This week opens with what I think is one of the more bizarre stories in the Bible. The first city the Israelites are to conquer is Jericho. But rather than attack head on, or try to sneak in via some ruse, God instructs Joshua to have the army hold a parade! They are to march around the city once each day, blowing the trumpets but making no other sound, and then return to camp. Then they are to repeat this procedure five more times. Then, on the seventh day, they get to vary it, marching around seven times, and then finally shouting, which will bring down the walls so they can all rush in at once and destroy the city.
To me, these sound like ludicrous instructions! I can understand that the marching around might confuse and dishearten the defenders, but why would the walls care about that? Why would God ask them to do something so seemingly pointless? After all, if God were going to destroy the wall, I don’t think he needed the army’s help to do it. Was this just another test, to see if the Israelites were willing to listen to God’s instructions? Was it something more practical, like acting as a distraction while “inside men” weakened the wall? What was the point?
I don’t have any answers. I’m just asking the question.