Chapter 6 of the Book of Joshua gives us one of its most memorable accounts, that being none other than the Battle of Jericho.
Now, this tale has been told and retold for millennia, with many renditions of it over the years spanning not only documentary-style investigations of the account and Biblical commentaries, but also novels, films, and even comics ! As such, this will not be an exhaustive look at the account, but rather a refresher concerning some of the finer details of the matter, though even within this somewhat abridged look we may yet find some aspects that have long been overlooked…
Jericho was an impressive ancient metropolis. Identified by some scholars as being directly associated with the foregone Bet Yerah, “the House of the Moon God,” we can ascertain from archaeology some intriguing details. Though some researchers have made the claim that it was quite limited in size, others suspect, based on other remains, that it may have been as large as 50 acres in size; an outpost of a larger developed area. It possessed great defensive walls, strengthened with rectangular towers, built in three parallel and connecting runs, standing some 25 feet high, and possessing a southern gate made of basalt!¹
This impressive city was the capital of Amorites, and it was the strongest of seven nations occupying the Promised Land. Think back to Genesis 15, in which God gives to Abraham and his descendants the Promised Land. As Abraham is put into a deep and supernatural sleep, God makes His covenant with him, in the process revealing a prophesy:
“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Genesis 15:12-16)”
While much ground is covered there within the context of His covenant, the point relevant to this particular discussion is found there in the last line: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. You see, the Amorites were in the land then, during Abraham’s time, but the full extent of their depravity had not yet blossomed, but later, in Joshua’s time, Abraham’s descendants would see fully the extent of their vileness.
The Amorites, their greatest stronghold being found within the high walls of Jericho, were a wicked nation. Sexual perversion was thick in every aspect of their lives, and they were obsessively immoral in their culture. They sacrificed their children to their demonic gods, shedding innocent blood before idols, and casting screaming infants into raging furnaces. They were a wicked, wicked people, and their gods represented the epitome of this wickedness and vileness. On the whole, most these people, sadly, were too entrenched in their despicable ways to ever be able to crawl out.² Rahab and her family, as is often the case in these matter (consider Genesis 18 and how it seems to indicate that Lot and his family may have been the only righteous people in Sodom), may have been the only people living in that city that were decent enough, morally and even genetically, that were capable of being sparred.
One other aspect of their existence often goes unconsidered. The Amorites, like many of the occupiers of the Promised Land, were not purely human, but rather the descendants of their gods; they were the remnants of the Antediluvian giants, those hybrid creatures spawned from the unholy union of human women and fallen angels! Consider the words of Amos 2:9-10:
“Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath. Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.”
You see, it wasn’t just that these people wouldn’t turn against their wicked ways if given the opportunity, it was more than that. Their corruption ran as deep as their own genes. They were evil on a level that was unavoidable and ultimately unforgivable. The fullness of the Amorites, just as God had long prior told Abraham, had come into its fullness, and now it was time to cut those giants down to size!
The city of Jericho knew that the Israelites were waiting in the wings, preparing an assault against them, thus they had the city on lockdown, the gates shut tightly and not a soul was allowed to move into or out of the settlement. The Lord came to Joshua declaring “…See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.” Now, I’d like to point out here the phrase “mighty men of valour.” Sound familiar? It should if you have read Genesis 6, for this phrase in the original Hebrew [Gibbowr: Strong’s Number H1368 – גִּבּוֹר] is the same use in Genesis 6:4 (There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.), and it was very often a direct reference to those antediluvian giants, those hybrid creatures that were behind so much of the trouble in the early days of our world. Considering the words of Amos in regard to this, we are left with little alternative but to accept that the Amorites were large and inhuman creatures. Anyway, that aside, we can now move on…
The Lord continued with Joshua, giving him very specific instructions for how to take Jericho. He told him to take all of his warriors and march around the city one a day for six days, and with them following behind the warriors, was to go the Ark of the Covenant. Behind them all were to be seven priests armed with ram-horn trumpets. This was to go on for six days, a march around the whole of the city, with the warriors remaining quiet and without a word, and the trailing priests blowing continuously on their trumpets. The seventh day, though, was to be different.
Joshua was told by the Lord that on the seventh day he was to lead his people on a march around the City of Jericho not once but seven times now! Utter silence was to be kept for the first six circuits, but at the close of the seventh march, as the priests blew their trumpets Joshua told to his warriors that they were to shout along with them, and he told his people of how the Lord has cursed the whole city, and all in it, except for Rahab and her family because of their help. He told them not to take a thing for themselves as possessions, but only the silver and gold for it was consecrated as the Lord’s. With that, as the trumpets blew the final time, they listed to Joshua’s words: “…Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city. (Joshua 6:16)”
Amidst the blare of the horns and the shouts of the men, a new sound of crumbling stone and rumbling earth stretched across the land as the great walls of Jericho collapsed! The warriors rushed in, destroying all within that accursed place, killing with swords and burning with fire all that resided there, save for the Harlot and her family, whom were spared because of their good deeds towards the Israelites.
Some have attributed this stunning victory to a providential earthquake, a shattering, if regional, tremor that upset the foundations of those impressive fortifications. God set it in motion long before, they claim, and Joshua and his forces were in just the right time at just the right moment for this to occur as necessary. I see no reason why that could not be so, but given the timely appearance of the Stranger in the Night, that Captain of the Host of the Lord, who no doubt heralded the arrival of a great contingent of celestial warriors, who is to say that they were not the ones who took down those walls, an invisible army of powerful beings fighting on the side of the Israelites, delivering into their hands the imposing Amorites? However it happened, God was certainly behind it, and it was a conquest that was to be remembered forever!
- Negev, Avraham, ed. (2001), “Beth Yerah,” Archaeological encyclopedia of the Holy Land. pp. 88–89
- “The Fall of the Moon City,” Dr. David Livingston, davelivingston.com
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