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The fall of Jericho

From the November 2015 issue of The Christian Science Journal


The Bible story of the fall of Jericho is one that has always held the imagination. Blocking the Israelites’ entrance to the Promised Land, Jericho was seen as impregnable—a mighty fortress, an impassable barrier. One can imagine the Israelites advancing toward this substantial citadel, thought to be the strongest in the land of Canaan, knowing it had to be conquered, and perhaps wondering about Joshua’s battle plans. 

The answer to how to conquer Jericho, though, was clearly revealed to Joshua through divine direction. In the Bible, God says to him: “Ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him” (Joshua 6:3–5).   

How would you feel telling the army generals that this was the plan? If put forward today, this plan would probably invite ridicule, because victory seemed so unlikely. Yet Joshua had faith. He showed that answers come not from human logic but from intuitions we receive when we open our hearts to the unlimited goodness of God, and that obedience to God brings solutions in ways far surpassing even what the best human reasoning could hope for.

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