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…”

1 thought on “Joshua 6:8, 9: The Procession around Jericho

  1. Matthew Henry: “I. Wherever the ark went the people attended it, Joshua 6:9. The armed men went before it to clear the way, not thinking it any disparagement to them, though they were men of war, to be pioneers to the ark of God. If any obstacle should be found in crossing the roads that led to the city (which they must do in walking round it) they would remove it; if any opposition should be made by the enemy, they would encounter it, that the priests’ march with the ark might be easy and safe. It is an honour to the greatest men to do any good office to the ark and to serve the interests of religion in their country. The rereward, either another body of armed men, or Dan’s squadron, which marched last through the wilderness, or, as some think, the multitude of the people who were not armed or disciplined for war (as many of them as would) followed the ark, to testify their respect to it, to grace the solemnity, and to be witnesses of what was done. Every faithful zealous Israelite would be willing to undergo the same fatigues and run the same hazard with the priests that bore the ark.

    II. Seven priests went immediately before the ark, having trumpets in their hands, with which they were continually sounding, Joshua 6:4-5, 9, 13. The priests were God’s ministers, and thus in his name, 1. They proclaimed war with the Canaanites, and so stuck a terror upon them; for by terrors upon their spirits they were to be conquered and subdued. Thus God’s ministers, by the solemn declarations of his wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, must blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in the holy mountain, that the sinners in Zion may be afraid. They are God’s heralds to denounce war against all those that go on still in their trespasses, but say, ‘We shall have peace, though we go on.’ 2. They proclaimed God’s gracious presence with Israel, and so put life and courage into them. It was appointed that when they went to war the priests should encourage them with the assurance of God’s presence with them, Deuteronomy 20:2-4. And particularly their blowing with trumpets was to be a sign to the people that they should be remembered before the Lord Their God in the day of battle, Numbers 10:9. It encouraged Abijah, 2 Chronicles 13:12. Thus God’s ministers, by sounding the Jubilee trumpet of the everlasting gospel, which proclaims liberty and victory, must encourage the good soldiers of Jesus Christ in their spiritual warfare.

    III. The trumpets they used were not those silver trumpets which were appointed to be made for their ordinary service, but trumpets of rams’ horns, bored hollow for the purpose, as some think. These trumpets were of the basest matter, dullest sound, and least show, that the excellency of the power might be of God. Thus by the foolishness of preaching, fitly compared to the sounding of these rams’ horns, the devil’s kingdom is thrown down; and the weapons of our warfare, though they are not carnal nor seem to a carnal eye likely to bring any thing to pass, are yet mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. The word here is trumpets of Jobel, that is, such trumpets as they used to blow withal in the year of jubilee; so many interpreters understand it, as signifying the complete liberty to which Israel was now brought, and the bringing of the land of Canaan into the hands of its just and rightful owners.”

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