March 21

Joshua 4-6


Entering the Land of Canaan                  Joshua 1:1-5:15, cont’d.


Joshua 4:1-24                     The Commemoration of the Crossing


Joshua 4:1-14-Joshua commands the people to build a "memorial" (:7) on the west side of the Jordan (Gilgal was about 1¼ miles from Jericho, 4:20) with 12 stones from the Jordan...and to also build one in the middle of the Jordan where the Priests were standing and holding the Ark of the Testimony.  This was to serve to remind them that God had dried up the Jordan just like He had dried up the Red Sea so that they might cross over (:6-7,21-24).  The people that were living in Canaan depended on the Jordan to provide a barrier against invading armies.  The people now held Joshua in respect, even as they had Moses (:14).

Joshua 4:24-The purpose of the crossing of the Jordan River in this manner was to be a testimony to the greatness of the LORD…so that He would be feared by all the people of the earth.


Joshua 5:1-12                     The Circumcision of the People


Joshua 5:1-When the kings of the surrounding nations heard about this event “their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer.”

Joshua 5:2-8-The men are circumcised.  It had not been done while they were in the wilderness (all males under the age of 38).  Circumcision was the physical sign that God had given Israel to identify their spiritual relationship with Him. Joshua 5:9-“Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.  So the name of that place I called Gilgal to this day.” “Gilgal” means “rolling”.  The very name of the city would be a reminder of what God had done for the people.


For an explanation of circumcision see:

For a Jewish explanation of circumcision see:

For an explanation of the process of Jewish rite of circumcision see:


Joshua 5:10-11-While they were camped there they celebrated the Passover.  And, for the first time, they ate some of the produce of the Promised Land.

Joshua 5:12-The manna ceased on the day after they ate the produce of the Promised Land.


Joshua 5:13-15                   The Commander of the Lord’s Army

The "captain of the host of the LORD" (an angel) appears to Joshua.  It was a sign from God that this was His war.


Conquering the Land of Canaan: 3 Phases   Joshua 6:1-12:24   


For a map showing Joshua’s Conquest of Canaan see:


Joshua 6:1-8:35                  Phase 1: Conquering Central Canaan


Joshua 6:1-27-Victory at Jericho…a strategic city for southern Canaan


Joshua 6:1-16-God gives Joshua directions for attacking Jericho.  The soldiers of Israel are to lead in a march around Jericho one time a day, for six days…accompanied by seven priests with seven trumpets and the ark (and then a rear guard of soldiers).  The people are to follow behind them (v. 7).  Then, on the seventh day they are to march around the city seven times in a row…and the priests are to be blowing the trumpets.  On the seventh trip around the city the priests are to blow a sustained note and at the command of Joshua, all of the people are to shout out loud at the same time.  This will cause the walls of the city to collapse…then their army can attack through the gaps.


…Dr. John Davis writes the following about the march:

“A single march around the nine-acre mound area probably took twenty-five to thirty-five minutes.  It should not be concluded that every Israelite took part in this march.  Such a feat would not only be impractical, but would be impossible. It is more probable to assume that the march was carried out by tribal representation.” (Conquest and Crisis, p. 45)

Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, H.L. Willmington p. 87


Joshua 6:17-19-The ban on taking any article from Jericho (everything belonged to the LORD...this was the first fruits of the land, 6:17).


What is meant by the term “ban”?

The Ban on “Devoted Things.” A special kind of curse was the ban or anathema. Strictly speaking, it was a vow to devote persons, animals, or objects under such a curse to God. In some cases the priests could use objects that had fallen under the ban (Nm 18:14; Ez 44:29), but that provision did not apply to living beings; all persons or animals under the ban were sacrificed or destroyed (Lv 27:28, 29). The ban was commonly used in Israel’s wars against its pagan neighbors. Sometimes everything was declared anathema (Jos 6:17–19), but normally only persons and heathen images were destroyed (Dt 2:34; 3:6; 7:2, 25, 26—not even the melted gold of images was to be kept). To violate the ban by preserving any part of the cursed things was to come under the ban oneself. Because Achan did not respect the ban placed upon Jericho, the terms of that curse came upon all Israel until Achan confessed and was executed (Jos 7).

Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 561). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, Logos Bible Software


The command to destroy all humanity in Jericho except Rahab and her household has been a problem to both the saved and the unsaved.  Why would the God of love and grace order this wholesale destruction? While God owes no living man an explanation for anything he does, there are nevertheless, certain factors undoubtedly involved.

(1) When a culture or a city (like that of Sodom, Gen. 19) reaches a certain point of perversion, the holiness and justice of God demand that he step in and destroy it. The entire Canaanite society had long since reached that point. According to 1 Kings 14:24, the entire land was populated with loathsome sexual perverts.

(2) God desired to keep Israel as pure as possible for as long as possible to assure the future purity of the line of Christ. Had Mary been an immoral woman, God would not and could not have used her.

Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, H.L. Willmington, p. 87


Joshua 6:20-21-The attack and total destruction of Jericho.


Is there any archaeological evidence that the walls of Jericho fell like the Bible says?


Joshua 6:22-25-Rahab and those with her are spared.

Joshua 6:26-A curse is placed on anyone who attempts to rebuild Jericho.


Did anyone ever try to rebuild Jericho and what about this curse?


Joshua 6:27-The fame of Joshua began to spread throughout the land.


Prayer: Father, You told the people to build a “memorial” when they crossed the Jordan River so that they would always remember that day.  It was intended to be a reminder of Your faithfulness and provision.  I pray that You would give me memorials in my life…markers of times when I have experienced Your work, Your ministry.  Don’t let me forget.  Surely another day will come when my faith will be tested…and I will need to remember Your faithfulness in the past.  It will encourage me and lead me to trust You, once again.  Help me to be able to transfer the lesson of faith from one incident to another.  Don’t let me forget…and have to learn to trust You over and over, again.

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