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There was to be no shouting or noise of any kind, not even a word spoken, till the day when Joshua should give orders for the general acclamation of triumph. At length, the procession round the walls of Jericho was in motion. The principal part of the immense army of the Israelites went first, marshalled in distinct divisions under their respective leaders. Seven priests, blowing the seven trumpets of rams' horns, followed. Then came the ark of the covenant; and behind this such of the people as were directed to go, while the rearward, consisting of another portion of the army, closed the procession. After completing one circuit round the city, they returned to the encampment, and lodged there. Early the next morning, all again were in motion, and marched round Jericho in the same order; the trumpets still sounding, while nothing else was heard but the tramp of the immense multitude. This was repeated once a day, during six successive days. It must have been a strange sight to those who were in the city; and who, doubtless, from its walls gazed in wonder at the mysterious procession. What could it portend ? Was it an object of ridicule, or of terror T Was it to taunt the besieged, and provoke them to come out, and attack their enemy? or was it to furnish a full display of the force of the Israelites, and compel a prompt surrender when it should be demanded ! Or might it be a religious ceremony of this new people, to make their God propitious, and enkindle their own courage before they commenced the attack 1 Doubt and amazement prevailed among the inhabitants of Jericho; while each succeeding day, every blast of the shrill-sounding trumpets, and every echoing tread of the immense host that marched round their walls, but increased the alarm within the city. They waited the result in anxious suspense, and without any attempt to assail the enemy from whom they had so much to fear. The seventh day arrived. It had been anticipated with deep interest by Joshua and the Israelites; for it was to furnish the fulfilment of the divine declaration, that Jericho would be delivered into their hands. They began their march at early day-dawn, and continued it till they had compassed the city seven times. Whatever was the size of Jericho, the circuit which the Israelites made round it, considering their numbers, must have been of no small extent. The repetition of this circuit seven times, occupied, doubtless, a considerable portion of the day, while its novelty added fresh perplexity to the minds of those within the walls. At length the eventful moment was at hand.
Just as the seventh circuit was completed, Joshua, as he had been commanded, cried out in the hearing of the Israelites, “Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city. And the city shall be accursed,” (devoted to utter destruction,) " even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And ye, in any wise,” (that is, with the utmost carefulness and vigilance,) “keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.” As soon as Joshua had uttered these words, the trumpets once more sounded; and an universal shout bursting forth from the hosts of the Israelites, the walls of the city suddenly fell down to their very foundations. An entrance was open on all sides; and the encircling thousands rushing in, the dreadful work of extermination began. Resistance was in vain. With the exception of Rahab and her kindred—all of whom, together with her goods, were conveyed by the spies in safety near the Israelitish camp, according to the command of Joshua-none were spared. Men and women, the young and the old, the oxen and sheep, with every living thing, were put to death. The silver and the gold, the vessels of brass and of iron, taken by the conquerors, not as their own spoils of victory, but as consecrated to the Lord, were deposited in his treasury, to be devoted to his service. Every thing else was then consumed in the general conflagration to which Jericho was devoted, and which completed the entire destruction of the city and its inhabitants. This awful event was intended by God to furmish a striking proof to his people, and indeed to all who should become acquainted with it, of his abhorrence of the idolatry and other abominable wickedness of the Canaanites. Jericho had long deserved its fate. In destroying it, the Israelites acted under an express command of the Almighty. Nor is it any more difficult to be reconciled with the justice or the mercy of his character, that he should thus make use of the sword in the hands of men as the executioners of his vengeance, than of the power of the civil magistrate in putting to death the criminal who deserves it, or of the earthquake, the volcano, the whirlwind, or the famine, in inflicting upon the guilty the punishment which is due to their transgressions. He has a perfect right to choose his own instruments in taking away the lives of offenders. And if in this, or any other such dreadful catastrophe, it may, at first sight, seem strange that tender infants, and those who have made comparatively but little progress in crime, should share the doom of the older and flagrant transgressor, God will see to it, that every thing is done in accord ance with the strictest justice, and with all that is kind and benevolent in his character, with all that is long-suffering and gracious. Another state of being succeeds this. In the retributions of eternity, what is obscure here in his dealings with us, will be made plain; and all will find, at last, that they have no cause of complaint against their Maker. We daily see the innocent involved, more or less, in the sufferings that fall upon the guilty. Such is the mired state of things in this world, and the economy of God’s government over it. It is no more mysterious that the infants in Jericho should suffer, together with their parents, in being put to death, than that the child, at the present day, should have a sickly constitution, or be brought to a premature grave, on account of the vices of its father. Infants often endure intense bodily pain, and die of disease in excruciating agony. Their being put to death by the sword in Jericho, was only another mode of removing them out of this world. Their condition in the neart, is decided by Him who is infinitely holy, just, and good.