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under the form of an angel, was the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the very LORD of angels ?
Now the city of Jericho was closely shut up by the children of Israel,—that is, they were encamped about it, so that nobody could go in and out of the town. But it pleased the LORD that this great city should be overthrown by His Own Right Hand alone, and not by the strength or skill of men. See,” He said to Joshua, "I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.”
So Joshua obeyed his orders most exactly. For six days running he and his men of war went all round the city, and behind them the Priests carried the Ark of the Covenant, and seven Priests walked before the ark, carrying trumpets of ram's horns, and as they went they blew their trumpets. Every day they did exactly the same thing, going once round the city, and then returned to their camp. But on the seventh day, by God's command, they rose at the dawn of day, and went seven times round the city, and the seventh time, when the Priests blew their trumpets loudly, Joshua bade all the people shout with a great and mighty voice, saying, “Shout, for the Lord hath given you the city.”
Then all the people shouted with a great shout, together with the blast of the trumpets; and even as God had promised, the wall of Jericho fell down flat, so that the Israelites had nothing to do but go straight in, and take the city.
But before the people went in, Joshua gave them very strict commands as to God's will about the city. He had cursed it, and all therein ; and the people were forbidden to take anything whatever as spoil, lest they should bring a curse upon the camp of Israel, and trouble it. Everything in the city was to be burnt, except the gold and silver, and all vessels of brass and iron, which were to be offered to the LORD, and put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. All the cattle, and every man and woman, young and old, were to be slain with the sword; only excepting Rahab and her family. Joshua sent the two men whose lives Rahab had saved, to her house, and they brought her, and her father and mother, her brethren, and all she had, safe into the camp of Israel, and she dwelt among the Israelites all the rest of her life.
Then God's sentence was fulfilled upon the city; every one was utterly destroyed, and every ox, and sheep, and ass was killed, the city and all it contained was burnt with fire, and Joshua solemnly spoke God's curse upon the place where the city had stood, saying, “Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho.”
Thus the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame, and the fear of him, and his mighty deeds spread very greatly everywhere through the Land of Canaan.
THE SIN OF ACHAN.
THERE was another city called Ai, against which Joshua had to go up next. He first sent some men to view the country and the town; and when these men came back they advised Joshua not to send all the army against Ai, but some thousands only, because the place was not very strong. So he sent about three thousand only, but they did not succeed: on the contrary, they fled from before the men of Ai, who chased them, and killed thirty-six Israelites; and all the people were very much
afraid—their hearts melted and became as water.
Joshua did not know that the cause of this defeat was the disobedience of an Israelite, who had taken some spoil out of Jericho, and thus brought "a curse and trouble” into the camp, as the LORD had said.
So Joshua and the Elders of Israel rent their clothes, and put dust upon their heads, and with great sorrow and penitence. fell to the earth on their faces before the Ark of the LORD until the eventide, and Joshua cried unto his God, “O LORD, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies ?”
But the Lord answered Joshua, saying, “ Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed My Covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff: therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among
Then the Lord told Joshua what he was to do. “Up; sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to-morrow; for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.' So Joshua was to range all the people in their tribes, and when the LORD marked out a tribe as that where the guilty man was, he was to go on and take the families one by one, and so on with the households in the family marked ; and then with the persons in the household marked. “ And it shall be,” thus ran God's sentence, “ that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire; he, and all that he hath : because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly (or sin) in Israel."
Early the next morning this solemn assembly of the people was gathered together. One by one the tribes of Israel passed before Joshua, and the Lord pointed out to him the tribe of Judah. Then all the families of Judah passed before Joshua, and the LORD pointed out the farnily of the Zarhites. Among this family Joshua took out the household of Zabdi ; and