineyard. The Lord promised the gift of the coming Messiah. The Light of Messiah arose and accomplished His work. The Messiah is the Praise of God.

Once identified, Achan admits his guilt, saying, “Truly, I, I have sinned to Yehovah, God of Israel.” He then explains his three failings – his eyes (raah), his desire (khamad), his taking (laqakh). It was this sequence of things that brought his downfall and that brought Israel under the anathema. Jesus, like Achan, is from Judah. He, like Achan was in a battle for the Place of Fragrance (Jericho/Eden), He like Achan was tempted in the same general area in Israel, and yet – unlike Achan – He did not transgress.

Three things Achan was tempted by were a beautiful garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a tongue of gold weighing fifty shekels. The garment pictures the state of a person. Silver pictures redemption. Gold pictures holiness, divinity, and royalty.

They are each something Christ offers – garments of righteousness, redemption, and holiness, divinity (not deity), and royalty. Achan attempted to get those things on his own, and it cost him. But, if you remember, the narrative twice focused on the silver, it being “underneath.”

As we saw in the opening, Jesus noted that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The weight, being two hundred, signifies insufficiency. What he had was insufficient to redeem him. The guilt of what he did was transferred to all of Israel, and thus all of Israel was under the ban.

When those items were poured out before the Lord, it stood as a witness against all the people. Thus, they had to remove the accursed from among them. And so that is what they did. They took Achan and everything belonging to him, meaning his entire household, along with the three banned things, down to the Valley of Achor, the Depth of Trouble, and there they stoned and burned him and all that he had.

This is picturing Israel removing everything that is contrary to Christ that puts them under the ban – the total removal of it – by coming to Him. Think of what has been presented from the previous sermons –

We have been seeing the process of salvation in individual passages, but they all happen at once. *Moses, the law dies. Israel accepts Christ’s fulfillment of the law. *Israel enters the Jordan (Christ); Israel is baptized into Christ’s death (Chapter 3). *Israel, signified by the stones carried to Gilgal and which are then rested there, enters its rest (Chapter 4). *Two sets of stones are set up, signifying the heavenly government of Jew and Gentile (Chapter 4). *Israel is circumcised; Israel has put off the body of sins of the flesh / The reproach of the past is taken away when believers are circumcised by the Lord (Chapter 5). *Believers partake of Christ as their Passover (Chapter 5). *The Lord is the Leader of the people, and they are brought into “holy ground.” (Chapter 5). *Access to that holy ground is brought about by acceptance of Christ’s work (Chapter 6). And now, *Coming out of the state of anathema (kherem) is realized through the love of Jesus (1 Corinthians 16:22) and pursuing the true gospel of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:8, 9) (Chapter 7).

This is what the meaning of the uses of the name “Valley of Achor” found later in the Old Testament signify. First, Isaiah refers to it in relation to the millennial kingdom –

“Thus says the Lord:
‘As the new wine is found in the cluster,
And one says, ‘Do not destroy it,
For a blessing is in it,’
So will I do for My servants’ sake,
That I may not destroy them all.
I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
And from Judah an heir of My mountains;
My elect shall inherit it,
And My servants shall dwell there.
10 Sharon shall be a fold of flocks,
And the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down,
For My people who have sought Me.’” Isaiah 65:8-10

And in the other instance, Hosea refers to it when speaking of the covenant relationship they will enter into with the Lord –

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
Will bring her into the wilderness,
And speak comfort to her.
15 I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope;
She shall sing there,
As in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
16 And it shall be, in that day,
Says the Lord,
That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’
And no longer call Me ‘My Master.’” Hosea 2:14-16

Later, in that same chapter, it says –

“Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth,
And I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy;
Then I will say to those who were not My people,
‘You are My people!’
And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’” Hosea 2:23

Peter, writing to the Jews of the end times, cites that, saying –

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9, 10

The people will be brought out of anathema, and the land will as well. Referring to the millennial kingdom, Zechariah says –

“All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin’s Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses.

11 The people shall dwell in it;
And no longer shall there be utter destruction [kherem],
But Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.” Zechariah 14:10, 11

With this seen, the one point that may seem contradictory to what I have presented is Joshua’s statement of verse 7 –

“And Joshua said, ‘Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all—to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan!’”

The question may be, “If crossing the Jordan pictures Israel coming to Christ, then why would Joshua (Israel’s leadership) say this?” It is because this is showing the stages of what occurred one after another. Although the process of salvation, meaning each thing that happens to Israel, all occurs at once, each thing is being detailed separately to show us it in an understandable way. As such, this is what Joshua 7 is anticipating.

The Lord is faithful to Israel, even in their unfaithfulness. This is perfectly evident from Joshua 7 where the entire nation was anathema because of the failings of one man. This is certainly not the only time in their history this came about, and it is certain that they went under the ban when they rejected Jesus.

And yet, the Lord has spared them because He covenanted with them. That ought to be the greatest of reassurances for each of us when we fail Him. When we do, His faithfulness is highlighted all the more. But let us endeavor to not fail Him. Rather, let us be grateful, all our days, for the wonderful salvation that He has provided us through the shed blood of Christ.

And when we have those moments of doubt that arise in our minds, let us remember the intricacy of this word He has given us. The patterns I showed you when we opened today are just a tiny smidgen of what is in the word.

Read the word! Cherish the word! Cling to this word as we await the sure promised return of the Lord for us. He is faithful, and He will perform. Just look at Israel and you can be perfectly certain of this. What a great and glorious God we serve. Hallelujah and Amen!

Closing Verse: “For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”
39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:37-39

Next Week: Joshua 8:1-20 They didn’t get it on the first try, but they will now get it done… (The Fall of Ai, Part I) (15th Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Valley of Achor, Part II

So Joshua rose early in the morning
And brought by their tribes Israel
And the tribe of Judah was taken
For Judah it wasn’t going well

He brought the clan of Judah
And he took the family of the Zarhites –
———-surely they were all shakin’
And he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man
And Zabdi was taken

Then he brought his household man by man
And Achan the son of Carmi – now this guy was really shakin’
The son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah
Of the tribe of Judah, was taken

Now Joshua said to Achan
“My son, I beg you, to the Lord God of Israel give glory
And make confession to Him
Tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me

And Achan answered Joshua and said
“Indeed I have sinned, yes, I am the one
Against the Lord God of Israel
And this is what I have done:

“When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment
Two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold
———-weighing fifty shekels. Yes, I admit
I coveted and took them. And there they are
Hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it

So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent in a fit
And there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it

And they took them from the midst of the tent
Brought them to Joshua, according to the word
And to all the children of Israel
And laid them out before the Lord

Then Joshua, and all Israel with him
Took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment
———-the wedge of gold – and more…
His sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent
———-and all that he had
And they brought them to the Valley of Achor

And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us?
The Lord will trouble you this day (set the pyre!)
So all Israel stoned him with stones
And after they had stoned them with stones, they burned them
———-with fire

Then they raised over him a great heap of stones
———-still there to this day
So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His angry way
Therefore the name of that place
Has been called the Valley of Achor to this day

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel by their tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. 17 He brought the clan of Judah, and he took the family of the Zarhites; and he brought the family of the Zarhites man by man, and Zabdi was taken. 18 Then he brought his household man by man, and Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, was taken.

19 Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

20 And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: 21 When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it.”

22 So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent; and there it was, hidden in his tent, with the silver under it. 23 And they took them from the midst of the tent, brought them to Joshua and to all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord. 24 Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. 25 And Joshua said, “Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day.” So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.

26 Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day.

 

Joshua 7:1-15 (The Valley of Achor, Part I)

Artwork by Doug Kallerson.

Joshua 7:1-15
The Valley of Achor, Part I

In the verses today, it notes that the people of Israel had sinned. This is despite only one person having sinned. Regardless, the Lord turned away from them and allowed them to be struck down before their enemies.

In this, Adam Clarke wrote, “It is impossible that God should turn against his people, if they had not turned away from him.” This is an important point to consider, not only from a reading of the biblical history of the nation, but also from reading the extra-biblical state of them.

And the reason for this is that the extra-biblical history of Israel is actually not extra-biblical at all. The things that have come about in their history since their dispersion are spoken of in the Bible in great detail, carefully fulfilling what it said would happen.

Because of this, we can have every confidence that what is recorded about their future will come about as well. And there is a reason for this. That is because the Lord has covenanted with them and because His name rests upon them. The psalmist confirms that the two, the Lord and Israel, are united in this regard –

Text Verse: Do not keep silent, O God!
Do not hold Your peace,
And do not be still, O God!
For behold, Your enemies make a tumult;
And those who hate You have lifted up their head.” Psalm 83:1, 2

The psalmist identifies the enemies of Israel as the Lord’s enemies. This was true, and it remains true to this day. Even though the Lord has had Israel under the curses and punishments of the law, He has also carefully kept them as a people for exactly this reason.

What happens to them is a corporate thing because they are one people under His covenant. Nothing will ever separate them from Him because of this truth. As this is incontrovertible, it should give us every assurance that it is so with us, too. God has covenanted with each believer in Christ. That means that just as sure as Israel’s continued existence is, so is our salvation.

To avoid error, we need to not look at these things from our perspective. But this is just what we do. We look at failed marriages and say, “The covenant is broken,” and then we transfer that to Israel’s relationship with the Lord. And when we see Israel in that light, the natural thing is to look at our own covenant relationship in that light. “God has rejected Israel and so He will reject us. It is up to us, not Him, to see things through to the end.”

Instead of this, and instead of looking at everything from our own perspective, we need to remove ourselves from the equation and view things from God’s perspective. He does not fail, He does not make mistakes, and He will never go beyond His word.

His word is a reflection of who He is. If we can hold fast to that thought, we will not fall into such grievous errors in our thinking. The eternal nature of God’s decrees is one marvelous part of the treasure we can find in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. But the People Fled (verses 1-5)

But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things,

va’yimalu bene Yisrael maal ba’kherem – “And acted unfaithfully sons Israel unfaithful in the anathema.” Both the verb and noun forms of the word maal are used here. It comes from a root meaning “to cover.” Thus, it signifies to act unfaithfully or treacherously, as if covering over or hiding a deed. It is to commit a trespass.

But notice that it says, “the children of Israel.” Even before any further charge is made, the entire congregation is noted as having acted unfaithfully. The corporate nature of the people is that which is immediately highlighted.

It is of note that the same word used here in the Greek translation, nosphizó, meaning to pilfer, is also used in Acts 5:2 in the account of Ananias and Sapphira. There, no corporate guilt is assigned because it was an offense of lying to the Holy Spirit, but the parallel between the two accounts is noteworthy.

For now, the corporate nature of the act is highlighted even though the treachery was found in only one man…

1 (con’t) for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah,

The meaning of the name Achan is not readily determined. The closest known word comes from the Chaldean akhana, meaning a serpent. In 1 Chronicles 2:7, he is called Achar. That is based on a word used in Joshua 6:18 and which will be used again in verse 7:25. It means “to trouble.” Hence, he is the serpent who troubles; The serpent, the troubler; or The serpent of trouble.

He is noted as the son of Carmi. That is from the word kerem, or vineyard. Thus, he is “My Vineyard,” or “Vinedresser.” He, in turn, is the son of Zabdi. That is from the word zavad, to give. The “i” is either possessive, or it refers to the Lord, and so he is either Gift of Yehovah or My Gift.

Zabdi is the son of Zerah, that is from the word zarakh, to rise or come forth, as in the sun. Thus he is Dawning, Rising of Light, etc. And he was born to Judah meaning Praise, Praised, or Let Him (God) be Praised.

If this is an unbroken genealogy, and because it has been 256 years since Judah and Zerah went down to Egypt, it means that the fathers bore the children at an average of 50 or more years of age. Of this person, Achan, it says he…

1 (con’t) took of the accursed things;

It is singular: min ha’kherem – “from the anathema.” The entire city is as a whole. No part of it was to be taken for common use but was to be dedicated to the Lord either through destruction or removal to the treasury of the house of the Lord.

1 (con’t) so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.

va’yikhar aph Yehovah bivne Yisrael – “and burned nostril Yehovah in sons Israel.” The mental image is of the anger of the Lord being so great that He stands in the middle of the people while smoke and fire proceed from His nostrils, burning among them. This sets the tone for what next occurs…

Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai,

va’yishlakh Yehoshua anashim mirikho ha’ay – “And sent Joshua men from Jericho the Ai.” The name of the city is always prefixed by an article: ha’ay, or “the Ai.” Ai means “Ruins” or “Heap of Ruins.” It was first mentioned in Genesis 12 –

“And he moved from there to the mountain east of Bethel, and he pitched his tent with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; there he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord.” Genesis 12:8

Thus it is The Ruins…

2 (con’t) which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel,

asher im beith aven mi’qedem l’beith el – “which with house wickedness from east to house God.” Beth means “house.” Aven comes from aven meaning wickedness, trouble, vanity (meaning idols, which are vain), iniquity, and so on. And so it means something like “House of Wickedness.”

Bethel, or Beith el, means “House of God.” It was also first noted in Genesis 12:8 and was named that again by Jacob in Genesis 28:19 after he had his dream of a ladder ascending to heaven. In Hosea 4, 5, and 10, the prophet combines the two, calling Bethel where the calf of the northern tribes was set up Beth Aven.

2 (con’t) and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country.”

va’yomer alehem lemor alu v’rag’lu eth ha’arets – “and said to them, to say, ‘Go up and reconnoiter the land.” The word regel means foot, and so they are to go out and “foot” the land, meaning reconnoiter.

2 (con’t) So the men went up and spied out Ai.

va’yaalu ha’anashim vay’rag’lu eth ha’ay – “And went up the men and reconnoitered – the Ai.” It is essentially the same command Joshua gave to the two men in Chapter 2 concerning checking out the land along with Jericho. However, this time it only says he sent men without giving any specific number.

And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up,

The evaluation of Ai, based upon their search, is that this will be an easy defeat. First, they know the Lord is with them. Because of that, and because of the diminutive size of the city, it would be overkill to send a large force. Therefore, they say…

3 (con’t) but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai.

k’alpayim ish o kishloshet alapim ish yaalu v’yaku eth ha’ay – “according to two thousand man or according to three thousand man let go up and strike the Ai.” The number is insignificant compared to the number of available fighting men.

The reason for this is that the total number in the city (Joshua 8:5) is said to be twelve thousand. Therefore, a fighting force of about three thousand would be all the city could hope to muster.

Other than their confidence in the Lord’s presence, it would be the height of presumption for Israel to go into battle with such a small force because the city would be fortified. Therefore, they would be fighting a comparable force while also trying to enter the city. The next words elevate that thought.

3 (con’t) Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.”

al t’yaga shamah eth kal ha’am ki meat hemah – “Not do weary there all the people for few they.” Here is a new word, yaga. It is from a primitive root signifying to grasp. As such, it means to be exhausted, tire, toil, be weary, and so on. When one is tired, he will grasp onto something to hold himself up. This is the idea. It can be used in a physical or a mental sense. In Isaiah, it says –

“You have bought Me no sweet cane with money,
Nor have you satisfied Me with the fat of your sacrifices;
But you have burdened Me with your sins,
You have wearied [yaga] Me with your iniquities.” Isaiah 43:24

One can see the Lord saying, “Uggh. I’m just worn out by these people and their wickedness.” The men who checked out Ai feel that any more than a small force would be a waste, and the people would be wearied, meaning simply getting up and heading out to battle, for no reason at all. Therefore…

So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai.

It doesn’t yet speak of any men falling in battle. It simply says that Israel fled before the men of Ai. This heightens the sense of the loss of the battle. Israel was simply unable to muster an attack and it was apparent to them that the Lord was not with them, but had abandoned them to their own effort. Only after noting the disgrace of defeat are any of the particulars then noted…

And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men,

Using the word “about” makes no sense when a definite number is given: va’yaku mehem anshe ha’ay kiloshim v’shisha ish – “And struck from them men the Ai according to thirty and six men.” Thirty-six were killed. The number is derived from a multiple of nine and four. In the Bible, nine is the number of finality or judgment. Four is the number of material completeness, the world number, the city number.

5  (con’t) for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent;

This is the only time that ha’shevarim, or “the Shevarim,” is mentioned in the Bible. It comes from shever which signifies a fracture as in a broken foot; also a breach, a crushing, destruction, or figuratively as ruin. It is surely not a location that bore the name previously.

Rather, the place is named because of what occurred. There was a breach in the ranks of Israel; they panicked and fled, and the ranks were then utterly broken at a particular spot – the Shebarim. From there, the men of Ai simply chased the retreating horde of Israel, striking them down as they descended.

What is hard to actually determine is whether there were only thirty-six killed, or – as the Greek translation seems to indicate – thirty-six were killed at first, and then all the rest were destroyed after that. Either way, the point is that it was evident the Lord was not with them in the battle…

5  (con’t) therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.

This is the penalty for the corporate sin of Israel. In Joshua 2 and Joshua 5, the same word, masas, or melt, was used concerning the people of the land. Now, that has been turned back on them –

“And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” Joshua 2:11

“So it was, when all the kings of the Amorites who were on the west side of the Jordan, and all the kings of the Canaanites who were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, that their heart melted; and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the children of Israel.” Joshua 5:1

It is plainly evident that the Lord was not with Israel, and it is certain that confusion permeated the entire congregation as they pondered what this would mean for them.

Why, O Lord, has this come about?
What is it that has caused all this suffering?
What has happened has caused me to doubt
What is the source of this terrible thing?

Lord, we look to you and wait for a word
We long to know what has caused this trouble
When the answer is given, and we have heard
We will take action to correct it on the double

Lord, don’t let anything tarnish Your great name
Be with Israel and rescue us from this terrible state
Spread around the world Your glorious fame
Let the nations know that Your name alone is great

II. Distress, Humility, and Mourning (verses 6-15)

In response to the events that took place, Joshua goes through a series of outward displays reflecting his inner state, surely wondering how things could have gone from glorious to disastrous in such a short amount of time. First, it says…

Then Joshua tore his clothes,

Tearing one’s garments is less a sign of mourning than it is a sign of great distress. It is an outward display of the high emotions occurring within. One might say, “My heart was torn by what happened.” This is the sense of what is being conveyed. It is, therefore, why the Lord said this to the people in Joel –

“So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.” Joel 2:13

The people were told that catastrophe was coming with the Day of the Lord. In this, there would be much tearing of their garments as the distress came upon them. But the Lord corrected them, noting that outward signs without the inward distress were ineffective. Therefore, they were to rend their hearts and turn to Him. Next…

6 (con’t) and fell to the earth on his face

To fall on one’s face is a demonstration of humility. It is what Abram did when the Lord appeared to him and changed his name to Abraham while promising to make His covenant with Him.

It is also what the people did when the Lord sent fire out to consume the burnt offering on the altar at the establishment of the priestly ministry in Leviticus 9. These, and many other such incidents relay to us the idea of humility from the person. Joshua did this…

6 (con’t) before the ark of the Lord until evening,

Whether the ark was in the Most Holy Place or not, the intent of the words is that Joshua lay prostrate before the presence of the Lord, indicated by the presence of the ark, until the evening, meaning when the day had expired. And more, it says…

6 (con’t) he and the elders of Israel;

It is obvious that he called the leaders together for this outward display of distress, humility, and also of mourning…

6 (con’t) and they put dust on their heads.

This is a sign of distress, humility, and mourning all tied up in one. The idea goes back to the earliest pages of Genesis. Man was formed from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). As such, it is an acknowledgment of the Lord’s creation of, and sovereignty over, humanity. Therefore, to put dust on one’s head is a sign of humility before the Creator.

It is a sign of mourning because of what the curse upon the man from Genesis 3 means –

“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19

Man’s lot is to return to the dust. Joshua and the elders were certainly mourning for those who were lost, but the mourning extends to all humanity who must come to the same end. Joshua, not knowing why they have been defeated, felt the onrush of that for himself and all of Israel, anticipating that one defeat meant total defeat unless the Lord would again be with them.

Dust on the head is also a sign of distress because of what the curse upon the serpent from Genesis 3 signifies –

“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.” Genesis 3:14

The serpent would dine upon the unredeemed of the world as their bodies decayed and turned back to dust. Joshua and the elders are showing their distress that the Lord may have abandoned them permanently. If so, instead of victory in Messiah, Israel would find defeat in the devil. That comes forth clearly in the next words…

And Joshua said, “Alas, Lord God,

va’yomer Yehoshua ahah Adonay Yehovah – “And said Joshua, “Ah, Adonai Yehovah.” The interjection ahah, meaning Oh!, Ah!, or Alas! is introduced here. It is a word that extends beyond surprise to a state of woeful shock, such as when Jephthah saw his daughter coming out of the house and he realized that he would then have to sacrifice her as a burnt offering based on a hasty vow he had made to the Lord.

Along with this word, Joshua combines the word Adonai – a reference to the Lord Yehovah as his sovereign master – and also the proper name of Yehovah. The entire phrase then shouts out great distress, saying…

7 (con’t) why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all

The words bear a particular emphasis: lama heavarta haavir eth ha’am ha’zeh eth ha’yarden – “Why bringing over you brought over (at all!) the people, the this, the Jordan?”

This appears less like a lack of faith in the Lord than complete bewilderment of what the purposes of the Lord are. Israel was told they would conquer the land and possess it. But suddenly there is a defeat that should not have taken place with no discernible reason for it. He simply cannot fathom what would cause this to transpire. But it did, and it, therefore, appears that the intent is…

7 (con’t) —to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us?

Joshua mentions the Amorite (it is singular), meaning Renown, specifically because they had defeated the Amorites Sihon and Og on the other side of the Jordan. If this small city of Ai could prevail against Israel, then the Amorites who were certainly bent on revenge would tear through them without restraint, totally destroying them.

Joshua appears to think that what has occurred is actually by design and that it must be based on a previously undisclosed failing prior to their entry into Canaan. Therefore, he says…

7 (con’t) Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan!

v’lu hoalnu va’neshev b’ever ha’yarden – “And O! We had been content and we stayed in side the Jordan.” The land on the other side had been subdued. For whatever reason, the Lord was displeased with Israel and Joshua thinks it must have something to do with their crossing over.

It doesn’t appear, at all, that he has considered that something has happened since then, especially when Jericho was such a great victory. With that said, Joshua questions the Lord concerning their conduct…

O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies?

Rather, the words refer to Israel collectively – biy Adonai mah omar akhare asher haphak Yisrael oreph lipne oyevav – “Oh, Adonai, what I say after which turns Israel his neck before his enemies.”

Israel, collectively, had transgressed. Joshua doesn’t know this yet, but Israel had turned his neck before his enemies. Joshua both knows and understands this. As Israel is the people of Yehovah, he is utterly confused as to what will come of this…

For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth.

Again, it is singular – the Canaanite. Joshua notes that they and all of the other people groups will hear of what has transpired. When that happens, they will immediately take the initiative and come after the entire nation of Israel and utterly destroy them, cutting off their name. If that is to happen, and because Israel is the bearer of the name of Yehovah…

9 (con’t) Then what will You do for Your great name?”

Joshua has inextricably tied the name of Israel to the name of the Lord. This is because the Lord has already inextricably tied His name to that of Israel. This was clearly seen in our text verse when the psalmist equated attacking Israel as an attack against God.

If what Joshua says is not turned around, these nations will align and come to destroy Israel and thus end the name of the Lord. It is what Psalm 83 conveys about the people’s surrounding them later in their history –

“They have taken crafty counsel against Your people,
And consulted together against Your sheltered ones.
They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation,
That the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”
For they have consulted together with one consent;
They form a confederacy against You:
The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites;
Moab and the Hagrites;
Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek;
Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre;
Assyria also has joined with them;
They have helped the children of Lot. Selah” Psalm 83:3-8

With this seen and noted, the Lord now responds to Joshua…

10 So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face?

It must be remembered that Joshua and the elders had lain prostrate before the Lord until evening. It is not known how long that time was, be it 45 minutes or four and one-half hours. It is now the start of the new day. And so imperative words follow, demanding action.

Further, the word “you” is emphatic: qum lakh lamah zeh atah nophel al panekha – “Arise to you! Why this YOU falling upon your face?” Joshua is the leader of the people, and the people now require their leader to act because…

11 Israel has sinned,

khata Yisrael – “Has sinned Israel.” The collective nature of what occurred is highlighted here. It is as if every person in the nation was guilty of actively doing what only one person had done. That is clear with the next five clauses where the plural is used – they, they, they, they, they. They all have done it and they all are now under the ban.

11 (con’t) and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff.

The entire verse is one clause of accusation after another, producing a strong and poignant emphasis. After the first clause, the word v’gam, or “and also,” begins each clause which is followed by a plural verb: v’gam averu; v’gam laqehu; v’gam ganevu; v’gam kikhashu; v’gam samu – “and also they have transgressed; and also they have taken; and also they have stolen; and also they have deceived; and also they have put.

The collective nature of each clause is highlighted by the plural. Joshua surely understands the collective meaning and accepts it as such, even if he doesn’t know yet what has transpired. This is because Jericho was to be anathema as he conveyed quite clearly to the people –

“And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.” Joshua 6:18

Because of the actions of one or more people, pilfering that which belonged to the Lord, the entire nation had now become anathema, as the Lord next says…

12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies,

The invasion was a small number of soldiers, but it could just as easily have been the entire army. The Lord had, only a short time before, expressed this to them in the Song of Moses –

“How could one chase a thousand,
And two put ten thousand to flight,
Unless their Rock had sold them,
And the Lord had surrendered them?” Deuteronomy 32:30

The Lord had sold them, and He had surrendered them. They could not stand before even a small city…

12 (con’t) but turned their backs before their enemies,

The words are short and concise and show the collective nature of what happened: oreph yiphnu liphne oyevehem – “neck (sg.) they turn before their enemies. And this is…

12 (con’t) because they have become doomed to destruction.

ki hayu l’kherem – “because they have become to anathema.” In taking that which is anathema, or devoted, they have become devoted. What happened to the soldiers, be it thirty-six or all three thousand, was the just penalty for them and indeed for the entire nation, as the Lord says…

12 (con’t) Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.

The word shamad, destroy, is used here. Joshua knows that this is referring to not only the thing that was anathema but the person who is now anathema as well. But depending on who it is, that may extend further. At this time, he is unaware of the extent of it.

This word, shamad, is translated as exairó, or eject, in the Greek translation. It is used only once in the New Testament, and it is probable that Paul was thinking of exactly this passage from Joshua when he wrote his instructions to those in Corinth concerning the man who was having his father’s wife –

“But those who are outside God judges. Therefore ‘put away from yourselves the evil person.’” 1 Corinthians 5:13

Evil is an infection that must be dealt with at all times and in all situations. As for Joshua, he is now told what he must do…

13 Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel;

The Lord repeats the same thought as in verse 10, “Get up!” He is to not only arise from lying prostrate but to also arise to the task at hand. This task is to have the people sanctify themselves (pl.) because there is “an accursed thing in your (sg.) midst, O Israel.”

They are many who must sanctify themselves individually, but they are one because they are collectively anathema. As such, they are to prepare themselves l’makhar, or “to tomorrow.” If the sun has set, this means the same day, but after the rising of the sun.

13 (con’t) you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”

The meaning is clear. They will be pushed back and destroyed until the anathema is removed from their midst. The proof of that has already been handed to them in the day’s defeat. That would continue, unabated, unless the necessary action is taken. And so…

14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the Lord takes shall come according to families; and the family which the Lord takes shall come by households; and the household which the Lord takes shall come man by man.

The speculation on how this was conducted is extensive. Some argue it was determined by lots. Others demand that this could not be the case and it was rather determined by the Urim and Thummim.

If the manner in which it took place was important, we would have been told what was done. But that is not where the focus is. Rather, it is on the fact that the Lord already knows who the offender is, and there is a process by which the man will be singled out.

Which, incidentally, now tells Joshua that there is a single offender who has brought all of this trouble upon the nation. When he is identified, bad news lies ahead for him…

15 Then it shall be that he who is taken with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire,

A verb is used as a noun. More rightly it says, “And it shall be the taken, in the anathema, shall be burned in the fire.” The one whom the Lord identifies was to be burned, but that is not the entirety of the matter…

15 (con’t) he and all that he has,

Because he is anathema, he must be totally destroyed. If he has possessions, they are to be destroyed too. And if he has a family, his entire family was to be destroyed. Just as it was with Jericho, there was to be no leniency on anything or anyone belonging to him.

The law recorded in Deuteronomy 24:16 does not apply here. There it said, “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.”

That is referring to a person receiving the penalty of death under the covenant. The law of kherem, or anathema, means that the man and all that he comprises (including his family under his authority) are subject to the ban, without exception.

This would have made for a really sleepless night for the offender if he knew what the Lord said to Joshua, especially if he was a family man. All was anathema…

15 (con’t) because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord,

ki avar eth b’rith Yehovah – “because he has crossed over covenant Yehovah.” This is more than a violation of the covenant but causing oneself to be taken out of the covenant graces altogether. To cross over the covenant is to remove oneself from it. This is what this man has done and his life and all that he has is now anathema…

*15 (fin) and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.’”

The word nevalah is used. It is not just something disgraceful, but it is senseless in the extreme. It is a disregard for that which is moral, and it exemplifies foolishness.

A word in the New Testament that might be close is moros or foolish. It is equivalent to our modern word moron. However, Paul turns the moronic around and uses the word in a surprising way saying that as Christians, we must become foolish when we think we are wise (1 Corinthians 3:18), and that the apostles are fools for Christ’s sake (1 Corinthians 4:10). The word nevalah is never used that way in the Old Testament.

Such a person in the Old Testament has committed a moral violation that is deserving of whatever comes his way in regard to punishment. The one identified in the morning would get exactly what his moral state deserved.

This is a good point on which to end our thoughts today. The suspense is high and that will keep us until the next time we meet. But it is also a good point to make a comparison to what Paul did by turning around the moronic in his epistles.

This is what the gospel does, it turns things around. The law brings death; the gospel brings life. The law was exclusive, belonging only to Israel. The gospel is inclusive of all peoples. The law demanded rigidity of worship. The gospel gives freedom of worship. The law brought about fear to those who understood its constraints. The gospel brings about confidence to those who understand its liberties.

Where the man who is to be identified was to be removed from the people and burned to death, finding only earthly condemnation, the man who was identified for wrongdoing in 1 Corinthians 5 was to be removed for the destruction of his flesh, but also for the saving of his soul.

Everything about what God offers in Christ is not only better than what is faced under the law, it is infinitely better. Where the law has an end, the gospel starts immediately now for those who come to Christ, and it goes on for eternity.

Don’t miss out on what Christ has done. Come to Him and find peace with God and rest from your labors. Come to Christ and find pardon from your sin. Be sure to not wait. Come to Christ Jesus today.

Closing Verse: “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 4:4, 5

Next Week: Joshua 7:16-26 After getting stoned, the penalty adds even more, sad but true… (The Valley of Achor, Part II) (14th Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Valley of Achor, Part I

But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding
———-the accursed things
For Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah
———-as the account does tell
Of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things
So the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel

Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai
Which is beside Beth Aven, on Bethel’s east side
And spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country
So the men went up and Ai they spied

And they returned to Joshua and said to him
“Do not let all the people go up, there is no need to
But let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai
Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few

So about three thousand men from the people went up
But they fled before the men of Ai like wine from a trembly cup

And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men
For they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim
And struck them down on the descent
Therefore the hearts of the people melted, becoming like water
———-it would seem

Then Joshua tore his clothes
And fell to the earth on his face until evening before
———-the ark of the Lord
He and the elders of Israel
And they put dust on their heads all with one accord

And Joshua said, “Alas, Lord God
Why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all
———-to deliver us,” he cried
“Into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us?
“Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on Jordan’s other side

“O Lord, what shall I say about this attack
When Israel before its enemies turns its back?

“For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land
Will hear it and surround us. What a shame!
And cut off our name from the earth
Then what will You do for Your great name?

So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up from that place!
Why do you lie thus on your face?

“Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant
———-which I commanded them
For they have even taken some of the accursed things
———-as if their blessings were not enough
And they have both stolen and deceived
And they have also put it among their own stuff

“Therefore the children of Israel could not stand
———-before their enemies
But turned their backs before their enemies, sad but true

Because they have become doomed to destruction
Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy
———-the accursed from among you

“Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves
For tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel:
There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel
You cannot stand before your enemies, for you it will not go well

Until you take away – Hear Me, My word is true!
The accursed thing from among you

“In the morning therefore you shall be brought
———-according to your tribes
And it shall be that the tribe which the Lord takes shall come
———-according to families, this is the plan
And the family which the Lord takes shall come by households
And the household which the Lord takes shall come man by man

“Then it shall be that he who is taken with the accursed thing
Shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, a burning hell
Because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord
And because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.

Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth Aven, on the east side of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, “Go up and spy out the country.” So the men went up and spied out Ai. And they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and attack Ai. Do not weary all the people there, for the people of Ai are few.” So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent; therefore the hearts of the people melted and became like water.

Then Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads. And Joshua said, “Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all—to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies? For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?”

10 So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face? 11 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you. 13 Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the Lord God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.” 14 In the morning therefore you shall be brought according to your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the Lord takes shall come according to families; and the family which the Lord takes shall come by households; and the household which the Lord takes shall come man by man. 15 Then it shall be that he who is taken with the accursed thing shall be burned with fire, he and all that he has, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has done a disgraceful thing in Israel.’”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joshua 6:17-27 (The Battle of Jericho, Part II)

Artwork by Doug Kallerson.

Joshua 6:17-27
(The Battle of Jericho, Part II)

Of the passage today, Adam Clarke says –

“The city shall be accursed – That is, it shall be devoted to destruction; ye shall take no spoils, and put all that resist to the sword. Though this may be the meaning of the word חרם cherem in some places, see the note on Leviticus 27:29, yet here it seems to imply the total destruction of all the inhabitants, see Joshua 6:21; but it is likely that peace was offered to this city, and that the extermination of the inhabitants was in consequence of the rejection of this offer.”

This is entirely incorrect. Deuteronomy 20, when referring to the cities within the borders of Canaan is very clear, it says –

“But of the cities of these peoples which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, you shall let nothing that breathes remain alive17 but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, just as the Lord your God has commanded you, 18 lest they teach you to do according to all their abominations which they have done for their gods, and you sin against the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 20:16-18

Adam Clarke is one of my favorite scholars, but he does what too many people do. He inserts his emotions and personal affections into the narrative. I often say, “We are never to allow our emotions to drive our theology. Rather, we are to have our theology drive our emotions.”

We are to be emotional over what the Lord has done for us. We are to be angry at what angers the Lord. But we are to ignore our own personal thoughts about the tenderness or frailty of the young, old, feminine, or supposedly innocent as we evaluate what Scripture is telling us.

When it says in Genesis 6, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth,” we are to allow God to be God. He created and thus He is the Creator. How He dispenses with His creation is up to Him.

At the time of Noah, it was through a global flood. At the time of Israel entering Canaan, it was to be through the sword of Israel. In the end, dying by a flood is really no different than dying by the sword. When the action is complete, dead is – after all – dead.

But just as Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, Rahab was also spared. And both of them are ancestors of Jesus. As for Noah, Hebrews says that by faith he moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, and by that he “condemned the world and became the heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” In like manner, we now come to Rahab’s deliverance…

Text Verse: “By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.” Hebrews 11:31

Rahab’s deliverance is attributed to her faith. She had faith in Yehovah the God of Israel, and she had faith that He would be merciful to her. The others of Jericho may have had faith in Yehovah (meaning belief in the existence of), but they did not possess faith in His grace and mercy.

And more, in her state of faith, she was willing to step forward and act on her faith by receiving the spies. This could have cost her life if she was found out, but she was willing to trust the Lord beyond head knowledge and act out her internal faith by deeds of faith. If she didn’t do this, she would not have received the promise of deliverance.

The others in the city could have demonstrated faith as well, just as the Gibeonites will in Joshua 9. Though cunning on their part, what they did demonstrated faith that they could be saved, or at least that inaction would certainly result in death. Those in Jericho did not even attempt to act on what they knew.

They may have had faith in the existence of the Lord, but they never acted on it. Their faith was misdirected, and misdirected faith is, after all, wasted faith. How close one can come to salvation and yet miss the mark! Israel has been in that state for millennia. But that time will end. Another typological hint of that continues to be seen in Joshua 6.

Such great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Bring Out the Woman and All That She Has (verses 17-27)

17 Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it.

v’hayetha ha’ir kherem hi v’kal asher bah l’Yehovah – “And shall be the city anathema, it and all who in it, to the Lord.” The word kherem is a noun that speaks of something shut up and kept apart. Hence, it is where the word harem comes from. It is under the ban, meaning doomed to destruction.

As a noun, the word anathema is what best suits. In this case, it is anathema “to Yehovah,” and thus it is a total devotion to Him alone. However, an exception has been made that must be carefully adhered to…

17 (con’t) Only Rahab the harlot shall live,

The word “only” should be set off with a comma to convey the proper intent. It says: raq rakhav ha’zonah tihyeh – “Only, Rahab the prostitute shall live.” The adverb raq comes from a noun signifying “lean.” Hence, here it means “leanness,” and thus “as a narrow exception.” Rahab is to be excepted…

17 (con’t) she and all who are with her in the house,

The translation is exact. The “leanness” of exception is to include only her and those in her house, according to the vow previously made –

“Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, 13 and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.” Joshua 2:12, 13

“So the men said to her: ‘We will be blameless of this oath of yours which you have made us swear, 18 unless, when we come into the land, you bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and unless you bring your father, your mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household to your own home. 19 So it shall be that whoever goes outside the doors of your house into the street, his blood shall be on his own head, and we will be guiltless. And whoever is with you in the house, his blood shall be on our head if a hand is laid on him. 20 And if you tell this business of ours, then we will be free from your oath which you made us swear.’” Joshua 2:17-20

This is…

17 (con’t) because she hid the messengers that we sent.

Here the word often translated as angels, malakh, is used: ki hekh’b’atah eth ha’malakhim asher shalakhnu – “for she hid the messengers that we sent.” It signifies a messenger, specifically of God. The use of the word adds credence to the analysis provided in chapter 2 concerning what they pictured, meaning the two testaments of Scripture.

Rahab had faithfully hidden these two men. At that time, the agreement was made, and it became binding upon Israel. As such, Joshua specifically acknowledges this and commands her and those with her to be spared.

An interesting thought comes forth concerning the devotion of Rahab to the Lord. Being devoted is essentially what happened to her, meaning those who issue from her. A section of her line entered into the genealogy of Christ Jesus, being devoted to this purpose.

18 And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things,

v’raq atem shimru min ha’kherem – “And only, you watch from the anathema.” Joshua’s words form an exhortation of warning. The people must carefully keep from being enticed into taking anything at all from the city. It is wholly devoted to the Lord, and nothing from it must enter into common use.

18 (con’t) lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things,

The words are not passive, but causative – pen takhrimu u-l’qakhtem min ha’kherem – “lest you anathematize yourselves and you take from the anathema.” Any who takes something that is anathema causes himself to become anathema.

The sad result, however, will be seen in the next chapter. As one makes himself anathema, then everything that comprises who he is – meaning family and home – becomes anathema. But more…

18 (con’t) and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.

v’samtem eth makhaneh Yisrael l’kherem wa’akhartem oto – “And place camp Israel to anathema and trouble it.” Any Israelite who takes of what is anathema causes his anathematizement to go in both directions, thus subjecting the entire camp to become anathema. This clearly demonstrates the corporate nature of the nation. With that stated, it next says…

19 But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, 

The precious metals were to be set apart because of their intrinsic value and probably because they couldn’t be burned. This would make it possible for them to later be removed by treasure seekers as they would not be a part of the burning of the city. If so, they could then be converted for common use. As such they…

19 (con’t) are consecrated to the Lord;

It is emphatic: qodesh hu l’Yehovah – “holiness IT to Yehovah.” The city was to be wholly devoted to the Lord as kherem l’Yehovah, anathema to Yehovah. As these belong to Yehovah but would not be burnt up, they would become holy to Him. And therefore…

19 (con’t) they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.”

otsar Yehovah yavo – “storehouse Yehovah they shall come.” They are set apart as holy and therefore, they were to be brought to the place where the sacred things of the Lord were stored. Thus, it makes the entire city of Jericho, the Place of Fragrance, holy to the Lord.

In this devotion to the Lord, the city is given as a type of firstfruits to the Lord and a token to Israel that all of the land would likewise fall into their possession.

20 So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets.

va’yara ha’am va’yitqeu ba’shofaroth – “And shouted the people and blew in the shofars.” This is what was mandated in verse 5 last week, and is more fully explained in the next words…

20 (con’t) And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet,

vayhi kishmoa ha’am eth qol ha’shofar – “And it came to pass according to hearing the people voice the shofar.” This would have been the long blast specifically noted in verse 5. And like in verse 5, the word is singular, shofar, even though all seven priests were told to blow.

The shofars had been blowing all the time around the city, but this is when they all blew in unison with a long blast, such as was heard at the sounding of the shofar at the giving of the law –

“And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.” Exodus 19:19

The signal is given with the sounding of the shofar. Therefore…

20 (con’t) and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat.

va’yariu ha’am t’ruah g’dolah va’tipol ha’khomah takhteha – “and shouted the people acclamation whopping and fell the wall under it.” Exactly as the Lord said would occur in verse 5, so the wall collapsed from below, leaving the city entirely exposed. Thus…

20 (con’t) Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.

Like verse 5, it is more precise, saying, “And ascended the people the city, man – opposite him – and they took the city.” Each man, regardless of where he stood, had freedom to go in directly. Nothing obstructed him from doing so, and there was no need to divert because no wall remained standing where he was.

It cannot go without note at this point that our text verse, Hebrews 11:30, says that the walls fell down “by faith.” There is no secondary cause described by Joshua, such as a trembling of the earth or a meteorite slamming into it and causing it to drop. But even if that was the case, the miracle of timing would still be sufficient.

But nothing else is recorded. The people were to have faith that the walls would collapse, and they did collapse. It is an important point to consider in regard to typology. Next, it says…

21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city,

It more correctly says, “And they anathematized all that was in the city.” Everything was devoted to the Lord as required…

21 (con’t) both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.

me’ish v’ad ishah, mi’naar v’ad zaqen, v’ad sor va’se va’khamor l’pi kharev – “from man and unto woman, from young and unto old, and unto ox and sheep and donkey to mouth sword.” As always, the sword is considered a devouring instrument where the edge is equated to a mouth that consumes as it strikes. No one and nothing escaped it within the city, except…

22 But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country,

v’lishnayim ha’anashim hamrag’lim eth ha’arets amar Yehoshua – “And to two the men, the reconoiterers the land, said Joshua.” The same two men who had made the agreement with Rahab are chosen to also rescue her from the destruction. Logically they are chosen because they are aware of the layout of the house.

22 (con’t) “Go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has,

The translation is close enough to get the full sense of what is expected. What is notable is that her house was built up to the wall of the city.

And so, either the wall did not fall down where her house was, or it fell down without harming anyone inside as it fell. In this, it is seen that the walls fell by faith, and she was also saved by faith. Both were accomplished through the superintending hand of the Lord. Knowing this, the final words of the verse are important…

22 (con’t) as you swore to her.”

kaasher nishbatem lah – “according to which you swore to her.” In swearing to her, the agreement was made, and it had to be performed. They were sent out at the word of Joshua, and therefore what they said had to be performed as if Joshua himself had said it.

23 And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had.

This was what she had asked for, and what they agreed to –

“Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my father’s house, and give me a true token, 13 and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”
14 So the men answered her, “Our lives for yours, if none of you tell this business of ours. And it shall be, when the Lord has given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.”  Joshua 2:12-14

23 (con’t) So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel.

The word “left” gives an awkward sense: v’eth kal mishp’hoteha hotsiu va’yanikhum mi’khuts l’makhaneh Yisrael – “And all her families they brought out and rested them from outside to camp Israel.” Israel didn’t abandon them but settled them as a people under their protection.

Being outside the camp means that they were deemed unclean and not acceptable to be in the camp itself. That obviously changed later, and they were assimilated into the community as verse 25 implies.

24 But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire.

This is the formal act of kherem on the city. The people had all been killed with the sword, but the city also was to go up as an offering devoted to the Lord through fire. But in accord with verse 19, it says…

24 (con’t) Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord.

These are as firstfruits to the Lord. They could withstand fire and would have been put through fire before they were placed in the treasury. This is seen in Numbers 31:22, 23 –

“Only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, 23 everything that can endure fire, you shall put through the fire, and it shall be clean; and it shall be purified with the water of purification.”

25 And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had.

The verb is causative, “And Rahab the harlot, and house her father, and all that to her, caused to live Joshua.” The power of life rested with him as the leader of the people and under his authority, Rahab and her family lived…

25 (con’t) So she dwells in Israel to this day,

va’teshev b’qerev Yisrael ad ha’yom ha’zeh – “And she dwells in midst Israel until the day, the this.” This shows us quite clearly that she was accepted into the congregation. She no longer was “rested” outside the camp, but she dwelt in Israel’s midst. Also, the phrase, “to this day,” clearly shows that the writer of Joshua is a contemporary of Rahab.

25 (con’t) because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

Here again, the term ha’malakhim, or “the messengers,” is used of the two men. They were sent by the direction of Joshua, and she hid them, thus indirectly acknowledging Joshua’s authority.

Her act of faith, as explicitly stated in Hebrews 11, is recorded here indicating the same thought by using the word ki, “for” or “because.” Because she acted, she was caused to live among Israel.

26 Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho;

The verb is causative. It essentially means, “And Joshua caused them to swear.” Joshua made them swear on behalf of all generations, confirming their oath with a curse. It is implied from Deuteronomy 13 that any city that was anathematized was to not be built again –

“And if it is indeed true and certain that such an abomination was committed among you, 15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying [kherem] it, all that is in it and its livestock—with the edge of the sword. 16 And you shall gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and completely burn with fire the city and all its plunder, for the Lord your God. It shall be a heap forever; it shall not be built again.” Deuteronomy 13:14-16

As this is the case, Joshua pronounced a particular curse upon anyone who would rebuild Jericho saying…

26 (con’t) he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.”

There is an alliterative and almost poetic nature to the words: bivkoro yeyas’denah u-vitsiro yatsiv d’lateha – “in his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and in his least he shall set up its doors.” This curse came into effect as is recorded in 1 Kings 16 –

“In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation with Abiram his firstborn, and with his youngest son Segub he set up its gates, according to the word of the Lord, which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun.” 1 Kings 16:34

Despite the curse being realized, it was confined to Hiel’s house and not the city. Jesus spoke of and visited the city, showing that the rebuilt city was not considered anathema.

*(fin) 27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country.

The wording is simpler: “And was Yehovah with Joshua; and was his fame in all the land.” There is a new word, shoma, meaning a report or fame. It will be seen again in Joshua 9:9 when speaking of the fame of the name of the Lord, once in Esther 9 when referring to Mordecai, and once in Jeremiah 6 concerning a bad report coming to the people about their impending doom.

The closing out of the chapter is given to highlight Joshua as the key point of focus for all that is to be honored or feared in the land – meaning among Israel, and also among all who heard of him.

Listen to the sound of the shofar blow
It is telling us that the Lord is on our side
Here we are circling around Jericho
Ready to be an overflowing tide

Once a day, six times in all
We get up and circle Jericho
Waiting for the day when down comes the wall
At the sound of the long shofar blow

One step at a time and around we go
Six days we do it and then back to the camp we head
But on the seventh day, we have a surprise for Jericho
On that day, we shall face the city and march straight ahead

II. Pictures of Christ

Almost every day of the week prior to this sermon, I re-read the passage from Joshua 6:1-16 and tried to fully harmonize what is said here with the same general typology that we have already seen concerning Israel’s finally coming to Christ.

As we have seen, the individual passages are all part of one process that has been carefully separated to show the finer details of what occurs in the process of salvation, even if they all occur at once.

In other words, and to understand what is going on, we have been seeing the process of salvation in individual passages, but they all happen at once. *Moses, the law dies. Israel accepts Christ’s fulfillment of the law. *Israel enters the Jordan (Christ); Israel is baptized into Christ’s death (Chapter 3). *Israel, signified by the stones carried to Gilgal and which are then rested there, enters its rest (Chapter 4). *Two sets of stones are set up, signifying the heavenly government of Jew and Gentile (Chapter 4). *Israel is circumcised; Israel has put off the body of sins of the flesh / The reproach of the past is taken away when believers are circumcised by the Lord (Chapter 5). *Believers partake of Christ as their Passover (Chapter 5). *The Lord is the Leader of the people, and they are brought into “holy ground.” (Chapter 5). *Access to that holy ground is brought about by acceptance of Christ’s work (Chapter 6).

These all happen at the same moment, but we have seen the individual applications spread out over several chapters now. All of this will happen to Israel someday, just as it happens to every believer who comes to Christ now.

With this in mind, we can evaluate the chapter as it is given. In Chapter 1, Jericho is said to be securely shut up. Heaven, a return to paradise is securely shut up “from faces sons Israel” (see Genesis 3:24). But the Lord says to Joshua (typical of Jesus) that He has given Jericho into his hand.

In order to do this, Israel is to march around the city one time a day for six days. The instruction is that seven priests are to bear seven “shofars the Jubilees.” Being consistent with the previous passages, the priests are typical of Christ in His priestly duties. In blowing the shofars, they are heralding what He has accomplished in order to bring about the Jubilee.

The first time such a horn was blown was at the giving of the law and with a long blast to introduce it (Exodus 19:19). As was noted in verse 4, these shofars are described as ha’yov’lim, or “the Jubilees.” The word yovel comes from yaval, to conduct or bear along. Because the shofar is affixed to yovel, or “Jubilee,” it anticipates a time of proclaiming liberty for the land.

On the seventh day, Israel was to circle the city seven times and a long blast was given to proclaim the moment of the Jubilee. As noted, the word horn was singular even though it also said “they,” meaning seven priests. They gave a united blast. It was at that time that the army was to give a whopping acclamation and the wall would fall under itself.

In verse 6, Joshua (the Lord is Salvation) was also designated by his father’s name, Nun, to propagate or increase. Jesus is the Lord who is salvation, and He is the one who increases the family of God by including both Jew and Gentile.

In verse 6, it was noted that the term “ark” changed to “ark of the covenant.” The name continued to change throughout the narrative according to what is going on in the surrounding text. Each time, it is giving hints as to Christ’s role – His person, His humanity, His deity, His death, His fulfillment of the covenant, and so on. Thinking on each instance as you read will help you see this.

Still in verse 6, Joshua (typical of Jesus the Leader) confirms the words of the Lord for seven priests (typical of Jesus in His priestly duties) to bear the seven shofars of the Jubilees before the ark of Yehovah. I would suggest that these seven shofars of the seven priests are the seven proclamations of Christ’s deity –

“I am the bread of life.”
“I am the light of the world.”
“I am the door of the sheep.”
“I am the good shepherd.”
“I am the resurrection and the life.”
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
“I am the true vine.”

If you remember (or if you didn’t yet see or read – shame on you) Exodus 40:1-16, entitled “Seven I AMs,” you know that the construction of the tabernacle (a picture of Jesus the God/Man) followed the same order as the seven I AMs that were spoken by Jesus in the Gospel of John.

He is the tabernacle where the priestly duties are conducted. The seven priests with the seven shofars of the Jubilees picture Christ proclaiming who He is. He is the procession that will lead to retaking paradise.

With that understood, it next said (vs. 7), “And they said to the people.” It can be assumed that the priests (Christ in His priestly role) give the next instruction.

In other words, Jesus in His priestly role is giving the instruction to the armed men at the head to “Pass on and go around the city.” They go first (vs. 7), then then priests with the shofars (vs. 8), then the ark of the covenant of the Lord (vs. 8), then “the gathering” (vs. 9). The entire procession anticipates the Lord, as was seen in Isaiah 52:12 –

“For not in haste do ye go out, Yea, with flight ye go not on, For going before you is Jehovah, And gathering you is the God of Israel!” (YLT)

This is just what is seen in Joshua. There is no haste, the Lord goes first, and the God of Israel gathers up as well.

Verse 10 was Joshua’s imperative to not shout or make any noise until he gave the order to shout. Until Jesus speaks the word, the event will not take place.

Verse 13 gave the description of the nonstop blowing as the procession continued around the city. Only the sound of the priests proclaiming the Jubilees through their horns is heard, and it continues unabated.

Also in verse 13 was the reversal of the references concerning the procession. It was as if the passage was telling us, “Don’t worry; even if the ark of the Lord passes by, there is still the gathering.” In the completed work of the law and the death of Jesus, the story is not over.

The procession went on for six days in the same manner, and then it noted that on the seventh day (vs. 15), things started at the rising of the dawn. It is reminiscent of the words of Luke –

“Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb.” Luke 24:1, 2

It was noted at that time that the point is not that Israel marched around Jericho thirteen times. The point is that they marched around Jericho six times once and once seven times.

The typology is that of Christ in His humanity proclaiming who He is prior to His fulfillment of the Law. On the seventh day, it is Christ in His deity demonstrating that the Law is fulfilled.

At the end of last week’s passage, the words of Joshua concluded the verses, “Shout, for the LORD has given you the city!” The word went forth claiming victory.

Stopping to remember the typology, this is Christ’s work but it also anticipates Israel’s finally accepting Jesus someday. Each step has shown the process of this. It is the Lord who accomplishes the work, and Israel will enter in by faith in that. As such this week’s passage began with the note that the city and everything in it was to be anathematized to the Lord.

It is the Lord who defeats and destroys the enemy. And the enemy is comprised of any who are not of Israel. However, in this account, the promise to Rahab is brought back to the center of focus. Israel was given the promise and they will receive the Lord someday, but there are those who are not of Israel who are joined to the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:12).

The thing about Rahab is that she was actually saved before Israel entered the inheritance. Even if it is not realized, the guarantee of salvation was already given, as was noted in Chapter 2. The reminder of that is seen in verse 17 where it noted she hid the messengers that were sent.

As we saw in Chapter 2, they pictured the two testaments of Scripture. She hid them and preserved them by faith, and she is to be preserved. It anticipates Gentile salvation, even before national Israel is saved.

Along with that is the note of those of Israel taking of the accursed things and becoming accursed. That is easily understood from the words of Hebrews, a book directed to the Hebrew people –

“Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:12, 13

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.” Hebrews 4:1

The words of Hebrews are giving the same warnings as Joshua. “Have faith and don’t come short of the promise.” Those who fail to believe will be dealt with.

Verse 21 noted the blowing of the shofar on a long blast. It is recorded as a single long blast, even if all seven blew. The parallel of a long blast at the giving of the law and the completion of the law isn’t to be missed.

Christ completed His work, and the law was ended, heralding that the Man who had proclaimed the seven I AM’s is also the Lord God Almighty. At that moment, the walls of Jericho fell, and at that moment, access to heaven was restored.

It is to be noted that the trumpet of the Jubilee described in Leviticus 25 was to be blown on the Day of Atonement –

“Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land.” Leviticus 25:9

The Day of Atonement is a picture of Christ’s atoning death (see Leviticus 16 and Leviticus 23 sermons). This is exactly why the shofars of the Jubilee are mentioned in Joshua 6. It is to show us this typology. Christ died saying, “It is finished,” and the trumpet is blown. Liberty is proclaimed, and the walls come down.

Someone could argue that the typology doesn’t fit because Christ died on Friday and on Sunday early in the morning He arose. As such, the account of Joshua and Jericho doesn’t match.

But that would be incorrect. In Romans, Paul ties the crucifixion and the resurrection into one event, saying, He “was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:25).

The death of Christ on the cross performed one function of the act, the fulfilling of the Law, His resurrection performs another, both confirming it and calling forth the victory of it in our justification. Having this account in Joshua occur starting in the early morning is just a nice touch to strengthen that notion.

Remember, the six days picture Christ in His humanity. The seventh day is confirming Christ in His deity. In order to match all of the typology, the account must provide these different parts separately.

Christ proved He is God by fulfilling the law. That happened on the cross, actually, when the veil was torn because only God can fulfill the law. But the resurrection also confirms it.

The people (Christ as the head of the procession) were, at that moment, given free and unfettered access into the city. They went straight forward, each one of them, and the city was anathematized.

At the same time, Rahab was identified by the two who reconnoitered the land and she and all her father’s house were delivered. Upon their delivery, they were rested outside the camp of Israel (vs. 23). Their state of salvation is then confirmed in the words of verse 25, saying, “And Rahab the harlot, and house her father, and all that to her, caused to live Joshua.”

Jesus will cause all who come to Him in faith to live, which means granting the life that is truly life. Those who come to Christ are joined to the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:12).

With this typology hopefully understood, verse 26 noted the curse spoken forth by Joshua. No person should ever presume to rebuild what had been destroyed. Paradise was inaccessible because of the violation of law. Christ restored access through fulfillment of the law. Paul speaks of exactly this in Galatians 2 –

“For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” Galatians 2:18-21

We cannot reintroduce the law and come away unscathed. This is what is being told to those who would try to rebuild what Christ has eliminated.

With this now understood, we can go back and review our text verse from last week and see how what Paul says in Colossians so closely matches the details of what we have been seeing in these Joshua sermons.

The theme has been running through them and it is based on what transpired at the end of Deuteronomy when Moses died. And, of course, that is based upon Israel’s transgression back in Numbers 14 –

“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:11-15

In Christ, the law is ended (Moses’ death), there is circumcision, baptism, sins forgiven, and being made alive together with Christ all because the law is taken out of the way and nailed to the cross. In this, the principalities and powers are disarmed (Joshua 6).

This is what happens in each person who comes to Christ, and it is what will happen to Israel when they finally come to Him as well. The template is Israel. What is stated for them will come to pass, and because God has been faithful to preserve them, it is for sure that He will do so for us as well.

Our chapter today ended with words about Joshua. All we need to do is change the name to Jesus and we can see what is being conveyed –

“And was Yehovah with Jesus; and was his fame in all the earth.”

In the end, the entire story is about what God is doing in and through Jesus Christ. The fact that He has been faithful to Israel, even after their rejection of Him, should give us total assurance “that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

Thank God for Jesus Christ who gives us such a strong and wonderful guarantee.

Closing Verse: “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.” Hebrews 11:30

Next Week: Joshua 7:1-15 Bad times are coming for Achan for shor’ and it won’t be no fun… (The Valley of Achor, Part I) (13th Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Battle of Jericho, Part II

Now the city shall be doomed by the LORD to destruction
Both it and all the people, be sure their lives are spent
Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her
———-in the house
Because she hid the messengers that we sent

And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things
Lest you become accursed, and not just a bit
When you take of these things
You make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it

But all the silver and gold
And vessels of bronze and iron, according to this word
Are to the LORD consecrated
They shall come into the treasury of the LORD

So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets
And it happened when the people heard the trumpet sound
And the people shouted with a great shout
That the wall fell down flat all around

Then the people up into the city they went
Every man straight before him, and they took the city
———-before the day was spent

And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city
Devoting it to the Lord
Both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey
With the edge of the sword

But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country
“Go into the harlot’s house for sure
And from there bring out the woman and all that she has
As you swore to her

And the young men who had been spies went in
And brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers
———-and all that she had as well
So they brought out all her relatives
And left them outside the camp of Israel

But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire
Only the silver and gold, according to the word
And the vessels of bronze and iron
They put into the treasury of the house of the LORD

And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot
Her father’s household and all that she had, as we know
So she dwells in Israel to this day
Because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent
———-to spy out Jericho

Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying
“Cursed be the man before the LORD who rises up and builds this
———-city Jericho
He shall lay its foundation with his firstborn
And with his youngest he shall set up its gates, so shall his fate go”

So the LORD was with Joshua, exalting his name
And throughout all the country spread his fame

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17 Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. 18 And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. 19 But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.”

20 So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. 21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.

22 But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, “Go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.” 23 And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel. 24 But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. 25 And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

26 Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.”

27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country.

 

 

 

 

Joshua 6:1-16 (The Battle of Jericho, Part I)

Amazing artwork by Doug Kallerson.

Joshua 6:1-16
The Battle of Jericho, Part I

While most of you were out having a fun day off on July the 4th of 2022, I got to sit in my chair in front of the computer and do my regular work – uninterrupted by vacation, sickness, or holiday. In fact, it’s certain I had more fun than all of you combined as I went through the verses.

People sped by on boats and jet skis, the smell of barbecue permeated the air, hanging heavily all-around Siesta Key, and Sergio attempted to entice me to join him at the north end of the island in a place he had rented for the day while he and Rhoda had visitors.

I blew him and all of the other temptations off, focused with laser concentration on the task set before me, and began typing about the coming destruction of Jericho. After an hour or so, I realized the parallel between the two events and sent a quick note to Sergio, saying, “I just realized. I am typing Joshua 6 and today is the 4th of July. They fit! Shout with a great shout at the victory of the Lord!”

America was established, undoubtedly and without question, by the victorious hand of the Lord. Our squandering of that blessing in no way negates the miraculous and divine intervention that was experienced by those who set out to make this an independent nation. After sending Sergio my message, I got something touching back from him that was penned by one of our great founding fathers –

“I conceive we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world . . . that the confusions that are and have been among the nations may be overruled by the promoting and speedily bringing in the holy and happy period when the kingdoms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and the people willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is the Prince of Peace.” Samuel Adams

That hasn’t happened yet, but it probably isn’t far off…

Text Verse: “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:11-15

There is this theme that has been running through the Joshua sermons and which is based on what transpired at the end of Deuteronomy when Moses died. And, of course, that is based upon Israel’s transgression back in Numbers 14. Notice the progression of thought – circumcision, baptism, sins forgiven – it is all pictured so far in Joshua.

The law cannot bring anyone into the promise, except in Christ’s fulfillment of it. And because of His work, the promise is not only available, it will come to pass for all who come to God through Him. This truth continues to be seen in Joshua 6.

Although it is late afternoon on the 4th of July for me and I have not yet figured out what is going on in this chapter, things have become a bit clearer. I’ll keep talking to the Lord about it, and – hopefully – in a week or two the chapter will be finished, and it will all fit together.

For now, it is certain that we have a whole heap of verses to get through. For you, it’s sermon time. Joshua 6! Great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. The Lord Speaks to Joshua (verses 1-5)

Chapter 5 ended with Joshua encountering the Commander of the Army of the Lord. As we noted then, that may not have been a chronological event, but simply a logical placement based on the surrounding text.

The text was clear that the events occurred “in Jericho.” If that is to be taken literally, then it would mean that it occurred after the attack began, while Joshua was in the midst of battle. Regardless of that, verse 1 of chapter 6 is now a statement of fact that sets the tone for what lies ahead.

Now Jericho was securely shut up

The words are emphatic: v’irikho sogereth u-m’sugereth – “And Jericho shutting up was closely shut up.” There is both the act of closing the city and then the continued closure of the city being detailed in the single thought.

With the spies having come into the city, and with the word that Joshua and the people of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground, it was a certain indication that a siege lay ahead for Jericho, the Place of Fragrance. As it says, the city was securely shut up…

1 (con’t) because of the children of Israel;

The word “because” is an explanatory paraphrase. Rather, it says: mip’ne bene Yisrael – “From faces sons Israel.” The people of Jericho were fully afraid of facing Israel, and so they shut themselves away and secured the gates with bars and bolts. They were in total siege mode, hiding from the faces of the sons of Israel. And…

1 (con’t) none went out, and none came in.

This signifies a state of siege. The crops would not be tended to, any flocks in the fields or herds would be abandoned, and anyone who had not entered before it was shut down would be told to travel on to another friendly city, but they would not be allowed in.

And more, those inside would be there for the duration. To lay siege to a city was often a lengthy, and thus costly, thing to carry out. As such, stores of food, a source of water, and time were the inhabitants’ best friends during a siege.

If the city inhabitants lasted until the invaders could no longer afford to stay and be slowly picked off, the city would survive. If not, exile, death, or total subordination was normally the result of being overrun. With this understood, the narrative now turns to Israel’s side of things…

And the Lord said to Joshua:

The Lord addresses Joshua. Because of this, it is deemed by pretty much every scholar that verse 6:1 is parenthetical and that the closing of chapter 5 and the opening of chapter 6 are referring to the same conversation –

“Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, ‘Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.’ And Joshua did so. … (Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in.) … And the Lord said to Joshua: ‘See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor.’”

I disagree. The two accounts are completely separate. Chapter 5’s conclusion was an encounter with the eternal Christ, Jesus, revealing Himself to Joshua at a certain point in the narrative which is not necessarily chronological (5:13-15).

Chapter 6 opens with a simple statement of fact concerning Jericho (6:1), and then it takes up the narrative concerning Israel after their circumcision (5:2), observance of the Passover, and the ending of the manna (5:12).

As such, the same formula is followed as has been seen repeatedly throughout the first five chapters. The Lord speaks to Joshua, Joshua repeats the command to the people, and then the command is carried out by the people under Joshua’s direction. The passage then ends with a statement of closure.

In this case, it will be verse 6:27, “So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country.” But here, the Lord’s introductory words are…

2 (con’t) “See! I have given Jericho into your hand,

The aspect of the verb is perfect – “I have given.” It is a statement of surety and completion. Joshua only needs to enter into the process and the Lord will see it through to its end. With that, the Lord describes the scope of the grant…

2 (con’t) its king, and the mighty men of valor.

malkah gibore he’khayil – “king – mighties the valor.” It is a way of saying that the king and all of his most powerful men have already been defeated before the Lord. Again, Joshua simply needs to enter into the process, and it will come to pass. Next come the explicit instructions…

You shall march around the city, all you men of war;

v’sabotem eth ha’ir kol anshe ha’milkhamah – “And go around the city all men the war.” It would be an unusual and notable display for Jericho to behold. There is no hint of attacking, just men of war going around the city. That is further described as…

3 (con’t) you shall go all around the city once.

haqeph eth ha’ir paam ekhat – “circling the city stroke one.” The word I translate as “circling” is different than the previous clause. They are to go around, thus making a full circuit. The word paam signifies a stroke, as if on an anvil. It is thus something that marks out time. As unusual as this is, it is all the more unusual because that is all they were to do. Jericho would be mystified. And more…

3 (con’t) This you shall do six days.

Each day for six days, the exact same thing was to be done. Nothing is said of Sabbath observance. As such, it could be that the words are inclusive of a Sabbath, or the command ignores a Sabbath.

Jewish writers, who are generally not to be trusted, say the city fell on a Sabbath day. It seems highly unlikely that the Lord would have them purposefully break the Sabbath by carrying things, walking great distances, and engaging in battle.

In speculation, I would go with the idea that the words are inclusive of a Sabbath. Nothing says they are six consecutive days. They circled the city six times, but on the Sabbath, they observed the day and then resumed the circling the next day. It would be hard to imagine they simply ignored the Sabbath. Either way…

And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark.

v’shivah kohanim yisu shivah shofroth ha’yov’lim lipne ha’aron – “And seven priests shall bear seven shofars the Jubilees before the ark.” These are not the khatsotsroth keseph, or the silver trumpets, of Numbers 10 that were to be used for signaling during war.

Rather, these are shofars first seen at the giving of the Ten Commandments, and which were mandated to be blown at the time of the Jubilee in Leviticus 25. Psalm 81 shows that they are blown at the New Moon festivals and on the full moon during the solemn feast, meaning Passover and/or Tabernacles.

They are also blown at numerous other times throughout the Old Testament. The word comes from shafar, meaning comely or beautiful. One can think of the shape of a ram’s horn like that of a woman due to its curves.

These shofars are then described as ha’yov’lim, or “the Jubilees.” The word yovel comes from yaval, to conduct or bear along, and that will explain what these are picturing. Because the shofar is affixed to yovel, or “Jubilee,” it is telling us that this is a time of proclaiming liberty for the land. Those who possess it will be dispossessed. Jericho is the beginning of that event.

4 (con’t) But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times,

u-b’yom ha’sheviy tasovu eth ha’ir sheva peamim – “and in day the seven you shall go around the city seven strokes.” The meaning is obvious. Unlike the first six days, they are to walk around the city seven full times. All the while…

4 (con’t) and the priests shall blow the trumpets.

v’ha’kohanim yitqeu ba’shofaroth – “And the priests shall blow in the shofars.” With the change from the first six days, the inhabitants of Jericho would know, without any doubt, that the battle was imminent. But they will have no way of expecting what was coming…

It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn,

v’hayah bimsok b’qeren ha’yovel – “And it shall be in the prolongation in horn the Jubilee.” This is the signal for the events to really begin. There was to be a long blast. The word “horn” is singular even though the word “they” is plural. As such, it would be a terror to the people within, and it would be a sound of confirmation of the miracle of the Lord that was about to occur…

5 (con’t) and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout;

b’sham’akhem eth qol ha’shofar yariu kal ha’am t’ruah gedolah – “in hearing you (pl) voice the shofar shall shout all the people acclamation whopping!” The word t’ruah signifies a great clamor, an acclamation, a battle cry, rejoicing, etc. The idea is that of victory even before the battle has begun.

One could think of our use of “hurrah” (oohrah, hoo-rah, huzzah, booyah) in shouting out victory. It is an acknowledgment that the victory is secured, and without a doubt it is the victory of the Lord.

5 (con’t) then the wall of the city will fall down flat.

v’naphelah khomath ha’ir takhteha – “And shall fall wall the city under it.” No battering ram was needed. Rather, the description is very precise. The wall will simply collapse from below leaving the city entirely exposed.

It can be assumed that this was not the entire wall of the city. Rahab’s house was on the wall and yet they were unharmed. Further, unless Israel completely encircled the city, people could escape in the areas where it was not surrounded. As such, it seems certain that the walls came down where Israel was and in a manner that would allow them to pour in and utterly destroy all life within. With this in mind, it says…

5 (con’t) And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”

v’alu ha’am ish negdo – “And will ascend the people man opposite him.” Wherever the soldiers were, the wall would be sufficiently razed to allow them to ascend directly opposite to where each was. Each could rush straight in.

As many soldiers of Jericho would certainly have been stationed along the wall, they would have been crushed along with the collapse and the soldiers would be able to rush in completely unopposed.

The city is under siege, and none go out or in
While we prepare for that great and awesome day
Soon our battle plan will begin
And then the enemy we shall slay

As we march forward, those armed go first according to the word
And then the priests set out as the shofars they blow
Following them are the priests and the ark of the Lord
Making a circuit around the doomed city of Jericho

With us is the Lord our God! We cannot fail
Nothing can stop our destruction of the city – Jericho
We shall attack and we shall assail
And on to victory over the enemy, we shall go

II. Joshua Speaks to the People (verses 6-11)

Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests

They are words of immediate compliance. The Lord spoke and now Joshua speaks: va’yiqra Yehoshua bin nun el ha’kohanim – “And called Joshua son Nun unto the priests.”

Joshua is mentioned eleven times in this chapter, and yet he is only called by his father’s name this once. The name Joshua means, “The Lord is Salvation,” and Nun signifies to propagate or increase. He now calls the priests…

6 (con’t) and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant,

va’yomer alehem seu eth aron ha’b’rith – “And said unto them, ‘Lift to you ark the covenant.” Notice that the designation is changed from “the ark” to “the ark of the covenant.” The priests are to lift it up…

6 (con’t) and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.”

v’shivah kohanim yisu shivah shofroth yov’lim liphne aron Yehovah – “and seven priests shall bear seven shofars Jubilees before ark Yehovah.” Now the designation is changed again to read “ark Yehovah.” When the Lord spoke, He simply called it the “ark.” Joshua is conveying the words of the Lord, but he is stating each thing in the manner in which the situation demands.

And he said to the people,

The written Hebrew says: va’yomeru el ha’am – “And they said unto the people.” Joshua gave direction to the priests, and then it can be assumed that the priests instructed the people to…

7 (con’t) “Proceed, and march around the city,

For consistency, I would say, “Pass on, and go around the city.” Assuming it is the priests bearing the ark that are giving this instruction, they are telling the people to pass on before them and begin the process which will last for seven days. They then say…

7 (con’t) and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the Lord.”

v’he’khaluts yaavor liph’ne aron Yehovah – “and the drawings off shall pass on before ark Yehovah.” The “drawings off” signifies those who have been drawn off for battle, and thus they are armed.

They are to pass on before the priests who are bearing the ark in the procession as it goes around the city. Now, from the command of the Lord to the command from Joshua comes the immediate compliance and fulfillment of the word…

So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people,

v’hi k’emor Yehoshua el ha’am – “And it was according to say Joshua unto the people.” Joshua spoke to the priests, the priests told the people to pass on before them, and now according to the words of Joshua unto the people…

8 (con’t) that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord advanced and blew the trumpets,

v’shivah ha’kohanim nos’im shivah shofroth ha’yov’lim liph’ne Yehovah av’ru v’taq’u ba’shofaroth – “And seven the priests bearers seven shofars the Jubilees before Yehovah passed on and blew in the shofars.” Everything is occurring in a specific order. The armed passed on first. From there, the trumpet blowers pass on. Next…

8 (con’t) and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them.

v’aron b’rith Yehovah holekh akharehem – “and ark covenant Yehovah went after them.” Everything is being done with military precision. One thing follows directly after another according to a set plan. And again, the order is next restated…

The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets,

The words essentially repeat the thought already expressed. Those who were drawn off, meaning who are armed, were first and they were then followed by the priests who blew the shofars. However, the next words are extremely complicated…

9 (con’t) and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets.

v’hamaseph holekh akhare ha’aron halokh v’taqoa ba’shofaroth – “and the gathering went after the ark, going on and blowing in the trumpets.” It is unsure what “the gathering” is. It is a verb. Despite this, most translations turn it into a noun and say, “rear guard.”

The same general thought is found several more times, such as in 1 Samuel 29:2 –

“And the lords of the Philistines passed in review by hundreds and by thousands, but David and his men passed in review at the rear with Achish.”

It is also seen in Isaiah 52:12 where many translations again say, “rear guard.” Young’s goes with “gathering” –

“For not in haste do ye go out, Yea, with flight ye go not on, For going before you is Jehovah, And gathering you is the God of Israel!” (YLT)

Some speculate that this is, in fact, a rear guard. But that seems unlikely. It could be people that wanted to participate in the march but were not a part of the battle. It could be those who carried supplies of weapons, bandages, and other needed items for the soldiers who went into battle.

Again, the same thought is used in Isaiah 58:8 –

“Then broken up as the dawn is thy light, And thy health in haste springeth up, Gone before thee hath thy righteousness, The honour of Jehovah doth gather thee.” (YLT)

10 Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout.”

The translation is close enough and the meaning is obvious. Joshua has strictly forbidden any type of noise at all. This is to be a completely quiet procession with the exception of the blowing of the shofars by the priests.

Only when Joshua gives the command were the people to shout and then they were to really let go. But until then the only sound was to be the noise of acclamation proceeding from the shofars.

11 So he had the ark of the Lord circle the city, going around it once.

The verb is not causative. Rather than “he had the ark,” it says: va’yashev aron Yehovah eth ha’ir haqeph paam ekhat – “And went around ark Yehovah the city, circling stroke one.” The words are very precise. Even though the people performed their duties as instructed, the attention is on the ark…

11 (con’t) Then they came into the camp and lodged in the camp.

That was it for the day’s activity, exactly as the Lord has said to Joshua, and exactly as he then conveyed to the people. One thing to wonder about is whether Rahab’s family had all gathered together each day, anticipating the battle to begin. Depending on the number of them, could they all stay in her house? If not, all would have dispersed each day after the procession left, probably repeating this seven times.

Nothing is said, but it is something to be curious about. With the words of this verse complete, the next verses reexplain the process that occurred for the next day…

Listen to the sound of the shofar blow
It is telling us that the Lord is on our side
Here we are circling around Jericho
Ready to be an overflowing tide

Once a day, six times in all
We get up and circle around Jericho
Waiting for the day when down comes the wall
At the sound of the long shofar blow

One step at a time and around we go
Six days we do it and then back to the camp we head
But on the seventh day, we have a surprise for Jericho
On that day, we shall face the city and march straight ahead

III. Seven Days (verses 12-16)

12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord.

The note of rising early in the morning is probably anticipating the seventh day. Each day the same pattern would be followed, but because of what occurs on the seventh day, it was necessary to set the pattern as being early in the morning from the beginning.

As such, Joshua rose early, ensured everyone was awake and ready, and then the priests would bear the ark of the Lord. Once it was readied…

13 Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord

v’shivah ha’kohanim nos’im shivah shofroth ha’yov’lim liph’ne aron Yehovah – “And seven the priests bearers seven shofars the Jubilees before ark Yehovah.” The order is reversed in the details even though it is the same order as always. The ark follows the priests with the shofars who…

13 (con’t) went on continually and blew with the trumpets.

It is a sort of superlative concerning their blowing: hol’khim halokh v’taq’u ba’shofaroth – “goings going on and blew in the trumpets.” It gives the sense of nonstop blowing as they continue around the city. Despite the silence of the people, this was by no means a solemn silent procession.

It would have been a most disturbing sound to those within the city as the wails of the trumpets continually rose and fell with the breath of the priests…

13 (con’t) And the armed men went before them. But the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord,

More precisely, it reads, “And the drawn off went before them and the gathering went after ark Yehovah.” It is the same order as always despite having been referred to in reverse – 1) the armed men, 2) the seven priests with the shofars, 3) the priests bearing the ark, and 4) the gathering. And again, it notes…

13 (con’t) while the priests continued blowing the trumpets.

The words are very similar to those of verse 9. They give the sense of the entire procession simply moving forward and the sound of the trumpets unceasingly accompanying the movement: holekh v’taqoa ba’shofaroth – “going on and blowing in the trumpets.”

14 And the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp.

v’yashovu eth ha’ir ba’yom ha’sheni paam akhat – “And went around the city in the day the second stroke one.” It is a confirmation that as the Lord had instructed, so the people did. And more…

14 (con’t) So they did six days.

koh asu shesheth yamim – “Thus they have done six days.” Exactly as instructed, so they did. Again, as noted earlier, nothing here indicates that they failed to observe a Sabbath. Several possibilities seem to exist. The first is that the days are not all joined together, and the Sabbath was observed at some point, such as: Day 1 march, day 2 march, Sabbath, Day 3 march, and so on.

Or, the Lord gave them a waiver to the Sabbath law, which I noted above seems unlikely. Or it could be that the distance walked was not considered a violation of the Sabbath and the priests bearing the ark as a priestly duty is not considered a violation according to both the law and Jesus’ note concerning it –

“Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?” Matthew 12:5

The problem is that the soldiers carrying their weapons would not be exempted without a waiver. I would go with the first option, but others argue different views.

15 But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early,

The events of the seventh day are the reason for rising early each day. What will happen on the seventh day necessitates rising early in order to have enough sunlight to accomplish the tasks set before them. And so…

15 (con’t) about the dawning of the day,

ka’aloth ha’shakhar – “according to rising of the dawn.” It is very early, in fact…

15 (con’t) and marched around the city seven times in the same manner.

It says ka’mishpat ha’zeh – “according to the judgment, the this.” In other words, it was determined that they should go early each day, and that is because of the necessity on the seventh day. It was set forth as an ordinance by the Lord in verse 4 that on the seventh day, they were to go around the city seven times. The other days anticipated this seventh day ordinance by going early each day.

15 (con’t) On that day only they marched around the city seven times.

There is an emphasis in the words: raq ba’yom hahu shavevu eth ha’ir sheva peamim – “Only in the day the this they went around the city seven strokes.” The point is not that Israel marched around Jericho thirteen times. The point is that they marched around Jericho six times once and once seven times.

16 And the seventh time it happened,

v’hi ba’paam ha’shevit – “And it came to pass in the stroke the seventh.” Each circuit of the city was as if an anvil had been struck. On the striking of the seventh, events began to take place quickly. It was…

16 (con’t) when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people:

taq’u ha’kohanim ba’shofaroth va’yomer Yehoshua el ha’am – “blew the priests in the shofars and said Joshua unto the people.” This would have been the long blast mentioned in verse 5, and it probably would have scared the living daylights out of everyone in the city.

Not only had the city been circled seven times, telling them that today was the day, but now, instead of a continuous sounding of the shofars, there is a long and prolongated sounding of them. There would be no doubt that this was the moment they had dreaded.

Hearts would have seized in the old, terror would have seized the young, and horror would have seized anyone else with a modicum of sense in his head. But that sudden and ghastly sensation would be overcome by one even worse within mere moments. After the command of Joshua was obeyed…

*16 (fin) “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!

hariu ki nathan Yehovah lakhem eth ha’ir – “Shout! For has given Yehovah to you the city!” It is completely unknown how many people surrounded the city each day or on the seventh day, but even one-tenth of the capable fighting men would be sixty thousand.

And it could be well less than that, but supposing only twenty thousand were drawn off for the battle, the sound of the shout would have paralyzed every person in the city with abject fear.

And more than that came something that would have been so terrifying that there would not be a breath of hope left in anyone within the city except Rahab and those with her, as will be seen when we continue the passage next week.

For now, let us consider that Jericho was destroyed because it was a part of a nation of people that had completely departed from what God expects of His creatures. He did it on a global scale in Genesis 6, and He has continued to remove miscreant nations and peoples since then.

The Bible says that He will do it on a global scale again someday. That is probably not too far off. Isaiah says that He will make man more rare than fine gold (Isaiah 13:12). People who keep track of such things say that there will be eight billion people on earth in just a few months, probably in November.

Imagine the magnitude of the carnage if even a billion survive. The people of the US are just like the people of the rest of the world. We have left behind our Christian heritage, and we are actively fighting against it. Will there be another 4th of July celebration? Time will tell, but every year, we are a bit closer to the end.

The people of Canaan had their chance and blew it. The battle against Jericho is the first part of the destruction to come. But in the midst of it, there was salvation. And before the coming global catastrophe, there is salvation and escape from what lies ahead still available.

I hope you would make the right choice and consider the holiness of God. We cannot stand before such greatness on our own merit. But God has made a way for us to do so – on His merit. Come to Jesus Christ who makes this possible.

Closing Verse: “If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid?
If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?” Amos 3:6

Next Week: Joshua 6:17-27 The city has got to go; yes, it is true… (The Battle of Jericho, Part II) (12th Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Battle of Jericho, Part I

Now Jericho was securely shut up
Because of the children of Israel
None went out, and none came in
That was pretty much it in a nutshell

And the LORD said to Joshua:
“See! I have given Jericho into your hand
Its king, and the mighty men of valor
None will be able to make a stand

“You shall march around the city
All you men of war
You shall go all around the city once
This you shall do six days, once and nothing more

“And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets
Of rams’ horns, before the ark they shall go
But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times
And the priests shall the trumpets blow

“It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast
——-with the ram’s horn
And when you hear the trumpet’s sound
That all the people shall shout with a great shout
Then the wall of the city will fall down flat all around

“And the people up they shall go
Every man straight before him, not running to and fro”

Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them
“Take up the ark of the covenant, according to my word
And let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns
Before the ark of the LORD”

And he said to the people
“Proceed, and march around the city, hear now my word
And let him who is armed advance
Before the ark of the LORD”

So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people
That the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of
———-rams’ horns before the LORD
Advanced and blew the trumpets
And the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them rearward

The armed men went before the priests
Who blew the trumpets as they were going
And the rear guard came after the ark
While the priests continued the trumpet blowing

Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying
“You shall not shout or make your voice ring out
Nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth
Until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout!”

So he had the ark of the LORD
Circle the city, going once around
Then they came into the camp and lodged
This was not the day for the battle sound

And Joshua rose early in the morning
And the priests took up the ark of the LORD, so they did do
Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns
Before the ark of the LORD went on continually
———-and with the trumpets blew

And the armed men went before them
But the rear guard came after the ark of the LORD
While the priests continued blowing the trumpets
All according to the spoken word

And the second day they marched around the city once
Such were their ways
And returned to the camp
So they did six days

But it came to pass on the seventh day
That they rose early, about the dawning of the day
———-surely with that yawning sound
And marched around the city seven times in the same manner
On that day only, the city they seven times marched around

And the seventh time it happened
When the priests blew the trumpets, as instructed to do
That Joshua said to the people
“Shout, for the LORD has given the city to you!”

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua: “See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him.”

Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” And he said to the people, “Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the Lord.”

So it was, when Joshua had spoken to the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord advanced and blew the trumpets, and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them. The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. 10 Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout.” 11 So he had the ark of the Lord circle the city, going around it once. Then they came into the camp and lodged in the camp.

12 And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 Then 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 rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets. 14 And the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp. So they did six days.

15 But it came to pass on the seventh day that they rose early, about the dawning of the day, and marched around the city seven times in the same manner. On that day only they marched around the city seven times. 16 And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city!

 

 

Joshua 5:10-15 (The Reproach of Egypt, Part II)

Joshua 5:10-15
The Reproach of Egypt, Part II

This sermon is a tad longer than we have had of late. If I make this introduction very long (as it is the last thing I type each week), it will be even longer. So I will keep it short. But the importance of what is said and seen in these early Joshua sermons is beyond most people’s imagination.

There are many important doctrines that are either expressly seen here in the typology or that are clearly implied. For example, the heresy of reinserting the Law of Moses, or living by the Law of Moses as a means of being found acceptable to God, is explicit.

The doctrine of hyperdispensationalism, meaning the teaching that there are two gospels, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles, is clearly refuted. There is one gospel even if the term “kingdom” points to different things at different times. God’s promises to Israel the nation do not mean that there are two gospels. It means that He will keep His word to them as a nation.

Whether it will be a mid- or post-trib rapture is revealed in Old Testament typology as well. And, when Jesus speaks in Matthew 23 and 24, the passage today, especially, shows that it is something being spoken to the people of Israel. That couldn’t be any clearer.

Text Verse: “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’”
33 They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, “You will be made free”?’
34 Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’” John 8:31-36

The problem with the heresies, or faulty points of doctrine that I mentioned above, stems from a lack of study and understanding of … anyone? No, not necessarily the New Testament, but the Old. Unless one knows the Old as well as the New, many of the points of doctrine in the New either cannot be fully appreciated, or they can easily be manipulated to say something that is not intended.

Replacement theology (the church has replaced Israel), would not exist if people could understand the typology being given in the Old Testament, especially from Numbers 14 until now. Ecclesiastes says –

“That which is has already been,
And what is to be has already been;
And God requires an account of what is past.” Ecclesiastes 3:15

It doesn’t say this simply because the sun rises every day. Rather, it says this because He has orchestrated His word to show us what is coming by what He has already done. Pay attention to the past. In it, you will find the future. Great things are to be found in His superior word. And so, let us turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today, and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. On the Fourteenth Day of the Month (verses 10-12)

10 Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal,

va’yakhanu bene Yisrael ba’gilgal – “And camped sons Israel in the Gilgal.” This has already been noted in Chapter 4 –

“Now the people came up from the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and they camped in Gilgal on the east border of Jericho. 20 And those twelve stones which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal.” Joshua 4:19, 20

As noted then, Gilgal comes from the word gilgal, meaning a wheel. It thus means A Circle, A Wheel, or, figuratively Liberty (as in a rolling away). With the rite of circumcision found in verse 5:9 (last week’s sermon) complete, the reproach of Egypt was rolled away from the people. With that noted, it next says…

10 (con’t) and kept the Passover

va’yaasu eth ha’pesakh – “And made the Passover.” This is something those who were not circumcised could not have participated in during the wilderness wanderings. This is explicitly stated in Exodus 12:47-49 –

“All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. 48 And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. 49 One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.’”

It can be speculated on all day long whether the older generation observed it or not, such as Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. But this is not the point of what is being conveyed. We are being shown clear and specific typology to be considered.

The people were uncircumcised, and they could not have observed the Passover. As such, this is only the third recorded Passover that Israel has observed. The first was at the time of the Exodus. The second was at Sinai, just prior to leaving on the journey to Canaan. This is now upon entrance into Canaan.

Because of this, the first is reflective of the Exodus and delivery from bondage in becoming the Lord’s people. The second is reflective of life under the law and in anticipation of entering the promise. This third is reflective of the Eisodus, or entry, into the promise. It is a snapshot of Israel’s history that has, not yet been fulfilled. For now, they have been circumcised, and the note of observance is given directly after that was accomplished. It was…

10 (con’t) on the fourteenth day of the month

b’arbaah asar yom la’khodesh – “in four ten day to the month.” This was explicitly stated in Exodus 12:18 –

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.”

However, the question to now ask is, “The fourteenth day of which month?” The reason this is relevant is two-fold. First, if they were circumcised on a day after the tenth day of the first month, which is when they crossed the Jordan, and as would initially be thought correct based on a general reading of the passage, it would mean the men were still in the pain of having been circumcised.

It said in verse 8 last week that the men “stayed in their places in the camp until they were healed.” If this is in the first month, the account is exactly forty years, to the day, after having observed the first Passover as recorded in Exodus 12. However, since we saw in Joshua 5:8 that they remained in the camp, it doesn’t make sense that this would be in the first month.

But there is a second reason that will be seen soon for why it is not the first month. Either way, the Passover is when the moon is full. It is when the Lord (the Antitype) was crucified as is recorded in the New Testament in fulfillment of the type. It was…

10 (con’t) at twilight

ba’erev – “in the evening.” Just as commanded in the original observance and as was to be observed henceforth, so they observed it in the Gilgal…

10 (con’t) on the plains of Jericho.

b’arvoth yerikho – “in plains Jericho.” As has been noted, the word aravah, or plains comes from arav, meaning evening. This is identical to arav, meaning to take on pledge, give in pledge, exchange, become surety, and so on. As such, for the given typology, one should think of “the pledges of Jericho,” where Jericho means, “Place of Fragrance.”

Of this, Albert Barnes, not in any manner connecting the events to the typology being presented, still wisely says the following –

“The revival of the two great ordinances – circumcision and the Passover – after so long an intermission could not but awaken the zeal and invigorate the faith and fortitude of the people. Both as seals and as means of grace and God’s good purpose toward them then, the general circumcision of the people, followed up by the solemn celebration of the Passover – the one formally restoring the covenant and reconciling them nationally to God, the other ratifying and confirming all that circumcision intended – were at this juncture most opportune.” Albert Barnes

What has everything since Numbers 14 been anticipating? Without even knowing the connection and the fulfillment of the typology, Barnes’ words accurately reflect what is happening. With the observance of the Passover, it next notes…

11 And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover,

va’yokelu m’avur ha’arets mimakorath ha’pesakh – “And they ate from produce the land from morrow the Passover.” Here is a word found only now and in the next verse, avur. It is translated as “produce.” It is from avar – to pass over or through, the word constantly seen concerning the act of crossing through the Jordan.

Some translations indicate that the produce mentioned here is old provisions that were carried over with them. Hence, to them this conveys the idea of passing over. But this is incorrect as is seen in the next verse where it specifically ties this produce to the produce of Canaan. Therefore, it is not that the food passed with them across the Jordan. Rather, it is food waiting for them as they passed through. They are not eating old things, but new. It is…

11 (con’t) unleavened bread and parched grain,

matzoth v’qalui – “unleavened bread and roasted.” The matzoth, or unleavened bread, is bread without yeast. The word qalah, or grain that is roasted, comes from qalah, meaning to be lightly esteemed, despised, and so on. This is because the grain is shriveled and appears as such. This was eaten…

11 (con’t) on the very same day.

b’etsem ha’yom ha’zeh – “in bone the day, the this.” The meaning is on the exact same day, the 15th of the month and none other. To say, “in bone,” is to say “identical,” as in Adam’s proclamation that Eve was “bone of my bones.”

This is the fifteenth – not the sixteenth – day of the month as many commentators claim. Nor can this day of eating be considered a violation of the Feast of Firstfruits which occurred on the day after the Sabbath because these are not crops planted by Israel and intended for the harvest (see Exodus 23:16).

Rather, the people are eating what has grown of itself or what was planted by others. It is an acknowledgment that they have been circumcised, observed the Passover, and have entered into new life. With this occurring…

12 Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land;

va’yishboth ha’man mi’makhorath b’akhelam m’avur ha’arets – “And rested the manna from morrow in their eating from produce the land.” It is the sixteenth of the month. The people now eating of the produce of Canaan is the fulfillment of the word given by the Lord to sustain Israel in Exodus 16 –

“And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.” Exodus 16:35

As noted earlier, this is surely the second month, not the first. Not one commentator that I know of made the proper connection to what is being conveyed. The first reason is that the people had to heal from being circumcised, but more specifically, Exodus 16, where the manna was originally given, also says –

“And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt.” (v.1)

“Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, ‘At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt. And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord; for He hears your complaints against the Lord.’” (vss.6, 7)

 “So it was that quail came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp14 And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground.” (vss.13, 14)

The manna came on the 16th day of the second month. For Exodus 16:35 to be accurate concerning forty years (and it certainly is), the account in Joshua, that is now occurring on the 16th day of the month would have to be the second month. It is something for which a provision had already been made –

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep the Lord’s Passover. 11 On the fourteenth day of the second month, at twilight, they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it. 13 But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and ceases to keep the Passover, that same person shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of the Lord at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin.’” Numbers 9:9-13

As for the word translated as “ceased,” it is shabath – to cease, desist, or rest. It was first used in Genesis 2 saying –

“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested (va’yishboth) on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested (shabath) from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:2, 3

As for the account now, the giving of the manna was rested exactly forty years, to the day, after it had first been given…

12 (con’t) and the children of Israel no longer had manna

v’lo hayah od livne Yisrael man – “and no had again to sons Israel manna.” Forty years after the initial giving of the manna, to the day, the manna rested and did not come again…

12 (con’t) but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.

va’yokhelu mit’vuath erets k’naan ba’shanah ha’hi – “And ate from the yield land Canaan in the year, the it.” Instead of manna, the people ate from the tevuah, or yield of the ground of Canaan.

Canaan is derived from kana, “to humble,” or “to subdue.” That comes from a root signifying “to bend the knee.” Thus, it signifies something like humiliated, or humbled, or even subdued.

Let us keep the Passover, we are no longer defiled
We have come to the One who purifies us
We were objects of His wrath, but upon us He has now smiled
He is our Lord, He is our God, He is Jesus!

We missed Him on the first time around
And at that time of Passover, we were defiled
Upon us, His wrath grew hot; it did abound
But, finally, upon us He has smiled

We are circumcised not just in the flesh, but in the heart
We have come through His death into life
Today, we have made a glorious new start
For to us has come reconciliation after the many years of strife

II. The Commander of the Lord’s Army (verses 13-15)

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho,

v’hi bihyoth Yehoshua birikho – “And it came to pass in being Joshua in Jericho.” The wording is specific. It says, “in Jericho.” The same phrase is used four more times and it refers to being in Jericho, as in a border going through there or people residing there. Because of this, there is no reason to assume this is chronological.

Rather, it seems that this actually belongs chronologically in the contents of the next chapter, but it is being presented now for typological fulfillment. There in Jericho it is…

13 (con’t) that he lifted his eyes and looked,

va’yisa enav va’yar – “and lifted his eyes and saw.” It is the exact same expression seen in Genesis 18:2 when Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the Lord (Yehovah/Jesus) with two others. There in Jericho, the Place of Fragrance, Joshua’s attention is now raptly fixed on what he sees…

13 (con’t) and behold, a Man stood opposite him

v’hineh ish omed l’negdo– “And behold! Man standing to opposite him.” This is a human male that is standing right in front of him, just like in Genesis 18 where the Lord physically appeared to Abraham. The text can mean nothing else.

13 (con’t) with His sword drawn in His hand.

v’kharbo sh’lupha b’yado – “And sword drawn in His hand.” It is the exact same expression seen in Numbers 22:23 & 31 where the Lord (Yehovah/Jesus) stood with His sword drawn in His hand when opposing Balaam on his donkey. The connection to Genesis and Numbers is leaving us no doubt about the identity of this Man.

As an important side note, the word kherev is identical to Horeb, or the mountain where the law was given. Certainly, a picture is being made for us to see.

13 (con’t) And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”

va’yelek Yehoshua elav va’yomer lo halanu atah im l’tsarenu – “And went Joshua unto Him and said to Him, “Are to us You, if to our adversaries?” Joshua has no idea who this Man is, and so he is asking whether he is one of his men or one of the adversaries. Everything about the words appears to mean that this is occurring in Jericho at some point during the time of the battle…

14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

va’yomer lo ki ani sar tseva Yehovah atah bati – “And said, ‘No! For I Prince(-iple) host Yehovah now have come.’” The word sar signifies the head, chief, prince(-iple) figure, and so on. It signifies the one in charge.

The host of the Lord does not simply mean Israel, but all of the powers that are arrayed under Him. This would include humans, angels, even the sun, moon, planets, stars, elements, and so on. Everything at the disposal of the Lord is considered as His host. This Man is in the position of all power and authority over all of creation. As such…

14 (con’t) And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped,

va’yipol Yehoshua el panav artsah va’yishtakhu – “And fell Joshua unto his face earth and worshiped.” The word translated as “worshiped” can mean to simply bow down, but he has already fallen on his face. Hence, it means nothing other than the act of worshiping.

This is more so because of who the Man has claimed to be. If Joshua did not believe Him, an entirely different reaction would have taken place. The context itself clearly indicates that this is a Man, and this man is God, because only God has all power and authority.

14 (con’t) and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”

va’yomer lo mah adoni m’daber el avdo – “and said to Him, ‘What my Lord from word unto His servant.” Again, Joshua is the leader of Israel. Israel is the Lord’s people. There is none greater than Joshua in Israel because of this. And yet, he subordinates himself to this Man by calling Him “Lord” and by saying he is His servant.

The Lord has already spoken to Joshua seven times since chapter 1. Joshua is fully aware of who the Lord is, and he is fully aware of what the Ten Commandments say. The Lord alone is to be worshiped, and yet he is worshiping this Man who is obviously, therefore, the Lord.

15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua,

v’yomer sar tseva Yehovah el Yehoshua – “And said Prince(-iple) host Yehovah unto Joshua.” While Joshua is in the act of worshiping the Lord with his face to the ground, the command is given. From the perspective of the Bible, it is another indication that this Man is God. He is accepting worship while giving out a command to the leader of His people. And the command is…

15 (con’t) “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.”

The words are emphatic: sal naalkha m’al raglekha ki ha’maqom asher atah omed alav qodesh hu – “Remove your sandal from upon your foot for the place where you stand upon, holy IT.” With only a few changes, it is the exact same words spoken to Moses at the burning bush –

Remove your sandals from upon your feet for the place where you stand upon, ground holy it. Exodus 3:5
Remove your sandal from upon your foot for the place where you stand upon, holy it. Joshua 5:15

Other than these differences, the only other major difference is that there is an additional letter, a vav, in the word “stand” in Exodus 3 that is missing in Joshua 5.

In this command, and it is a command, the Man is instructing Joshua from One who is greater to one who is lesser. In essence, “Resign yourself to me.” He is the possessor of, and in authority over, the place. Joshua’s sandals, whether made by him or by someone else, were the work of man’s hands. His footprints were created by God, implying God’s mastery over him.

There is then a uniting of the created foot with the dust from which it was created. Nothing of human origin would be considered acceptable in the presence of such a place of holiness. This was seen in Exodus 20 which says –

“And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.” Exodus 20:25

God made the stones, not man. If man’s efforts are placed along with God’s holiness, only defilement will occur. God calls, God sanctifies, and God glorifies. The process of holiness is “of and by God and God alone.” And yet, this is a Man who is, obviously, God. Because of this, and because of the command, it says…

*15 (fin) And Joshua did so.

In compliance to the directive, and just as his predecessor Moses surely had done, Joshua removed his sandals. It is with this note that the chapter ends.

The sword of the Lord is drawn in victory
Great things for us He has done
His hand is held high for all to see
And in it is the sword by which the battle was won

He is the One who came for the battle to win
A challenge to undo the failings of our first father
He was called to live a life without sin
And in His victory, no more will the devil man bother

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised
Great and mighty things He has done
With shouts of joy, our voices are raised
Hallelujah to Christ our Lord! God’s own Son

III. Pictures of Christ

Joshua 5 started with a note about the inhabitants on the west side of the Jordan being in fear and their hearts melting. It is perfectly obvious that since Numbers 14, the record has been of Israel being under punishment for rejecting the Lord and failing to enter the promise.

Everything since then has been in anticipation of them eventually being brought into Canaan. At the same time, that has been a parallel to Israel having rejected their Messiah. They went into exile and punishment according to the law of Moses.

Joshua 3 and 4 typologically anticipated the time when they will finally accept Jesus and enter into the promise. With Moses, the Law, dead, they could finally enter into God’s grace by following Jesus’ fulfillment of it. Christ went first, and Israel will join Him in His victory someday. Hence, the plural “we” was used in verse 5:1.

In verse 2, Joshua was told to make “swords rocks” and to circumcise the sons of Israel who had not been circumcised. This is a clear reference to the state of Israel during their time of exile after having rejected Christ. Paul explains this in Romans 2. Despite being circumcised in the flesh, Israel has been in a state of uncircumcision since their rejection of Jesus –

“For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.” Romans 2:25

The Jewish people today are uncircumcised. Joshua, picturing Jesus is told to make the instruments of circumcision and to circumcise the people. It was all in the singular. He was to do it. In Israel’s having crossed the Jordan, it anticipates Christ’s circumcision of the nation – by Himself. This is exactingly reflected in the words of Paul concerning those at Colossae –

“In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:11, 12

Only Christ can truly circumcise according to God’s standard, of which the physical rite of circumcision only anticipated, meaning the cutting of the sin nature in man. But notice how Paul tied this circumcision in with baptism. It is the baptism that was typologically seen in Israel crossing the Jordan in Chapter 3.

In other words, and to understand what is going on, we have been seeing the process of salvation in individual passages, but they all happen at once. *Moses, the law dies. Israel accepts Christ’s fulfillment of the law. *Israel enters the Jordan (Christ); Israel is baptized into Christ’s death (Chapter 3). *Israel, signified by the stones carried to Gilgal and which are then rested there, enters its rest (Chapter 4). *Two sets of stones are set up, signifying the heavenly government of Jews and Gentiles (Chapter 4). *Israel is circumcised; Israel has put off the body of sins of the flesh / The reproach of the past is taken away when believers are circumcised by the Lord (Chapter 5). *Believers partake of Christ as their Passover (Chapter 5). *The Lord is the Leader of the people, and they are brought into “holy ground.” (Chapter 5).

These (and all other events) happen at the same moment, but we have seen the individual applications spread out over five chapters so far. All of this will happen to Israel someday, just as it happens to every believer now who comes to Christ.

The circumcision is performed with “swords, rocks.” The symbolism is the law (sword – kherev (חרב) / law – Horeb (חרב)) and the Lord who is the Rock (the same word, tsur, is used to describe Him in Exodus 17:6 when the water came from the rock). Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:4, citing that example, that Christ is the Rock.

In other words, the “circumcision” is Christ’s fulfillment of the law being imputed to the people and becoming their “circumcision.” The interesting addition in the Greek translation of Joshua 24:30 which we cited when looking at Joshua 5:2, and which noted that these knives were buried in the tomb of Joshua, if original, gives its own marvelous picture of Christ’s tomb being the very place where all of this is made possible.

Verse 2 finished with the note of the “second” being circumcised. It is referring to the second generation who did not die in the wilderness. In other words, it anticipates the generation that follows the disobedient generation noted by Jesus in Matthew –

Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. Matthew 24:34, 35 (refers to the generation of wilderness wanderings)

The “generation” Jesus is referring to is the same generation of Israel today. This is why he can speak of them even two thousand years later, meaning those who will enter the tribulation period – of which Matthew 24 is describing – as “this generation.” They are the first, disobedient, generation. The “second” generation has yet to call on Christ, but they will do so, as He said to them in the previous chapter –

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” Matthew 23:37-39

In verse 3, it expressly stated that Joshua (he – sg.) circumcised the sons of Israel. That is why only Joshua is mentioned even though it would be impossible for him to do it alone. It is Jesus alone who does this. It is deliberately stated this way anticipating Christ’s work in granting them the seal of righteousness Paul writes of –

“And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.” Romans 4:11, 12

Israel today still cannot see what is exactingly being shown right in their own writings. They are uncircumcised and in their sinful state they have completely missed what Scripture is telling them.

Verse 3 next continued with “the hill of the foreskins,” meaning “the hill of the uncircumcised.” It is, again, telling us that Israel is in a state of uncircumcision at this time. But someday they will join the saints of Christ and the “hill of the uncircumcised” will become a reality.

They will put off the body of sins of the flesh in coming to their Messiah, Jesus, in whom the line of sin in man is “cut.” That is what is pictured in the rite of physical circumcision and is fulfilled in Christ.

Verse 4 specifically showed that Israel was circumcised under Moses in anticipation of Christ, but those who rejected Christ – either before His coming or after His arrival – were destined to die apart from God’s mercy. The circumcision of the next generation is given to correct that based on their faith in coming to Christ (as seen in Matthew 23:37-39 above).

This is why the words zakar (male – coming from zakar, “to remember) and then enosh (male – coming from anash and signifying a mortal) are used. It was to show the state of those who die apart from Christ, and those who are remembered by Christ.

It is also why the term “coming out from Egypt” is used. Until Israel enters Canaan, which anticipates Israel finally coming to Christ, they are always “coming out of Egypt,” meaning that which pictures sin. They are in bondage to the law by which is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20). The Mosaic Covenant has total hold over them until they enter into the New Covenant.

Verse 5 reconfirmed this. It was anticipated in what was said in Numbers 32:13, and it will be fulfilled when Israel finally calls out to Jesus –

“So the Lord’s anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone.” Numbers 32:13.

Verse 6 continued to show this, speaking of the generation walking forty years in the wilderness. Forty, as we have seen, is the number indicating “a period of probation, trial, and chastisement … It is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal” (Bullinger). This is exactly what is anticipated in Israel’s final restoration.

Until all the “comers out of Egypt” (vs. 5) are no longer coming out, meaning they have come to Christ, the picture will not be realized. They are a nation just like any other Gentile people, reflected in the term ha’goy or “the nation,” as it says, “because they did not obey [hear] the voice of the Lord.”

The words could not more perfectly reflect Israel. They failed to believe, they did not heed His voice, and they were punished. As such, they were denied entry into the promise, exactly as the author of Hebrews states and as we saw in last week’s sermon. They did not enter into the land of milk and honey that Jesus offered them.

Verse 7 repeated the note concerning the uncircumcised generation and that Joshua (alone) had personally circumcised the second generation. At that time, I noted three things that the circumcision meant:

  • This is a witness to the Lord’s acceptance of the people as being in a right covenant relationship. The sign of circumcision testifies to it. As such, the guilt of the fathers would no longer be laid upon them.
  • They would now be acceptable to observe the Passover.
  • With the sign of the covenant upon them, they would now be granted that which was promised to the fathers.

This all lies ahead for Israel, but it is being pictured in Joshua for them to finally see someday. Maybe they will read or watch the Superior Word sermons and realize this.

Verse 8 noted that “all the people” were circumcised. It speaks of the time of national salvation. The pun of the words of verses 7 and 8 was noted at that time. “And their sons He raised up in their place (takhtam).” It now says of those sons, “and they sat in their place (takhtam) in the camp.”

Verse 9 referred to “the reproach of Egypt” having been rolled away. The people had rejected the Lord and wanted to go back to Egypt in Numbers 14. The people rejected the grace of God in Christ and determined to stay under the law and living in sin. Only in coming to Christ is the “reproach of Egypt” rolled away.

With the crossing of the Jordan (being baptized into Christ), and with the fulfillment of the sign of circumcision (a result of that baptism), they will someday be restored to the divine favor of the Lord, Yehovah.

With that noted last week, the final words of verse 9 gave the name Gilgal, or Liberty. The people will enter into Liberty after the years of bondage to the law. (John 8:31-36; Acts 15:10, 11; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:9, 24&25, 5:1; Hebrews 2:15, etc.).

Starting with verse 10 today, it again noted the Israelites were in Gilgal, or Liberty, where they “kept the Passover.” It is an obvious reference to Christ’s death and their acceptance of that –

“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7

The purging out of the old leaven is not speaking of the Passover, but of what follows it, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Christ died to make us sinless. Thus, believers are to purge the sin from their lives. In observing the Passover it signifies commemorating Christ’s death, the fulfillment of what the Passover from Egypt only anticipated.

It was “in the evening (erev), and in the plains (aravah) of Jericho.” Both words are connected to arav, which speaks of a pledge. It is thus hinting to us of the erevon found in Genesis 38, which anticipates the arrabón noted 3 times by Paul, all referring to the pledge of the Spirit, such as –

“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, 22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 1:21

As verse 10 refers to the “plains of Jordan,” the Place of Fragrance, it means the guarantee of a return to Eden and restored fellowship with God. As Albert Barnes correctly noted concerning the circumcision and Passover observance, without ever making the connection to Christ –

“…the one formally restoring the covenant and reconciling them nationally to God, the other ratifying and confirming all that circumcision intended – were at this juncture most opportune.” Albert Barnes

This is exactly what is being pictured. As I said earlier, all these things occur simultaneously in coming to Christ, but we are seeing them in individual bites to help us understand the magnitude of what God has done for us, and of what He is still doing for Israel.

As for the unusual word avur, or “produce,” found only in verses 11 and 12, that is from avar, or to pass over or through. Both are connected to the word “Hebrew.” In other words, the people are now true Hebrews who have crossed over in both person and substance, signified by the next words of verse 11, matzoth v’qalui, or “unleavened bread and parched grain.” This is explained by Paul’s continued words of 1 Corinthians 5 –

“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 5:8

The matsah is the unleavened bread Paul refers to – life without sin. The qalah is the state of man in Christ, reflected in the description of Moses in Hebrews 11 –

“By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” Hebrews 11:24-26

The food they are noted as eating reflects the state of new life that believers now, and national Israel someday will, participate in.

Verse 12, along with Exodus 16:35, clearly showed that the Passover they observed was the second, not the first, Passover. The law is fulfilled in Christ, but Israel missed it the first time. The second Passover was given for those who were unclean – meaning Israel – at the first Passover.

In other words, though the law is fulfilled in Christ, its fulfillment for Israel lies yet ahead. This is exactly why the Lord gave a second Passover in the law. It was to provide for Israel who remains in their uncleanness to this day. The death of Christ clings to them and it must be purged away through faith in what He has done. It is exactly why the author of Hebrews says –

“In that He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” Hebrews 8:13

The law, which is obsolete, will only vanish away for Israel when they observe the second allowed Passover. Until that time, the manna – meaning God’s supernatural preservation of Israel – will continue until they partake of the true Bread from Heaven, Christ. This is the reason for His statement to the apostles on the night before He was crucified –

When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’” Luke 22:14-16

He was the first Passover. He will be Israel’s second Passover. Israel will enter into God’s rest, His shabath, that has been anticipated since creation week of Genesis 1. The preservation of Israel, until the millennium, is absolutely guaranteed in the symbolism of the manna.

When they eat of Christ, the need to supernaturally preserve them will no longer be needed. The goal will have been attained. After that, they will dine on “the food of the land of Canaan.” The meaning is that they will eat in the land of the humbled – those who have bent the knee to Christ.

With this picture now complete, the narrative turned to Joshua encountering the Commander of the Lord’s Army. It is a picture of Israel’s leadership and their long-awaited meeting with Christ –

“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.” Revelation 19:11-14

The armies of heaven, those who are taken at the rapture, are a portion of the Commander of the army of the Lord. Joshua meets Him “in Jericho,” meaning in the Place of Fragrance. It is Israel’s understanding that Christ is the Lord God.

The same terms used in Joshua, and which point to Christ, were seen in Genesis with Abraham and in Numbers with Balaam. It is clearly and unambiguously telling us that Yehovah is incarnate, and that Jesus is Yehovah.

The drawn sword (kherev (חרב) is the law (Horeb (חרב) of which Jesus is the embodiment [the Word of God].) That is exactly explained in the citation from Revelation. It is saying that Christ is the victorious One over the law! He is the embodiment and fulfillment of it! He is Jesus!

When asked if He was for or against Israel, His response was, “No!” Charles Ellicott beautifully states why –

“The war is a Divine enterprise, in which human instruments are employed, but so as to be entirely subordinate to the Divine will. Jehovah is not for Israel, nor for Israel’s foes. He fights for His own right hand, and Israel is but a fragment of His army.” Charles Ellicott

Israel, to this day, thinks it is all about them. Rather, it is all about Jesus. Israel is a small, but hugely important, portion of what God is doing. Someday, the leadership of Israel (who speak for all of Israel) will realize who He is, and they will fall and worship before Him, just as Joshua did.

With that, verse 15 noted the Lord’s command for Joshua to remove his sandals. I noted then the difference between His command to Moses and the one to Joshua –

Remove your sandals from upon your feet for the place where you stand upon, ground holy it. Exodus 3:5
Remove your sandal from upon your foot for the place where you stand upon, holy it. Joshua 5:15

Other than these differences, the only other major difference is that there is an additional letter, a vav, in the word “stand” in Exodus 3 that is missing in Joshua 5.

Moses (the law) was given for all people of Israel individually (your feet) to accomplish. Joshua (Jesus, the law’s fulfillment) was given for all of Israel collectively (your foot) to participate in.

The additional vav is the sixth letter of the aleph-beth and was given to indicate man, especially fallen man, under the law. The omission of the vav in relation to Joshua indicates the fulfillment of the law (to stand) by Christ, the sinless God/Man.

This, and the account with Moses at the bush, are the only two times this was commanded. When two similar things, or two similar occurrences, are noted in the Bible, there is a reason for it. There will be a contrast between the two and yet they will confirm something.

In the case of these two accounts, one is before Israel is delivered from bondage; one is after they have been safely led into the land of promise. He is the Covenant-Keeping Lord.

One is outside of Canaan; one is in Canaan. The Lord is God over the whole earth – over both Jew and Gentile. In one there is the Lord unseen and the voice of God from “over there.” In the other, there is the Lord visible, tangible, and in human form. The Lord is the incarnate Word of God; He is Jesus.

In one, He is the Lord who will give the law – the Angel or Messenger of it; in the other, He is the Lord who defends the law which is given – the Commander of the Lord’s army. He is the Lord of the law, its herald and upholder.

And more, the bush that burned with fire but was not consumed signifies the life of Israel under the law that was to be given. They would suffer affliction under it, but they would not be consumed. Likewise, Jesus suffered under it, but He was not consumed.

On the other hand, the Man with the sword drawn is the Champion of the law, the Victor over it. Israel has now entered into the promise, following Him in this state.

In the end, we are seeing the amazing story of what God is doing in Christ, and He is confirming it through a particular group of people. To absolutely prove to the world that it is so, He has, and He continues to work through Israel, confirming His covenant with them despite their unfaithfulness to Him. We serve a great God because we serve Jesus.

Closing Verse: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.” Galatians 5:1-3

Next Week: Joshua 6:1-16 It’s time for this city to go, even until it is done… (The Battle of Jericho, Part I) (11th Joshua Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It is He who has defeated the enemy and who now offers His people rest. So, follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Reproach of Egypt, Part II

Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal
And kept the Passover on the fourteenth day, we know
Of the month at twilight
On the plains of Jericho

And they ate of the produce of the land
On the day after the Passover, so it was this way
Unleavened bread and parched grain
On the very same day

Then the manna ceased on the day
After they had eaten the produce of the land after many a year
And the children of Israel no longer had manna
But they ate the food of Canaan that year

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho
That he lifted his eyes, and behold
———-it appeared to be one of his contemporaries
A Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand
And Joshua went to Him and said to Him
———-“Are You for us or for our adversaries?”

So He said, “No, I have now come
But as Commander of the army of the Lord”
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped
And said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?
———-What is Your word?

Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua
“Take your sandal off your foot as now you know
For the place where you stand is holy”
And Joshua did so

Lord God, turn our hearts to be obedient to Your word
Give us wisdom to be ever faithful to You
May we carefully heed each thing we have heard
Yes, Lord God may our hearts be faithful and true

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to You for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. 11 And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. 12 Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year.

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”

14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”

15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.