When everyone had finished crossing the Jordan, God tells Joshua to have one man from each tribe take a stone out of the dried riverbed and build a memorial pillar in their campsite.
So everyone has crossed over, and I misspoke before, now the priests and the ark leave the middle of the river, and all the water comes rushing back.
And Joshua reminds them why they’re building the memorial pillar.
Joshua: Alright, Lord. We’re ready to attack Jericho now.
God: Nope. Cut off a part of your wieners.
Joshua: Like I was saying. The army is ready, we’re all in array, split into our companies and divisions and now we march on Jericho.
God: No, cut off a piece of your wiener with a stone knife.
Josh: We…uh… we can’t even use a bronze knife?
God: Nope, stone.
Josh: You know, that cow god idea we had 40 years ago is sounding better and better.
So they named the place Gilgal, which in the original Hebrew means, “So sweet mother of Jesus, this really, really hurts!”
So they camped there and ate some produce from the land and God stopped sending the manna.
And Joshua is up at night and walking around looking at Jericho and sees a man with a drawn sword.
“Hey, are you with us or against us?”
“Neither. I’m the leader of God’s army.”
Joshua hits the floor. “Okay, what did you want?”
“Take off your shoes. This is holy ground.”
“Okay, as long as you don’t call me ‘Shoeless’.”
God: Okay, here’s the battle plan. Have the army march around the city once for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times and then have the priests blow the trumpets, then the walls of Jericho will fall down and you can go slaughter everything inside and burn the place to the ground.
Josh: So we’re to put on our armor and march on the Sabbath day too? Because that seems like work and we killed a guy for gathering sticks on a Saturday.
God: Uh… crap… okay, okay, look it’s okay to put on armor and go march this one time.
So Joshua goes back to the people and explains the battle plan to them and adds the provision that no one is to speak while they are marching until the priests blow the trumpets on the seventh day, then everyone is to shout. Let it all out. Jericho’s a thing we can do without… come on…
So they put the plan into action, the walls of Jericho fall, and Joshua commands that they sacrifice the city to the Lord and burn everything except the precious metals which get to go to “the treasury of the Lord” because God really needs gold apparently. The important part to take away is that no one is to take any loot for themselves… well, that and they just sacrificed a crapload of people to the Lord.
“So they utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and unarmed woman, young children, infants, the elderly, and all the animals (of course) with the edge of the sword. “
That’s a bit more sanitized for my taste than I like. Let’s use our imagination.
You had heard of the approaching army. Rumors that their god had demanded sacrifices, that you and everyone in your city were to be offered to their god. The diplomatic envoys the government had sent had been turned away or killed. There was no negotiation, no chance for peace. The religious fanatics had decided that your city and you must die.
The rich or the lucky ones had already fled the city before the guards spotted the approaching army. The military had sealed the city to keep them out, but it ended whatever chance you had of escaping. Now your fate was tied to the city. You were trapped.
The army didn’t attack the first day, or the next, or the four after that. They simply marched around the city, letting the dread of your situation sink in. Despair ruled the streets. Some of your neighbors went mad and were killed by the city guards. The grim spectre of death hung over everything. You heard from someone that a mutual friend had killed his family and hung himself. The only hope was your walls. That somehow, the army outside would be unable to feed itself and would have to abandon the siege. But even this hope was to be taken from you.
The last day, the army marched around the city seven times and blew a trumpet. An earthquake struck and the walls shook and fell outward, opening the way for the religious zealots to the city.
You hid for most of the day, locked inside your house with your wife and small children. You hoped and prayed that the fanatics would overlook your home, that they would not see you and assume you had fled earlier.
You could feel your son shake in fear as the sounds of war from outside echoed into your bedroom through your windows. With each new scream, he shook harder. Each new cry was closer. You told him to close his eyes as you heard the feet of men marching down your street. They shouted in their language “God is great!” and you heard them kick open the door to your neighbor’s house. She screamed at them, “Please, for the love of God do not kill us!” Her cries came louder and more desperate as they advanced. Her baby started to cry. Then a sickening sound of a wet thwack as a sword met flesh and bone. Your neighbor shrieked, “No! My son! No!” Her cries of grief soon cut short as a sword met her skull.
Your son was crying now in your arms. “Shhhh…” you told him. “Close your eyes,” you said as the soldiers started to kick open your door. “It’ll be okay,” you lied. You covered his eyes with one hand as the religious zealots spotted you. They smiled as they advanced. “God is great!” they screamed. You took your wife’s hand and closed your own eyes. You would not see your children or wife murdered. At least, you could spare yourself that misery.
You smelled smoke outside before everything ended.
Josh tells the spies to go save the folks in the brothel and then he curses the city, so that anyone who rebuilds it will have to sacrifice his eldest and youngest son. And the news of Jericho’s fall spread throughout the land.
Sorry. That got a bit dark. Hopefully, I’ll be able to go back to making jokes about Shittim next week.