08 September 2009

The Jericho Massacre

Jericho is one of God's more famous killings. And believers seem to like it a lot. They sing songs about it, and tell their children about it.

Here's how it goes.

God tells Joshua that he has given the city of Jericho into his hands and that he and his men should march around the city every day for six days with seven priests marching before the ark blowing seven trumpets made of rams' horns.
The LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. 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. Joshua 6.2-4a
On the seventh day the seven priests will march around seven times blowing their seven trumpets. They'll make a long blast, everyone will yell, and the walls will fall down.
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. Joshua 6.4b-5
So the trumpets sounded and the people yelled and the walls came tumbling down.
On the seventh day, that … they compassed the city seven times. And … 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. … So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and … the wall fell down flat. Joshua 6.15-20
Then Joshua told the soldiers to kill everyone in the city as an offering to God, except for the prostitute, Rahab, and her family. But all the silver, gold, bronze, and iron belonged to God alone.
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. Joshua 6.17-19
So the soldiers went into the city and killed everything in it. Men, women, young, old, cattle, sheep, and donkeys. But they spared Rahab and her family.
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. … And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father's household, and all that she had. Joshua 6.21-25
(Rahab and her family were spared because she protected the Israelite spies by lying about their whereabouts. I don't know how they survived when the wall fell down, since her house was on the wall. I guess it was a miracle or something.)

Then they burned everything in the city, except for the gold, silver, iron, and bronze, which they put into God's treasury.
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. Joshua 6.24
After destroying Jericho, Joshua said that whoever rebuilt the city would be cursed by God and be forced to sacrifice his oldest and youngest sons.
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. Joshua 6.26
(According to 1 Kings 16:34, this prophecy was fulfilled when Hiel rebuilt Jericho. God made him lay the foundation with the body of his oldest son and set up the gates with his youngest son's body "according to the word of the Lord.")

Estimated number killed: 1000.

God's next killing: Achan and his family are stoned and burned to death


Baconsbud said...

It is amazing how important gold, silver and iron so important to such a powerful being. Oops I forgot it wasn't actually for some god but so that the holy men could live as royalty.

Ian said...

Yes, it's such an inspiring story that it inspired the Crusaders who besieged Jerusalem in 1099. Then when the city fell, they went on a big massacre too.

busterggi said...

Geneocide & greed, the two hallmarks of a great god.

twillight said...

Maybe you could add the part from much later where that guy do kills his son and rebuilds Jericho? W/o that I fell this story unended.

v_quixotic said...

I'm curious (and lazy)... is there any reason given why Rahab the prostitute and her family were spared?

Steve Wells said...


Yeah, Rahab and her family were spared because she protected the Israelite spies by lying about their whereabouts. (Joshua 2:1-4)

Anonymous said...

Awww you forgot to mention how they went into the floating house to get Rahab out... the house that was on the wall that had just fallen down remember ;)

Anyways, I love your blog! I can't believe I read the bible 3 or 4 times as a child with my parents, and I never realized I was reading about all these killings... amazing how the mind of children can be polluted! I'm just glad I snapped out of it!

Steve Wells said...

Thanks claartje for pointing that out. I don't know how Rahab and her family survived when the wall fell, but I guess God worked it all out somehow.

I've added a note about it in the post and the SAB.

Unknown said...

you have no Biblical or historical reference to make these ignorant statements. What was done at Jericho was the same at Sodom and Ghomora and Noah"s flood. God was continuing to guard the blood line of David to Jesus against the spirit of the fallen ones who continued to turn man into an abomination to God and prevent Jesus Birth. Did a thousand morally bankrupt wretches whose blood was tainted with evil die so that Jesus could come and save the world? Yes and it was an awesome trade. They had become like animals with no redemption. It is not too late for you yet, but time is short, seek Him.

Baconsbud said...

James which of the gospel blood lines was he protecting? You do know there are two completely different ones right? You say they became like animals with no chance of redemption but doesn't the bible state all can be forgiven? I guess either you are full of crap or the bible lies. Which is it?

streona said...

Obviously the 10 Commandments came with quite a bit of small print. Especially the one about not killing people(unless god tells you to).
But how do I tell which of the vices in my head is the right one?

bill bannon said...

Actually the herem were from God and were a last resort of God. Read Genesis 15:16 and the 12th chapter of Wisdom in a Catholic Bible. Those two put together will show you that the Canaanites were sacrificing their children to Baal etc. for 400 years. God first punished them lightly that they might repent (Wisdom 12:10) so God put up with their child sacrifice for over four hundred years prior to ordering their massacre. Christ announces the worst massacre to occur after His death because Jerusalem did not know the hour of its Visitation and Christ noted their children would be killed within them... and Tacitus gives the dead as 600,000 and Josephus gives 1.1 million in 70 AD when the Romans are used by God as His axe.

Why the children within them? Because God punishes in the OT down to the third and fourth generation of the fathers who hate Him. God punishes all men in case you haven't noticed...with death. Not one person here escapes that. The pre borns were not punished spiritually but physically and probably went straight to Heaven...just as David's baby by Bathsheba was killed by God in punishment for David's sin and everyone here dies because of Adam's sin.

Unknown said...

Bill, you state that God sent this wrath on the people of Jericho because they were sacrificing children. So, much like humans, God punished violance with more violance. He had the children killed along with their abusive parents?
Yea, that makes since (insert sarcasm here).

gman35 said...

Those that do not have Christ in their heart speak in total ignorance of the scripture .. God is the Potter and humans are his clay ... he can do as he pleases with each and owes no explanation. His ways are not our ways. Those of you who work for a boss that can fire you if he pleases and yet you dare to talk of God as if he is has no authority. A person that questions God as if your feeble human mind could comprehend his intentions will understand down the road...

erboothe said...

"Killed all the men, women, old and young, took their money, and burned their city."

And they complain about terrorism against themselves???

SacredHell said...

The reason Rahab's family was saved (according to a Bible translation I read some years ago) was due to the fact, while the entire walls fell, her house (or apartment, as the translation I read said) was saved by God... By literally being the only piece of the wall that did NOT fall down.
From what I remember (this is some 15 years ago I last read it):
-Her apartment was in a corner, basically a tower.
-Priests stopped right outside said tower and used their horns.
-All other walls fell down, but her tower was spared as a thanks.

Obviously I don't know whether or not this is true; I can only put in my 2 cents related to the information I have read in the past.