Joshua 6:2,16 – The Gift of Jericho

By Wayne Jackson

The first city that lay in the path of the Israelites as they initiated the conquest of Canaan was Jericho. Consider God’s promise.

“And Jehovah said unto Joshua, ‘See, I have given into your hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor’” (Josh. 6:2).

Again, later, the text says:

“Joshua said unto the people, ‘Shout; for Jehovah has given you the city’” (v. 16).

Mark the double use of that verb “given.” In spite of the fact that God was giving the Israelites this great Palestinean city, there were conditions imposed upon the Hebrew people, to which they were obligated if the city was to be theirs. They must march around the city the prescribed number of times, offer a great shout, and then take the fortress (v. 3-21).

Surely no one would contend that this procedure had any real military advantage. There is no question but that the victory was of God. Yet, clearly Israel’s obedience was absolutely essential. Their faith cooperated with their obedience in receiving the gift of Jericho at the hand of the Lord. The New Testament puts it like this: “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been compassed about for seven days” (Hebrews 11:30).

There is an important principle here that must not be overlooked. A gift can have conditions connected to its reception without the grace of the giver being negated. The Hebrew people did not “earn” or “merit” Jericho, yet their obedience in following the Lord’s instructions was necessary in receiving His gift.

So, similarly, our salvation is a “gift” from God (see Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9). This does not, though, negate the fact that there are conditions which must be complied with before the gift can be appropriated (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Hebrews 5:8,9).

Draw a circle around the words “given” in verses 2 and 16 of Joshua, chapter 6. Then in your margin write: The gift was received through obedience; cf. 6:3-21; Hebrews 11:30.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.