Joshua 6

1Now Jericho
For location see Map5-B2; Map6-E1; Map7-E1; Map8-E3; Map10-A2; Map11-A1.
was shut tightly
Heb “was shutting and shut up.” HALOT 2:743 paraphrases, “blocking [any way of access] and blocked [against any who would leave].”
because of the Israelites. No one was allowed to leave or enter.
Heb “there was no one going out and there was no one coming in.”
2The Lord told Joshua, “See, I am about to defeat Jericho for you,
Heb “I have given into your hand Jericho.” The Hebrew verb נָתַתִּי (natatti, “I have given”) is probably best understood as a perfect of certitude, indicating the certainty of the action. The Hebrew pronominal suffix “your” is singular, being addressed to Joshua as the leader and representative of the nation. To convey to the modern reader what is about to happen and who is doing it, the translation “I am about to defeat Jericho for you” has been used.
along with its king and its warriors.
3Have all the warriors march around the city one time;
Heb “and go around the city, all [you] men of war, encircling the city one time.” The Hebrew verb וְסַבֹּתֶם (vesabbotem, “and go around”) is plural, being addressed to the whole army.
do this for six days.
4Have seven priests carry seven rams’ horns
Heb “rams’ horns, trumpets.”
in front of the ark. On the seventh day march around the city seven times, while the priests blow the horns.
5When you hear the signal from the ram’s horn,
Heb “and it will be at the sounding of the horn, the ram’s horn, when you hear the sound of the ram’s horn.” The text of Josh 6:5 seems to be unduly repetitive, so for the sake of English style and readability, it is best to streamline the text here. The reading in the Hebrew looks like a conflation of variant readings, with the second (“when you hear the sound of the ram’s horn”) being an interpolation that assimilates the text to verse 20 (“when the army heard the sound of the horn”). Note that the words “when you hear the sound of the ram's horn” do not appear in the LXX of verse 5.
have the whole army give a loud battle cry.
Heb “all the people will shout with a loud shout.”
Then the city wall will collapse
Heb “fall in its place.”
and the warriors should charge straight ahead.”
Heb “and the people will go up, each man straight ahead.”

6 So Joshua son of Nun summoned the priests and instructed them, “Pick up the ark of the covenant, and seven priests must carry seven rams’ horns in front of the ark of the Lord.” 7And he told
An alternative reading is “and they said.” In this case the subject is indefinite and the verb should be translated as passive, “[the army] was told.”
the army,
Heb “the people.”
“Move ahead
Heb “pass by.”
and march around the city, with armed troops going ahead of the ark of the Lord.”

8 When Joshua gave the army its orders,
Heb “when Joshua spoke to the people.”
the seven priests carrying the seven rams’ horns before the Lord moved ahead and blew the horns as the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed behind.
9Armed troops marched ahead of the priests blowing the horns, while the rear guard followed along behind the ark blowing rams’ horns. 10Now Joshua had instructed the army,
Heb “the people.”
“Do not give a battle cry
Or “the shout.”
or raise your voices; say nothing
Heb “do not let a word come out of your mouths.”
until the day I tell you, ‘Give the battle cry.’
Or “the shout.”
Then give the battle cry!”
Or “the shout.”
11So Joshua made sure they marched the ark of the Lord around the city one time.
Heb “and he made the ark of the Lord go around the city, encircling one time.”
Then they went back to the camp and spent the night there.
Heb “and they entered the camp and spent the night in the camp.”

12 Bright and early the next morning Joshua had the priests pick up the ark of the Lord.
Heb “Joshua rose early in the morning and the priests picked up the ark of the Lord.”
13The seven priests carrying the seven rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord marched along blowing their horns. Armed troops marched ahead of them, while the rear guard followed along behind the ark of the Lord blowing rams’ horns. 14They marched around the city one time on the second day, then returned to the camp. They did this six days in all.

15 On the seventh day they were up at the crack of dawn
Heb “On the seventh day they rose early, when the dawn ascended.”
and marched around the city as before – only this time they marched around it seven times.
Heb “and they went around the city according to this manner seven times, only on that day they went around the city seven times.”
16The seventh time around, the priests blew the rams’ horns and Joshua told the army,
Heb “the people.”
“Give the battle cry,
Or “the shout.”
for the Lord is handing the city over to you!
Heb “for the Lord has given to you the city.” The verbal form is a perfect, probably indicating certitude here.
17The city and all that is in it must be set apart for the Lord,
Or “dedicated to the Lord.”
To make the city set apart for the Lord would involve annihilating all the people and animals and placing its riches in the Lord’s treasury (vv. 19, 21, 24).
except for Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house, because she hid the spies
Heb “messengers.”
we sent.
18But be careful when you are setting apart the riches for the Lord. If you take any of it, you will make the Israelite camp subject to annihilation and cause a disaster.
Heb “Only you keep [away] from what is set apart [to the Lord] so that you might not, as you are setting [it] apart, take some of what is set apart [to the Lord] and make the camp of Israel set apart [to destruction by the Lord] and bring trouble on it.”
19All the silver and gold, as well as bronze and iron items, belong to the Lord.
Heb “it is holy to the Lord.”
They must go into the Lord’s treasury.”

20 The rams’ horns sounded
Heb “and the people shouted and they blew the rams’ horns.” The initial statement (“and the people shouted”) seems premature, since the verse goes on to explain that the battle cry followed the blowing of the horns. The statement has probably been accidentally duplicated from what follows. It is omitted in the LXX.
and when the army
Heb “the people.”
heard the signal,
Heb “the sound of the horn.”
they gave a loud battle cry.
Heb “they shouted with a loud shout.”
The wall collapsed
Heb “fell in its place.”
and the warriors charged straight ahead into the city and captured it.
Heb “and the people went up into the city, each one straight ahead, and they captured the city.”
21They annihilated with the sword everything that breathed in the city,
Heb “all which was in the city.”
including men and women, young and old, as well as cattle, sheep, and donkeys.
22Joshua told the two men who had spied on the land, “Enter the prostitute’s house
Heb “the house of the woman, the prostitute.”
and bring out the woman and all who belong to her as you promised her.”
Heb “and bring out from there the woman and all who belong to her as you swore on oath to her.”
23So the young spies went and brought out Rahab, her father, mother, brothers, and all who belonged to her. They brought out her whole family and took them to a place outside
Or “placed them outside.”
the Israelite camp.
24But they burned
The Hebrew text adds “with fire.”
the city and all that was in it, except for the silver, gold, and bronze and iron items they put in the treasury of the Lord’s house.
Heb “the treasury of the house of the Lord.” Technically the Lord did not have a “house” yet, so perhaps this refers to the tabernacle using later terminology.
25Yet Joshua spared
Heb “kept alive.”
Rahab the prostitute, her father’s family,
Heb the house of her father.”
and all who belonged to her. She lives in Israel
Or “among the Israelites”; Heb “in the midst of Israel.”
to this very day because she hid the messengers Joshua sent to spy on Jericho.
For location see Map5-B2; Map6-E1; Map7-E1; Map8-E3; Map10-A2; Map11-A1.
26At that time Joshua made this solemn declaration:
Normally the Hiphil of שָׁבַע (shava’) has a causative sense (“make [someone] take an oath”; see Josh 2:17, 20), but here (see also Josh 23:7) no object is stated or implied. If Joshua is calling divine judgment down upon the one who attempts to rebuild Jericho, then “make a solemn appeal [to God as judge]” or “pronounce a curse” would be an appropriate translation. However, the tone seems stronger. Joshua appears to be announcing the certain punishment of the violator. 1 Kgs 16:34, which records the fulfillment of Joshua’s prediction, supports this. Casting Joshua in a prophetic role, it refers to Joshua’s statement as the “word of the Lord” spoken through Joshua.
“The man who attempts to rebuild
Heb “rises up and builds.”
this city of Jericho
The LXX omits “Jericho.” It is probably a scribal addition.
will stand condemned before the Lord.
The Hebrew phrase אָרוּר לִפְנֵי יְהוָה (’arur lifney yehvah, “cursed [i.e., condemned] before the Lord”) also occurs in 1 Sam 26:19.
He will lose his firstborn son when he lays its foundations and his youngest son when he erects its gates!”
Heb “With his firstborn he will lay its foundations and with his youngest he will erect its gates.” The Hebrew verb יַצִּיב (yatsiv, “he will erect”) is imperfect, not jussive, suggesting Joshua’s statement is a prediction, not an imprecation.
27The Lord was with Joshua and he became famous throughout the land.
Heb “and the report about him was in all the land.” The Hebrew term אֶרֶץ (’erets, “land”) may also be translated “earth.”

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