If I heard correctly, Jericho has stone walls, how are they going to conquer that?
“And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them anymore, because of the children of Israel.
At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time” (Josh 5:1-2).
“And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.
Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised” (Josh 5:4-5).
“And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole. And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day. And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho” (Josh 5:8-10).
“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?
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?
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” (Josh 5:13-15).
“Now Jericho was straightly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
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.
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 “(Josh 6:1-5).
Joshua relayed the message to the people.
“And Joshua had commanded the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout; then shall ye shout” (Josh 6:10).
“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.
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.
And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it.
But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the LORD: they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.
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.
And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.
But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye swear unto her” (Josh 6:15-22).
“And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.
And Joshua saved1Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.
And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.
So the LORD was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country” (Josh 6:24-27).
1 God is always in control, and He doesn’t care what type of person you are because He will change You to fit His needs, as He had done to Moses.
Rahab became Joshua’s wife, and the mother of Boaz who married Ruth.
And Ruth was King David’s great grandmother, the blood line of Jesus Christ.
The author of Hebrews (many think it’s the Apostle Paul, but no one knows for certain) speaks of her as a shining example of faith (Heb 11:31).
James shows his appreciation of her as a person in whom faith was not merely theological but also practical (Jas 2:5).
The Conquest of Canaan
After defeating the nations east of the Jordan, Israel turned to the Promised Land west of the Jordan Valley. The Canaanites occupied the coastal and valley areas and the Amorites the highlands.
Old Testament chronological data suggests that the conquest took place at the end of the 15th century B.C.
The entire process, including the taking of Transjordan, took about seven years, most of that time spent in conquering Canaan.
Archaeologists disagree about the date of the conquest, variously supporting the following possibilities:
A Late Bronze II Age Conquest
This view, placing the exodus during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II and the conquest at the end of the 13th century B.C., was once almost unanimously held.
Cities like Debir, Lachish, Bethel and Hazor were said to have been destroyed around 1220 b.c. by the Israelite onslaught.
But today many scholars have abandoned this thesis:
The Merneptah Stele (inscribed stone slab) suggests that Israel was already settled in the land.
Few walled cities have been discovered from this period.
It is impossible to place Jericho’s fall at this time.
A Late Bronze I Age Conquest
This position argues for a conquest around 1400 B.C., as supported by a current understanding of the Biblical chronology.
Jericho’s capture gave the Israelites a foothold. From their camp at Gilgal they launched attacks westward into the highlands.
After taking Ai they subjugated the southern part of the country.
Joshua did not attack Shechem, thought to be a major city at this time, instead striking a coalition of northern kings at Hazor.
Shechem, in the central highlands near Mount Ebal and Mount Gerazim, separated the southern from the northern city-states.
Joshua could not have avoided Shechem, and some scholars even suggest Shechemite cooperation with Israel.
Problems With a Late Bronze I Age Conquest
Canaan was sparsely populated, lacking the great cities the Bible mentions.
Most interpreters date Jericho’s destruction to the end of the Middle Bronze Age, over 100 years earlier.
The book of Joshua nowhere cites Shechem as a power city.
God commanded Israel to exterminate the Canaanites.
Joshua 9 mentions the Gibeonite trick, but this only underscores Joshua’s unwillingness to cooperate with Canaanite cities and contradicts the notion of Shechemite cooperation with Israel.
A Late Middle Bronze Age Conquest
Cities were heavily fortified.
The end of this age saw a major societal collapse and the destruction of numerous cities, including Jericho.
The population may have plummeted by as much as 80%.
Most scholars have attributed this destruction to the Egyptians — a premise now widely questioned based on lack of evidence.
Problems With a Late Middle Bronze Age
This period is thought to have ended about 1550 B.C., too early for the Bible’s chronology.
It is difficult to relate Egyptian Chronology to a 1550 B.C. conquest. No suitable pharaoh reigned then.
Proposed Solutions to the Problem With a Late Middle Bronze Age Conquest
Scholars have tried to correlate the exodus with the expulsion from Hyksos.
This solution is unconvincing, and there remains the problem of the discrepancy with Biblical chronology.
Some historians suggest re-dating the end of the Middle Bronze period.
If the date were lowered by 150 years, to around 1400 B.C., this era could have ended at the traditional date of the conquest. But this would also require a re-dating of Egyptian chronology.
Most interpreters find this view unconvincing and eccentric.
Archaeologists routinely revise older, seemingly well-established conclusions.
The interpretation of the data in Palestine is fraught with difficulties; even well-received interpretations may be built upon flimsy foundations.
Given this uncertainty, it would be amazing if researchers were able to attain conclusive evidence regarding the time and circumstances of the conquest.