Joshua 6:26, 27: Joshua’s Cursing of Jericho

Verse 26:[1] And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, (1 Kings 16:34) Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.

[He uttered a curse, וַיַּשְׁבַּע[2]] He swore (Septuagint, Syriac, Jonathan, Munster); he adjured (Montanus, Pagnine, Vatablus), understanding either them (Dutch, English), or the sons of Israel (Vatablus). He cursed by adjuration (Junius and Tremellius). He uttered a curse, namely, with the name of God invoked. Thus Numbers 5:19, 21 (Masius).

Adjured them; or, made them to swear; caused the people, or some in the name of all, to swear for the present and succeeding generations, and to confirm their oath by a curse. Before the Lord, that is, from God’s presence, and by his sentence, as they are said to cast lots before the Lord, Joshua 18:8, 10, that is, expecting the decision from God. He intimates, that he doth not utter this in a passion, or upon a particular dislike of that place, but by Divine inspiration, as appears from 1 Kings 16:34. God would have the ruins of this city remain as a standing monument of God’s justice against this wicked and idolatrous people, and of his almighty power in destroying so great and strong a city by such contemptible means.

[Who would raise and build, אֲשֶׁ֤ר יָקוּם֙ וּבָנָ֞ה][3]] Who shall arise and build (Malvenda, Vatablus, Tigurinus, Pagnine), that is, who shall attempt, study, and try to restore Jericho (Vatablus). Who, rising up, would build (Munster). Who shall arise, that is, who shall be born, or is going to be (Masius). Who shall exist: thus, No one has arisen (that is, existed) greater than John[4] (Drusius). Others: he shall raise; thus Jerome and Theodotion were reading יָקִים, to cause to rise[5] (Masius).

[In his firstborn (thus most interpreters), בִּבְכֹרוֹ] With his firstborn (Vatablus); at the cost of the firstborn (Junius and Tremellius); unto the ruin of his firstborn (Castalio); for his firstborn, or, because of his firstborn (Dutch); with the death of his first born (Arabic), that is, all his sons shall die while he is building this city, from the eldest to the youngest (Munster, Vatablus, Masius, Drusius, Lapide, Bonfrerius). For, as the foundations of edifices are wont to be laid first, so the gates are wont to be set up last (Masius). The reason for this malediction was not that the place of itself was to be cursed, for the holiest of men, Elijah, Elisha,[6] etc., did not shun this city after its restoration, neither did Christ[7] (Masius): But, 1. it was the completion of the curse, that what had been destroyed would not be revived (Bonfrerius): 2. that it might stand as an eternal monument of Divine power and vengeance (Masius, Lapide, Maimonides in Masius). Thus the Romans were ordaining with a frightful curse that overthrown Carthage would not be inhabited forever[8] (Masius). Strabo relates in Geography 13 that similar dire curses are offered by Agamemnon concerning Ilium,[9] and by Crœsus concerning Sidene.[10] Now, God held the dire curses of Joshua as established, 1 Kings 16:34 (Grotius).

That riseth up and buildeth, that is, that shall attempt or endeavour to build it. So this curse is restrained to the builder, but no way belongs to those who should inhabit it after it was built, as is evident from 2 Kings 2:18; Luke 19:1, 5. The builder shall lose all his children in the work, the first at the beginning, others in the progress of it by degrees, and the youngest in the close of it, when the gates use to be set up. This was fulfilled, 1 Kings 16:34.


Verse 27:[11] (Josh. 1:5) So the LORD was with Joshua; and (Josh. 9:1, 3) his fame was noised throughout all the country.

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּשְׁבַּ֣ע יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ בָּעֵ֥ת הַהִ֖יא לֵאמֹ֑ר אָר֙וּר הָאִ֜ישׁ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֤ר יָקוּם֙ וּבָנָ֞ה אֶת־הָעִ֤יר הַזֹּאת֙ אֶת־יְרִיח֔וֹ בִּבְכֹר֣וֹ יְיַסְּדֶ֔נָּה וּבִצְעִיר֖וֹ יַצִּ֥יב דְּלָתֶֽיהָ׃

[2] שָׁבַע, to swear, is here in the Hiphil conjugation, which frequently conveys a causative sense.

[3] יָקוּם, to arise, is in the Qal conjugation.

[4] Matthew 11:11; Luke 7:28.

[5] In the Hiphil conjugation, which frequently conveys a causative sense.

[6] See 2 Kings 2.

[7] See Luke 19:1, 5.

[8] From 264 to 146 BC, Rome and Carthage engaged in three bloody wars, as each sought expansion of its power in the western Mediterranean.

[9] Agamemnon is the semi-mythical commander-and-chief of the Greek military forces during the Trojan War.  Strabo relates that it was rumored that Agamemnon, having destroyed the city, pronounced a curse upon the site.

[10] A similar thing is related by Strabo concerning Crœsus, the sixth century BC King of Lydia, and his cursing of anyone attempting to rebuild the ruins of Sidene, a city of Lycia.

[11] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־יְהוֹשֻׁ֑עַ וַיְהִ֥י שָׁמְע֖וֹ בְּכָל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

Joshua 6:24, 25: The Salvation of Rahab and Her House, Part 2

Verse 24:[1] And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: (Josh. 6:19) only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.


Verse 25:[2] And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and (see Matt. 1:5) she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.

[And he caused to live, הֶחֱיָה[3]] He vivified, that is, he preserved unharmed (Vatablus, similarly Masius, Drusius, Lapide). Others: he gave a livelihood, that is, fields and possessions whence they might be able to sustain life (Kimchi in Masius). Question: How were they able to preserve her against the commandments of God, Exodus 23; 34? Responses: 1. That Law was to be moderated by this equity, that unto those that might seek peace, and abjure their false gods, it might not pertain. See more on Joshua 11 (Masius). It was dispensed with here (Lapide).

And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, etc.: For that general command of rooting out the Canaanites seems to have had some exception, in case any of them had sincerely and seasonably cast off their idolatry and wickedness, and submitted themselves to the Israelites, as we shall see hereafter.

[Unto the present day] There is a similar thing in Joshua 4:9. Was this added by Joshua, or by Ezra (Grotius)?

[1] Hebrew: וְהָעִ֛יר שָׂרְפ֥וּ בָאֵ֖שׁ וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֑הּ רַ֣ק׀ הַכֶּ֣סֶף וְהַזָּהָ֗ב וּכְלֵ֤י הַנְּחֹ֙שֶׁת֙ וְהַבַּרְזֶ֔ל נָתְנ֖וּ אוֹצַ֥ר בֵּית־יְהוָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: וְֽאֶת־רָחָ֣ב הַ֠זּוֹנָה וְאֶת־בֵּ֙ית אָבִ֤יהָ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לָהּ֙ הֶחֱיָ֣ה יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ וַ֙תֵּשֶׁב֙ בְּקֶ֣רֶב יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל עַ֖ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה כִּ֤י הֶחְבִּ֙יאָה֙ אֶת־הַמַּלְאָכִ֔ים אֲשֶׁר־שָׁלַ֥ח יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ לְרַגֵּ֥ל אֶת־יְרִיחֽוֹ׃

[3] Here חָיָה, to live, is in the Hiphil conjugation, which frequently conveys a causative sense.

Joshua 6:22, 23: The Salvation of Rahab and Her House, Part 1

Verse 22:[1] But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, (Josh. 2:14; Heb. 11:31) as ye sware unto her.

[He said] I translate it, he had said, when he gave the other instructions, verse 17. For it is not believable that Joshua declared these things with the slaughter already proceeding (Masius).

The harlot’s house, together with the wall upon which it leaned, was left standing, either by a special favour of God to her, or for the reason alleged upon Joshua 6:5.


Verse 23:[2] And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, (Josh. 2:13) and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred (Heb. families[3]), and left them without the camp of Israel.

[Youths, הַנְּעָרִים] Thus the Hebraism calls whatever ministers/servants (Munster, Kimchi in Masius, Drusius). It is said of Joseph in his thirtieth year;[4] of Rehoboam in his forty-first year;[5] of Joshua in his fifty-fifth year[6] (Masius).

[Kindred, מִשְׁפְּחוֹתֶיהָ] Relatives, or families. Whence it is gathered that here kinsmen were many, who had fled to this despised little woman, as soon as she showed the hope of salvation: while, on the other hand, not even the two sons-in-law of Lot followed their father-in-law, a man of the greatest authority, forewarning of truth things, Genesis 19:14, neither did Abraham’s father follow him across the river.[7] This is a type of our Joshua, that is, Christ, to whom, when Rahab, that is, the Church, had submitted herself, the nations then fled in masses for the sake of salvation (Masius).

[Outside the camps] Which were holy on account of the Ark and the Divine presence (Malvenda, Bonfrerius). While they are purified from the ancient rites and contagion of their Gentile state (Menochius), and are solemnly received into the people of God, as in Numbers 31:19 (Malvenda, similarly Masius). Thus Religion’s dignity is preserved, and the shame of superstition is shown, since such are kept out of the camps (Masius). Although women were not circumcised, it is certain that they were wont to be, as it were, dedicated to God by other ceremonies (Masius). Rahab had not yet forsworn Gentilism and professed Judaism (Bonfrerius). But you will say that that multitude was not kept from the camps, Exodus 12:38. Responses: 1. After the construction and consecration of the Ark, God willed that He be esteemed as present in a peculiar manner in the camps. 2. There is no doubt that those resigned themselves to God, and were initiated through circumcision at mount Sinai (Masius). They made them to remain outside of the camp, that is, until they might be joined to the people, Rahab and the women by baptism, the men of her house by circumcision (Grotius).

Without the camp of Israel: Till they were cleansed from the impurities of their Gentile state, and instructed in the Jewish religion, and solemnly admitted into that church in the usual way, to which Rahab’s good counsel and example had doubtless very much prepared them; and this stupendous work of God confirmed their purposes.

[1] Hebrew: וְלִשְׁנַ֙יִם הָאֲנָשִׁ֜ים הַֽמְרַגְּלִ֤ים אֶת־הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ אָמַ֣ר יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ בֹּ֖אוּ בֵּית־הָאִשָּׁ֣ה הַזּוֹנָ֑ה וְהוֹצִ֙יאוּ מִשָּׁ֤ם אֶת־הָֽאִשָּׁה֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לָ֔הּ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּעְתֶּ֖ם לָֽהּ׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֜אוּ הַנְּעָרִ֣ים הַֽמְרַגְּלִ֗ים וַיֹּצִ֡יאוּ אֶת־רָ֠חָב וְאֶת־אָבִ֙יהָ וְאֶת־אִמָּ֤הּ וְאֶת־אַחֶ֙יהָ֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לָ֔הּ וְאֵ֥ת כָּל־מִשְׁפְּחוֹתֶ֖יהָ הוֹצִ֑יאוּ וַיַּ֙נִּיח֔וּם מִח֖וּץ לְמַחֲנֵ֥ה יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

[3] Hebrew: מִשְׁפְּחוֹתֶיהָ.

[4] Genesis 41:12:  “And there was there with us a young man (נַעַר), an Hebrew, servant to the captain of the guard; and we told him, and he interpreted to us our dreams; to each man according to his dream he did interpret.”  Compare with verse 46.

[5] 2 Chronicles 13:7:  “And there are gathered unto him vain men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young (נַעַר) and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them.”.  Compare with 2 Chronicles 12:13.

[6] Exodus 33:11:  “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.  And he turned again into the camp:  but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man (נַעַר), departed not out of the tabernacle.”

[7] See Genesis 11:24-32.

Joshua 6:20, 21: The Destruction of Jericho

Verse 20:[1] So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that (Josh. 6:5; Heb. 11:30) the wall fell down flat (Heb. under it[2]), so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.

[With the people shouting, etc.] Hebrew: and the people shouted, and they sounded with trumpets.[3] It is a hysteron proteron: For the sounding of the trumpets was the signal to the people to shout. Hence Vatablus in his notes, The people shouted after they had sounded with horns (Bonfrerius). The people was howling while they were sounding the trumpets, that is, when they began to sound. Note the faith of the people, who with such a glad acclamation had celebrated the triumph, as having the victory in hand, before they had seen the wall fall (Masius).


Verse 21:[4] And they (Deut. 7:2) utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.

[And they killed all, etc.] Or, and they destroyed whatever was, etc. Note the singular restraint of the soldiers, that, although in need of all things, they abstained in such great abundance of all things, having been commanded with one little word, etc. But, that the elderly, children, infants, etc., are killed, it could appear to be cruelty and brutality. Responses: 1. The judgments of God (the reason of which far surpasses our understanding, Job 42:3) ought to be admired by mortals with modesty and submission, and not to be evaluated according to our reasonings perplexed with manifold darkness and error, Job 40:2. 2. Life itself is the gratuitous gift of God; and no one is able to complain whenever He that gave freely recalls it again. 3. All sin is such a foul thing, even that common defect of human origin, that by no sufficiently worthy punishment is it able to be expiated according to the righteousness of God. By that defect, if infants be expurgated, God has not caused them pain to punish, but so that He might bless them with greater glory (Masius). They urge Exodus 20:5. [See the response in the Notes on that place.]

They utterly destroyed all, etc.: Being commanded to do so by the sovereign Lord of every man’s life; and being informed by God before that the Canaanites were abominably wicked, and deserved the severest punishments. As for the infants, they were guilty of original sin, and otherwise at the disposal of their Creator, as the clay is in the hands of the potter; but if they had been wholly innocent, it was a great favour to them to take them away in infancy, rather than reserve them to those dreadful calamities which those who survived them were liable to.

[1] Hebrew: וַיָּ֣רַע הָעָ֔ם וַֽיִּתְקְע֖וּ בַּשֹּֽׁפָר֑וֹת וַיְהִי֩ כִשְׁמֹ֙עַ הָעָ֜ם אֶת־ק֣וֹל הַשּׁוֹפָ֗ר וַיָּרִ֤יעוּ הָעָם֙ תְּרוּעָ֣ה גְדוֹלָ֔ה וַתִּפֹּ֙ל הַֽחוֹמָ֜ה תַּחְתֶּ֗יהָ וַיַּ֙עַל הָעָ֤ם הָעִ֙ירָה֙ אִ֣ישׁ נֶגְדּ֔וֹ וַֽיִּלְכְּד֖וּ אֶת־הָעִֽיר׃

[2] Hebrew: תַּחְתֶּיהָ.

[3] Hebrew: וַיָּ֣רַע הָעָ֔ם וַֽיִּתְקְע֖וּ בַּשֹּֽׁפָר֑וֹת.

[4] Hebrew: וַֽיַּחֲרִ֙ימוּ֙ אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּעִ֔יר מֵאִישׁ֙ וְעַד־אִשָּׁ֔ה מִנַּ֖עַר וְעַד־זָקֵ֑ן וְעַ֙ד שׁ֥וֹר וָשֶׂ֛ה וַחֲמ֖וֹר לְפִי־חָֽרֶב׃

Joshua 6:19: Herem-Warfare against Jericho, Part 3

Verse 19:[1] But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated (Heb. holiness[2]) unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.

[Let it be consecrated to the Lord, קֹ֥דֶשׁ ה֖וּא לַֽיהוָ֑ה] Holiness, or holy, or consecrated, to Jehovah (Montanus, Septuagint, Jonathan, Syriac, Junius and Tremellius). What previously was called חֵרֶם/devoted is here called holy (Masius). The sense: Just as if the thing be consecrated holy to God (Lapide).

But all…are consecrated unto the Lord: Except that of which images were made, which were to be utterly destroyed, Exodus 32:20; Deuteronomy 7:25. Consecrated unto the Lord; being first made to pass through the fire, Numbers 31:22, 23.

[Stored in His treasuries] Hebrew: let them be brought into the treasure of Jehovah;[3] that is, as things consecrated to Jehovah, let them be brought into His treasury (Vatablus). Into the treasury of the house of the sanctuary, etc. (Chaldean), suppose, into the Tabernacle, for its use or ornament (Lapide). There that loot was stored, Numbers 31 (Masius). But note that this is added because otherwise all accursed things belonged to the Priests by law, Numbers 18:14; that is, unless the contrary be expressly added by God, or by the one vowing or offering, that they might belong to the Temple (Bonfrerius).

They shall come into the treasury of the Lord, to be employed wholly for the service or uses of the tabernacle, not to be applied to the use of any private person or priest.

[1] Hebrew: וְכֹ֣ל׀ כֶּ֣סֶף וְזָהָ֗ב וּכְלֵ֤י נְחֹ֙שֶׁת֙ וּבַרְזֶ֔ל קֹ֥דֶשׁ ה֖וּא לַֽיהוָ֑ה אוֹצַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה יָבֽוֹא׃

[2] Hebrew: קֹדֶשׁ.

[3] Hebrew: אוֹצַ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה יָבֽוֹא׃.

Joshua 6:18: Herem-Warfare against Jericho, Part 2

Verse 18:[1] And ye, (Deut. 7:26; 13:17; Josh. 7:1, 11, 12) in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, (Josh. 7:25; 1 Kings 18:17, 18; Jonah 1:12) and trouble it.

[But beware, etc. (thus the Syriac), take heed to yourselves (Arabic), וְרַק־אַתֶּם֙ שִׁמְר֣וּ מִן־הַחֵ֔רֶם] And only keep yourselves from the accursed thing (Montanus). Keep, understanding, yourselves, which they more usually express by הִשָּׁמְרוּ[2] (Drusius). Keep yourselves, etc., that is, each of you thyself, and others themselves. See Joshua 7:1 (Junius).

[Lest concerning these things that are prohibited, etc.,פֶּֽן־תַּחֲרִ֖ימוּ וּלְקַחְתֶּ֣ם מִן־הַחֵ֑רֶם] Lest ye be accursed, that is, lest ye lay hold of the accursed thing. The ו/and is set down exegetically in וּלְקַחְתֶּם, and, or that is, ye take (Drusius out of Kimchi, Lapide out of Masius). Lest perchance, while laying waste, ye lay hold of the Herem[3] (Tigurinus). Lest perchance ye touch anything of what is accursed, and bear away of what is accursed (Pagnine). Lest ye make yourselves accursed, taking of that accursed thing (Junius and Tremellius, similarly the Dutch, Serarius, Bonfrerius). But yourselves is not in the text (Dieu). The Chaldean renders it best, lest ye devote, and receive of the devoted thing; that is, lest, after ye have devoted, ye receive of the devoted thing: lest at one and the same time ye devote, and yet lay hold of those things; for both were not able to stand together: that is to say, Beware, therefore, lest ye do two contrary things (Dieu).

[And all the camps be under sin, וְשַׂמְתֶּם וגו״] And ye put the camps of Israel for an accursed thing, namely, with the occasion of this thing presented. Sometimes an action is attributed, and an active verb, to one concurring through circumstances with an action or effect, although it be not intended by the agent (Glassius’ “Grammar” 298).

[And it be troubled, וַעֲכַרְתֶּם] And ye trouble (Montanus, Jonathan, Syriac, Junius and Tremellius), ye find fault with (Arabic). In the word עָכַר/achar, there is κατὰ παρονομασίαν, by paronomasia,[4] a prelude, as it were, of that matter which shall be narrated in the next chapter: For that man is called both Achar[5] and Achan (Masius).

Make the camp of Israel a curse, by provoking God to punish them for your sin, in which they may be one way or other involved; or at least upon the occasion of your sin: for, to speak properly God will not (the case of Adam’s sin only excepted) punish one man for the sin of another, as he hath oft declared; but the whole camp having sins of their own, God might take what occasion he saw fit to inflict this punishment.

[1] Hebrew: וְרַק־אַתֶּם֙ שִׁמְר֣וּ מִן־הַחֵ֔רֶם פֶּֽן־תַּחֲרִ֖ימוּ וּלְקַחְתֶּ֣ם מִן־הַחֵ֑רֶם וְשַׂמְתֶּ֞ם אֶת־מַחֲנֵ֤ה יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לְחֵ֔רֶם וַעֲכַרְתֶּ֖ם אוֹתֽוֹ׃

[2] In the case of שָׁמַר, the Niphal conjugation can convey a reflexive sense.

[3] Hebrew: חֵרֶם/herem, an accursed thing.

[4] That is, a play on words.

[5] 1 Chronicles 2:7:  “And the sons of Carmi; Achar, the troubler of Israelעָכָר֙ עוֹכֵ֣ר) יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל), who transgressed in the thing accursed.”

Joshua 6:17: Herem-Warfare against Jericho, Part 1

Verse 17:[1] And the city shall be accursed (or, devoted;[2] Lev. 27:28; Mic. 4:13), even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.

[Let it be accursed] Let it be altogether wiped out and destroyed (Vatablus). Let it be accursed by vow; see Deuteronomy 12 and what follows (Grotius). What חֶרֶם, a devoted thing, is, see on Leviticus 27:21, 29 (Bonfrerius). It is the same thing as ἀνάθεμα/anathema, a devoted thing, to the Greeks (Masius). Thus is called both what is dedicated in sacred places, and what is immolated and destroyed (Masius on verse 19, similarly Lapide). It signifies: 1. a thing devoted to God; 2. the very destruction of the thing; 3. things accursed and worthy of destruction, as in verse 18. But there is one and the same reason for those diverse notions, That what things were dedicated to God, those were able to be among no man’s goods (Masius). In other cities of the Canaanites there was to be a sparing of nothing; but here the very city was to be burned. What is the reason? 1. God was requiring this city as the firstfruits (Lapide, Hebrews and Jonathan and Theodotion in Masius). But the firstfruits ought to be rendered untouched to the Lord (Lapide). 2. Lest in this beginning of the war, the eager soldier in need of all things, with immoderate plunder taken, as this was a most opulent city, should excessively burden himself, and should become prone more to leisure and then to luxury than to war (Masius). 3. They long since deserved this for their long standing and most shameful acts (Bonfrerius). So that all, being instructed by the loss of plunder, might understand that the victory is acquired by the power of God alone, and might ascribe nothing to their own strength (Masius). But, in conquering other cities, the Hebrews fought fiercely (Lapide). 5. By the severity of the first punishment God willed to instill terror in the rest of the enemies (and to call them to repentance), since a war of the very harshest kind was continuing (Masius, similarly Lapide).

Accursed, that is, devoted to utter destruction, Leviticus 27:21, 29; Deuteronomy 12. This he spake by instinct or direction from God, as is evident from 1 Kings 16:34. To the Lord; partly, because the firstfruits were appropriated to God; partly, lest the soldiers being glutted with the spoil of this rich city, should grow sensual and sluggish in their work; and partly, to strike the greater terror into the rest of their enemies.

[Let Rahab alone live[3]] Through you; that is, let her remain alive (Piscator). I prefer to translate חָיָה as to be saved, because it is also said of that which is in her house, in which verse 23 teaches that furniture is include (Masius).

[She hid, הֶחְבְּאַתָה] The last letter is duplicated; it is put in the place of הֶחְבְּאָה, which would normally be expressed הֶחְבִּיאָה (Piscator). Thus יְשׁוּעָתָה is an omnimodal salvation (Drusius). They translate it, she hid in honesty, or faithfully (Junius and Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius). Two reasons for her discharge are assigned: 1. Religion, on account of the oath, concerning which verse 22. Although Joshua or the people were not able to be obliged by that, because it was not undertaken by their authority (Bonfrerius). 2. Gratitude, which is here indicated (Bonfrerius, similarly Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וְהָיְתָ֙ה הָעִ֥יר חֵ֛רֶם הִ֥יא וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר־בָּ֖הּ לַֽיהוָ֑ה רַק֩ רָחָ֙ב הַזּוֹנָ֜ה תִּֽחְיֶ֗ה הִ֚יא וְכָל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתָּ֣הּ בַּבַּ֔יִת כִּ֣י הֶחְבְּאַ֔תָה אֶת־הַמַּלְאָכִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר שָׁלָֽחְנוּ׃

[2] Hebrew: חֵרֶם.

[3] Hebrew: רַק֩ רָחָ֙ב הַזּוֹנָ֜ה תִּֽחְיֶ֗ה.

Joshua 6:16: The Seventh Day’s March, Part 2

Verse 16:[1] And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.

[And when…they sounded] That is, when they prepared to blow their horns (Masius). This is only the preparation for sounding; the execution and event is in verse 20. For the following instruction could hardly be given and received with the horns sounding (Malvenda). This blast was ordinary, not singular (Masius). [Others otherwise:] The blast was unusual, otherwise it could not be a sign to shout (Bonfrerius).

[And he said to all Israel] Question: How was this possible? Responses: 1. He said it to those near, and these to others, etc. (Lapide, Bonfrerius). 2. He proclaimed it through heralds; or, through the princes and heads of the families (Lapide); or through certain men stationed at certain places (Bonfrerius).

Shout, to testify your faith in God’s promise, and thankfulness for this glorious mercy, and to encourage yourselves and brethren, and to strike a terror into your enemies.

[He has delivered to you] It appears that this was now promulgated for the first time, and that he had led the people in their circuit in hope, but an uncertain one; whereby the obedience of the people shines all the more, who were so eagerly compliant to him (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִי֙ בַּפַּ֣עַם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔ית תָּקְע֥וּ הַכֹּהֲנִ֖ים בַּשּׁוֹפָר֑וֹת וַיֹּ֙אמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁ֤עַ אֶל־הָעָם֙ הָרִ֔יעוּ כִּֽי־נָתַ֧ן יְהוָ֛ה לָכֶ֖ם אֶת־הָעִֽיר׃

Joshua 6:15: The Seventh Day’s March, Part 1

Verse 15:[1]  And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times:  only on that day they compassed the city seven times.

[On the seventh day]  They deliver by tradition that it was the Sabbath (Hebrews in Lapide).  But the Rabbis divine in their customary manner.  Nevertheless, one of the seven days undoubtedly was the day of the Sabbath (Bonfrerius).  Hence Marcion[2] charges inconstancy upon God (the God of the Old Testament), who elsewhere commands to rest, here to circle the city.  But Tertullian responds:  On the Sabbath human works are prohibited, not Divine:  but those that God commands are Divine[3] (Masius on verse 4).  He fixed the Law for the Jews, not for Himself (Lapide).  It was dispensed with by God (Bonfrerius).

[Early, כַּעֲל֣וֹת הַשַּׁ֔חַר]  When the dawn was ascending (Junius and Tremellius, Vatablus, similarly Montanus, Malvenda, Arabic).  With Dawn beginning, or otherwise, with Dawn vanishing or departing, after Dawn (Malvenda).  With twilight rising[4] (Masius).  When the present ceremony is chiefly observed in the septenary number (for there are seven priests, seven horns, seven days, seven circuits), it will not be unsuitable to spend a little time looking into the mystery of its number.  Among all the matter is acknowledged, that God, as it were, hallowed this number on the seventh day, on which He abstained from creating things.  And thence there was always a singular veneration of this number among profane writers (who had drawn the doctrine of Divine things from Moses); and Cicero calls it the intersection point of all things;[5] and Linus, a most ancient Poet,[6] calls it the origin of all things.[7]  Therefore, this appears to be the source of this mystery.  The world consists of six parts:  which are, 1.  Angels; 2.  the Elements; 3.  inanimate Bodies, of which sort are metals, stones, etc.; 4.  Φυτὰ/plants, which live, but are without sense and motion; 5.  brute Animals; 6.  Man, who of those parts which we have mentioned is, as it were, the intersection and bond, in whom the very universe of things is comprehended in a most beautiful harmony.  Now, that those six dualities, if I might speak thus, of created things subsist, and do not return to nothing in the same moment, God willed to refer to His origination of them, from which they are to be continually sustained.  Therefore, that group of six, as it proceeds from the first Unity, God, as the source, so it is returned to it again, and ends in it; and into that ought all our counsels, actions, etc., to be referred.  And God appears to will this, in that He sets this number everywhere before our eyes.  Therefore, the Sabbath appears to be the mystery of the Septenary unity, and that Rest, in which God abstained from creating things, and, as it were, returned unto that, His abyss of eternity, as if unto quiet, but in such a way that He was already then leading the things created by Him with Him to that, His quiet in a certain measure, and not sending them away from Himself (Masius).

[As it was appointed]  Hebrew:  according to this judgment[8] (Malvenda, Bonfrerius, Piscator); according to manner, or custom (Pagnine, Tigurinus, the Chaldean in Bonfrerius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֣י׀ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗י וַיַּשְׁכִּ֙מוּ֙ כַּעֲל֣וֹת הַשַּׁ֔חַר וַיָּסֹ֧בּוּ אֶת־הָעִ֛יר כַּמִּשְׁפָּ֥ט הַזֶּ֖ה שֶׁ֣בַע פְּעָמִ֑ים רַ֚ק בַּיּ֣וֹם הַה֔וּא סָבְב֥וּ אֶת־הָעִ֖יר שֶׁ֥בַע פְּעָמִֽים׃

[2] Marcion (c. 85-160) was a Gnostic heretic from Sinope, Turkey.  He was very influential in the early Church, in spite of being excommunicated.  Marcion asserted that the God of the Old Testament was a lesser demiurge, a God of law, strict justice, and wrath.  The God of the New Testament is a God of love and grace, revealed in Jesus Christ, and purely preached by Paul.  It is not surprising that Marcion rejected all of the Old Testament, and the New Testament books that speak favorably of the God of the Old Testament.  Marcion’s canon consisted of an expurgated edition of Luke and ten of Paul’s epistles.

[3] Against Marcion 4:12.

[4]  שַׁחַרmay be related to the verbal root שָׁחַר, to be black.

[5] Scipio’s Dream 5.

[6] Linus was an ancient Greek poet.  It is said that he was the son of Amphimarus, son of Poseidon, and Ourania, the Muse.

[7] Eusebius’ Preparation of the Gospel 13:12.

[8] Joshua 6:15a:  “And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner (כַּמִּשְׁפָּ֥ט הַזֶּ֖ה) seven times…”

Joshua 6:11-14: The Single Procession of the Six Days

Verse 11:[1] So the ark of the LORD compassed the city, going about it once: and they came into the camp, and lodged in the camp.

[It compassed, וַיַּסֵּב] They translate it, he led around (Tigurinus, Munster), he, understanding Joshua, made to go round (Vatablus). He saw to it that the Ark was carried around by the priests (Kimchi in Masius). For it is in the Hiphil[2] (Masius). But the Hiphil is often taken in the place of the Qal (Lapide, similarly Masius). Therefore, others translate it, it went around: thus the Septuagint, the Chaldean in Masius, Pagnine, Masius and all (Lapide).

[Having returned to camp[3]] And they came into the camp, namely, the men (Septuagint and Symmachus). It came in and spent the night, as if it is to be taken of the Ark, not of the men. But this makes no difference, since it is certain that the Ark was not left by the men (Masius).


Verse 12:[4] And Joshua rose early in the morning, (Deut. 31:25) and the priests took up the ark of the LORD.


Verse 13:[5] And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the LORD, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.

[Walking, הֹלְכִ֣ים הָל֔וֹךְ[6]] Going (they were going [Piscator]) by going (Montanus); to go proceeding (Junius and Tremellius).


Verse 14:[7] And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days.

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּסֵּ֤ב אֲרוֹן־יְהוָה֙ אֶת־הָעִ֔יר הַקֵּ֖ף פַּ֣עַם אֶחָ֑ת וַיָּבֹ֙אוּ֙ הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֔ה וַיָּלִ֖ינוּ בַּֽמַּחֲנֶֽה׃

[2] The Hiphil conjugation frequently conveys a causative sense.

[3] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֙אוּ֙ הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֔ה.

[4] Hebrew: וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֥ם יְהוֹשֻׁ֖עַ בַּבֹּ֑קֶר וַיִּשְׂא֥וּ הַכֹּהֲנִ֖ים אֶת־אֲר֥וֹן יְהוָֽה׃

[5] Hebrew: וְשִׁבְעָ֣ה הַכֹּהֲנִ֡ים נֹשְׂאִים֩ שִׁבְעָ֙ה שׁוֹפְר֜וֹת הַיֹּבְלִ֗ים לִפְנֵי֙ אֲר֣וֹן יְהוָ֔ה הֹלְכִ֣ים הָל֔וֹךְ וְתָקְע֖וּ בַּשּׁוֹפָר֑וֹת וְהֶחָלוּץ֙ הֹלֵ֣ךְ לִפְנֵיהֶ֔ם וְהַֽמְאַסֵּ֗ף הֹלֵךְ֙ אַֽחֲרֵי֙ אֲר֣וֹן יְהוָ֔ה הוֹלֵ֖ךְ וְתָק֥וֹעַ בַּשּׁוֹפָרֽוֹת׃

[6] Joshua 6:13a:  “And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually (הֹלְכִ֣ים הָל֔וֹךְ), and blew with the trumpets…”

[7] Hebrew: וַיָּסֹ֙בּוּ אֶת־הָעִ֜יר בַּיּ֤וֹם הַשֵּׁנִי֙ פַּ֣עַם אַחַ֔ת וַיָּשֻׁ֖בוּ הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֑ה כֹּ֥ה עָשׂ֖וּ שֵׁ֥שֶׁת יָמִֽים׃