The conquest of Jericho: Account of a leader who led by the power of faith

"The book of Joshua recounts Israel's preparations to enter the promised land," wrote Ellis T. Rasmussen in A Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament. "It covers the conquest as it proceeded westward, southward, and northward, and then the conquest was consolidated. (Josh. 5-12.) It describes the allocation of areas to each tribe and the responsibilities each tribe bore. (Josh. 13-22.) It reports Joshua's farewell and his charge to Israel to be true to God in keeping all their covenants with Him. (Josh. 23-24.)

"The book also portrays the effects a people's needs and challenges have upon their courage and faith. It shows the value of having a strong, inspired, faithful leader over a nation."The story of Israel's conquest of the city of Jericho is one example of a faithful leader and the power of faith. The ruins of ancient Jericho and the modern-day city by that same name are located on a plain five miles west of the River Jordan and seven miles north of the Dead Sea. At the time Joshua led the children of Israel across the Jordan, Jericho had a king, and the city's walls were such that houses were built upon them. Brother Rasmussen noted that Jericho was a tiny walled city with a circumference of less than a mile.

Jericho was delivered by the Lord into Joshua's hand. (See Josh. 6:2.) Instructions for the city's conquest were that the hosts of Israel march around Jericho in silence, once each day for six days, with only the seven priests blowing their trumpets. On the seventh day, they were to go around the city seven times and then amid the trumpet blasts give forth with a tumultuous shout.

In Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:215, Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: "What was there in this ritualistic performance that caused the walls to fall down flat so that the armies of Israel could go straight into the city and utterly destroy all that was therein, save Rahab and her household? Surely, as Paul says, it was the faith in the hearts of the people, the faith that if they did as Joshua commanded, the city would be theirs."

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