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the ark, to walk round the walls of Jericho; and, on the seventh day, they were to blow with the trumpets; at the sound of the trumpets the Israelites were to shout, and the walls of Jericho were to fall down. Such were the commands of the Lord.

And Joshua told the people, saying, Ye shall not shout, nor make any noise with your voice, neither shall any word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I bid you shout: then shall ye shout.” “ And seven priests, bearing seven trumpets before the ark of the Lord, went on continually, round and round the city, and blew with the trumpets: thus did they seven days; and on the seventh day, after walking round it seven times, when the priests blew with the trumpet, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city. And it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout; and the walls fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and took the city.”

And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox, sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. For so angry was the Almighty with the wickedness of this people, that he would not allow Joshua to spare any of them, but strictly commanded him to put them all to death. If it had not been so, we might have thought Joshua cruel for putting all to the sword, and not even sparing the little children. But it was the positive order of Almighty God, and he dared not disobey; for he was only the instrument or minister by which God chose to punish the great wickedness of this people. Often

has he punished whole nations by plague and famine, by flood and earthquakes; and now he thought fit to punish the Canaanites by the sword of Israel.

And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein; only the silver and the gold, and the vessels of brass and iron, they put into the tabernacle, or house of the Lord. And so great was the anger of the Lord against the wicked inhabitants of Canaan, that he pronounced a curse against any man who should, in time to come, build again the city of Jericho. For the inhabitants of Canaan had been famous in the earth for their idolatry, and dreadful in wickedness, and had thus brought down upon themselves the just and terrible anger of God.

E. But Rahab was saved alive? You said so, mamma?

M. Yes, Edward; whilst the Lord knows how to punish the wicked, he knows also how to deliver the faithful. In the ruin of Jericho, Rahab was safe: her faith had saved her; she had trusted in the Lord, and she now finds that her hope was not in vain; the swords of the Israelites shall not hurt her; she and her family are carried safely into their camp,-are taken from the midst of a wicked and idolatrous nation, to dwell amongst the people of God.

Great must have been the wonder of the Israelites in seeing their enemies thus falling before them! If the Lord continues to fight for his people, the land of Canaan will soon be theirs. But how can they be sure that the Lord will be with them still, and do for them again as he has done at Jericho? To make sure of this, they have only to keep carefully from sin. It is sin alone that can drive God from Israel, and pro

voke him to leave them to themselves. Whilst they obey God they are sure of his protection ; for unless they draw back from him, he will never leave them nor forsake them.

How is it, then, that the very next thing we read in the Bible about the children of Israel is that they are driven back by the people who dwelt in Ai, a city near Jericho, and that the people of the city smote them with the sword?

Joshua had sent three thousand men to take the city of Ai, expecting that it would fall easily into their hands. How great, then, was his surprise and sorrow, when he saw them flying before their enemies ! At this sad sight he fell upon his face before the Lord, and ventured humbly to ask him, why he had thus forsaken them? And the Lord told Joshua, saying, “ Israel hath sinned, for they have taken of the accursed thing;” that is, of the riches of the Canaanites, which God had commanded them not to touch, but to destroy entirely. And the Lord said, “Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies; neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed thing from among you."

Great was the grief of Joshua when he heard these words of the Almighty; and he made haste to find out the person who had done this evil thing. Then he learnt that a man of the tribe of Judah, whose name was Achan, had taken a rich Babylonian garment, and a great deal of silver, and a wedge of gold of great value, from the enemies of the Lord, and had hidden them under his tent. Unhappy man! He knew that the Lord had positively commanded his people to touch none of the goods of the inhabitants

of Jericho; and that he had pronounced a curse upon the man who should lay his hand upon any thing belonging to them. But his heart was set upon riches; so that neither the commands of God, nor the wonders he had seen done at Jericho, could keep his hands from touching the unholy thing,—although the curse of the Almighty must go along with it. Poor foolish man! How dearly did he pay for that gold and silver and that rich raiment, which he had dared to touch against the command of God!

E. Why, mamma, was he punished very much? M. Yes, my child, his punishment was an awful one indeed; for, by the command of the Lord, Joshua took Achan, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had, and stoned them with stones, and burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. Such was the punishment of Achan, who, by his greedy desire of making himself rich, had brought so much shame and sorrow upon Israel, provoking the Most High God to take away his presence from among them.

By the dreadful end of Achan, Israel must have learnt, and we too may learn, that it is a dangerous thing to break the commands of God. We may do it, as this unhappy man did, in secret; but shall not God search it out? Can we hide ourselves, or any thing that we do, from the Almighty? Oh! let us never forget that the eye of the Lord is in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

E. After Joshua had put Achan to death, did God return to the people of Israel?


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M. Yes, my love; the presence of the Lord, which nothing but sin could have removed, was once more among their tents, filling their hearts with joy and peace, and giving them again the courage which they had lost. They now go up again against the city of Ai; and the Lord delivers it into their hands. And they utterly destroyed the city and all the inhabitants thereof. And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it a heap of ruins for ever.

When the people of the land heard this they were in great fear. All the kings on the west side of Jordan, those, too, who lived in the middle part of the country amongst its hills and valleys, and even those who were furthest off along the sea-coast under mount Lebanon, began to be afraid for their people and their cities, lest Joshua should come and destroy them, as he had done to Jericho and Ai. Still they did not think of submitting to him, but gathered themselves together to fight with Israel and with Joshua with one accord.

There was one people only who wished, if possible, not to take up arms and fight with Israel, but rather to try if they could not deceive Joshua, and get him thus to make a league or agreement of peace with them, and allow them to live. This people were called Gibeonites, because they lived in the city of Gibeon; and the plan which they took to deceive Joshua, and to lead him to think that they were not of those Canaanites whom God had commanded him utterly to destroy, was this: a few of them came to the camp of Israel, pretending to be ambassadors, or public messengers, sent by the elders and people of

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