2Then the LORD told Joshua, “Make some knives out of flint and circumcise the Israelites.” 3So Joshua did as the LORD had commanded, and he circumcised the Israelites at a place called Circumcision Hill. 7The sons of these men had never been circumcised, and it was this new generation that Joshua circumcised.
8After the circumcision was completed, the whole nation stayed in the camp until the wounds had healed. 9The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have removed from you the disgrace of being slaves in Egypt.” That is why the place was named Gilgal, the name it still has.
10While the Israelites were camping at Gilgal on the plain near Jericho, they observed Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month. 11The next day was the first time they ate food grown in Canaan: roasted grain and bread made without yeast. 12The manna stopped falling then, and the Israelites no longer had any. From that time on they ate food grown in Canaan.
Joshua and the Man with a Sword
13While Joshua was near Jericho, he suddenly saw a man standing in front of him, holding a sword. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you one of our soldiers, or an enemy?”
14“Neither,” the man answered. “I am here as the commander of the LORD's army.”
Joshua threw himself on the ground in worship and said, “I am your servant, sir. What do you want me to do?”
15And the commander of the LORD's army told him, “Take your sandals off; you are standing on holy ground.” And Joshua did as he was told.
The Fall of Jericho
1The gates of Jericho were kept shut and guarded to keep the Israelites out. No one could enter or leave the city. 2The LORD said to Joshua, “I am putting into your hands Jericho, with its king and all its brave soldiers. 3You and your soldiers are to march round the city once a day for six days. 4Seven priests, each carrying a trumpet, are to go in front of the Covenant Box. On the seventh day you and your soldiers are to march round the city seven times while the priests blow the trumpets. 5Then they are to sound one long note. As soon as you hear it, all the people are to give a loud shout, and the city walls will collapse. Then the whole army will go straight into the city.”
6Joshua called the priests and said to them, “Take the Covenant Box, and seven of you go in front of it, carrying trumpets.” 7Then he ordered the people to start marching round the city, with an advance guard going on ahead of the LORD's Covenant Box.
8-9So, just as Joshua had ordered, an advance guard started out ahead of the priests who were blowing trumpets; behind these came the priests who were carrying the Covenant Box, followed by a rearguard. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10But Joshua had ordered the people not to shout, not to say a word until he gave the order. 11So he told this group of men to take the LORD's Covenant Box round the city once. Then they came back to camp and spent the night there.
12-13Joshua got up early the next morning, and for the second time the priests and soldiers marched round the city in the same order as the day before: first, the advance guard; next, the seven priests blowing the seven trumpets; then, the priests carrying the LORD's Covenant Box; and finally, the rearguard. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 14On this second day they again marched round the city once and then returned to camp. They did this for six days.
15On the seventh day they got up at daybreak and marched seven times round the city in the same way — this was the only day that they marched round it seven times. 16The seventh time round, when the priests were about to sound the trumpets, Joshua ordered the people to shout, and he said, “The LORD has given you the city! 17The city and everything in it must be totally destroyed as an offering to the LORD. Only the prostitute Rahab and her household will be spared, because she hid our spies. 18But you are not to take anything that is to be destroyed; if you do, you will bring trouble and destruction on the Israelite camp. 19Everything made of silver, gold, bronze, or iron is set apart for the LORD. It is to be put in the LORD's treasury.”
20So the priests blew the trumpets. As soon as the people heard it, they gave a loud shout, and the walls collapsed. Then all the army went straight up the hill into the city and captured it. 21With their swords they killed everyone in the city, men and women, young and old. They also killed the cattle, sheep, and donkeys.
22Joshua then told the two men who had served as spies, “Go into the prostitute's house and bring her and her family out, as you promised her.” 23So they went and brought Rahab out, along with her father and mother, her brothers, and the rest of her family. They took them all, family and slaves, to safety near the Israelite camp. 24Then they set fire to the city and burnt it to the ground, along with everything in it, except the things made of gold, silver, bronze, and iron, which they took and put in the LORD's treasury. 25But Joshua spared the lives of the prostitute Rahab and all her relatives, because she had hidden the two spies that he had sent to Jericho. (Her descendants have lived in Israel to this day.)
26At that time Joshua issued a solemn warning: “Anyone who tries to rebuild the city of Jericho will be under the LORD's curse.
Whoever lays the foundation will lose his eldest son;
Whoever builds the gates will lose his youngest.”
27So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame spread through the whole country.
1The LORD's command to Israel not to take from Jericho anything that was to be destroyed was not obeyed. A man named Achan disobeyed that order, and so the LORD was furious with the Israelites. (Achan was the son of Carmi and grandson of Zabdi, and belonged to the clan of Zerah, a part of the tribe of Judah.)
2Joshua sent some men from Jericho to Ai, a city east of Bethel, near Bethaven, with orders to go and explore the land. When they had done so, 3they reported back to Joshua: “There is no need for everyone to attack Ai. Send only about two or three thousand men. Don't send the whole army up there to fight; it is not a large city.” 4So about 3,000 Israelites made the attack, but they were forced to retreat. 5The men of Ai chased them from the city gate as far as some quarries and killed about 36 of them on the way down the hill. Then the Israelites lost their courage and were afraid.
6Joshua and the leaders of Israel tore their clothes in grief, threw themselves to the ground before the LORD's Covenant Box, and lay there till evening, with dust on their heads to show their sorrow. 7And Joshua said, “Sovereign LORD! Why did you bring us across the Jordan at all? To hand us over to the Amorites? To destroy us? Why didn't we just stay on the other side of the Jordan? 8What can I say, O Lord, now that Israel has retreated from the enemy? 9The Canaanites and everyone else in the country will hear about it. They will surround us and kill every one of us! And then what will you do to protect your honour?”
10The LORD said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on the ground like this? 11Israel has sinned! They have broken the agreement with me that I ordered them to keep. They have taken some of the things condemned to destruction. They stole them, lied about it, and put them with their own things. 12This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They retreat from them because they themselves have now been condemned to destruction! I will not stay with you any longer unless you destroy the things you were ordered not to take! 13Get up! Purify the people and get them ready to come before me. Tell them to be ready tomorrow, because I, the LORD God of Israel, have this to say: ‘Israel, you have in your possession some things that I ordered you to destroy! You cannot stand against your enemies until you get rid of these things!’ 14So tell them that in the morning they will be brought forward, tribe by tribe. The tribe that I pick out will then come forward, clan by clan. The clan that I pick out will come forward, family by family. The family that I pick out will come forward, one by one. 15The one who is then picked out and found with the condemned goods will be burnt, along with his family and everything he owns, for he has brought terrible shame on Israel and has broken my covenant.”
16Early the next morning Joshua brought Israel forward, tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was picked out. 17He brought the tribe of Judah forward, clan by clan, and the clan of Zerah was picked out. Then he brought the clan of Zerah forward, family by family, and the family of Zabdi was picked out. 18He then brought Zabdi's family forward, one by one, and Achan, the son of Carmi and grandson of Zabdi, was picked out. 19Joshua said to him, “My son, tell the truth here before the LORD, the God of Israel, and confess. Tell me now what you have done. Don't try to hide it from me.”
20“It's true,” Achan answered. “I have sinned against the LORD, Israel's God, and this is what I did. 21Among the things we seized I saw a beautiful Babylonian cloak, about two kilogrammes of silver, and a bar of gold weighing over half a kilogramme. I wanted them so much that I took them. You will find them buried inside my tent, with the silver at the bottom.”
22So Joshua sent some men, who ran to the tent and found that the condemned things really were buried there, with the silver at the bottom. 23They brought them out of the tent, took them to Joshua and all the Israelites, and laid them down in the presence of the LORD. 24Joshua, along with all the people of Israel, seized Achan, the silver, the cloak, and the bar of gold, together with Achan's sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys, and sheep, his tent, and everything else he owned; and they took them to Trouble Valley. 25And Joshua said, “Why have you brought such trouble on us? The LORD will now bring trouble on you!” All the people then stoned Achan to death; they also stoned and burnt his family and possessions. 26They put a huge pile of stones over him, which is there to this day. That is why that place is still called Trouble Valley.