Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible
JOSHUA CHAPTER 6
Jericho is shut up by the Israelites, Joshua 6:1. The people and seven priests with the ark go round it six days, Joshua 6:2-14. On the seventh day they go round seven times; the priests blow the trumpets; the people shout; the city accursed; nothing to be taken, but all consecrated; the walls fall down; men, women, and cattle destroyed, Joshua 6:15-21. Rahab and her kindred are saved, Joshua 6:22-25. Joshua curseth the man who should rebuild Jericho, Joshua 6:26.
Straitly shut up; not only by night, as before, Joshua 2:5, but constantly and diligently.
Who are in it, resolved and ready to defend it with their utmost strength.
Go round about the city once, at convenient distance, out of the reach of their arrows;
thus shalt thou do six days, every day once. This and the following course might seem ridiculous and absurd, and is therefore prescribed and used by God, that they might learn to take new measures of things, and to expect success not from their own valour or skill, or probable means, but merely from God’s appointment and blessing; and in general, not to judge of any of God’s institutions by mere carnal reason, to which divers of their ceremonies would seem no less foolish than this action; and that they might have a full demonstration of the all-sufficiency of that God who can do what he pleaseth, even by the most contemptible means.
Of rams’ horns, or, of the jubilees, i.e. such trumpets wherewith they were to sound in the years of jubilee, Leviticus 25:9. Either this, or one of the other six, was certainly a sabbath day; and it is not material which was it, for the command of the Lord of the sabbath was sufficient to legitimate any action.
When they make a long blast, as is usual in the close of musical sounds.
The wall of the city; not all of it, which was not only unnecessary, but inconvenient, and might have given the people better opportunity of escaping; but only a considerable part of it, where the Israelites might fitly enter; for Rahab’s house was not overthrown, Joshua 6:22.
Flat, Heb. under it, i.e. below the place they stood in; or, in its place: it was not battered down with engines, which would have made part of it fall out of its place; but it fell out without any force, and of its own accord, and therefore in the place it did formerly stand in.
God would have them armed, both for the defence of themselves and the ark, in case the enemies should make a sally upon them, and for the execution of the Lord’s vengeance upon that city.
rereward being opposed to the armed men, may seem to note the unarmed people, who were desirous to be spectators of this wonderful work.
The priests; which is rightly supplied here from Joshua 6:4.
Ye shall not shout; because shouting before the time appointed would be ineffectual, and so might give them some discouragement, and their enemies matter of insulting.
Shout, to testify your faith in God’s promise, and thankfulness for this glorious mercy, and to encourage yourselves and brethren, and to strike a terror into your enemies.
Accursed, i.e. devoted to utter destruction, Leviticus 27:21,29 Deu 12. This he spake by instinct or direction from God, as is evident from 1 Kings 16:34.
To the Lord; partly, because the first-fruits were appropriated to God; partly, lest the soldiers being glutted with the spoil of this rich city, should grow sensual and sluggish in their work; and partly, to strike the greater terror into the rest of their enemies.
Make the camp of Israel a curse, by provoking God to punish them for your sin, in which they may be one way or other involved; or at least upon the occasion of your sin: for, to speak properly God will not (the case of Adam’s sin only excepted) punish one man for the sin of another, as he hath oft declared; but the whole camp having sins of their own, God might take what occasion he saw fit to inflict this punishment.
Except that of which images were made, which were to be utterly destroyed, Exodus 32:20 Deuteronomy 7:25. Consecrated unto the Lord; being first made to pass through the fire, Numbers 31:22,23.
They shall come into the treasury of the Lord, to be employed wholly for the service or uses of the tabernacle, not to be applied to the use of any private person or priest.
Being commanded to do so by the sovereign Lord of every man’s life; and being informed by God before that the Canaanites were abominably wicked, and deserved the severest punishments. As for the infants, they were guilty of original sin, and otherwise at the disposal of their Creator, as the clay is in the hands of the potter; but if they had been wholly innocent, it was a great favour to them to take them away in infancy, rather than reserve them to those dreadful calamities which those who survived them were liable to.
The harlot’s house, together with the wall upon which it leaned, was left standing, either by a special favour of God to her, or for the reason alleged upon Joshua 6:5.
Till they were cleansed from the impurities of their Gentile state, and instructed in the Jewish religion, and solemnly admitted into that church in the usual way, to which Rahab’s good counsel and example had doubtless very much prepared them; and this stupendous work of God confirmed their purposes.
For that general command of rooting out the Canaanites seems to have had some exception, in case any of them had sincerely and seasonably cast off their idolatry and wickedness, and submitted themselves to the Israelites, as we shall see hereafter.
Adjured them; or, made them to swear; caused the people, or some in the name of all, to swear for the present and succeeding generations, and to confirm their oath by a curse.
Before the Lord, i.e. from God’s presence, and by his sentence, as they are said to east lots before the Lord, Joshua 18:8,10, i.e. expecting the decision from God. He intimates, that he doth not utter this in a passion, or upon a particular dislike of that place, but by Divine inspiration, as appears from 1 Kings 16:34. God would have the ruins of this city remain as a standing monument of God’s justice against this wicked and idolatrous people, and of his almighty power in destroying so great and strong a city by such contemptible means.
That riseth up and buildeth, i.e. that shall attempt or endeavour to build it. So this curse is restrained to the builder, but no way belongs to those who should inhabit it after it was built, as is evident from 2 Kings 2:18 Luke 19:1,5. The builder shall lose all his children in the work, the first at the beginning, others in the progress of it by degrees, and the youngest in the close of it, when the gates use to be set up. This was fulfilled, 1 Kings 16:34.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://beta.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25