Saint Paul Church MKE Sunday School

LESSON 2 • MARCH 14, 2021

JOSHUA: PROPHET OF CONQUEST

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BIBLE BASIS: Joshua 5:13-6:5, 15-16, 20

 

BIBLE TRUTH: The Lord tells Joshua how to lead Israel to defeat Jericho.

 

MEMORY VERSE: “And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour” (Joshua 6:2, KJV).

 

LESSON AIM: By the end of this lesson, we will EXAMINE how Joshua acted obediently to the vision from God, REFLECT on our inefficiencies when challenges overwhelm us, and COMMIT to obeying God especially in challenging times.

 

BACKGROUND SCRIPTURES: Joshua 5:13-6:27—Read and incorporate the insights gained from the Background Scriptures into your study of the lesson.

TEACHER PREPARATION

 

MATERIALS NEEDED: Bibles (several different versions), Quarterly Commentary/Teacher Manual, Adult Quarterly, teaching resources such as charts, worksheets/handouts, paper, pens, pencils

 

 

LESSON OVERVIEW

LIFE NEED FOR TODAY’S LESSON

Individually and corporately, people face choices. How do we discern what choices are best and organize our actions? Joshua and the people of Israel chose to honor a covenant with God, obeying God’s instructions.

 

BIBLE LEARNING

God gives His people victory as they head to the Promised Land.

 

BIBLE APPLICATION

Christians celebrate as God guides us in defeating our enemies.

 

STUDENTS’ RESPONSES

Believers will sing and shout for the victory!

 

LESSON SCRIPTURE

JOSHUA 5:13-6:5,15-16, 20, KJV

 

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?

 

14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?

 

15 And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

 

6:1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

 

2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.

 

3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.

 

4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

 

5 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, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

 

15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.

 

16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.

 

20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.

 

 

 

 

BIBLICAL DEFINITIONS

A. Worship (Joshua 5:14) shachah (Heb.)—To bow down as a show of honor or respect

 

B. Shout (vv. 6:5, 16) rua’ (Heb.)—To sound an alarm, make a joyful noise

 

LIGHT ON THE WORD

Jericho. Situated in the southern portion of the Jordan Valley, Jericho was near the east-west roadway that connected Transjordan with the hill country of Palestine. Jericho was a popular place because it was an oasis situated in a hot plain, isolated from other major settlements. Over the life of the city, Jericho has served as both a busy urban center and a small campsite. As early as the Stone Age, Jericho was a walled town of about 10 acres. Jericho came to have solid defense ramparts and walls. By Joshua’s time, the walls of Jericho, which had been built thousands of years earlier, were still being used for defense of the settlement.

 

The account of Joshua’s conquest of Jericho reports many items of significance for Israel’s history and subsequent Jewish and Christian theology. Jericho was a walled city with houses, gates, and windows. Some houses were built into the walls of the city (Joshua 2:1).

 

 

LIFE NEED FOR TODAY’S LESSON

AIM: Students will explore the conquest of Jericho.

 

INTRODUCTION

Joshua Fights The Battle Of Jericho.

Joshua, the mighty Israelite military commander, knew his God and believed He would give their nation the Promised Land. Militarily, God instructed Joshua to plunge into Palestine and divide it into north and south. Jericho was the first target to conquer since it lay directly in their path in the valley of the Jordan River. In this lush tropical climate, there was an abundance of palm, balsam, sycamore, and henna trees. Great and wealthy, Jericho would be an ideal first fruit sacrifice to God.

 

Once the Israelites had safely crossed the Jordan, they commemorated the event by taking twelve stones from the riverbed and placing them at the next night’s campsite. One man from each tribe was to select a stone to serve as a memorial for instructing future generations about the Lord’s intervention at the Jordan River. Other memorials were established as well. Teaching children the faith through the use of memorials was an established Israelite practice.

 

After they crossed the Jordan, the manna which had fallen from heaven each day ceased. Since Israel had reached the land of promise, the daily provision of manna was no longer necessary.

 

BIBLE LEARNING

AIM: Students will consider the plan God gave to Joshua.

 

I. MESSENGER OF THE PLAN (JOSHUA 5:13-15)

Prior to the siege of Jericho, Joshua had an encounter that was similar to Moses at the burning bush. Joshua saw a man standing in front of him with his sword drawn. Joshua asked the man whether he was an enemy or an ally. “Neither,” the man replied (5:14). The man identified himself as the commander of the army of the Lord. Upon hearing this, Joshua fell to the ground face down in reverence. Joshua asked what message the Lord had for him. He was then told to take off his shoes as the place where he was standing was holy.

 

5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? 14 And he said, Nay but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?

 

Joshua seems to be alone, near Jericho, when confronted with a messenger from God. Because the man has a drawn sword in his hand, Joshua asks if he is friend or foe. Joshua is remembered primarily as the military leader of Israel after Moses’ death, and as the military leader, he is vigilant to protect his people from this strange messenger if need be.

 

Even though Joshua asks an either-or question, the man answers, “Nay.” Joshua was not worried that the visitor is for Israel or against them, but for or against God. Thankfully, this man is for God, as the captain of the Lord’s army.

 

Joshua is overwhelmed by the honor of this visitation from such a heavenly being. He falls to the ground and “worships” the man. When angels are mistakenly worshiped, they usually insist that they are not worthy of such worship (Revelation 19:10). Only God is. This is not necessarily what Joshua is doing here, however. The verb translated “worship” (Heb. shachah, shaw-KHAH) means “to bow down,” which is an act of worship (Genesis 22:5), or a show of respect for authority (2 Samuel 9:6).

 

15 And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

 

The captain of the Lord’s armies asks Joshua to respect the holiness of this place by removing his shoes. Joshua is sure to have remembered the story of a similar request made to Moses when, out of a burning bush, the Lord called Moses to rescue His people from Egypt.

 

The Angel of the Lord appears to Joshua. Joshua is experiencing a theophany—God visibly manifesting Himself to give Joshua a revelation. Seeing the captain of the Lord’s army had to be an earth-shattering event for Joshua that would encourage him throughout his years of leadership.

 

SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES

QUESTION 1

Why was Joshua encouraged that his encounter was similar to Moses’ encounter with God?

 

God was with Moses. God will be with Joshua.

 

QUESTION 2

Why would Joshua’s inevitable defeat of Jericho become such a beloved story?

 

Answers will vary.

 

LIGHT ON THE WORD

When God Calls

When we approach God, He accepts us as we are. It is important, however, to respect the great honor that God gives to us by allowing us access to the heavenly throne room. The captain commands Joshua to remove his shoes because of the holiness of the place where he stands. Joshua obediently does so and listens for the Lord’s instructions. We, too, should approach the throne of grace humbly with reverence and respect.

 

II. THE PLAN TO CONQUER JERICHO (6:1-5)

The residents of Jericho had anticipated an attack and barred their gates. The city was closed to all incoming and outgoing traffic. They heard of Israel’s conquests and were afraid of Israel’s power (Joshua 2:8-11).

 

The Lord assured Joshua that the victory had already been won. But, their’s was not going to be an ordinary battle! They would not take it by direct force or siege tactics. Joshua was not going to need battering rams and heavy armor to enter the city. Instead, the men were to walk around the city walls, in silence, once a day, for six days. Seven priests led the procession, escorting the Ark, which symbolized God’s presence. In essence, the Lord went before Israel.

 

On the seventh day, the priests and men of war were to walk around the city seven times. After completing their seventh lap, the priests were to blow the trumpets—the signal for the people to shout. The dual purpose of the battle cry was to inspire the troops as it intimidated the enemy. The walls of Jericho would fall flat (v. 5), and the men would be able to capture the city with ease because the Lord had already won the battle.

 

6:1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.

 

The first verse of this chapter describes the seemingly hopeless and almost impossible situation that confronts the Israelites as they approached Jericho. This difficulty is much like other obstacles they have overcome along the way, such as crossing the Red Sea and the Jordan River. The difference, in this case, is that the city had prepared for war by fortifying their city walls.

 

“Now Jericho was straitly shut up.” The double usage of the word sagar (Heb. saw-GAR) is employed here to describe the shutting in of the people of the land. The phrase reads, “Jericho was shutting up shut,” which means that the city was sealed so that no one was able to go in or go out of the city. They were shut within the walls because they were fearful of the Israelites’ coming attack (2:10-11; 5:1).

 

2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.

 

Verse 1 is parenthetical as the narrator continues the thought which he began in 5:13. The division in 5:15 is somewhat misleading and creates the impression that the Lord’s theophany and speech with Joshua ended there. However, the Lord’s conversation with him continues with detailed war plans against Jericho (6:2-5). Joshua and the Children of Israel are at the wall of Jericho, probably gazing at the wall and contemplating how to overcome such a formidable barrier. According to some archaeological sources, the wall of Jericho was a pear-shaped mound 366 meters (400 yards) in length from the north to the south, 183 meters (200 yards) in width, and about 67 meters (70 yards) high.

 

As Joshua is gazing at this impenetrable wall, the Lord appears in military regalia (5:13-15) and speaks to him. The Lord assures Joshua that He has given him the city of Jericho. “See,” the Lord said, “I have given into your hand Jericho” with their king and their army. The language here indicates a completed action. In other words, the Lord says to Joshua, “There is no cause for alarm or worry. I have already won the battle for you. I have already handed the land over to you as I have promised.” The Lord’s specific mention of the king and his army not only implies total victory but also indicates and confirms that the inhabitants of Jericho had planned to attack Israel. The Lord assures Joshua of victory.

 

3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. 5 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, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.

 

In verses 3-5, the Lord gives Joshua the strategy to convey to all the Children of Israel. The instructions are clear:

 

1. The people, led by the men of war (soldiers), are to march around the city of Jericho once each day for six days. The word “compass” (Heb. sabab, saw-BAB), means “to surround or circle round.” The idea is not to march as in a military parade but go around the walls of the city (v. 3).

 

2. Seven priests with seven rams’ horn trumpets will go in front of the Ark of the Covenant and lead the way around the city each day (v. 4).

 

3. The people are to circle the city seven times on the seventh day (v. 4).

 

4. At the end of the march, the priests will blow a long blast of the rams’ horn, and the people “shout with a great shout” (v. 5) before marching straight in to take possession of the land (v. 5).

 

The phrase “shout with a great shout” are two Hebrew words from the same root. Rua’ (roo-AH) means “to sound an alarm, make a joyful noise,” and teru’ah (teh-roo-AH) is “an acclamation of joy or battle cry.” The cry is for both the intimidation of the enemy and the encouragement of the friendly forces (Numbers 10:9; 23:21). Shouting is frequently associated in many instances with the Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 4:5; 2 Samuel 6:15; cf. Numbers 29:1; Psalm 33:3).

 

SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES

QUESTION 3

Why is God’s strategy for Jericho so unusual?

 

Battles are won by fighting, not walking.

 

QUESTION 4

Why is it necessary to follow God’s directions?

 

Answers will vary.

 

LIGHT ON THE WORD

Do What, God?

Sometimes God gives us instructions that may leave us asking, “Do what, God?” We can’t believe what He is asking us to do! We should remember that God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). God knows what’s needed, and He tells us to trust Him. The Lord never lets His people down, as Scripture shows us again and again.

 

It is also noticeable that the priests are to lead the people and take an active part in the affairs of Israel. Ministers of the Lord are to be at the forefront in accomplishing the commands of the Lord (cf. vv. 4-6; 3:3, 8, 13-17; 4:3). The result of obeying all these instructions is that the walls of Jericho will “fall down flat” i.e., completely. That means total destruction. When God gives instructions, let’s follow the leader!

 

III. JOSHUA OBEYS THE PLAN (vv. 15-16, 20)

Joshua’s instructions may have seemed strange to the people, but they performed the first six days faithfully. On the seventh day they woke up early. This day, they were to increase their daily march and walk around the city seven times. When they finished marching the seventh time, the priests blew their trumpets, and Joshua commanded the people to shout the victory. The Lord had given them the city!

 

15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. 16 And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the LORD hath given you the city.

 

Verses 6-14 contain Joshua’s instruction to the people and the description of the actual procession (the encircling) of the city from the first day to the sixth day. The narrator now takes us to the events of the seventh day. The Children of Israel have obeyed the Lord and have done everything according to Joshua’s instructions. Then early in the morning of the seventh day, which we can refer to here as their “D-Day,” the people begin to circle the city.

 

Starting “early about the dawning of the day” as mentioned here is important in view of the special instruction regarding the seventh day (from v. 4). Since it would take them longer to

 

march around the city seven times in one day, they need to start early. On this eventful day, the people circle the city just as they have been doing for the past six days—silently with seven priests carrying rams’ horns leading the way followed by those carrying the Ark of the Covenant and the soldiers, and then the people (vv. 8-14). To march around the city seven times on the last day, and then march in to capture the city afterward would take hard work and faith.

 

Verse 16 relates the fulfillment of God’s promises and the result of total faith in and obedience to the word of God even when it sounds irrational. The people have completed the procession according to the instructions of the Lord. After the priests sound the trumpets, Joshua announces to the people to shout (rua’) for joy because the “Lord has given you the city,” which reminds them of God’s promise to give them the city (v. 2; cf 8:1, 18; Judges 3:28; 4:7, etc).

 

20 So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.

 

Here, the narrator gives us the climax of God’s victory over the city of Jericho. “So,” i.e., recalling the reader’s attention to the event in verse 16, Israel obeys Joshua’s instruction. When they heard the sound of the trumpet, “the people shouted with a great shout” (vv. 5-6). At the long blast of the rams’ horns coupled with Joshua’s signal, the people raise the battle cry of triumph.

 

As they are shouting in obedience to the word of God, the walls of Jericho start to crumble. As the walls fall flat, the people of Israel advance, “every man straight before him, and they took the city.”

 

SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES

QUESTION 5

What walls have fallen in your life as you obeyed God’s instructions?

 

Answers will vary.

 

QUESTION 6

What encouragement can you give to new Christians about trusting God?

 

Answers will vary.

 

LIGHT ON THE WORD

Foolish Things

To the Israelites, marching around Jericho may have seemed very strange and foolish, but they act in strict obedience to the Lord, who uses the things that seem foolish to the world to put to shame the wise, and the weak things to defeat the mighty (1 Corinthians 1:27–28). They have seen enough of God’s mighty deeds along the way, especially in the most recent time (Joshua 3–4), that they have to trust and obey Him.

 

God gives us the victory over our enemies when we obey His words and follow His instructions, even if they seem foolish. Often, what is counter-culture may seem foolish—don’t live the way the world lives; obey the Bible.

 

As long as we are obedient to the Lord, we are witnesses to His mighty power exhibited on our behalf. We may not understand the Lord’s directions for our lives, but God is never short on His promises. He will come through for us when we submit to Him and follow His word.

 

BIBLE APPLICATION

AIM: Students will cherish this faith account.

 

Miraculous events, such as the falling of the walls of Jericho, are sometimes difficult for modern-day readers to imagine. But Joshua’s victory is a constant reminder of the power of God. The old spiritual “Joshua Fit De Battle of Jericho,” tells the story of God’s assurance of victory in a battle against the enemies of God’s people. As an often oppressed group, Israel found strength in a God of deliverance, a God who could—and would—destroy the enemy.

 

STUDENTS’ RESPONSES

AIM: Students will commit to following God.

 

Look at your own life. Are you taking time to know God now, far in advance of your troubles? Do you take time to praise Him during the day despite what’s happening in your life? How is your prayer life? Do you call on God only when you are in need, or do you pray just because it is a tradition? Reflect on this lesson and perhaps share it with someone else. At the same time, commit to follow God no matter where He leads. Obey His directions even when you don’t understand. As you open your heart, praise God for answered prayers.

 

PRAYER

Loving Father, You fight for us and protect us in ways we can’t see or imagine. Thank You for this reminder as we conclude our study of Joshua’s victory over Jericho. Lord, You are not limited to the world’s system. We will follow You, no matter how unusual Your instructions may seem to us! In the Name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

 

DIG A LITTLE DEEPER

Scholars have long sought physical reasons for the fall of Jericho’s walls. Some believe the walls crumbled to the ground like an elevator. Others believe the Lord might have used an earthquake to bring about His purpose. Still, others think the trampling and vibrations might have weakened the walls causing them to tumble. Search the Internet for more discussion.

 

No matter how the incident occurred, the fall of Jericho’s walls demonstrate this unshakable truth. God’s power is awesome!

 

HOW TO SAY IT

Paradigm. PARE-ah-dime.

 

Adamah. ah-DAH-mah.

 

COMMENTS / NOTES:

 

 

 

 

 

DAILY HOME BIBLE READINGS

MONDAY

Rahab Rewarded for Her Faithfulness

(Hebrews 11:23-31)

TUESDAY

Jesus Heals Blind Man from Jericho

(Luke 18:35-42)

WEDNESDAY

Enjoying the Manna and Local Produce

(Joshua 5:8-12)

THURSDAY

Marching Around the City of Jericho

(Joshua 6:6-14)

FRIDAY

Rahab and Spies Confirm Rescue Plan

(Joshua 2:15-24)

SATURDAY

Rahab Saved While Jericho Is Destroyed

(Joshua 6:22-25)

SUNDAY

Joshua’s Successful Conquest of Jericho

(Joshua 5:13–6:5, 15-16, 20)

 

PREPARE FOR NEXT SUNDAY

Read 2 Kings 22:14-20 and next week’s lesson, “Huldah: Prophet of Wisdom.”