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.

1 thought on “Chapter 6:5: The Captain’s Battle Plan, Part 4

  1. Matthew Henry: “[The Captain of the Lord’s Host] assures them that on the seventh day before night they should, without fail, be masters of the town. Upon a signal given, they must all shout, and immediately the wall should fall down, which would not only expose the inhabitants, but so dispirit them that they would not be able to make any resistance, Joshua 6:5. God appointed this way, (1.) To magnify his own power, that he might be exalted in his own strength (Psalm 21:13), not in the strength of instruments. God would hereby yet further make bare his own almighty arm for the encouragement of Israel and the terror and confusion of the Canaanites. (2.) To put an honour upon his ark, the instituted token of his presence, and to give a reason for the laws by which the people were obliged to look upon it with the most profound veneration and respect. When, long after this, the ark was brought into the camp without orders from God, it was looked upon as a profanation of it, and the people paid dearly for their presumption, 1 Samuel 4:3, etc. But now that it was done by the divine appointment it was an honour to the ark of God, and a great encouragement to the faith of Israel. (3.) It was likewise to put honour upon the priests, who were appointed upon this occasion to carry the ark and sound the trumpets. Ordinarily the priests were excused from war, but that this privilege, with other honours and powers that the law had given them, might not be grudged them, in this service they are principally employed, and so the people are made sensible what blessings they were to the public and how well worthy of all the advantages conferred upon them. (4.) It was to try the faith, obedience, and patience, of the people, to try whether they would observe a precept which to human policy seemed foolish to obey and believe a promise which in human probability seemed impossible to be performed. They were also proved whether they could patiently bear the reproaches of their enemies and patiently wait for the salvation of the Lord. Thus by faith, not by force, the walls of Jericho fell down. (5.) It was to encourage the hope of Israel with reference to the remaining difficulties that were before them. That suggestion of the evil spies that Canaan could never be conquered because the cities were walled up to heaven (Deuteronomy 1:28) would by this be for ever silenced. The strongest and highest walls cannot hold out against Omnipotence; they needed not to fight, and therefore needed not to fear, because God fought for them.”

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