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saith my lord unto his servant? Loose thy shoe from off thy foot;
15 And the captain of the for the place whereon thou standLord's host said unto Joshua, est is holy. And Joshua did so.
LECTURE 370. That we ought to put all our confidence in God. It was natural that the kings of the Canaanites should be dismayed, when they heard of what God had done for the children of Israel, in drying up the waters of Jordan. He who thus opened the way for his people, would be sure to bring destruction upon their enemies. And this is a reason which weighs much, with them that love not God, to cast a doubt upon the tidings of his love vouchsafed to them that love Him. They are unwilling to believe that God is the Helper of all such as put their trust in Him; because this compels them to reflect, that if so, He must also be the Adversary of such as persevere in setting Him at nought.
We have here another instance of God's fatherly protection extended to the Israelites, whilst they were suffering from the effects of circumcision. And we are apt to wonder, that God should have enforced this rite upon his people, at the very time of their entering an enemy's country; after allowing them so long to discontinue it, when they were comparatively safe in the wilderness. But this alone is sufficient reason to account for the time chosen to enforce a general circumcision; it served to establish in the minds of the people a conviction most needful for their safety and success, namely, that their dependence was wholly on the Lord. Their miraculous food of heaven would no longer be supplied; for they might now feed on the natural produce of the earth. But the miraculous protection of God would be needful as much as ever. And they must therefore be reminded anew to put their whole trust in God's help. The reproach of Egypt must be rolled away from off them. They must no longer be liable to be charged with conformity to the ways of the Egyptians, or with indifference to the ordained sign of their national covenant with Jehovah. They must also keep the passover, at the appointed time, “in the plains of Jericho." For it was for this very purpose that God would put them in possession of the land, even that therein they might commemorate his goodness, and shew forth his praise. And behold He now reveals Himself to Joshua, by the vision of a man standing “with his sword drawn in his hand,” and saying, “ as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come.” We see not with the eyes of flesh the great Captain of our salvation. But let us stedfastly look upon Him by faith. And in token of our sense of his présence and protection, let us observe all his ordinances to keep them, let us study all his commandments to do them. And let us feel assured that as long as He is our Helper, though we are weak, we still are safe, though we have no strength to contend with our enemies, we are still sure to overcome.
The siege of Jericho. 1 Now Jericho was straitly on before the ark of the Lord. shut up because of the children 8 And it came to pass, when of Israel: none went out, and Joshua had spoken unto the peonone came in.
ple, that the seven priests bear2 And the LORD said unto ing the seven trumpets of rams' Joshua, See, I have given into horns passed on before the Lord, thine hand Jericho, and the king and blew with the trumpets: and thereof, and the mighty men of the ark of the covenant of the valour.
LORD followed them. 3 And ye shall compass the 9 And the armed men went becity, all ye men of war, and go fore the priests that blew with the round about the city once. Thus trumpets, and the rereward came shalt thou do six days.
after the ark, the priests going on, 4 And seven priests shall bear and blowing with the trumpets. before the ark seven trumpets of 10 And Joshua had commanded rams' horns: and the seventh day the people, saying, Ye shall not ye shall compass the city seven shout, nor make any noise with times, and the priests shall blow your voice, neither shall any word with the trumpets.
proceed out of your mouth, until 5 And it shall come to pass, the day I bid you shout; then that when they make a long blast shall ye shout. with the ram's horn, and when 11 So the ark of the Lord ye hear the sound of the trumpet, compassed the city, going about all the people shall shout with a it once: and they came into the great shout; and the wall of the camp, and lodged in the camp. city shall fall down flat, and the 12 And Joshua rose early in people shall ascend up, every the morning, and the priests took man straight before him.
the ark of the Lord. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun 13 And seven priests bearing called the priests, and said unto seven trumpets of rams' horns them, Take up the ark of the before the ark of the LORD went covenant, and let seven priests on continually, and blew with the bear seven trumpets of rams' trumpets: and the armed men horns before the ark of the LORD. went before them; but the rere
7 And he said unto the peo- ward came after the ark of the ple, Pass on, and compass the Lord, the priests going on, and city,and let him that is armed pass blowing with the trumpets.
The confidence of the wicked. It is probable, though not expressly written, that the city of Jericho was one of those which refused to make peace with Israel ; see ch. 11. 19; and which the Israelites were therefore bound to destroy utterly; according to the law set forth in Deuteronomy, 20. 12, 13. But possibly it may not have had peace proposed to it, as there directed. It may have been excepted purposely, according to the will of God; to be an instance of his more signal wrath, by being at once devoted, without the offer of escape, to be cut off by the sword of his people. And indeed it makes no great difference in any point of view, whether He who knew what was in the hearts of these his sinful creatures, gave them up to destruction without offering them terms of escape, or whether as in the other cases He allowed the offer to be made, but hardened their hearts against accepting it. See ch. 11. 20. In either case they were ripe for the execution of his wrath. In either case they serve to give us this warning, that for those who persist in opposition to his will there is a time when no place for repentance can be found; God either cutting short at once the thread of life, or allowing them to linger on alive, when to all spiritual purposes they are dead.
It may the rather make us think, that God purposely made Jericho an exception from the method of procedure, which He had ordered for the invasion of Canaan, when we observe that He interfered, and caused this strong city to be taken, in a way never before heard of amongst men. Strange it is and painful, that so early in the history of mankind we meet with this amongst other symptoms of warlike practices, that men gathered themselves together in cities strongly fenced, protected by high walls, and gates, and bars, against the risk of assault from their fellow creatures. These fenced cities often served to protect the peaceable from the violent. And often they were the strong holds of the violent, to protect them from the consequences of preying on the peaceable. How straitly did the men of Jericho shut their city up! How closely did they bar their gates ! How confidently did they trust, that walls so strong and high as theirs would defy, at least for a long time, the utmost force of the children of Israel ! But listen to the Lord's words to Joshua: “See, I have given into thine hand Jericho!" Observe the singular directions set down for the fulfilment of this promise; a seven days' procession round the walls, and a shout at which the walls should fall down flat! Note how confidently Joshua acts upon the directions given him, and issues his orders to the priests and the people! And mark how readily and exactly both priests and people obey! And then who can doubt of the result? Who that is aware of the mighty works which God had already wrought for Israel, can trust in the walls of Jericho for safety, its gates of iron, or its bars of brass? Yet has not God denounced, in terms no less express, the vain confidence of the wicked? And notwithstanding all his threats, are there not men who still trust that they shall be safe in sin? Oh madness to hold out, when the sentence has
forth! Oh worse than madness to contend with God, and to think to escape his vengeance! The day is at hand when the walls must fall, and the city be taken; when the confidence of the wicked shall come utterly to an end, and they shall perish for evermore. God be praised, that as yet He gives them time to repent! God grant, that whilst they yet have life, they may find also place for repentance !
Jericho is utterly destroyed. 14 And the second day they and they took the city. compassed the city once, and 21 And they utterly destroyed returned into the camp: so they all that was in the city, both man did six days.
and woman, young and old, and 15 And it came to pass on the ox, and sheep, and ass, with the seventh day, that they rose early edge of the sword. about the dawning of the day, 22 But Joshua had said unto and compassed the city after the the two men that had spied out same manner seven times: only the country, Go into the harlot's on that day they compassed the house, and bring out thence the city seven times.
woman, and all that she hath, as 16 And it came to pass at the ye sware unto her. seventh time, when the priests 23 And the young men that blew with the trumpets, Joshua were spies went in, and brought said unto the people, Shout; for out Rahab, and her father, and the Lord hath given you the city. her mother, and her brethren,and
17 And the city shall be ac- all that she had; and they brought cursed, even it, and all that are out all her kindred, and left them therein, to the LORD: only Ra- without the camp of Israel. hab the harlot shall live, she and 24 And they burnt the city all that are with her in the house, with fire, and all that was therein: because she hid the messengers only the silver, and the gold, and that we sent.
the vessels of brass and of iron, 18 And ye, in any wise keep they put into the treasury of the yourselves from the accursed house of the Lord. thing, lest ye make yourselves 25 And Joshua saved Rahab accursed, when ye take of the ac- the barlot alive, and her father's cursed thing, and make the camp houshold, and all that she had; of Israel a curse, and trouble it. and she dwelleth in Israel even
19 But all the silver, and gold, unto this day; because she hid and vessels of brass and iron, are the messengers, which Joshua consecrated unto the Lord: they sent to spy out Jericho. shall come into the treasury of 26 And Joshua adjured them the LORD.
at that time, saying, Cursed be 20 So the people shouted when the man before the LORD, that the priests blew with the trum- riseth up and buildeth this city pets : and it came to pass, when Jericho : he shall lay the founthe people heard the sound of dation thereof in his firstborn, the trumpet, and the people and in his youngest son shall he shouted with a great shout, that set up the gates of it. the wall fell down flat, so that 27 So the LORD was with the people went up into the city, Joshua ; and his fame was noised every man straight before him, throughout all the country.
Compassion for sinners. 6 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” Heb. 11. 30. This is the application
of this history, as made in the New Testament. And we may do well to observe, that the faith of the Israelites was proved, not only by what they persevered in doing as commanded, but also by what they refrained from doing before the time appointed. It had been said, that the wall should fall down flat when all the people should shout on the seventh day. See ver. 5. And Joshua well knowing how much they would be tempted to put forth their voice too soon, had carefully forewarned them, “Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout.” Ver. 10. Accordingly they refrained, until the signal was given by command of Joshua. And therefore when the people shouted, "the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.” Let us learn that it is a part and province of faith to wait the Lord's time; to be not hasty or impatient, though diligent and active, in doing the Lord's work. However excellent may be the end we have in view, however great the good we have to compass, let us be as willing to wait, where God bids us wait, for success, as to speed for it, where God lets us succeed speedily.
We may imagine the dismay and horror of the men of Jericho, when their wall fell down, and the invading army marched up into their city, without any barrier whatsoever to prevent it. pity their mournful end; and may weep for their wives and children, slain with the sword, and buried in the ruins of their desolated homes. We may pity, consistently with devout acknowledgment that God was not unrighteous in putting them to death. We may weep, for they were members of one family with ourselves. They felt what we should feel, if visited with the like affliction. And though we know that they deserved to suffer this, and worse, as sinners against the God that made them, this thought only adds to our own regret in their behalf, only makes us the more sorry for them that suffered. Compassion for the misery which sinners undergo, is naturally suggested, by our sense of what we still endure, by reason of sin, ourselves. It is sanctioned, nay forcibly recommended, by the affecting example of our Lord, weeping over the city which had rejected Him, dying for the people that nailed Him to the cross. And as long as we are in the flesh, we must cherish this tender pity for sinners, whilst we cultivate no less diligently a determined abhorrence of sin. But the judgments of God, in such a case as this of Jericho, the city wholly burnt, and no one of its inhabitants, except Rahab and her family, saved alive, these things, done at his express command, by his own chosen people, these judgments thus fulfilled, prepare us to expect, that hereafter, when our Saviour shall come again as Judge, we also shall be enabled, consistently with love made perfect in our souls, to join in the triumph of the heavenly host over “the enemies of the cross of Christ.” Phil. 3. 18.' See Rev. 18. 20.