Marching Around Jericho

Marching Around Jericho

Marching Around Jericho.

So the Israelites have finally reached the Promised Land after 40 years of wandering. Moses has died and his disciple Joshua has taken command of the Chosen People. “Joshua was filled with the Spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. The people of Israel listened obediently to Joshua and did the same as when God had commanded Moses.” (Deut. 34:10-12). God had earlier commissioned Joshua to take over the leadership of the Israelites, and now the time has come to take the Land.

The people of Israel came to the banks of the Jordan River, and, because it was the spring season, the water was moving too swiftly and was too high to cross safely. (Joshua 3). Per Yahweh’s instructions, Joshua had the priests carry the Ark of the Covenant into the River and stand there. Immediately the water stopped flowing, and made a bank of water upstream. As the Ark was held by the priests on the water bed, the people all crossed the river on dry ground. There wasn’t a wet foot in the whole company. Joshua then told the leaders to build a stone memorial to signify this historic moment, so the people would not forget this miracle.

In Joshua 5, their first big test was the gateway city to the Promised Land, Jericho. Jericho was perhaps the oldest and best fortified city in the ancient world, with walls as high as 30 feet and as thick as 12 feet made of sun-dried bricks. In fact, it was the first walled city in recorded history. Jericho was considered to be invincible, because its walls were strengthened with at least one massive stone tower. Jericho was not, though, a huge city. The city’s population was around 3,000 people, and it was only about 9 acres. It only took about 30 minutes to march around its perimeter. Joshua was commander of the Israelite army, and was waiting for his marching orders from Yahweh. While camping near the city, Joshua was confronted by a mysterious Man, who stood there with a sword drawn in His hand. (5:13-15). This Man identified Himself as the Commander of Yahweh’s army. Joshua immediately fell on his face before Him and worshiped Him. Joshua asked this Commander what He had to say to him, and the first thing this Man said was to take off his sandals, for they were standing on holy ground. By no means was this a typical angel. Joshua wouldn’t have worshiped an angel, and the angel wouldn’t have allowed that to happen. Holy ground only occurs in the presence of God Himself. This Commander was indeed Jesus Christ, ready to give the unusual battle plans to Joshua.

As their conversation continued, “Yahweh said to Joshua, ‘See, I have given Jericho into your hand!” (6:2). And then the divine Commander Jesus, the Messenger of Yahweh, proceeded to lay out the head-scratching strategy for taking over Jericho. Joshua, filled with faith in this heavenly Commander, followed these instructions to the letter. With its dependence on the number 7, this is evidently the perfect battle plan:

… Have 7 priests, each bearing a shofar, march in front of the Ark of the Covenant, representing God’s presence. March around the city, continuously blowing the shofars, once a day for 6 days;

… On the 7th day, march around the city 7 times, with the priests blowing their shofars;

… At the 7th circuit around the city, Joshua will yell SHOUT!, and all the people will shout at the top of their lungs, and the walls will fall flat.

The Adventist Vocal Ensemble – Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho – YouTube

 A word about the shofar: The blowing of the shofar signifies the historical importance of Abraham’s faith on Mt. Moriah, on which a ram was caught in the thicket and sacrificed in place of beloved son Isaac. The Jewish identity and imagination was fed and nurtured on this story, and no doubt thought of Abraham and Isaac every time they heard the priest blast his shofar. The cow’s horn was forbidden, because the Jewish worship of the golden calf was a major, embarrassing blemish in their family history. There seem to be four scriptural reasons given in ancient Israel to blow the shofar: to summon faithful believers to God’s presence; to sound a battle alarm at God’s command, such as the destruction of Jericho by Joshua and his crew; to anoint a new king; and finally, for specific ceremonies when the shofar was centrally featured, such a Rosh Hashanah (the Feast of the Trumpets in Psalm 81), and the arrival of the Jubilee every 50th year, when all debts were forgiven and all slaves were freed.

And the rest is history, biblical history. Jericho was routed, Joshua and his people defeated the once invincible city. Joshua the human commander had the faith needed to submit to the divine Commander. And the battle was won. As far as history is concerned, the ancient ruins of Jericho have been excavated, and the archeologists have commented that it appears the walls fell straight down into the ground. It’s as if the walls were pushed from above downward from some powerful force. Interesting.

Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho / SPIRITUALS JAZZ ORCHESTRA – YouTube