Questions about the Battle of Jericho


I am getting ready to give the lesson Joshua and the Battle of Jericho. I have a few things that I had not noticed before and wondered if you had considered them.

In Joshua 5:15 a reference is made to "sandal" NKJV or "shoe" KJV. Since this is in the singular form, do you think Joshua was only supposed to take off one shoe? I know that Moses was instructed to remove his "shoes" plural.

When the walls came down, do you think they "fell" or did they just go into the ground? I had always thought of them as "tumbling" or crumbling. (probably because of the song). Zerr's Commentary says they sank into the ground. I had never heard it put this way.

Joshua 6:3 it says "all ye men of war". Does this indicate that it was only the soldiers and the priests who marched around the city? In verse 10 it says "people", but I didn't know if that could be just a reference to all the soldiers and priests collectively or if meant the children of Israel as a whole. I had always heard it as all the people, but know that we can sometimes assume things, especially in stories we have heard since we were small.


The phrase "take off your sandals from your feet" in Exodus 3:5 and Joshua 5:15 are almost exactly the same. The difference is that there is a "yod" in the words for sandals and feet in Exodus 3:5. The translations reflect this as plural in Exodus 3:5 and singular in Joshua 5:15. What adds an interesting twist is that the words "shoe" and "foot" are collective nouns in Hebrew. Thus, even when in the singular, it can refer to both shoes or both feet. The translations are accurately following what was written, but the net meaning can be the same.

In Hebrews 11:30 we read, "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days." The Greek word for "fell down" is pipto, which means to fall, fall down, fall in ruins, fail, or be ruined. In Joshua 6:20 we read, "And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat." The Hebrew word for "fell down" is naphal, which means to fall. The Hebrew word for "flat" is tachath, which means beneath. Many city walls of that era were ringed by a pit (or a dry moot) to make it harder to bring battering rams straight up against the wall. In Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 1990, Bryant G. Wood notes that the ruins of Jericho have mud bricks heaped just outside of the walls' foundations. It appears the walls toppled outward, filled the moot and provided the Israelites a level path straight into the city.

Joshua 6:3-4 says "You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets." Thus we have two groups, the warriors and the priests." This is again seen in Joshua 6:7, "And he said to the people, "Proceed, and march around the city, and let him who is armed advance before the ark of the LORD,"" Joshua 6:9, "The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets," and Joshua 6:13, "Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually and blew with the trumpets. And the armed men went before them. But the rear guard came after the ark of the LORD, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets." Thus "all the people" referred to all the people present; that is, the warriors and the priests.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email