The people in Canaan had already begun to hear of how the Israelites crossed the Jordan in dry land and are dropping like flies. No one wants to face a nation with that kind of power behind them! Joshua conducts another mass circumcision--with flint knives! Ouch!!!! The reason for this was that none of the children born on the journey from Egypt had been circumcised along the way and most of those who had already been circumcised were dead by now. God wanted to sanctify His people once again.
Just outside of Jericho, Joshua sees a soldier and asks him if he "is for us or for our enemies?" The soldier replies that he is in the army of the Lord. I definitely think this guy is an angel standing ready to help and lead Joshua for what is coming next. Once a day for 6 days, the people march around the walls of the city and then camp. On the 7th day, they march around the city 7 times and then let out a war cry. The walls of the city collapse, and the people charge in and kill every living thing (sparing Rahab and her family of course!). They then burn the city and leave it in ruins as instructed by the Lord.
One of the Israelites (Achan) takes things from Jericho which was a BIG no no. The next city they seek to conquer doesn't go well and many are killed. God explains that this never would have happened if Achan hadn't taken the stolen goods. Achan is called out and repents, but at the Lord's will he is stoned and burned along with everything he stole. Then God is at peace and the Israelites can move forward.
They are now able to conquer the city in a very epic battle scene. They set up soldiers before the city and "run in fear" from Ai's army in order to lure them away from the city. After they are gone, the city is open and attacked from behind allowing an easy capture... Makes for great cinema in my head :) The city is burned like Jericho and left for ruins; the king of Ai is hanged and then covered with stones at the gate of the city. They then have a time of worship and Joshua goes over the entire law again to remind the people of their purpose.
I am really loving Joshua so far... something very LOTR about the fight scenes and I love how easily the people are able to continue with their mission as long as they obey God. It's so simple! Obey God=conquer cities; disobey God=die.... duh!
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