Old Testament Story List

Fall of Jericho

The mourning over the death of Moses being at an end, Joshua commanded the people to gather their belongings together, to prepare food, and to make ready for the crossing of the Jordan.

He sent two men ahead to spy on the city of Jericho. They entered the city secretly and were given shelter by a woman named Rahab,

whose house was built into the city wall. The king of Jericho head of the spies and ordered Rahab to give them up. But she hid them on her roof, saying they had left when it was dark - about the time of the shutting of the city gate.

She told the two spies that the people of Jericho had heard how the Lord had dried up the Red Sea for the Hebrews as they left Egypt and that they had no courage or wish to fight against such a favored people. She made a bargain to help the two men escape if they would spare her family when Joshua's army conquered the city. Then she took a scarlet rope and let them down through a window, over the wall to the plain outside the city. She bound the scarlet rope around the same window, to mark her house so that it would not be destroyed.

The spies returned and told Joshua what had happened and how the people of Jericho felt. The Hebrews set out immediately on this final stretch of their wanderings. And Joshua led them just as the Lord had commanded him.

When they came to the banks of the Jordan, he chose twelve priests, one from each tribe, who carried the golden ark, and these went ahead of the others. As soon as their feet touched the river, the waters rolled back, leaving a dry path, so that the people could cross the riverbed into the land of Canaan.

After the crossing, each of the twelve priests picked up a large stone from the riverbed, and placed it as a memorial to mark the spot where the Hebrews had first set foot in Canaan. Immediately, the waters of the Jordan flowed again. God commanded this so that in days to come, when children should ask their fathers the meaning of the stones, they could answer that there God had held back the waters for the children of Israel to cross the Jordan. Then all the people of the earth would know how mighty was the Lord and how careful of His children.

When the people of Jericho witnessed the crossing of the Jordan, they were frightened and closed the gates of the city so that no one could go in or out.

As they saw the Hebrews coming, the prepared to fight. But the Hebrews came in a procession led by seven priests carrying trumpets made from ram horns. They were followed by seven more priests bearing the golden ark, and then be all the soldiers and the people. Once each day for six days they paraded about the city in silence, as the Lord had commanded, led by the priests blowing on their trumpets. On the seventh day, they arose at dawn and paraded about the city seven times. And after the seventh time, when the priests had blown their trumpets, Joshua cried to the people, "Shout! for the Lord has given you the city."

So the Hebrews shouted as the trumpets blew, and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. The people went into the city and took it, and destroyed all that was in the city - except the house that was marked with the scarlet rope. For Joshua saved Rahab and all her household because she had hidden the messengers he sent to spy on Jericho.

Before Joshua died, he warned the Hebrews to remember how God had always been with them and had led them out of slavery into the rich land of Canaan. The people promised, but after Joshua's death they forgot the Lord and turned to the gods of the tribes that lived about them. God was angry with them, and when neighboring tribes made war on the Hebrews He no longer came to help them. So although they had reached the Promised Land, it was a long time before they could enjoy it in peace.

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