Joshua Chapter Six

Works vs. Faith

My Christian Space

Chapter 5

Chapter 7

Other Studies

World Bible Challenge

In our study of Joshua chapter six, we look at the initial battle in the promised land and apply it to our lives as Christians.

Now, if God speaks to you in this study, you can save your own personal notes on this page. Then, every time that you look at this study, your notes will automatically be added to the page. To add a note or to display your previous notes, click on the YOUR NOTES button.

Joshua 6:1

Yericho had completely barricaded its gates against the people of Isra'el - no one left, and no one entered.

We see that Jericho knew that Israel was coming and they were afraid. The name of the city can mean either "City of the Moon" or "Place of Fragrance" and both are appropriate as they worshiped the moon gods and the area was known to have a sweet fragrance.

Joshua 6:2-5

ADONAI said to Y'hoshua, "I have handed Yericho over to you, including its king and his warriors. You are to encircle the city with all your soldiers and march around it once. Do this for six days. Seven cohanim are to carry seven shofars in front of the ark. On the seventh day you are to march around the city seven times, and the cohanim will blow the shofars. Then they are to blow a long blast on the shofar. On hearing the sound of the shofar, all the people are to shout as loudly as they can; and the wall of the city will fall down flat. Then the people are to go up into the city, each one straight from where he stands."

We remember from chapter five, that Y'hoshua was standing and looking at Jericho as he talked to Yeshua. He is given some very different orders for the coming battle. First, we see that the battle is already over as Yeshua says that they have already been defeated with fear. We see that all they had to do for the victory is to have faith in the completed work of the Lord and to give praise to Him. They are told to circle the city each day for six days and we are reminded that, throughout the Bible, the number six is related to the insufficiency of man's works and the need for grace. On the seventh day, they were to circle the city seven times, blow the shofars, and give shouts of praise. This would have been thirteen times that they circled the city and we are reminded that the number thirteen speaks of unity between Israel and God and, when that happens, great things take place. In Genesis 22, the Lord provided a ram that was stuck in the bushes by its horn as a replacement for Yitz'chak his son and the sound of the shofar was a reminder of God's provision. In this case, God provided a way into this city that had been closed up and fortified. After the walls came down, they were simply to walk in and take over. As Christians, we face the same battle that the Israelites did as Jericho was a symbol of man's efforts. They had crossed over into the promised land of being called God's people and now they faced the challenge of resting in Him. Why didn't God just have them march up and the walls fall down? The marching around the city was a display of faith as no military man would believe that you could take a city in such a manner. Like the Israelites, we simply have to walk with Yeshua Messiah by faith trusting in the fact that His payment for our sins was sufficient. Throughout the history of the church (and even more today) there has been a battle for believers to understand that the victory over sin and death has been won by the grace of God through Yeshua Messiah. Even so, Satan has been among the believers, especially in the leadership, trying to turn the tables on the plan and get us to cower in fear as the people of Jericho did. Since the fall of man, people have had an urge to work for what they get and Satan uses that to make us think that we have to work at this walk instead of resting in Yeshua Messiah. Our initial battle, as Christians, is to overcome this urge to add any works to salvation. When anything is added to the work of Messiah it is like saying that His sacrifice was not enough. We must ask ourselves whether our home (trust) is in Jericho (works) or is it with Yeshua Messiah by faith because it cannot be both.

Joshua 6:6 & 7

Y'hoshua the son of Nun called the cohanim and told them, "Take up the ark for the covenant, and have seven cohanim carry seven shofars ahead of the ark of ADONAI." To the people he said, "Move on, encircle the city, and have the army march ahead of the ark of ADONAI."

Y'hoshua relayed the instructions to the priests and to the army. He sent them out in the same manner as Moshe had done (see Numbers 10) with part of the army in front of the priests with the ark and some behind them.

Joshua 6:8 & 9

When Y'hoshua had spoken to the people, the seven cohanim carrying the seven shofars before ADONAI passed on and blew on the shofars, with the ark for the covenant of ADONAI following them. The fighting men went ahead of the cohanim blowing the shofars, while the rearguard marched after the ark, with incessant blowing on the shofars.

Why did they have to blow the trumpets? In Numbers 10, they were told to sound the trumpets when they were going into battle so that they would be remembered by God. This would have been like a royal procession and the people of Jericho must have wondered what was going on.

Joshua 6:10 & 11

Y'hoshua gave this order to the people: "Don't shout, don't let your voice be heard, don't let a single word out of your mouth until the day I tell you to shout; then you will shout." So he had the ark of ADONAI make a circle around the city, going around it once; then they returned to camp and stayed in the camp.

Imagine the sight as the entire army marched around the city without a word. The sound of the shofarss a constant reminder that the battle belonged to the Lord. They did as told and returned to camp for the night. If we, as Christians, would remember this example and let the Lord handle our battles, then, more people might come to know Him. The Israelite army marched around the enemy in silence much as Yeshua did when he was beaten, mocked, and even crucified. Too often, I find myself wanting to spring to the defense of Yeshua instead of trusting in Him to defend me. When that happens, the problem is usually with my tongue as James warned (see James 3).

Joshua 6:12-14

The next morning Y'hoshua got up early, and the cohanim took up the ark of ADONAI. The seven cohanim carrying the seven shofars ahead of the ark of ADONAI went on, continually blowing on their shofars, with the fighting men marching ahead of them and the rearguard following after the ark of ADONAI; all the while the blowing on the shofars was incessant. The second day, they went around the city once and returned to camp. They did the same for six days.

Leaders lead by example and we see that as Y'hoshua "got up early the next morning". We must remember that the soldiers and priests did not know how many days they were going to be doing this but they went ahead for six days. Each day they would return to camp with no visible change in the situation but, nevertheless, they obeyed and that is faith in action.

Joshua 6:15-17

On the seventh day, they got up early, at sunrise, and went around the city in the same way seven times. That was the only day they encircled the city seven times. The seventh time, when the cohanim blew on their shofars, Y'hoshua said to the people, "Shout! because ADONAI has given you the city! But the city and everything in it is to be set aside for ADONAI and therefore to be destroyed completely; only Rachav the prostitute is to be spared, she and everyone with her in her house, because she hid the messengers we sent.

On the final day which was also Shabbat, they circled the city seven times and we remember that the number seven refers to holiness and the purposes of God. Y'hoshua informed the soldiers that there would not be any plunder for them as everything was going to be set aside for God. All of the people and things in Jericho that could be destroyed were to be destroyed. Anything that could not be destroyed was going to be set aside for the Lord. He also remembered Rachav and their agreement to spare her and her household. True leaders will have integrity and will walk the talk.

Joshua 6:18 & 19

So you, keep clear of everything reserved for destruction. If you bring a curse on yourselves by taking anything set aside to be destroyed, you will bring a curse on the whole camp of Isra'el and cause great distress there. All the silver and gold, and all the brass and iron utensils are to be separated out for ADONAI and added to the treasury of ADONAI."

Here, we see the principle of the tithe at work. The tithe was an act of faith in trusting that the remaining part of something would be sufficient for the needs of the giver. This was the first city of the land of Canaan to fall to Israel and the tithe was always the first portion.

Joshua 6:20 & 21

So the people shouted, with the shofars blowing. When the people heard the sound of the shofars, the people let out a great shout; and the wall fell down flat; so that the people went up into the city, each one straight ahead of him; and they captured the city. They completely destroyed everything in the city with the sword - men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

Here, we see the ultimate in team work with everyone listening to God and doing as directed. The priests were faithful in blowing the shofars and the army did their part with a loud shout. God did His part and the walls came down. So, why did God have the priests and the army do anything? He could have just collapsed the walls without their help. God knows that we, as people have the desire to work and He lets us work in His plan. The key is in only doing the work that He sets before us and trusting Him to do the rest.

Joshua 6:22 & 23

Y'hoshua said to the two men who had reconnoitered the land, "Go into the prostitute's house and bring the woman out with all that she has, as you swore to her." The young men, the spies, went in and brought out Rachav with her father, mother, brothers and all she had; they brought out all her relatives and put them safely outside the camp of Isra'el.

Rachav had been spared and her entire family with her but they were still outsiders. We see that she had convinced all of her family to be in the proper place to be saved. That reminds us that our job, as Christians, is to get the lost into a position where they can be saved. That involves telling them about sin and its consequences as well as its cure.

Joshua 6:24 & 25

Then they burned the city to ashes with everything in it, except for the silver, the gold and the brass and iron utensils, which they put in the treasury of the house of ADONAI. But Y'hoshua spared Rachav the prostitute, her father's household and everything she had; and she has continued living with Isra'el from then until now; because she hid the messengers Y'hoshua had sent to reconnoiter Yericho.

Everything that could be burned was and those things that could not were set apart for the Lord. Rachav would eventually marry Salmon who tradition says was one of the spies. He was a leader of the tribe of Judah and together they are listed in the line of Yeshua (see Matthew 1).

Joshua 6:26

Y'hoshua then made the people take this oath: "A curse before ADONAI on anyone who rises up and rebuilds this city of Yericho: he will lay its foundation with the loss of his firstborn son and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son."

Why would God have Y'hoshua pronounce this curse? We must remember that Jericho was a symbol of man's works and its defeat was a work of God. Anyone who tries to undo the work of God (trust in man's works) will be cursed. This curse was fulfilled in the days of the wicked King Ahab. This was also the struggle of the early church as judaizers kept trying to bring the law back into the church and it continues to this day.

Joshua 6:27

So ADONAI was with Y'hoshua, and people heard about him throughout the land.

In the Hebrew text, the phrase "it came about" is repeated twice in this verse and it is to unite the two statements in the fact that it was because of the fact that the Lord was with Y'hoshua. Imagine what the rest of Canaan thought when they heard about how Jericho was defeated. The faith that was demonstrated by Y'hoshua glorified God and people knew that God was with him. We each should ask ourselves if the same is true of us. We have God living in us through the Holy Spirit but can people tell?

Read about what we do with the data we gather and the rules you agree to by using this website in our privacy policy.