6:3 six days. The army of Israel was to march around Jericho once daily for six days, then to take the city on the seventh day. Similarly they had camped just east of the Jordan for six days, then crossed Jordan on the seventh day (Joshua 2:22; 3:2).
6:9 rereward. That is, “rear guard.”
6:15 the seventh day. The Israelite men of war, on God’s instruction, circled once around the city of Jericho six days, then seven times on the seventh day. This, of course, included the sabbath day, although it is not stated explicitly whether the “seventh day” was the Sabbath. In any case, there was significant work done on the sabbath day, confirming that, even in this early period in the Mosaic dispensation, “the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
6:18 the accursed thing. The “accursed thing” meant something “under the ban” and marked for utter destruction. In this case, the accursed thing was the city of Jericho itself, with all its possessions and inhabitants, animal and human. Rahab and her family were to be spared, however, because of her kindness to the two spies (Joshua 6:17). See also note on Joshua 7:11.
6:20 fell down flat. The miraculous collapse of Jericho’s walls has been attributed by many to a providentially timed earthquake. This may be the case, but whatever the reason, the fact of Jericho’s collapse and burning has been adequately confirmed archaeologically. Strategically located near the Jordan at the entrance to Canaan, Jericho is a very old occupation site, with numerous towns erected one above the other at the same site. The Jericho of Joshua’s time has been disputed by archaeologists, especially in view of the uncertainties in both pottery and radiocarbon dating and the ongoing controversy over the date of the exodus. Nevertheless, some conservative archaeologists have argued cogently in favor of accepting the traditional date (around 1450 B.C.), at which time the Jericho site does seem to show evidence of a collapse of its walls and a burning of the city.
6:22 the harlot’s house. Interestingly, the excavations at Jericho revealed that one portion of the wall remained standing when the walls as a whole fell down. Rahab’s house was built “upon the town wall” (Joshua 2:15), and she had been told to bring her family into her house to save their lives when the attack began (Joshua 2:18,19). Presumably the portion of the wall left standing was that part where Rahab and her family were gathered.
6:26 Cursed be the man. It was God’s will that, because of its wickedness, Jericho should not be rebuilt, pronouncing a curse upon the man who would attempt it. Such a man would lose all his children between the times of the beginning and completion of its construction. This curse was literally fulfilled some five hundred years later when a man named Hiel rebuilt Jericho (I Kings 16:34).
7:10 Get thee up. God is not pleased or placated by prayer–no matter how piously offered–when those praying have not first faced the possibility of sin and corrected it. Unanswered prayer may not usually be caused by sin, but this possibility should always be first considered, especially before complaining to God about it, as Joshua was doing.
7:11 the accursed thing. The “accursed thing” was anything in Jericho other than the metallic vessels, which were to be taken “into the treasury of the LORD” (Joshua 6:19). All else was to be “accursed” (literally “devoted” to God–that is, offered up to the Lord rather than kept for personal gain–note Joshua 6:17). This was accomplished by burning the city to the ground–like a great burnt offering. Achan, however, “coveted” and “took” some of the valuables for himself (Joshua 7:21), thus inhibiting God’s continued blessing on the Canaanite campaign until the sin could be eliminated from the camp.