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׃

2 thoughts on “Joshua 6:11-14: The Single Procession of the Six Days

  1. Ambrose, “Exposition of the Christian Faith”: “Your sacred Majesty, being about to go forth to war, requires of me a book, expounding the Faith, since your Majesty knows that victories are gained more by faith in the commander, than by valour in the soldiers. For Abraham led into battle three hundred and eighteen men, and brought home the spoils of countless foes; and having, by the power of that which was the sign of our Lord’s Cross and Name, overcome the might of five kings and conquering hosts, he both avenged his neighbour and gained victory and the ransom of his brother’s son. So also Joshua the son of Nun, when he could not prevail against the enemy with the might of all his army, overcame by sound of seven sacred trumpets, in the place where he saw and knew the Captain of the heavenly host. For victory, then, your Majesty makes ready, being Christ’s loyal servant and defender of the Faith, which you would have me set forth in writing.”

  2. Matthew Henry: “They were to do this once a day for six days together and seven times the seventh day, and they did so, Joshua 6:14, 15. God could have caused the walls of Jericho to fall upon the first surrounding of them, but they must go round them thirteen times before they fall, that they might be kept waiting patiently for the Lord. Though they had lately come into Canaan, and their time was very precious (for they had a great deal of work before them), yet they must linger so many days about Jericho, seeming to do nothing, nor to make any progress in their business. As promised deliverances must be expected in God’s way, so they must be expected in his time. He that believes does not make haste, not more haste than God would have him make. Go yet seven times, before any thing hopeful appears, 1 Kings 18:43.

    One of these days must needs be a sabbath day, and the Jews say that it was the last, but this is not certain; however, if he that appointed them to rest on the other sabbath days appointed them to walk on this, that was sufficient to justify them in it; he never intended to bind himself by his own laws, but that when he pleased he might dispense with them. The impotent man went upon this principle when he argued (John 5:11), He that made me whole (and therefore has a divine power) said unto me, Take up thy bed. And, in this case here, it was an honour to the sabbath day, by which our time is divided into weeks, that just seven days were to be spent in this work, and seven priests were employed to sound seven trumpets, this number being, on this occasion, as well as many others, made remarkable, in remembrance of the six day’s work of creation and the seventh day’s rest from it. And, besides, the law of the sabbath forbids our own work, which is servile and secular, but this which they did was a religious act. It is certainly no breach of the sabbath rest to do the sabbath work, for the sake of which the rest was instituted; and what is the sabbath work but to attend the ark in all its motions?”

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