Battle of Jericho Bible Story Study Guide

The Battle of Jericho - painting of the scene from the Bible in Joshua, chapter 3, verse 17, showing Israelites with the Ark of the Covenant marching.
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The battle of Jericho represented the first step in Israel's conquest of the promised land. A formidable fortress, Jericho was walled up tight. But God had promised to deliver the city into Israel's hands. The conflict featured a strange battle plan and one of the most astounding miracles in the Bible, proving that God stood with the Israelites.

Battle of Jericho

  • The story of the battle of Jericho takes place in the book of Joshua 1:1 - 6:25.
  • The siege was led by Joshua, the son of Nun.
  • Joshua mustered a force of 40,000 Israelite soldiers together with priests blowing trumpets and carrying the ark of the covenant.
  • After the walls of Jericho fell, the Israelites burned down the city but spared Rahab and her family.

Battle of Jericho Story Summary

After the death of Moses, God chose Joshua, son of Nun, to be the leader of the Israelite people. They set about to conquer the land of Canaan, under the Lord's guidance. God said to Joshua, "Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9, NIV).

Spies from the Israelites sneaked into the walled city of Jericho and stayed at the house of Rahab, a prostitute. But Rahab had faith in God. She told the spies:

"I know that the Lord has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt ... When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below." (Joshua 2:9-11, NIV)

Rahab hid the spies from the king's soldiers, and when the time was right, she helped the spies escape out a window and down a rope, since her house was built into the city wall.

Rahab made the spies swear an oath. She promised not to give their plans away, and in return, they vowed to spare Rahab and her family when the battle of Jericho began. She was to tie a scarlet cord in her window as a sign of their protection.

Meanwhile, the Israelite people continued to move into Canaan. God commanded Joshua to have the priests carry the Ark of the Covenant into the center of the Jordan River, which was at flood stage. As soon as they stepped into the river, the water stopped flowing. It piled up in heaps upstream and downstream, so the people could cross on dry ground. God performed a miracle for Joshua, just as he had done for Moses, by parting the Red Sea.

A Strange Miracle

God had a strange plan for the battle of Jericho. He told Joshua to have the armed men march around the city once each day, for six days. The priests were to carry the ark, blowing trumpets, but the soldiers were to keep silent.

On the seventh day, the assembly marched around the walls of Jericho seven times. Joshua told them that by God's order, every living thing in the city must be destroyed, except Rahab and her family. All articles of silver, gold, bronze, and iron were to go into the Lord's treasury.

At Joshua's command, the men gave a great shout, and Jericho's walls fell down flat! The Israelite army rushed in and conquered the city. Only Rahab and her family were spared.

Life Lessons From the Battle of Jericho

Joshua felt unqualified for the monumental task of taking over for Moses, but God promised to be with him every step of the way, just as he had been for Moses. This same God is with us today, protecting and guiding us.

Rahab, the prostitute, made the right choice. She went with God, instead of the evil people of Jericho. Joshua spared Rahab and her family in the battle of Jericho. In the New Testament, we learn that God favored Rahab by making her one of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. Rahab is named in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus as the mother of Boaz and great-grandmother of King David. Although she'll forever bear the label "Rahab the harlot," her involvement in this story declares God's peculiar grace and life-transforming power.

Joshua's strict obedience to God is a crucial lesson from this story. At every turn, Joshua did exactly as he was told and the Israelites prospered under his leadership. An ongoing theme in the Old Testament is that when the Jews obeyed God, they did well. When they disobeyed, the consequences were bad. The same is true for us today.

As Moses' apprentice, Joshua learned firsthand that he wouldn't always understand God's ways. Human nature sometimes made Joshua want to question God's plans, but instead, he chose to obey and watch what happened. Joshua is an excellent example of humility before God.

Questions for Reflection

Joshua's strong faith in God led him to obey, no matter how illogical God's command might be. Joshua also drew from the past, remembering the impossible deeds God had accomplished through Moses.

Do you trust God with your life? Have you forgotten how he brought you through past troubles? God has not changed and he never will. He promises to be with you wherever you go.

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Your Citation
Zavada, Jack. "Battle of Jericho Bible Story Study Guide." Learn Religions, Sep. 12, 2022, learnreligions.com/battle-of-jericho-700195. Zavada, Jack. (2022, September 12). Battle of Jericho Bible Story Study Guide. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/battle-of-jericho-700195 Zavada, Jack. "Battle of Jericho Bible Story Study Guide." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/battle-of-jericho-700195 (accessed September 24, 2022).

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