By: Ely Lagajino
“Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” Numbers 14:9 (ESV)
A few distances from the Israelites’ camp at Gilgal stands the fortified walled city of Jericho.
Jericho is a large and prosperous city. It is located in the lower Jordan plains more than 800 feet below sea level, making its land extremely fertile. It is often called the city of Palms, strategically located as the border city. It serves as the authority controlling the migration of people from north to south and east to west. Any movement without seeking permits and payment from the Jericho government would endanger the lives of those who wish to enter. They have iron chariots used for war and trained warriors.
The ancestors of this city know Lot and the God of Abraham. They knew God when Abraham rescued Lot and five Sodomite kings from the Elamite conquerors. The Lord had given them 400 years to worship the true God. But this proud city continue to rebel against God. They have become the center of idol worship devoted to Ashtoreth or Asherah, the moon’s female deity. Asherah worship is the most degrading religion in Canaan. The worship involves ritual prostitution
Conquering Jericho will create additional fear for the other heathen nations in Canaan. It will be easier to drive them away.
In the evening, Joshua goes outside the camp to pray for God’s guidance. He sees an armed soldier. Joshua questions Him, “Are you with us or against us?”
The warrior answers, “I come as the Lord Captain of Israel.” Joshua falls to the ground and worships Him. God promises Joshua to deliver Jericho in their hands.
Joshua 5:13-15; PP pp.537-538
Bible Dictionary and Concordance p.39