1Now Jericho was in a state of siege because of the presence of the Israelites. No one left or entered. 2And to Joshua the LORD said: I have delivered Jericho, its king, and its warriors into your power. 3a Have all the soldiers circle the city, marching once around it. Do this for six days, 4with seven priests carrying ram’s horns ahead of the ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, and have the priests blow the horns. 5When they give a long blast on the ram’s horns and you hear the sound of the horn, all the people shall shout aloud. The wall of the city will collapse, and the people shall attack straight ahead.
6Summoning the priests, Joshua, son of Nun, said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant with seven of the priests carrying ram’s horns in front of the ark of the LORD.” 7And he ordered the people, “Proceed and surround the city, with the picked troops marching ahead of the ark of the LORD.” 8When Joshua spoke to the people, the seven priests who carried the ram’s horns before the LORD marched and blew their horns, and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them. 9In front of the priests with the horns marched the picked troops; the rear guard followed the ark, and the blowing of horns was kept up continually as they marched. 10But Joshua had commanded the people, “Do not shout or make any noise or outcry until I tell you, ‘Shout!’ Then you must shout.” 11So he had the ark of the LORD circle the city, going once around it, after which they returned to camp for the night.
12Early the next morning, Joshua had the priests take up the ark of the LORD. 13The seven priests bearing the ram’s horns marched in front of the ark of the LORD, blowing their horns. Ahead of these marched the picked troops, while the rear guard followed the ark of the LORD, and the blowing of horns was kept up continually. 14On this second day they again marched around the city once before returning to camp; and for six days in all they did the same.
15On the seventh day, beginning at daybreak, they marched around the city seven times in the same manner; on that day only did they march around the city seven times. 16The seventh time around, the priests blew the horns and Joshua said to the people, “Now shout, for the LORD has given you the city. 17b The city and everything in it is under the ban. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are in the house with her are to live, because she hid the messengers we sent. 18c But be careful not to covet or take anything that is under the ban;* otherwise you will bring upon the camp of Israel this ban and the misery of it. 19All silver and gold, and the articles of bronze or iron, are holy to the LORD. They shall be put in the treasury of the LORD.”
The Fall of Jericho. 20As the horns blew, the people began to shout. When they heard the sound of the horn, they raised a tremendous shout. The wall collapsed,* and the people attacked the city straight ahead and took it.d 21They observed the ban by putting to the sword all living creaturese in the city: men and women, young and old, as well as oxen, sheep and donkeys.
22f To the two men who had spied out the land, Joshua said, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring out the woman with all her family, as you swore to her you would do.” 23The spies entered and brought out Rahab, with her father, mother, brothers, and all her family; her entire family they led forth and placed outside the camp of Israel. 24The city itself they burned with all that was in it;g but the silver, gold, and articles of bronze and iron they placed in the treasury of the house of the LORD. 25* Because Rahab the prostitute had hidden the messengers whom Joshua had sent to reconnoiter Jericho, Joshua let her live, along with her father’s house and all her family, who dwell in the midst of Israel to this day.
26h On that occasion Joshua imposed the oath: Cursed before the LORD be the man who attempts to rebuild this city, Jericho. At the cost of his firstborn will he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son will he set up its gates.*
27Thus the LORD was with Joshua so that his fame spread throughout the land.i
* [6:18] Under the ban: doomed to destruction; see notes on Lv 27:28; Nm 18:14; 21:3.
* [6:20] The blowing of the horns and the shouting, features of the ritual procession with the ark of the covenant (cf. 1 Chr 15:28; 2 Chr 5:11–14), are the people’s counterpart of the Lord’s theophany; cf. note on Jgs 5:4–5; and Jgs 7:15–22; 2 Chr 13:15. The Lord gives the victory; this is the theological point of the story.
* [6:25] The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew (1:2–16) presents Rahab the prostitute as the wife of Salmon (1:5) and so the ancestor of David (Ru 4:18–22) and of Jesus.
* [6:26] At the cost of his firstborn…its gates: this curse was fulfilled when Hiel rebuilt Jericho as a fortified city during the reign of Ahab, king of Israel; cf. 1 Kgs 16:34.
a. [6:3–5] Nm 10:2–9; 2 Sm 6:15–16.
b. [6:17] Jos 2:4; Dt 20:17; Heb 11:31.
c. [6:18] Jos 7:12, 25; Dt 13:18.
d. [6:20] 2 Mc 12:15; Heb 11:30.
h. [6:26] Jos 9:23; 1 Kgs 16:34.