• Jacob's Ladder Bible Studies

    Part Three: Jacob’s Ladder Bible Study on Joshua 6

    God does His best work in the silence

    Part Three – Studying God’s Word

    Welcome to the third and last section of our Jacob’s Ladder Bible Study on Joshua 6. 

    In an extended version of Part One – “Understanding God’s Word”, we joined the Israelites as they stood before the impregnable walls of the fortified city of Jericho in the land of Canaan.  

    Having been promised the land as their heritage by God, the Israelites still needed to believe that God was with them and would bring them victory against a superior enemy – the Canaanites.

    By obeying God’s commands and praising Him before they saw one stone be dislodged from the mighty wall of Jericho, the Israelite’s kept their faith and endured when the odds looked heavily against their favor.

    The result – God made the walls of Jericho fall down! 

    In Part Two – “Living God’s Word”, we explored the ways that we can partner up with God, the way the Israelites did, in order to live out the blessings and promises He has for our lives. 

    Part Three – “Studying God’s Word “ is intended as a study guide for those of you who would like to delve deeper into the biblical and life themes presented in Joshua 6.  

    If you would like to know more about the benefits of studying the Word of God, then l recommend that you read our page “Why study the Bible?”

    The aim of this study section

    This study section is intended as a guide to promoting discussion and reflection on Joshua 6.   

    As a start, I suggest that you read Part One and Part Two of this Bible Study on Joshua 6, in order to fully appreciate the lesson portrayed in this biblical account and to consider the chapter’s themes.   

    For whom is this study section intended? 

    You can apply this section within a group setting, such as a house group, a Bible Study group, or a prayer group.  

    Alternatively, you can also study on your own. If this may be the case, l have written some suggestions below in the section “If you are studying on your own” to assist you in your learning.   

    I encourage you to customize this study preparation by taking out of it what you wish and adding your own ideas and insight. Have fun with it!  

    What you will need:

    • A Bible, preferable a study Bible. I personally use the  “The Everyday Life Bible” from Joyce Meyer Ministries  
    • An exercise book or journal and a pen  
    • As an alternative to pen and paper, you could use a tablet or a similar electronic device 

    This study section composes of six parts:

    1. Discussion questions  

    2. Testimony  

    3.Praise and Worship 

    4. Suggested reading   

    5. Journal writing  

    6. Prayer

    These are just guidelines to help you structure your group time. Feel free to add or take out elements as you see fit! 

    Additionally, talk with your group and ask them for suggestions about what they would like to do. The more ideas, the merrier!  

    If you are studying on your own

    If you are not in a group and you would still like to apply this study section of Joshua 6 to your own private study of the Bible, that is also great! Quiet time with God is valuable time, and you can learn a lot about Him during it.   

    The following are a few suggestions of how you can adapt the 6 sections of this study guide for private study purposes:  

    1. Discussion questions:  

    You could start a journal and write down your thoughts to the listed discussion questions.   

    1.Testimony  

    You could use our suggested topics in the Testimony section as stimulation to write down all the wonderful things God has done in your life by starting a testimony journal or a blessings jar.  

    3.Praise and Worship 

    Applicable in a group setting as well as for private study purposes. 

     4. Suggested reading   

    Applicable in a group setting as well as for private study purposes.  

    5. Journal writing  

    Applicable in a group setting as well as for private study purposes.  

    6. Prayer  

    You can speak the prayer at the end of this section over yourself. Your words have power, especially if you speak them over yourself:  

    “ So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;  
        it shall not return to me empty,  
    but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,  
        and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”  

    Isaiah 55:11  

    Let’s look at the 6 sections of our study guide. 

    Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

    1.Discussion questions

    The following are some discussion topics l have thought of to assist you in delving deeper into the themes of Joshua 6.

    There are no right or wrong answers to these topics; they are merely suggestions to stimulate conversation and an exchange of views within your group. Also, feel free to ask others if they have ideas regarding this topic that they would like to discuss and go with it!  

    As each person experiences a different walk with God, it is interesting to hear other people’s perspectives and thereby learn from each other and grow together as a Christian community. Happy talking! 

    Possible discussion topics on Joshua 6

    1. As their first place of conquest in Canaan, God sent the Israelites to the most fortified city in the entire land – Jericho. There was no way they could avoid this if they were to take possession of the land. 

    Why do you think that God sent them to Jericho? How does this correspond to a difficulty that you are currently facing? 

    2. Watching the Israelites march around their walls for 7 days, the Canaanites must have thought their military strategy to be ridiculous. Most likely, they even jeered and mocked the Children of God.  

    Have you been met with disbelief whilst in the process of acting in obedience about something that God has put on your heart? Have others even mocked you for it?

    3. In Joshua 6:21, the Israelites destroy every living thing in Jericho according to God’s commands. 

    Considering what we learned in Part 1.3  about the devoted things – charam in ancient Hebrew – what do you think about God’s punishment of the Canaanites? 

    4. God told Joshua of the promise to bring down the walls of Jericho, however, He also made it clear that the Israelites were to do their part and fulfill His commands in absolute obedience (Joshua 6:2-5).

    Do you think that God would have brought the walls of Jericho down if the Israelites hadn’t obeyed Him?

    How much is our own obedience dependent on God’s fulfillment of His promises over our lives? 

    5. Whilst marching around the walls of Jericho, the Israelites refused to get distracted by the enormity of the challenge that lay before them. Instead, they kept their hearts and minds on God and focused on what He could do to help them (Joshua 6:8-16). 

    What are ways that we can keep our focus on God when faced with adversity, instead of becoming distracted by the enormity of our situation?

    6. Are you waiting on God to work in a particular situation in your life right now? Is He working in a way contrary to how you thought He would work? Is His solution to your problem far better than the solution you were originally hoping for?

      7. The Israelites praised God before they saw a change in their situation (Joshua 6:5Joshua 6:20). 

     How important a role does praise and worship play in your quiet time with God? Have you experienced a major breakthrough after dedicating time to God in praise and worship? Share this experience with the other members of your group. 

    8. We know that God makes the impossible, possible. He provides us with signs, wonders, and miracles (Hebrews 2:4). With one shout of praise, He made the impregnable walls of Jericho fall down (Joshua 6:20). 

    Could it be that when God blesses us with signs, wonders, and miracles in our own lives, that it still comes as a surprise to us? Why is that so, do you think? 

    Photo by Bewakoof.com Official on Unsplash

    2.Testimony

    Sharing your life experiences and the victories that God has vouchsafed you is a verbal expression of your gratitude. It gives not only our Father glory, but it encourages fellow Christians who may be going through the same trial that you have undergone.   

    “I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;
        in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”

    Psalm 22:22   

    Possible testimony topics on Joshua 6

    1. Aware that the Israelites were outmatched physically and that they lacked military experience, God gave the Israelites victory at Jericho through unconventional means – faith, obedience, endurance, courage, and praise. 

    Give a testimony of a time when God used unconventional means to give you victory in an area of your life.  

    2. Upon entering the land of Canaan, God gave the Israelite’s what looked like an impossible challenge – overcoming Jericho, a fortified city that was famous throughout the land for its impregnable walls.  And yet, God chose this city for the Israelite’s to conquer, when He could have made it easier for the Israelites to claim their inheritance. 

    Have you also faced what seemed like the biggest challenge in your life? How did you keep your eyes on God during this difficult period? Are there any Bible passages, books, or worship songs that you can share with the group that helped you and which will encourage others? 

    When God brought a breakthrough in your situation, what did you learn about Him from your experience? What did you learn about your own faith walk? 

    3. Prior to them entering Canaan, the Canaanites had already heard of the Israelite’s faith and knew of God’s power and provision for them (Joshua 2:9-11). The Israelite’s reputation as children of God preceded them.  

    How do you think that people recognize you as being a follower of Christ? What are some of the actions or mindsets you have that can encourage someone, who doesn’t know Christ, to pick up their cross and follow Him? 

    Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

    3. Praise and Worship

    Spending time with God in praise and worship is an integral part of every Christian’s faith walk.  By praising God, you are honoring His majesty, His goodness, His love, and His kindness.  

    By worshipping God, You are honoring His presence and are inviting Him to be a part of your life. Also, praise and worship is an expression of thanks for the many times He has offered you grace when you were undeserving of it. Alone for His gift of Salvation, He is worthy of our praise and worship! 

    Basically, if you love God, praise and worship is the way to show Him it! 

    The Bible calls for us to praise and worship God: 

    “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, 
        and his courts with praise. 
        Give thanks to him, bless his name.” 

    Psalm 100:4  

    “Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; 
        worship the Lord in holy splendor.” 

    Psalm 29:2 

    In Revelation 4:11, it states that we were created for the purpose of praising our Creator: 

     “You are worthy, our Lord and God, 
        to receive glory and honor and power, 
    for you created all things, 
        and by your will they existed and were created.” 

    Revelation 4:11 

    How to praise God every day

    So, how do you praise God?  

    As you would start a church service by giving thanks to God through praise and worship, you can start off your day, as well as your prayers, by thanking Him for all the wonderful things He has done for you, as Psalm 100:4 commands us. Also, you can thank Him throughout the day for the mercies He gives you, no matter how big or small they are.  

    Additionally, you can start a gratitude journal. I highly recommend “The 5 Minute Journal” from Intelligent Change. 

    How to worship God every day

    Worship is a physical manifestation of your praise. You can express yourself by dancing, marching around your home and praising Him loudly, playing an instrument, or singing to worship songs. Alternatively, you can bow down on your knees to Him and worship Him that way. God is pleased with every form of worship you express to Him. 

    Finally living a God-intentional life, where we do our best to abide by His commands, walk in love with others, and honor Him by respecting our bodies, hearts, and minds, is the best form of praise and worship that you can show God. 

    How to implement praise and worship in your Bible study group:

    You can start off your Bible Study session by each member of the group expressing gratitude to God for something that He did for them that week. 

    Following that, you can play some worship music and sing.  If someone in the group plays an instrument, it can be used as a musical accompaniment. Together with a tambourine, you have the making of a great worship session!  

    Alternatively, you could play worship songs from the internet or a CD. 

    Play worship songs with our Jacob’s Ladder Blog account on Spotify!

    If you would like to have a ready-made list of worship songs available to you at a mouse click, l have set up our own public Jacob’s Ladder Blog account on Spotify.  

    The music in our account is organized according to our themes for transparency, but feel free to jump between playlists as you please. 

    To find our account, type in Jacob’s Ladder Blog in the search bar at the top left hand corner of your Spotify screen.  

    If you don’t have Spotify and you would like to download it, here is the link to their main page. They offer free and premium accounts. 

     Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash

    4. Suggested reading

    Reading the Word of God teaches us about how much God loves us and gives us guidelines on how to live the life He wants us to live – a life of victory and joy. 

    The following is reading material that relates to the themes we have been discussing in Joshua 6. 

    Scriptures:

    Listening to God in the silence 

    The voice of God 

    Resting in God’s presence during adversity 

    Obeying God 

    Partnering with God 

    Faith 

    Courage 

    Endurance 

    Praise 

    Bible chapters on trusting God in the silence

    Interesting online articles relating to Joshua 6:

    charismamag.com, “How to Recognize God’s Still, Small Voice,” Dr. Mark Virkler.

    crosswalk.com, “How to Obey God, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It,” Dawn Wilson. 

    shegznstuff.com, “Identifying the Strongholds in Your Life (5 Areas to consider),” Segun Aiyegbusi. 

    ymi.today, “Three ways to push through a dry season,” Madeline Twooney.

    Inspirational quotes relating to Joshua 6:

    • “I believe that a trusting attitude and a patient attitude go hand in hand. You see, when you let go and learn to trust God, it releases joy in your life. And when you trust God, you’re able to be more patient. Patience is not just about waiting for something… it’s about how you wait, or your attitude while waiting.” – Joyce Meyer 
    • “I believe if you keep your faith, you keep your trust, you keep the right attitude, if you’re grateful, you’ll see God open up new doors.” –  Joel Osteen 
    • We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Mother Theresa 
    • “God will meet you where you are in order to take you where He wants you to go.” – Tony Evans 
    • “God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.” – Max Lucado 

    Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

    5. Journal writing

    Writing down all the good things that God has done in your life is a very powerful tool for a Christian. Not only does it help us to remember what God has done for us; reading over God’s past victories and blessings over you provide encouragement and empowerment in times of trouble. All you need to start is an empty exercise book and a pen. Alternatively, you can keep a digital journal.   

    There are a number of forms of journals, where regular writing in it will strengthen you in your walk with God:   

    •  A testimony journal   
    •  A dreams and visions journal   
    •  A blessings journal   
    •  My favorite –  a gratitude journal   

    Try to write once a day in your journal. All you need is 5-10 min to jot down everything good that has happened to you during the course of your day, no matter how trivial.    

    Meditate upon what you wrote and acknowledge that it is God who was responsible for these good things happening today, and not you or your own works.    

     ‘”Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.’   

    Zechariah 4:6 (NIV)   

    Journaling in your group:

    You can e.g. allot 10-15min for journaling in your group, and afterwards share your written thoughts with each other.   

    An alternate suggestion is to incorporate journal writing as part of your quiet time with God, then discuss your results when you meet as a group.   

    Journaling on Joshua 6

    1. From our reading section, write down 5 key scriptures that resonated with you. Read these every day for the following week and try and commit these to memory (Psalm 119:11).  

    2. Rahab was the only inhabitant of Jericho who sought repentance in the Lord when the two Israeli spies did a reconnaissance of Jericho. Her Salvation meant that she and her family survived the slaughter at Jericho and that her progeny carried the line of David, and ultimately Jesus.

    Write in your journal of your own journey to Salvation. How has being in a relationship with Jesus changed your life for the better? What blessings and opportunities has He provided you with that would not have been realized if you hadn’t have given your life to Christ? 

    3. Are you currently going through a season of adversity? Are you weighed down by worry, ill health, or fears for the future?  

     Write down all that is troubling you, and hand it over to God. Then, leave a few lines free at the end of your entry and place a bookmark or some kind of place marker on the page. 

     From personal experience, God will work in your situation and will give you breakthrough in the specific situation you have written about. Use that space that you have left free to write the date of that breakthrough and write down how He worked in your situation.  

    I assure you, that feeling of relief, victory over triumph, and confident reliance in God is amazing! Remember that feeling and tap into it when you are confronted with your next challenge. It will fortify your faith that God has helped you before, and He will do so again!  

    4. As an extension of No. 3, start a journal, where you can record every breakthrough that God has given you. I call mine my “Miracle Book”.

     As a friend once described it, writing in this book is akin to giving a deposit in the bank; every time you are feeling worried or overwhelmed, you can read over your previous entries and gain encouragement from all the times God has helped you in the past. By doing so, you make a spiritual  “withdrawal” that will fortify your faith that God will help you in your current situation.

    I do this and it gives me comfort and encouragement to keep my eyes on God, and watch with hope and expectation for His timing. He is a way maker and a miracle worker!

    Photo by fotografierende on Unsplash

    6. Prayer

    What is your personal Jericho? What situation are you currently facing that is burdening you and where you can’t see a feasible solution in sight? 

    Let us bring your concern to God in prayer, for what is impossible for man, is possible with God! 

    Normally l write prayers that can be read aloud in a study group; however this time around, I have written this prayer to be prayed over individually, out of respect for the sensitivity of individual situations. 

    That being said, if you are seeking God’s help as a family, or a church group, then feel free to use this prayer in a corporate capacity. 

    Some final pieces of advice before you speak our prayer:

    *Be specific in your prayer request. Tell God exactly what is challenging you currently. He, of course, knows what is going on in your life, but He wants a two-way communication with you.

    +Additionally, tell God how you are feeling. Give all your emotions to Him. In 2 Kings 20:5, it states that God hears our prayers and sees our tears; He will heal us.

    Prayer:

    Merciful Father, wonderful Savior, 

    Father, You came to me in the darkness, when l was dead to You in sin. You saved me through the blood of Your precious Son, in order that l may become Your child, a son or daughter of the Most High. 

    And now, that l am Yours, You will not loosen Your hold on me. You will not fail me nor forsake me in my hour of need. For my heart is heavy with worry, and my soul is weary with carrying around the burdens of the problems l face. I look around for a solution, but all l see are walls; l yearn for even the slightest sliver of light to fill me with hope of a better future.  

    Therefore, l come to You and lay my situation before You.* All the worry, fear, and anxiety that is threatening to overwhelm me, l lay at Your feet.+ I will cast my care on You and trust in You to help me.  

    Tell me how l can best obey You during this season of my life; teach me to walk with faith and trust that You are working in my situation, even when l don’t see any change. Give me courage to face each new day and provide me with endurance to keep on fighting the good fight, even when the odds seem against me.

    And lastly, put a new song in my heart every morning, in order that l may sing Your praise before l see the victory that You have already planned for me. 

    Precious Lord, You always make a way, where there is no way, for nothing is impossible for You! We thank You that by Your Spirit, You will make the walls that are surrounding me fall down.  

    In Jesus’ name, 

    Amen.

    Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

    We hope that you enjoyed our Bible study on Joshua in our series Jacob’s Ladder Bible Studies.   

    For our next theme, we will be studying 2 Samuel 9 and exploring the theme of grace through King David’s act of kindness to Mephibosheth, the son of David’s dear departed friend, Jonathan.   We would love for you to join us!   

    Until then, my friends, be safe and may God’s love and blessings be upon you!   

    Sources:

    bibleorg.com, “5. Destroying Fortresses; Victory at Jericho (Joshua 6:1-27)”  

    enduring word.com, “Joshua 6 – The fall of Jericho”  

    thetorah.com, “How Many Years Were the Israelites in Egypt?”  

    christiancourier.com, “Joshua 6:2, 16 – The Gift of Jericho”   

    desiringgod.org, “The Conquest of Canaan”  

    gotquestions.org, “Who was Joshua in the Bible?”  

    thejc.com, “What is Pesach?”  

    ligonier.org, „Why Did God Command the Children of Israel to Kill Every Man, Woman, and Child in the Promised Land?” 

    biblehub.com, „1 Kings 16:34“ 

    churchofjesuschrist.org, „Joshua 1-24” 

    answersingenesis.org, “The Walls of Jericho” 

    focusmagazine.org, „Devoted Things” 

    compellingtruth.org, „Why did God give the Mosaic Law? What is the purpose of the Mosaic Law?“ 

    rccg.org, „First fruit offering“ 

    biblestudytools.com, „First fruits“ 

    openbible.info, „Tithe In The New Testament” 

    compellingtruth.org, “What does the Bible say about spiritual strongholds?” 

    gotquestions.org, “Spiritual strongholds – what is the biblical view?” 

    christianity.com, “What Is a Tithe? – Meaning and Importance of Tithing in the Bible” 

    biblestudytools.com, „Tithing in the Bible“ 

    ryanhart.org, “27 Inspiring Bible Verses About Tithing and Offerings” 

    crosswalk.com, “Tithing in the Bible – Is Tithing for the New Testament Believer?” 

    gospelweb.net, “Partnership with God” 

    mmnbs.com, “Lesson 6 – Joshua 6” 

    studyandobey.com, “Inductive Bible Study on Joshua 6“ 

    foundationsforfreedom.net, “Bible Study Questions on Joshua 6,” Paul J. Bucknell.

    ministrymaker.com, “What is the Purpose of Praise and Worship?” Dr. Gary Linton.

    winninggodsway.com, “Winning God’s way” 

    allaboutgod.com, “All about…Praise and Worship” 

    biblestudytools.com, “Obedience Bible Verses” 

    bible.knowing-jesus.com,  “30 Bible Verses about partnership” 

  • Jacob's Ladder Bible Studies

    Part 1.3: Jacob’s Ladder Bible Study on Joshua 6

    Victory, first fruits, judgement, and salvation –  The occupation of Jericho



    Part 1.3: Understanding God’s Word – Bible commentary on Joshua 6

    Bible passages being discussed: (Joshua 6:21-27)

    In our previous instalment of our Bible study on Joshua 6, we learned that the Israelites were preparing to launch at attack on the fortified city of Jericho in Canaan. God had assured them victory at this first point of their three-part military plan to conquer the land (Joshua 6:2), whose occupation God had promised to them as their inheritance (Genesis 5:18-21).

     And yet to the human eye, the odds were severely stacked against the Israelite’s favor. Not only was Jericho considered impregnable, but the Canaanites were experienced warriors with an expanse of military resources at their disposal. The Israelites were former slaves, with no military experience, who had been wandering the desert for 40 years.

    However, God makes a way, where there is no way. He had a plan to thwart the military expertise and reinforcements of the Canaanites. However, in order to realize this plan, the Israelites were to obey God, trust Him, have faith, and praise Him with a great shout at the imposing walls of Jericho, before their victory was even realized.

    All this they did and as God promised, the walls of Jericho fell, and they were able to charge into the city and capture it (Joshua 6:5).

    “By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days.”

    Hebrews 11.30 (NRSV)

    However, although victorious, the Israelites still had work to do in Jericho, if they were to maintain their strategic advantage and take the land God had promised them from the hands of their enemies.

    God exacts His judgement on Jericho

    What the Israelites did after taking over Jericho was in accordance to the Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 13:12-18:

    „If you hear it said about one of the towns that the Lord your God is giving you to live in,  that scoundrels from among you have gone out and led the inhabitants of the town astray, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods,” whom you have not known,  then you shall inquire and make a thorough investigation. If the charge is established that such an abhorrent thing has been done among you, you shall put the inhabitants of that town to the sword, utterly destroying it and everything in it—even putting its livestock to the sword.  All of its spoil you shall gather into its public square; then burn the town and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. It shall remain a perpetual ruin, never to be rebuilt.  Do not let anything devoted to destruction stick to your hand, so that the Lord may turn from his fierce anger and show you compassion, and in his compassion multiply you, as he swore to your ancestors,  if you obey the voice of the Lord your God by keeping all his commandments that I am commanding you today, doing what is right in the sight of the Lord your God.

    The Mosaic Law had been provided to the Israelites by God to give them revelation of who He was, how to worship and honor Him, and live in a manner that was pleasing to Him. However, it had also been written to protect them and set them apart from other nations.

    God wanted the law to teach His people and others that He was mighty, holy, and to be feared. For that reason, there were ironclad decrees in place for anyone or anything that violated the holiness of God and the sanctity of His ways.

    This was especially the case for anyone or anything that had been set aside as being “devoted”. Devoted has two meanings: The ancient Hebrew noun cherem translates devoted as a “devoted thing” – a pleasing offering to God. The verb charam on the other hand, means “devoted to destruction”, God’s judgement.

    Because the Canaanites had indulged in wicked practices and had refused to devote (cherem) themselves to God, He declared them to be devoted (charam) to divine judgement. Canaan was God’s property to do with according to His will. God had made His decision and Jericho, with its inhabitants, buildings, and resources was doomed for destruction.

    Let’s us look at the ways that God instructed the Israelites to carry out his divine judgement on the Canaanites – the devoted.

    God commanded the Israelites to destroy every living creature in Jericho

    Prior to causing the walls of Jericho to fall down, God specifically instructed the Israelites to destroy every living thing that lived within the refuge of the fortress city walls in His name.

    “The city and all that is in it shall be devoted to the Lord for destruction.”

    Joshua 6:17 

    Why would a God, who is supposed to be merciful, demand that the Israelites execute His death sentence on the people of Canaan?

    If you notice in the above verse, the word “devoted” is expressed. God had a reason for hardening His heart towards the welfare of the Canaanites.

    God punished the Canaanites for their spiritual disobedience

    The slaughtering of the inhabitants of Jericho admittedly raises some challenging issues for Christians and non-Christians alike.

    The fact is, God cannot be in the presence of sinners. And the Canaanites were sinners, who kept idols and followed practices such as child sacrifices and sacred prostitution that were an abomination to God. Hence, God exacted a punishment for their spiritual disobedience. And this meant death.

    As we mentioned earlier, the Mosaic Law had specific instructions for any violation of the Holiness of God. Observe the following decrees:

    “No human beings who have been devoted to destruction can be ransomed; they shall be put to death.”

    Leviticus 27:29

    Exodus 22:20 provides further confirmation of this:

    “Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the Lord alone, shall be devoted to destruction.”

    The presence of the Canaanites also posed to spiritually sully the Israelite’s faith. The Israelite’s were God’s chosen people – His children. Thus, in order to sanctify them and maintain their spiritual virtue, God needed to eradicate the Canaanite threat. Hence, he made them devoted (charam).

    Burn the city and curse it

    God demanded that the Israelites burn the city. This was to not only ascertain the complete destruction of the city, but to also offer a burnt sacrifice (charam) to God.

    “All of its spoil you shall gather into its public square; then burn the town and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. It shall remain a perpetual ruin, never to be rebuilt.”

    Deuteronomy 13:16

    Furthermore, Jericho wasn’t supposed to re-built (Joshua 6:26): On God’s instructions, Joshua laid a curse on any man who tried to re-build the city.  Hence, a spiritual cleansing was necessary to prevent revenants from returning and resurrecting the city – which actually  happened when Hiel the Bethelite attempted to resurrect Jericho, most likely under the patronage of King Ahab (1 Kings 16:34).

    The Israelites were to stay away from the property of the Canaanites

    God specifically instructed the Israelites to keep their hands off any idols or any other objects that God had declared as accursed (Joshua 6:18). They were devoted artefacts and were meant to be destroyed. God knew that having such objects in their possession would taint the purity of the Israelites.

    Additionally, according to the Law, God would turn His anger upon anyone who violated this specific request: They in turn would be devoted.

    This is exactly what happened.

    Following the victory at Jericho, 3000 Israelites were sent to attack the city of Ai. However, they were forced to retreat by the inferior numbers of the men of Ai, who slaughtered 36 Israelites in the process (Joshua 1:5).

    It was an unnecessary loss, but one that occurred because one of the Israelites Achan had stolen a devoted object during the destruction of Jericho. By this act, he had caused God to remove His compassion and instead, incur His judgement (Joshua 7:11-13).

    Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

    Was it necessary for God to incur such merciless wrath on Jericho?

    It is true that the fate of the Canaanites at Jericho was harsh, but there were unique times in the Bible when God did this, for example with He destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:23-25).

    Moreover, the Canaanites were not only shut-in physically behind the city walls, their hearts were closed to God. Not at any point did the Canaanites consider surrendering to the Israelites, nor did they sound a parley. There weren’t even any deserters.

    In fact, the Canaanites were well prepared for a siege. The attack on the city took place around harvest time (Joshua 3:15) and within the walls was a spring to provide water for the inhabitants. There was no way that they were going to budge.

    If the Canaanites had repented, there may have been a chance that God could have spared their lives. After all, He spared those of Rahab and her family (Joshua 6:23). God always offers each of us a chance to enter into a relationship with Him – but it is up to us to take it.

    God didn’t want the Canaanites to become a future threat to the Israelites

    Whereas we have a limited perspective of our lives, God’s perspective supersedes ours. And He knew that if the Israelites didn’t clean up the city of Jericho when they claimed it, then the threat was real that any Canaanites could return to challenge their conquest of Canaan. This actually happened, as the Israelites spared the lives of a minority of the Canaanites, thinking that they might prove useful as servants.

    Instead of focusing on the wrath of God in this situation, it is important to remember that God is indeed good. Remember that He sacrificed His one and only son, in order that we may know Salvation and enjoy a loving relationship with God for all eternity. The biblical accounts that declare His love, mercy, and grace far outnumber God’s acts of judgement.

    Additionally, God offers to save anyone who comes to Him and repent (Romans 10:13). Only one person in the entire city of Jericho was prepared to open her heart for God – the prostitute Rahab.

    Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

    Rahab’s salvation paves the way for our own redemption

    Just as God commanded that the Israelites destroy Jericho in its entirety, so He also reminded them to honor their promise to Rahab and spare her life and the lives of her family (Joshua 6:17).

    Rahab had faithfully followed the instructions of the two Israelites by binding a scarlet cord to the window of her house. When the Israelites entered the city to kill the inhabitants, the cord at the window was a sign for them to spare the inhabitants of the people who were inside.

    Rahab’s house was built against the north side of the city wall, so there is postulation as to whether that part of the wall remained intact or if the wall somehow fell outwards.  Scientists claim that the entire wall construction consisted of an inner and an outer stone retaining wall, with Rahab’s house being part of a mud wall that had been constructed on top of the outer wall.

    Whatever the case may be, Rahab and her family survived the fall of the wall and the Israelites brought them out of the city and set them outside their camp. They were saved not only by Rahab’s kindness, but by her faith.

    “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.”

    Hebrews 11:31

    Rahab’s salvation and ultimate survival had a more consequential effect on the Israeli nation than anyone at the time could ever have imagined. Rahab secured the line of David when she married Salmon and had a son Boaz, who was David’s grandfather. Jesus was born out of David’s genealogy, which is why He is sometimes referred to as “the son of David”. 

    Therefore, Rahab’s salvation made it possible for us to know redemption from our sins through Jesus.

    The importance of giving God your first fruits

    Earlier in this Bible study, we discussed the difference between cherem and charam – the devoted things.

    Whereas the Canaanites had been set aside as charam – to be destroyed – God required that the treasures of Jericho be devoted to him as cherem – a pleasing offering. This offering was called the first fruits. Hence, the Israelites had to set aside all the gold, silver, and iron and bronze vessels and dedicate them to God’s treasury.

    “But all silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are sacred to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.”

    Joshua 6:19

    This decree of offering first fruits is established again in the Book of Leviticus:

    Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.”

    Leviticus 23:10

    So, where does the term “first fruits” actually come from?

    It derives from providing God with the choicest agricultural produce that your harvest brought in. It was about giving God the first and best of your blessings, as everything was created by Him and belongs to Him.

    “The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God.”

    Exodus 34:26

    Many of us know this as tithing, which we are encouraged to do in the New Testament, for example in Matthew 5:17-20 and 2 Corinthians 9:7.

    Although the city of Jericho had been given into the Israelite’s hands, it was not theirs to benefit from the riches of the spoils of war. God did not want them to use what belonged to Him to further themselves. God had enabled their victory and all the honor and glory belonged to Him.

    By giving the first fruits of Jericho to God, the Israelites would remember that it was not by their might nor power that Jericho had fallen into their hands, but by God’s spirit.

    “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”

    Zechariah 4:6

    Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

    This concludes the final part of our Bible commentary on Joshua 6. We hope you enjoyed reading our extended 3-part analysis of this fascinating Bible chapter.

    Next week, we will be moving on to Part Two – “Living God’s Word” of our Jacob’s Ladder Bible Study on Joshua 6.

    If you would like to know how you can apply the lessons of Joshua 6 to your everyday life, then feel free to join us for our next instalment, which is coming soon.

    Until then, stay be blessed my friends.

    Sources:

    bibleorg.com, “5. Destroying Fortresses; Victory at Jericho (Joshua 6:1-27)” 

    enduring word.com, “Joshua 6 – The fall of Jericho” 

    thetorah.com, “How Many Years Were the Israelites in Egypt?” 

    christiancourier.com, “Joshua 6:2, 16 – The Gift of Jericho”  

    desiringgod.org, “The Conquest of Canaan” 

    gotquestions.org, “Who was Joshua in the Bible?” 

    thejc.com, “What is Pesach?” 

    ligonier.org, „Why Did God Command the Children of Israel to Kill Every Man, Woman, and Child in the Promised Land?”

    biblehub.com, „1 Kings 16:34“

    churchofjesuschrist.org, „Joshua 1-24”

    answersingenesis.org, “The Walls of Jericho”

    focusmagazine.org, „Devoted Things”

    compellingtruth.org, „Why did God give the Mosaic Law? What is the purpose of the Mosaic Law?“

    rccg.org, „First fruit offering“

    biblestudytools.com, „First fruits“

    openbible.info, „Tithe In The New Testament”