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The Destruction of Jericho

After the spies had returned to Joshua and the three days had passed in which the people were to get ready for the march, Joshua moved all the children of Israel to the river Jordan. Then Joshua said to the people: "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you." He then ordered the priests to take up the ark of the covenant and march before the people, and the priests did as Joshua commanded them.

Then Joshua told the people that the priests should bear the ark to the river Jordan, and that as soon as the feet of the priests touched the waters of the river the waters would open and the people should cross the river on the dry ground. The next day all the hosts of Israel, according to their tribes, stood before the river ready to march into the promised land.

The priests came with the ark to the brink of the river. As soon as their feet touched the water, the river ceased to flow and all the waters were held back and the dry ground appeared. The priests then stood firm with the ark and all the people marched across the dry bed of the river, carrying their tents and household goods and driving their cattle with them, until all Israel was across the river Jordan, except those whom Moses had promised should live in the land of Gilead.

Joshua commanded that each tribe should select one man and each man should gather a stone from the bottom of the river and bring it over Jordan and leave it in a heap as a memorial to the fact that the waters divided and that the children of Israel marched over the dry ground. After all the people had passed over, the priests came with the ark of the covenant.

When everybody was safe across the river the waters came together and the river Jordan flowed on as before.

After the people came up out of Jordan they made their camp at a place called Gilgal, not far from Jericho. The twelve stones which Joshua had ordered to be brought from the bottom of the river were set up, there. He said to the people: "When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, What mean these stones? then they shall answer, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land."

At Gilgal the people kept the Passover and after that rested and prepared for the conquest of Jericho. Up to this time the manna had been falling every day for the people to eat, and there had never been any lack of food. But at Gilgal the people found old corn of the land of Canaan, and they parched it and ate of it. After that the manna fell no more, for the people had abundance of the fruit and grain of the land where they were.

When Joshua came near to Jericho there appeared a man before him with a sword drawn in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked: "Are you for us or are you for our enemies?" The man answered: "Nay; I am captain of the host of the Lord."

Joshua knew that he spoke unto the Lord who had appeared to him in the shape of a man and he fell with his face to the ground and worshiped the Lord. Then the man said to Joshua: "Loose your shoes from off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua took off his shoes as the man had commanded him.

Now the city of Jericho was surrounded by a wall, and the gates were shut and closely guarded for fear of the children of Israel. None went out and none came in the gates of the city.

The Lord commanded Joshua to put the children of Israel in marching order and march them around the city once a day for six days. Seven priests were to bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark and blow them as they marched around the city of Jericho. On the seventh day the people were to march around the city seven times and the priests were to shout with a great shout so that the walls of the city should fall down flat before the noise and shouting of the people of Israel.

Joshua called the people and the priests and appointed them to their duties as the Lord had commanded. The people marched around the city and the seven priests blew their trumpets before the ark as it was carried in the processions once a day for six days.

The people of Jericho did not know what to make of this strange procession, as it moved around their walls day after day. The people made no noise on those days but moved silently, only the seven priests blew the seven trumpets. The people of Jericho doubtless made sport of this procession and thought it was a strange kind of warfare and a poor way to conquer a walled city full of armed soldiers.

On the seventh day, however, the Israelites rose about dawn and the procession started. The long line had encompassed the city, and the priests were blowing their trumpets. Joshua said to the people:

"Shout, for the Lord has given you the city." The people shouted with a great shout, every man at the top of his voice, the priests blew their trumpets, and behold, the walls of Jericho began to shake, then to waver, and then they fell flat on the ground. The people of Israel rushed in and took the city, and captured all the rich possessions of the people and made the city their own. Joshua told the two young men who had been spies to find the house of Rahab and see that nothing happened to her or to her family, as the spies had promised her.

So the spies searched the city and found the house of Rahab unhurt by the fall of the walls and the scarlet string was on the window. They went in and found her and all her family and brought them out unhurt with all their goods. They took them outside the city and left them in the camp of Israel.

Then the children of Israel set fire to Jericho and burned it to the ground, but they saved all the silver and gold and the vessels of brass and iron and put them into the treasury of the Lord. Rahab and her family went to dwell in the camp of Israel where they spent the rest of their days because they had hid the spies which Joshua had sent out to search the country.