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.