F. JERICHO TAKEN AND CURSED; RAHAB SPARED (6:1–27)

1 Meanwhile Jericho had shut the gate and was so completely closed to the Israelites that no one could go out or in.

2 Then the Lord said to Joshua: “See, Jericho with its king, these mighty warriors, I have given into your power.

3 March around the city with all the men of war going around the city once. Do this for six days.

4 Meanwhile seven priests shall each carry a signal horn in front of the ark. On the seventh day you must march around the city seven times and then the priests shall sound the horns.

5 When they prolong the blast of the horn and you hear it sound, then all the people shall raise a great cry and the wall of the city shall fall flat and the people shall climb over it, each man going straight ahead.”

6 Then Joshua son of Nun called the priests and said to them: “Take up the ark of the covenant and let seven priests each carry a signal horn in front of the ark of the Lord.”

7 And he said to the people: “Advance and march around the city and let the armed men go in front of the ark.”

8 As soon as Joshua had spoken to the people seven priests each carrying a signal horn before the Lord advanced while sounding the horns, the ark of the covenant of the Lord following them.

9 The armed men went in front of the priests who sounded the horns and the rear guard followed the ark, with the horns sounding all the while.

10 But Joshua commanded the people: “Do not raise a shout, nor let your voice be heard, nor let a word come from your lips until the day I say to you: Shout! Then shout.”

11 So Joshua made the ark of the Lord go round the city, circling it once. Then they went to the camp and they lodged in the camp.

12 The next morning Joshua arose early; the priests took up the ark of the Lord.

13 The seven priests each carrying a signal horn in front of the ark of the Lord moved on and sounded the horns, the armed men going before them and the rear guard following the ark of the Lord, with the horns sounding all the while.

14 So they marched around the city once on the second day and returned to the camp. This they did six days,

15 On the seventh day they arose at daybreak and marched around the city in the same manner seven times, only on that day they marched around the city seven times.

16 At the seventh time, when the priests sounded the horns, Joshua said to the people: “Shout! for the Lord has given you the city.

17 The city with all that is in it is to be put under the curse and given up to the Lord, but only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in the house are to be spared, for she hid the agents we sent.

18 As for you, keep yourselves absolutely clean of the accursed things so that you do not, while carrying out the curse, take of the accursed things and so put the curse on the camp of Israel and bring trouble on it.

19 All the silver and gold and everything of bronze or iron are to be set apart for the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.”

20 Then, while the horns sounded, the people shouted. As soon as the people heard the sound of the horn they gave a loud cry and the wall fell flat, and the people stormed the city right from where they were and took it.

21 And they carried out the curse by putting to the sword all that was in the city, man and woman, young and old, ox, and sheep, and donkey.

22 But to the two men who had reconnoitred the land Joshua said: “Go into the house of the prostitute and bring out of it the woman and all who belong to her in keeping with your oath to her.”

23 So the young men who had served as spies entered and brought out Rahab, together with her father, her mother, her brothers, and all who belonged to her. They brought out all the members of her family and assigned to them a place outside the camp of Israel.

24 The city and everything in it was put to the torch, except that the silver and the gold and everything of bronze and iron were put into the treasury of the house of the Lord.

25 But Rahab the prostitute together with her family and all who belonged to her Joshua spared, and she has lived among the Israelites to this day, because she hid the agents whom Joshua sent to reconnoitre Jericho.

26 At that time Joshua laid down this oath: “Cursed before the Lord be the man Who undertakes to build this city, Jericho; At the cost of his oldest he will lay its foundation, And at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates.”

27 And the Lord was with Joshua and the report about him spread through the whole country.

Within the scope of the book of Joshua, this chapter means to celebrate the most outstanding instance of God’s “giving” of the land to Israel. This motif runs through the entire book. The story of the fall of Jericho, although beset by certain difficulties both as to the exact order of events and its basis in historical fact, must not be treated as a mere product of Israel’s faith. It is, we believe, historical narrative as well as “theological” presentation. 1  On the difficulties of fact just referred to, see the introduction to this commentary. Difficulties as to the order of events will appear less significant when the special nature of Hebrew narrative technique is kept in mind. 2 

1 Meanwhile Jericho 3  had shut the gate. The purpose of this verse is to describe the seemingly hopeless situation confronting Israel, a people unskilled in the kind of warfare that was now required. Thus the miracle of God’s giving of the city would stand out all the more clearly (see v. 2). Jericho was not open to penetration from the outside, neither could those inside communicate with the enemy (but cf. ch. 2). 4 

2 This chapter contains an interesting interplay of word and act. The chief emphasis lies on God’s act of giving the city into Israel’s hand, but much verbal explanation precedes and surrounds the act. When Jericho falls it will be an act of faith (Heb. 11:30) as well as an act of God. Faith will lay hold on the veracity of God’s word concerning the act he is to perform. 5  God assures Joshua that he will give (has given; cf. 1:3) the city of Jericho, its king, and its mighty warriors 6  into Israel’s power (see commentary on 1:2, 13; 2:9, 24; cf. Deut. 2:24; 3:2). This is a feature common to narrative of the “holy war” (see commentary on 2:8–11).

The fact that the king of Jericho (cf. 2:2) is mentioned, plus the mighty warriors, may be an indication that armed resistance was planned, and probably offered, after the city walls fell (see 24:11). All this serves to stress the Lord’s sovereign power in giving Jericho to Israel.

3–5 March around 7  the city. Verse 3 states the basic idea of the march around Jericho, with various details supplied in following verses. The cities of Palestine in this period were not large. Jericho measured c. 225 by 80 meters and its circumference was 600 meters. 8  The length of the column that marched around the city is not known. This would depend also on its depth. In view of the large numbers of marchers one must assume that the head of the column had long returned to the camp when the others were still marching.

There is no need to think of the magical rites of circumambulation, rituals which, upon the magical view, would bring about the desired end efficaciously. 9  The biblical world view stands opposed to that of magic, although the popular mind of the Israelite may at times have shown traces of magical thinking. Superficial similarities must be checked carefully as to their true nature. In this instance the command to march around the city comes from the Lord. This precludes magical manipulation. 10 

This is also clear from the role of the ark in this whole episode. 11  The number seven (seven priests each carry a signal horn) is doubtless symbolical, recalling God’s works at creation. The Lord who creates also works in the history of redemption. On the seventh day he will act on his people’s behalf. 12 

The priests are to blow the signal horns 13  which they carry with them. This may be meant as a reminder of the theophany at Mount Sinai (Exod. 19:16, 19; cf. also 2 Sam. 6:15). It has martial overtones and suggests war and victory (cf. also Rev. 8:6).

What v. 4 does not state can be supplied readily from vv. 6–11. A military contingent goes around the city once each day. The heavily armed go first (vv. 7, 9), followed by the priests with the horns on which they blow constantly (v. 8), the ark (also borne by priests), and finally a rear guard. 14 

The people are to shout when the priests prolong the blast of the horn. As becomes clear from the later description (vv. 16, 20), the horns will fall silent after the seventh turn around the city. Joshua will then give an explicit signal to raise the shout, but Israel will not begin to shout until the horns blow again. The great cry (Heb. terû‘â) is the battle cry raised for intimidation of enemies and for encouragement of the friendly forces (see Num. 10:9; 23:21). It is used in connection with the ark in 1 Sam. 4:5; 2 Sam. 6:15 (see also Num. 29:1; Ps. 33:3). In Ps. 89:16 (Eng. 15) those who “know” this triumphant cry are called “blessed,” but a false trust in the Lord and his ark may result in defeat (1 Sam. 4:5ff.).

At the cry of the people the wall will fall flat, not outward or inward, but downward. It will collapse. Wherever the people will be at that time they will climb over 15  the collapsed wall, each man going straight ahead.

6–7 Joshua carries out the divine command by giving charges to the priests (v. 6) and the people (v. 7). 16  In keeping with Hebrew narrative style these verses contain details not mentioned in the report of the Lord’s words to Joshua. This narrative technique, skilfully using the same elements and adding new points as the narrative goes along, serves to build up to an effective climax which will not occur until v. 20, when the wall’s collapse is actually reported. The ark is called alternately ark of the covenant and ark of the Lord (see commentary on 3:3). Both terms, when properly understood within their context, should guard against a magical understanding of this solemn procession around Jericho.

On account of the ark’s central significance, it is mentioned first, then the priests who are to carry a signal horn in front of it. Verse 7 speaks of the armed contingent 17  which is to precede the ark. Although the city would be taken without regular combat the symbolical presence of these armed men was meant to cause fear in the hearts of Jericho’s inhabitants. Moreover, the application of the curse (v. 21) would require the presence of armed personnel; see also 24:11.

8–14 Verse 8 speaks first of the ark’s role in the procession, even though v. 7 reports that the armed men are to head the column. This narrative feature highlights the importance of the ark in this event. Moreover, the narrator is conscious of the close association between ark and deity: the priests who carry the seven horns do so before the Lord, for the ark is the Lord’s ark, and he is as if identified with it (cf. Num. 10:35–36; 2 Sam. 6:14). The ark, moreover, follows the priests as if by locomotion, although actually borne by priests (see commentary on 4:11; cf. Num. 10:33). 18 

9 Verse 9 introduces the presence of a rear guard. Thus bit by bit the details of the order of march are supplied; they are not secondary elements supplied by a later hand. The procession will take place in complete silence, with only the horns giving forth their sound. The people are to wait for a signal from Joshua, whereupon they are to raise the shout.

11 The emphasis upon the ark’s role is continued in v. 11. Joshua makes the ark go round 19  the city; all other elements must take second place. When the march is done the people return to the camp at Gilgal (see 5:10). Since the city was small it must be assumed that the vanguard had long returned when the others were still marching. To make the most of the dramatic buildup before the actual climax of the story, the account now describes the events of the second day. Again one sees the prominence of the ark and reads of the solemn sounding of the horns as priest, vanguard, and rearguard march around the city. The very style of narration suggests the inexorable fate which will soon befall the doomed city, “given” beforehand into Israel’s hand by the Lord. One can almost see it happen. Day after day the same line of march, the same awe-inspiring sounding of the horns. In the midst of it all is the Lord, invisibly present under the symbol of the ark.

15–19 A sudden acceleration in the narrative begins in v. 15. The reader is now brought close to the dramatic moment of the collapse of the wall. Instead of a lengthy description of the seven circuits of the march around the town only a terse statement that this sevenfold encirclement took place is given. Still, there is another masterful delay of the action (vv. 16–19) in a manner comparable to the account of the crossing (see commentary on 3:14). Perhaps Joshua had spoken the words recorded here at an earlier time. At any rate, their insertion at this point increases the suspense upon the reader. 20 

Joshua tells the people to raise the shout (see vv. 5, 10). Again there is a reminder of God’s “giving” of the city (v. 2; cf. 8:1, 18; Judg. 3:28; -4:7; 7:9, 15; 1 Sam. 23:4, etc.). The symbolical nature of Jericho’s fall, historical though it be, should not escape the reader. The very first city of the promised land was to be Israel’s by a mere shout raised at the command of Joshua, the Lord’s servant. The symbolical nature of this event is also expressed by the fact that the curse applied to Jericho and its inhabitants is to be most severe. This curse (Heb. ḥerem) meant that something or someone was absolutely and irrevocably consecrated so that it could not be redeemed (Lev. 27:28–29). It also meant that the object (person) was sentenced to utter destruction (Deut. 13:16). Both connotations are intended here. 21  The ḥerem was applied in various degrees (cf. Deut. 13:16; 20:10–18; 1 Sam. 15:3). In Jericho’s case the most rigorous form would apply, by way of example. Transjordan had also experienced this curse (Josh. 2:10; Num. 21:21–35; Deut. 2:34; 3:4). The temporal destruction by the curse must be seen as a prelude and a foreshadowing of a more final judgment that God will mete out to those whose unrighteousness will be full (cf. Gen. 15:16) in the end of days (see Jer. 51:63–64; Rev. 18:20–21). Since the ḥerem originates as a general rule from an order given by the Lord, one cannot correctly call it an expression of a “sub-Christian” sentiment, 22  lest he involve God in a gradual evolution from cruel to benign. 23 

Though the judgment of God is uppermost in the fate that will befall Jericho, Rahab’s rescue from this judgment, in keeping with the promises recorded in ch. 2, is a singular instance of God’s goodness shown to a member of the Canaanite population, whose doom had been foretold as early as Gen. 15:16. Rahab will be saved because of what she did for the agents sent to Jericho. Her faith (Heb. 11:31), which “worked” (Jas. 2:25), will “justify” her. Her house will share in this rescue from disaster (see 2:13).

The report of Joshua’s words concerning the curse and what it entails is completed in vv. 18–19. Israel is to keep itself clean from the accursed things, which had been devoted to the Lord (Lev. 27:28). As executors of the curse 24  Israel itself would become subject to the curse and thus bring trouble 25  on the camp, if it partook of the devoted things. This strict prohibition explains the story to follow in ch. 7. The only things that were to be kept from destruction were the metals—silver, gold, and everything of bronze and iron. These were to go into the treasury of the Lord (see Num. 31:54; cf. 1 K. 7:51; 1 Chr. 29:8). This expression is general enough to designate all that is required for carrying out the Lord’s service. All these materials would be set apart (Heb. qōḏeš, lit. “a holy thing”; see commentary on 5:15). 26 

20–21 The narrative now comes to its decisive point. On the exact sequence of events see also the commentary on 6:4, 5. The people shout while the horns sound. Joshua’s signal as well as the long blast upon the horn makes them raise the war cry. Just as in v. 15, there is now a sudden acceleration of the pace of the narrative, showing the master’s hand. The slow, deliberate description of the city’s seven-day encirclement, coupled with a lengthy exposé of what the people are to do when the miracle occurs, makes place for the quick strokes of the brush applied in v. 20: the horns, the shout, the falling flat of the walls, the storming of the city and its capture; all is recited in just a few brief words. 27 

The people make a frontal assault upon the city and put to death everything living. The fall of the walls had been predicted (v. 5). Josh. 24:11 suggests a measure of resistance within Jericho. What happens to the king of Jericho is not stated here, but may be inferred from 8:2, 29; 10:1.

22–25 The contrast noted in the report of Joshua’s words (see vv. 17–18), in which there is an alternation between curse and rescue, is also present here. In the midst of the scene of destruction, exemplary of what would happen to Canaan as a whole, is the description of Rahab’s rescue. As noted above, the life of a person put under the curse ordinarily could not be redeemed. Thus the sparing of Rahab and her family takes on unusual significance. The signal of the red cord, agreed upon in 2:12–21, no longer plays a part in this rescue. It had been chosen when the precise nature of Jericho’s capture was not yet known. Rahab’s rescue is connected with two things: the oath the two men had sworn to her (v. 22; cf. 2:12), and the kind act she had performed (6:17). The two are obviously related and are already connected in ch. 2.

The narrative alternates between a description of Jericho’s destruction and the story of Rahab. The interweaving of these two motifs serves to give added emphasis to the contrast.

As indicated in 2:12–13, not only Rahab herself but also her “house” is rescued from the curse. A similar solidarity between individual and family, but in the opposite sense, is found in the next chapter. The reason why Rahab and her family are assigned a place outside the camp of Israel lies in their ceremonial uncleanness (Lev. 13:46; Deut. 23:3), aggravated in this instance by the curse to which they ordinarily would have been subject.

In the meantime the story of Jericho’s complete destruction is continued (v. 24). Fire is applied to the doomed city to wipe its memory from the earth. The metals specified in v. 19 are put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. 28  By way of conclusion, v. 25 states explicitly that Rahab (here called the prostitute; see also 2:1) is spared and that she and her family have lived among Israel to this day. Many take this expression to be an indication of the etiological nature of the story (see commentary on 4:9; 5:9). Rather, it is used to confirm the historical veracity of the event just reported. 29  The purpose of this verse is to celebrate the goodness of God exhibited in Rahab’s rescue. 30  Perhaps the writer also means to remind later readers that at some significant points in Israel’s history, other non-Israelite stock was added to the nation’s life. Purely racial components have never defined the people of God under the “old dispensation.” What Israel was it had because of God’s grace (cf. Deut. 7:6–8). 31 

26–27 By means of a solemn oath 32  Joshua finally pronounces a curse upon Jericho so that it will never be rebuilt. This rule of permanent desolation of a wicked city applied also to any city in Israel that had departed from the covenant (Deut. 13:16). Curses and blessings must be seen as potent and efficacious means whereby the Lord intends to affect the weal and woe of those who fear him and those who do not. 33  This must not be viewed in the sense of a magical incantation. 34  Nevertheless, the effect of curses and blessings is no less great than that which magic ascribes to them. Bearer of the powerful “word” is the Lord, who created the world by speaking only a word (Ps. 33:6). No one can curse if the Lord does not curse (Num. 23:8a). In that conviction Joshua now pronounces a curse on Jericho. The city’s fall was symbolical of what would happen to Canaan as a whole.

In this instance, a curse is pronounced on him who builds, i.e., fortifies and renders strong (cf. IK. 15:17; 2 Chr. 11:5; 14:5–6 [Eng. 6–7]) the once destroyed city. 35  This curse is not meant for those who, as is known from 18:21; Judg. 3:13; 2 Sam. 10:5, used the site of Jericho for habitation. Only he who will use Jericho as a city with a “foundation” and “gates” will be affected by the curse. Of him it is said that at the cost 36  of his oldest he will lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates. The exact meaning of this curse is disputed. It is clear that 1 K. 16:34 reports the fulfilment of the curse. 37  Some have held that foundation sacrifices were practiced at that time, but others question this. 38  Even if in Ahab’s days such sacrifices were practiced, this may have been due to Phoenician influences. The translation “at the cost of” leaves the question open as to the precise mode in which the sons of the builder of Jericho ended their lives.

The account of Jericho’s fall concludes with a reference to the Lord’s being with Joshua and to the spreading of his fame through the whole country. This agrees with one of the recurring emphases of the book (see 1:5; 3:7; 4:14; see also 2:10–11; 5:1). There is a certain triumphant note to the book of Joshua. Israel’s leadership is in good and firm hands. This is attested to by God’s great act in bringing about Jericho’s fall. No hero-worship is intended, however, as can be seen from the franké expose of Joshua’s weakness in ch. 7; cf. also 9:14–15.

 

FOOTNOTES
 

 1 H. H. Schmid, Die Steine und das Wort (Zurich; 1975), p. 161, treats these two as mutually exclusive. The story of ch. 6, according to Schmid, is not “Geschichtbericht sondern eine theologische Erzählung”; but biblical theology, if it is to be theology at all, must have a basis in fact. See also R. de Vaux in J. P. Hyatt, ed., The Bible in Modern Scholarship, p. 16; and cf. the introduction to this commentary.

 2 B. J. Alfrink, Josué, in his comments on vv. 6–7 rightly calls attention to Hebrew narrative style which tends to supplement what is at first incompletely reported. See also G. C. Aalders, OT Kanoniek, p. 166, who notes “the peculiarities of OT historiography.” In spite of the obvious solution of supposed difficulties and contradictions in this narrative, commentaries continue to call attention to them, e.g., J. M. Miller and G. M. Tucker, The Book of Joshua. Cambridge Bible Commentary (New York: 1974), pp. 53f. It is far better to emphasize the independent, creative enterprise of the final compiler. An example of this approach may be found in M. Kessler, CBQ 32 (1970), pp. 543–554.

 3 Jericho is usually identified with Tell eṣ Ṣultan, on the western outskirts of the modern city of Jericho, but questions of identification of ancient sites continue to concern scholars. The question remains whether the Jericho that has been excavated is that of Joshua. Several other tells can be found in the vicinity. See “Jericho,” in W. H. Gispen et al., eds., Bijbelse Encyclopedie.

 4 The Hebrew uses two participles, one Qal active, the other Pual passive. (NEB “bolted and barred”; A. Gelin “Hermétiquement close.”) The words “closed to” could also be rendered “closed on account of.”

 5 See the worthwhile discussion in K. Gutbrod, Das Buck vom Lande Gottes. Die Botschaft des AT 10 (Stuttgart: 1951), p. 52.

 6 The same expression (Heb. gibbôrê heḥāyil) is used in 1:14; see H. Eising on ḥāyil in TDOT IV (Grand Rapids: 1980).

 7 The Hebrew imperatives “march around” and “do this” are in the second person plural and singular, respectively. Israel is alternately viewed as a single unit or as a plurality. It may also be that Joshua’s responsibility is stressed in the second instance.

 8 Jerusalem, captured by David from the Jebusites, measured 400 by 100 meters, Shechem 230 by 150 meters. See M. Noth, The OT World (E. T. 1966), p. 147.

 9 A. Gelin, Josué, p. 43, calls attention to such a magical rite as a possible background to the command given; but he also points out that the intended malediction is expected to take effect in the Lord’s name. Thus magic is ruled out.

 10 The LXX translates Heb. sāḇaḇ, which we have rendered “march around,” by “surround,” “station around.” Although this rendering is possible, it is less likely here in view of what follows. More is meant than a mere encirclement.

 11 It is true that scholars have often placed the ark within the orbit of semi-magical operations; see, e.g., J. Dus, “Die Analyse zweier Ladeerzählungen des Josuabuches (Jos. 3–4 und 6),” ZAW 72 (1960), pp. 107–134. For a critique, cf. M. H. Woudstra, The Ark of the Covenant From Conquest to Kingship, passim.

 12 On the Talmudic understanding of this, and a possible reference to the sabbath, cf. H. Freedman, Joshua. Soncino Books of the Bible (London: 1950), p. 27.

 13 The account uses different terms for the horns: šôp̱erôṯ hayyôḇelîn (4a); šôp̱ārôṯ (4b); qeren hayyôḇēl (5). None of these words corresponds exactly to Eng. “trumpet,” Heb. ḥaṣoserâ.

 14 See S. Attema, “Het Boek Jozua,” in J. H. Bavinck and A. H. Edelkoort, eds., Bijbel in de Nieuwe Vertaling (Baarn: 1958), p. 127.

 15 Heb. Verb ‘ālâ, also used for a cultic “going up” to a sanctuary. This is used as support for understanding this story in terms of “a ritual of a seven day festival”; see Schmid, op. cit., p. 150. However, the verb need not mean more than a climbing up to a higher location. It is also used in the sense of assault upon an enemy; see Num. 13:31; Judg. 1:1; 12:3; 1 Sam. 14:10.

 16 The Hebrew Ketib reads “and they said,” i.e., the priests; so ASV.

 17 Heb. ḥālûṣ, lit. “stripped” for action; cf. 4:13; cf. R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, p. 216.

 18 The opening words of v. 8 are not found in the LXX, which continues the imperative mood of v. 7: “and let seven priests advance.” With C. J. Goslinga, Jozua, p. 69, we prefer the MT.

 19 The LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate translate: “and the ark went around,” thus stressing once again the ark’s semi-independence of movement.

 20 Alfrink, op. cit., suggests that at the end of the sevenfold encirclement the entire marching column, with the heavily armed contingent closest to the city, may have stood around Jericho’s walls, ready to raise the shout. This is a plausible reconstruction of events.

 21 The Arabic root ḥ-r-m means “to prohibit,” “to declare unlawful”; cf. the English word harem.

 22 J. Bright, The Authority of the OT, pp. 243–251, rightly links the “holy war” concepts of the book of Joshua, including the ḥerem, with the eschatological battle enjoined upon the Christian (Eph. 6:10–20; 2 Tim. 2:1–4), but his use of the term “sub-Christian” (p. 245) in connection with the OT curse is unfortunate and confusing. Gutbrod, op. cit., p. 56, rightly states that the ḥerem teaches that God, the Creator, may also destroy his creatures (Jer. 18:6; 45:4; Rom. 9:20; see Jesus’ words in Matt. 10:28; Luke 13:3). Also in the NT God continues to be the God who is to be feared (2 Cor. 5:11). Cf. J. Calvin, Commentaries on the Book of Joshua, pp. 96f.; M. H. Woudstra, Calvin’s Dying Bequest to the Church, pp. 31–33.

 23 W. F. Albright’s comments on this practice (From the Stone Age to Christianity [Garden City: 21957], pp. 279f.) are useful but do not come close to doing justice to the theological implications of the ḥerem.

 24 Many prefer to read ṯaḥmeḏû (“you covet”) in place of ṯaḥarîmû (“You carry out the curse”). But, as J. H. Kroeze points out (Het Boek Jozua, p. 84), this destroys the pun.

 25 Heb. ’āḵar; see 7:26b, “valley of Achor.”

 26 Life in Israel was divided into “holy” and “profane” (i.e. common, accessible) zones. Zech. 14:20–21 sees this line of demarcation disappear in the great future. All will be permeated with the spirit of the holy. This time, however, has not yet arrived in Joshua’s day. Things devoted to destruction will be holy to the Lord.

 27 Did natural causes (earthquake, heavy rainfall?) have anything to do with this sudden collapse of the walls? Belief in miracle does not rule out the interplay of natural causes. Nevertheless, the story is silent about this. It means to celebrate God’s act. On the archaeological controversy regarding the remains of Jericho, see commentary on 6:1, 2; cf. K. M. Kenyon in AOTS, pp. 264–275; K. A. Kitchen, “Jericho,” in NBD, pp. 611–12. P. Auvray is no doubt correct when assigning to archaeology a valuable but limited role; see L. Pirot, ed., Dictionnaire de la Bible, Suppl. 4, col. 1138: “L’archéologie ne repond pas a toutes les questions.”

 28 The LXX omits “house of.” Is it anachronistic? J. Bright (IB II, p. 582) thinks so, as do many others. However, see 9:23. The structure where the sacred tent was housed was called “house” (1 Sam. 1:7). Moreover, Ps. 27:4, 6 makes clear that “house” and “tent” are sometimes used interchangeably. Hence the expression means no more than that these metal objects were stored for the purpose of maintaining the worship at the sanctuary.

 29 On the implications of the use of this recurrent phrase for questions of authorship and date cf. Aalders, op. cit., p. 164. Goslinga, op. cit., p. 14, believes that the expression as used here must mean that Rahab was still living when this was written. The NEB understands the words to mean no more than that Rahab “settled permanently among the Israelites.”

 30 In all likelihood the Rahab mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus (Matt. 1:5) is the one of the Joshua story; see the discussion in KD, pp. 72f. Jewish tradition held that Rahab was married to Joshua and that she became the mother of eight prophets; see C. Cohen, “Rahab,” in C. Roth, ed., Encyclopedia Judaica, XIII (Jerusalem: 1971), col. 1513.

 31 See Gutbrod, op. cit., p. 54.

 32 Heb. Hiphil, “Joshua caused to swear,” probably with participation of the people who were to say, “Amen” (Deut. 27:15).

 33 On the significance of oaths in Israelite society, cf. J. Pedersen, Israel: Its Life and Culture I-II, p. 441. Pedersen’s work is useful as an analysis of the psychological background of OT revelation, but it never actually recognizes the revelation factor. It also fails to estimate correctly the maturity of religious thought in Israel.

 34 Some biblical theologies consider the lines between religion and magic to be fluid; e.g., T. C. Vriezen, An Outline of OT Theology, p. 20.

 35 The structure of the Hebrew is rhythmically poetic. The curse formula may have had wider application.

 36 Heb. preposition ḇe, “at the price of.”

 37 The LXX already reports this outcome in ch. 6, though with some difference in the names employed.

 38 See de Vaux, op. cit., p. 442.