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From Eternity Past

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    Chapter 45—The Miraculous Fall of Jericho

    This chapter is based on Joshua 5:13-15; 6; 7.

    The Hebrews had entered Canaan, but they had not subdued it. It was inhabited by a powerful race, who stood ready to oppose the invasion of their territory. Their horses and iron battle chariots, their knowledge of the country, and their training in war would give them great advantage. Further, the country was guarded by “cities great and fenced up to heaven.” Deuteronomy 9:1. Only in the assurance of a strength not their own could the Israelites hope for success in the impending conflict.EP 346.1

    The large and wealthy city of Jericho lay just a little distance from their camp at Gilgal. This proud city, behind its massive battlements, offered defiance to the God of Israel. Jericho was especially devoted to Ashtaroth, the goddess of the moon. Here centered all that was vilest and most degrading in the religion of the Canaanites. The people of Israel, in whose minds were fresh the fearful results of their sin at Beth-peor, could look upon this heathen city only with disgust and horror.EP 346.2

    To reduce Jericho was seen by Joshua to be the first step in the conquest of Canaan. Withdrawing from the encampment to meditate and to pray, he beheld an armed warrior of commanding presence “with his sword drawn in his hand.” To Joshua's challenge, “Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?” the answer was given, “As Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come.” The mysterious stranger was Christ, the Exalted One. Awe-stricken, Joshua fell upon his face and worshiped, and heard the assurance, “I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor,” and he received instruction for the capture of the city.EP 346.3

    In obedience to the divine command, Joshua marshaled the armies of Israel. No assault was to be made. They were simply to make the circuit of the city, bearing the ark of God and blowing trumpets. The ark of God, surrounded by a halo of divine glory, was borne by priests clad in the dress denoting their sacred office. The army of Israel followed. Such was the procession that compassed the doomed city.EP 347.1

    No sound was heard but the tread of that mighty host and the solemn peal of the trumpets, echoing among the hills and resounding through the streets of Jericho.EP 347.2

    With wonder and alarm the watchmen of the city reported to those in authority. When they beheld that mighty host marching around their city once each day, with the sacred ark and the attendant priests, the mystery of the scene struck terror to the hearts of priest and people. Again they would inspect their strong defenses, feeling certain they could successfully resist the most powerful attack. Many ridiculed the thought that any harm would come to them through these singular demonstrations. Others were awed as they beheld the procession each day. They remembered that the Red Sea had once parted before this people and that a passage had just been opened for them through the river Jordan.EP 347.3

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