Joshua 6:8, 9: The Procession around Jericho

Verse 8:[1] And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams’ horns passed on before the LORD, and blew with the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them.


Verse 9:[2] And the armed men went before the priests that blew with the trumpets, (Num. 10:25) and the rereward (Heb. gathering[3] host) came after the ark, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets.

[The remaining common people (thus the Septuagint), וְהַמְאַסֵּף] And the assembling, or gathering (Munster, Vatablus, Pagnine, Montanus, Piscator). Each one gathering, that is, who were, as it were, gathering, that is, concluding, the battle line (Piscator). Who were concluding the procession (Masius out of the Septuagint). They understand the Danites, who are called מְאַסֵּף, the rearward, Numbers 10:25 (Vatablus, Munster, Masius, Junius, Lyra). [See the notes on that place.] The last troop (Tigurinus), the gathered host (Munster), who were gathered by troops (Syriac), mixed multitudes (Arabic). The Elders, and with them the multitude of wives, children, etc. The multitude is elsewhere called אֲסַפְסֻף, Numbers 11:4[4] (Bonfrerius). They maintain that the armed men went before, the unarmed and the common people followed (Masius).

The rereward being opposed to the armed men, may seem to note the unarmed people, who were desirous to be spectators of this wonderful work.

[And all were sounding with horns,הָל֖וֹךְ וְתָק֥וֹעַ ] Going and sounding (Montanus, Drusius, Tigurinus, Pagnine, Bonfrerius), that is, while it went on and was sounding with trumpets. Thus the Hebrews are wont to explain gerunds and infinitives impersonally (Bonfrerius). The sense: by sounding more and more. Thus, the water was going and increasing, that is, were increasing more and more. By proceeding and blowing (Masius). Performing the march, they were sounding (Syriac). Question: Who then was sounding? Response 1: Not the priests only, but also the people. For that the Vulgate and Septuagint are clearly signifying (Lapide). Response 2: The priests only (Jonathan, Junius, Piscator, Masius, Bonfrerius, Drusius). 1. For it belonged to them, not to others, to sound the horns, which were representing the voice of God to the people (Masius, similarly Bonfrerius). 2. The people were commanded to be silent, verse 10 (Masius). But this was a silence of voice and shouting, not of horns and sounding (Lapide).

The priests; which is rightly supplied here from verse 4.

[1] Hebrew: וַיְהִ֗י כֶּאֱמֹ֣ר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ֮ אֶל־הָעָם֒ וְשִׁבְעָ֣ה הַכֹּהֲנִ֡ים נֹשְׂאִים֩ שִׁבְעָ֙ה שׁוֹפְר֤וֹת הַיּֽוֹבְלִים֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה עָבְר֕וּ וְתָקְע֖וּ בַּשּֽׁוֹפָר֑וֹת וַֽאֲרוֹן֙ בְּרִ֣ית יְהוָ֔ה הֹלֵ֖ךְ אַחֲרֵיהֶֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וְהֶחָל֣וּץ הֹלֵ֔ךְ לִפְנֵי֙ הַכֹּ֣הֲנִ֔ים תָּקְעוּ֖ הַשּֽׁוֹפָר֑וֹת וְהַֽמְאַסֵּ֗ף הֹלֵךְ֙ אַחֲרֵ֣י הָאָר֔וֹן הָל֖וֹךְ וְתָק֥וֹעַ בַּשּׁוֹפָרֽוֹת׃

[3] Hebrew: וְהַמְאַסֵּף.

[4] Numbers 11:4a:  “And the mixt multitude (וְהָאסַפְסֻף) that was among them fell a lusting…”

Joshua 6:6, 7: Joshua Implements the Captain’s Plan

Verse 6:[1] And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the LORD.


Verse 7:[2] And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.

[He said] The Kethib is וַיֹּאמְרוּ, and they said, understanding Joshua and the priests; and the Qere is וַיֹּאמֶר, and he said, understanding Joshua alone (Drusius).

[Armed (thus Jonathan, Syriac, Vatablus), וְהֶחָלוּץ[3]] Light-armed (Montanus, Drusius, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator), everyone that has his loins girded with arms (Drusius); ready for action (Masius); trained (Arabic). Concerning this word, see Joshua 1:14 (Masius). Extracted, or chosen, namely, from the multitude (Malvenda). Centurions (Tigurinus). It is likely that this was an order to soldiers to go around the city, verse 3; permission to the common people (Masius). Question: Why were they armed? Responses: 1. God wills that we cooperate with Him. 2. So that, having entered the city, they might slaughter its citizens (Lapide).

Let him that is armed, etc.: God would have them armed, both for the defence of themselves and the ark, in case the enemies should make a sally upon them, and for the execution of the Lord’s vengeance upon that city.

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּקְרָ֞א יְהוֹשֻׁ֤עַ בִּן־נוּן֙ אֶל־הַכֹּ֣הֲנִ֔ים וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵהֶ֔ם שְׂא֖וּ אֶת־אֲר֣וֹן הַבְּרִ֑ית וְשִׁבְעָ֣ה כֹֽהֲנִ֗ים יִשְׂאוּ֙ שִׁבְעָ֤ה שֽׁוֹפְרוֹת֙ יוֹבְלִ֔ים לִפְנֵ֖י אֲר֥וֹן יְהוָֽה׃

[2] Hebrew: וַ֙יֹּאמְרוּ֙ אֶל־הָעָ֔ם עִבְר֖וּ וְסֹ֣בּוּ אֶת־הָעִ֑יר וְהֶ֣חָל֔וּץ יַעֲבֹ֕ר לִפְנֵ֖י אֲר֥וֹן יְהוָֽה׃

[3] חָלַץ can signify to draw off, or to equip for war.

Chapter 6:5: The Captain’s Battle Plan, Part 4

Verse 5:[1] And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat (Heb. under it[2]), and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

[And when the voice of the trumpet will have sounded longer and choppier[3]] This sound is uneven (Bonfrerius). A sound is broken up, when it is cut short by some brief delay and repeated (Menochius).

[בִּמְשֹׁךְ] In prolonging (Montanus); when they shall prolong the sounding (Pagnine); when he, namely, the priest, shall draw out the sound (Piscator); when they shall sound more at greater length (Vatablus, Kimchi in Drusius, similarly Munster); when it shall be sounded in a long and drawn out manner (Junius and Tremellius, Kimchi in Drusius); when they shall blow with a prolonged sound (Masius); when they will have intensified the sound (Tigurinus); when they will have made to ring (Syriac). מָשַׁךְ, to draw, is used in the place of תָּקַע, to blow or sound (Masius).

When they make a long blast, as is usual in the close of musical sounds.

[With a shout, תְּרוּעָה] All the ancients render it a shout, or a cry; a shrieking (Drusius). This cry is ἀλαλαγμὸς, a shouting, to the Greeks; barritus, a battle-cry, to Vegetius (Grotius out of Drusius), which soldiers give out in the coming together of battle lines (Drusius).

[The walls shall fall] Hebrew: the wall shall fall[4] (Montansu, Pagnine, Drusius, Masius, Tigurinus).

[תַּחְתֶּיהָ] Under itself (Montanus, Pagnine, Drusius, Masius, Tigurinus), beneath itself (Munster); it shall fall into a trench (Malvenda), in its place (Arabic, Junius and Tremellius, Masius, Vatablus), upon its place (Syriac). Others: of itself (the Septuagint and Aquila in Masius), that is to say, with no siege engine impelling (Masius). It shall be sucked into the earth (Vatablus out of Jonathan). Hence the Hebrews think that the wall did not fall, but rather sunk down, with the earth gaping. Which is vain (Masius). It shall fall beneath itself, that is, from its foundations, from the bottom (Malvenda). Below themselves, below that place and site which they were previously holding, downward (Bonfrerius). But what happened to Rahab, whose house stood in the wall?[5] Responses: 1. All the walls did not fall (Masius), but only that part which was looking toward the camp of the Israelites. Wall here is put in the place of a part of the wall (Drusius). 2. It is not necessary for apartments, which adhere to unconnected walls, to fall with those (Masius).

The wall of the city; not all of it, which was not only unnecessary, but inconvenient, and might have given the people better opportunity of escaping; but only a considerable part of it, where the Israelites might fitly enter; for Rahab’s house was not overthrown, verse 22. Flat, Hebrew, under it, that is, below the place they stood in; or, in its place: it was not battered down with engines, which would have made part of it fall out of its place; but it fell out without any force, and of its own accord, and therefore in the place it did formerly stand in.

[1] Hebrew: וְהָיָ֞ה בִּמְשֹׁ֣ךְ׀ בְּקֶ֣רֶן הַיּוֹבֵ֗ל בְּשָׁמְעֲכֶם֙ אֶת־ק֣וֹל הַשּׁוֹפָ֔ר יָרִ֥יעוּ כָל־הָעָ֖ם תְּרוּעָ֣ה גְדוֹלָ֑ה וְנָ֙פְלָ֜ה חוֹמַ֤ת הָעִיר֙ תַּחְתֶּ֔יהָ וְעָל֥וּ הָעָ֖ם אִ֥ישׁ נֶגְדּֽוֹ׃

[2] Hebrew: תַּחְתֶּיהָ.

[3] Thus the Vulgate: cumque insonuerit vox tubae longior atque concisior.

[4] Hebrew: וְנָ֙פְלָ֜ה חוֹמַ֤ת.

[5] Joshua 2:15.

Chapter 6:4: The Captain’s Battle Plan, Part 3

Verse 4:[1] And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven (Judg. 7:16, 22) trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and (Num. 10:8) the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

[Trumpets, שׁוֹפְר֤וֹת הַיּֽוֹבְלִים֙[2]] They translate it, trumpets, or horns, of rams, or rams’ (Montanus, Jonathan, Munster, Junius and Tremellius, Pagnine, Symmachus in Masius), from the horn of rams (the Chaldean in Munster, Tigurinus, Vatablus), that is, trumpets made from the horns of rams (Vatablus). This does not satisfy Masius; since rams’ horns are completely solid, but it is necessary that a trumpet be hollow, so that it might be able to be blown into (Masius). Response: That is said as if they could not be hollowed out by art (Drusius). Others: trumpets of remission (Aquila in Drusius), horns of the jubilees (Masius), that is, which emitted a longer and more intense blast; which we are able to name jubilee from JUBAL.[3] Horns of the jubilee years, that is, which they were wont to sound at the beginning of the Jubilee year (Malvenda): trumpets of Jubal (Masius). God commands the sounding of these trumpets, because at this time, as in the Jubilee, He was delivering the land of Canaan, claimed from unjust possessors, to its just and true inhabitants (Lapide). [What things Masius has here concerning Jubal, we have previously set forth for the most part from other authors.]

Of rams’ horns, or, of the jubilees, that is, such trumpets wherewith they were to sound in the years of jubilee, Leviticus 25:9. Either this, or one of the other six, was certainly a sabbath day; and it is not material which was it, for the command of the Lord of the sabbath was sufficient to legitimate any action.

[1] Hebrew: וְשִׁבְעָ֣ה כֹהֲנִ֡ים יִשְׂאוּ֩ שִׁבְעָ֙ה שׁוֹפְר֤וֹת הַיּֽוֹבְלִים֙ לִפְנֵ֣י הָאָר֔וֹן וּבַיּוֹם֙ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י תָּסֹ֥בּוּ אֶת־הָעִ֖יר שֶׁ֣בַע פְּעָמִ֑ים וְהַכֹּ֣הֲנִ֔ים יִתְקְע֖וּ בַּשּׁוֹפָרֽוֹת׃

[2] יוֹבֵל/Jobel can signify a ram’s horn, or Jubilee, probably because the Jubilee began with the sounding of the ram’s horn, Leviticus 25:9, 10.

[3] See Genesis 4:21.

Chapter 6:3: The Captain’s Battle Plan, Part 2

Verse 3:[1] And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.

[Compass the city] At such a distance from it that ye might be beyond the casting of a dart (Lapide). These actions, if they be considered of themselves, ought to be reckoned as the performances of Actors rather than the stratagems of warriors: Nevertheless, these things are executed by Joshua, etc., without hesitation; in which their obedience is to be commended (Masius).

[Once (thus Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius), פַּ֣עַם אֶחָ֑ת] Aquila translates it in one path; Symmachus, with one circuit; because פַּעַם signifies a step, or procession. The Hebrews, instead of once, say in one advance (Masius). Once on each day (Vatablus).

Go round about the city once, at convenient distance, out of the reach of their arrows; thus shalt thou do six days, every day once. This and the following course might seem ridiculous and absurd, and is therefore prescribed and used by God, that they might learn to take new measures of things, and to expect success not from their own valour or skill, or probable means, but merely from God’s appointment and blessing; and in general, not to judge of any of God’s institutions by mere carnal reason, to which divers of their ceremonies would seem no less foolish than this action; and that they might have a full demonstration of the all-sufficiency of that God who can do what he pleaseth, even by the most contemptible means.

[1] Hebrew: וְסַבֹּתֶ֣ם אֶת־הָעִ֗יר כֹּ֚ל אַנְשֵׁ֣י הַמִּלְחָמָ֔ה הַקֵּ֥יף אֶת־הָעִ֖יר פַּ֣עַם אֶחָ֑ת כֹּ֥ה תַעֲשֶׂ֖ה שֵׁ֥שֶׁת יָמִֽים׃

Chapter 6:2: The Captain’s Battle Plan, Part 1

Verse 2:[1] And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, (Josh. 2:9, 24; 8:1) I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the (Deut. 7:24) king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.

[The Lord said] Through the Angel (Grotius, Drusius, similarly Lapide, Bonfrerius). According to these the name of the one sending is placed upon the one sent, for the sake of authority. Or, the Lord, יְהוָה/Jehovah, which is the name of the Divine essence:[2] Which previously was the Prince of God’s host. Divine operations not rarely in the Sacred Books through a change of the names of God are secretly and covertly distinguished by the variety of persons (Masius).

[Behold, רְאֵה] See (Masius). Listen carefully (Vatablus). If I be not mistaken, it intimates that the hope and confidence of the General are already gradually breaking up. For it appears to communicate the signification of a victory unhoped for (Masius).

[I have given] He lays claim to a complete victory (Masius).

[Jericho] In this place, not the city, but its citizenry (that is, its citizens [Malvenda]) is signified, since Jericho, and its King, and its mighty men are mentioned (Masius, thus Drusius).

[Mighty men] Hebrew: men of might,[3] that is, most famous for their martial character (Vatablus).

Jericho, and the king thereof, and the might men of valour: Who are in it, resolved and ready to defend it with their utmost strength.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֔עַ רְאֵה֙ נָתַ֣תִּי בְיָֽדְךָ֔ אֶת־יְרִיח֖וֹ וְאֶת־מַלְכָּ֑הּ גִּבּוֹרֵ֖י הֶחָֽיִל׃.

[2] The name יְהוָה/Jehovah is derived from the verb of being, הָיָה.

[3] Hebrew: גִּבּוֹרֵ֖י הֶחָֽיִל׃.

Joshua 6:1: Jericho Shut Up by Israelites

Verse 1:[1] Now Jericho was straitly shut up (Heb. did shut up, and was shut up[2]) because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

[Shut up and fortified (thus the Septuagint, similarly the Chaldean), סֹגֶ֣רֶת וּמְסֻגֶּ֔רֶת] Closing and closed (Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius). It was closing its men or citizens within itself, lest anyone should venture out; and it was closed, lest anyone (that is, of the enemies) enter (Hebrews in Vatablus, Masius, Bonfrerius). Closed and secured (Munster); shut up most diligently (Pagnine, Munster). He doubles the same thing, so that he might indicate that it was completely shut up (Vatablus). The Chaldean thus: It was shut up with iron gates, and secured with bars of copper…. There was no one that went out to fight, nor that entered to bargain for peace. For thus the Complutensian[3] Manuscript exemplar, which is in my hands, has it (Masius). This is inserted to show why Joshua was in need of a new confirmation, since the first city so strongly protects itself. Such vigorous and vigilant watch-keeping marvelously illustrates the miracle (Masius).

Straitly shut up; not only by night, as before, Joshua 2:5, but constantly and diligently.

[For fear, etc.] Before the crossing of Jordan, they were only closing the gates with darkness coming on (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וִֽירִיחוֹ֙ סֹגֶ֣רֶת וּמְסֻגֶּ֔רֶת מִפְּנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אֵ֥ין יוֹצֵ֖א וְאֵ֥ין בָּֽא׃

[2] Hebrew: סֹגֶ֣רֶת וּמְסֻגֶּ֔רֶת.

[3] The Complutensian Polyglot (taking its name from the university in Alcalá [Complutum, in Latin]; 1514) contained the first printed edition of the Septuagint, Jerome’s Vulgate, the Hebrew Text, Targum Onkelos with a Latin translation, and the first printed edition of the Greek New Testament.  The labor of the scholars was superintended by Cardinal Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros.

Joshua 6 Outline

Jericho is shut up by the Israelites, 1. The people and seven priests with the ark go round it six days, 2-14. On the seventh day they go round seven times; the priests blow the trumpets; the people shout; the city accursed; nothing to be taken, but all consecrated; the walls fall down; men, women, and cattle destroyed, 15-21. Rahab and her kindred are saved, 22-25. Joshua curseth the man who should rebuild Jericho, 26.