Study Guide

Book of Joshua The Walls of Jericho

The Walls of Jericho

And the walls came tumblin' down! That's right, Shmoopers: the walls of Jericho are a wonderful symbol. In case you forgot, Jericho is the first city the Israelites have to conquer to make progress into the Promised Land. Devising a clever plan with horns, the Israelites raze Jericho to the ground. But why is this a symbol?

The city of Jericho—particularly its walls—is the first real obstacle to new life the Israelites face. They are, quite literally, blocked from beginning their new life. Even though the Israelites are proficient warriors, the fortress city presents a new kind of anxiety, one that can only be cured by gravity-obeying stones. God quells their fears however, telling them "And the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead" (6:5). God is reminding the Israelites that in order to forge forward, they must make their own path through Jericho.

Sometimes the most direct path is through a giant stone wall. Literally speaking, of course.

Fortunately for the Israelites, the walls of Jericho do indeed come tumbling down, along with the Israelites' fear. With this city gone, a new kind of life awaits the Israelites, just as God promised them.

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