Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 2. The Lord, in the person of the angel, who appeared to Josue, as he was praying in silent meditation, or reconnoitring the city of Jericho, chap. v. 13. (Haydock) — Men. People of the different nations had come to defend the city, chap. xxiv. 11.
Ver. 3. Men. These went first. Afterwards the priests bore the ark, which was followed by all the people. (Calmet) — The procession began on a Sunday. (Rabbins)
Ver. 4. Jubilee. (Numbers x. 2.) The number seven, is often used to express an indefinite number. But here a particular stress is laid upon it. See Masius. As, on the 7th year the Hebrews regained the possessions which they had sold: so now they assert their rights to the land of Chanaan. The sound of the trumpets announced joyful tidings to them. (Menochius)
Ver. 5. Tune, with certain modulations, continued for a long time, Numbers x. 5. (Haydock) — Ground. The Rabbins say they sink in, so that the ruins might not impede the march of the army. Some think only a large breach was made, opposite to the Israelites, as the house of Rahab upon the walls was preserved. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. He said. Some manuscripts and Hebrew editions have, “they said,” though the points shew it must be singular, whatever Michaelis may object in favour of the Masora. Leudsen foolishly admits here a double literal sense. (Kennicott) (Haydock)
Ver. 11. There. This singular procession served to exercise the obedience of the people, and to teach them to despise the enemy, who durst not come out to attack them, though many were unarmed. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Seventh day. The Jews say it was the sabbath; but of this there is no proof. Marcion hence took occasion to accuse God of inconsistency, as he forbad all working, and yet ordered the people to go round Jericho on a sabbath day. But Tertullian (iv. 12,) answers very well, that servile work is forbidden, and not the works of God or of religion, and God may change the ceremonial law as he thinks proper. (Calmet) — Sabbato opera humana prohibentur non divina. (Du Hamel)
Ver. 16. Said, or “had said,” when he gave the people the sound of the trumpet for a sign (Haydock) when they were to shout, ver. 5. He probably gave the regulations respecting the plunder of the city, before the army left the camp. (Calmet)
Ver. 17. An anathema. That is, a thing accursed and devoted to utter destruction. (Challoner) — Only the metal that was found, was consecrated to the Lord, (ver. 19,) and the family of Rahab saved. In devoting things, the person who laid on the curse, might extend its operation as he pleased. On some occasions, all was to be destroyed; on others, some things were preserved, Deuteronomy ii. 34., and Leviticus xxvii. 21. (Calmet) — This first city, which the Israelites attacked, was treated with peculiar severity, to terrify the rest.
Ver. 18. Forbidden, transgression, sin. Hebrew has always anathema. (Haydock)
Ver. 19. Treasures, probably in the tabernacle. See Numbers xxxi. 48. God claims the first-fruits of the booty, as an acknowledgment that he granted the victory, (Calmet) and all the riches of the country, to his people. (Haydock)
Ver. 23. Men. Hebrew, “boys;” a name given to people advanced in years. — Camp. A respect for the majesty of God, would not permit the Israelites to introduce unbelievers into the camp. They were first instructed, and then the men were circumcised, and the women received baptism. (Calmet)
Ver. 25. Day. Rahab prefigured the wild olive tree, which St. Paul says was engrafted on the good olive tree, (Romans xi. 24,) and which will remain till the end of the world. (Theodoret, q. 8.) She married Salmon, of the tribe of Juda, and became the ancestor of David and of the Messias. (Calmet)
Ver. 26. Cursed, &c. Jericho, in the mystical sense, signifies iniquity; the sounding of the trumpets by the priests, signifies the preaching of the word of God; by which the walls of Jericho are thrown down, when sinners are converted: and a dreadful curse will light on them who build them up again. (Challoner) — Gates. Some copies of the Septuagint insert here that the curse fell upon Azan (Hiel) of Bethel, 3 Kings xvi. 34. Before his time, there was a city of palm-trees, or Jericho, built in the neighbourhood. (Josephus, Jewish Wars v. 4.) Though Hiel was so severely punished, no one made any scruple to live there. Elias and Jesus Christ himself honoured the place with their presence. The city is now almost in ruins, and the territory uncultivated. Ancient history mentions similar imprecations against obnoxious cities. Thus the Romans cursed the rebuilders of Carthage, and Agamemnon followed “the ancient custom,” says Strabo, (xiii.) laying a curse upon those who should rebuild the city of Troy. The Ionians and Greeks forbad those temples to be re-established, which the Persians had destroyed, that they might remain eternal monuments of the impiety of the latter, and of the hatred which subsisted between the two nations. (Pausanias in Phoc.) (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
After seven days’ processions, the priests sounding the trumpets, the walls of Jericho fall down: and the city is taken and destroyed.
1 Now *Jericho was close shut up and fenced, for fear of the children of Israel, and no man durst go out or come in.
2 And the Lord said to Josue: Behold I have given into thy hands Jericho, and the king thereof, and all the valiant men.
3 Go round about the city all ye fighting men once a day: so shall ye do for six days.
4 And on the seventh day the priests shall take the seven trumpets, which are used in the jubilee, and shall go before the ark of the covenant: and you shall go about the city seven times, and the priests shall sound the trumpets.
5 And when the voice of the trumpet shall give a longer and broken tune, and shall sound in your ears, all the people shall shout together with a very great shout, and the walls of the city shall fall to the ground, and they shall enter in every one at the place against which they shall stand.
6 Then Josue, the son of Nun, called the priests, and said to them: Take the ark of the covenant: and let seven other priests take the seven trumpets of the jubilee, and march before the ark of the Lord.
7 And he said to the people: Go, and compass the city, armed, marching before the ark of the Lord.
8 And when Josue had ended his words, and the seven priests blew the seven trumpets before the ark of the covenant of the Lord,
9 And all the armed men went before, the rest of the common people followed the ark, and the sound of the trumpets was heard on all sides.
10 But Josue had commanded the people, saying: You shall not shout, nor shall your voice be heard, nor any word go out of your mouth: until the day come wherein I shall say to you: Cry and shout.
11 So the ark of the Lord went about the city once a day, and returning into the camp, abode there.
12 And Josue rising before day, the priests took the ark of the Lord,
13 And seven of them seven trumpets, which are used in the jubilee: and they went before the ark of the Lord, walking and sounding the trumpets: and the armed men went before them, and the rest of the common people followed the ark, and they blew the trumpets.
14 And they went round about the city the second day once, and returned into the camp. So they did six days.
15 But the seventh day, rising up early, they went about the city, as it was ordered, seven times.
16 And when in the seventh going about the priests sounded with the trumpets, Josue said to all Israel: Shout: for the Lord hath delivered the city to you:
17 And let this city be an anathema, and all things that are in it, to the Lord. Let only Rahab, the harlot, live, with all that are with her in the house: *for she hid the messengers whom we sent.
18 But beware ye lest you touch ought of those things that are forbidden, and you be guilty of transgression, and all the camp of Israel be under sin, and be troubled.
19 But whatsoever gold or silver there shall be, or vessels of brass and iron, let it be consecrated to the Lord, laid up in his treasures.
20 *So all the people making a shout, and the trumpets sounding, when the voice and the sound thundered in the ears of the multitude, the walls forthwith fell down: and every man went up by the place that was over-against him: **and they took the city,
21 And killed all that were in it, man and woman, young and old. The oxen also, and the sheep, and the asses, they slew with the edge of the sword.
22 *But Josue said to the two men that had been sent for spies: Go into the harlot’s house, and bring her out, and all things that are hers, as you assured her by oath.
23 *And the young men went in, and brought out Rahab, and her parents, her brethren also, and all her goods, and her kindred, and made them to stay without the camp.
24 *But they burned the city, and all things that were therein; except the gold and silver, and vessels of brass and iron, which they consecrated unto the treasury of the Lord.
25 But Josue saved Rahab the harlot, and her father’s house, and all she had, and they dwelt in the midst of Israel until this present day: because she hid the messengers whom he had sent to spy out Jericho. At that time, Josue made an imprecation, saying:
26 *Cursed be the man before the Lord, that shall raise up and build the city of Jericho. In his firs-tborn may he lay the foundation thereof, and in the last of his children set up its gates.
27 And the Lord was with Josue, and his name was noised throughout all the land.
1: Year of the World 2553, Year before Christ 1451.
17: Josue ii. 4.; Hebrews xi. 31.
20: Hebrews xi. 30. — ** 2 Machabees xii. 15.
22: Josue ii. 1. and 14.
23: Hebrews xi. 31.
24: Josue viii. 2.
26: 3 Kings xvi. 34.