5 All the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the Mediterranean Sea heard that the Lord had dried up the Jordan until the people of Israel had crossed it. They became afraid and lost their courage because of the Israelites.
The Circumcision at Gilgal
2 Then the Lord told Joshua, “Make some knives out of flint and circumcise the Israelites.” 3 So Joshua did as the Lord had commanded, and he circumcised the Israelites at a place called Circumcision Hill. 4-6 (A)When the people of Israel left Egypt, all the males were already circumcised. However, during the forty years the people spent crossing the desert, none of the baby boys had been circumcised. Also, by the end of that time all the men who were of fighting age when they left Egypt had died because they had disobeyed the Lord. Just as he had sworn, they were not allowed to see the rich and fertile land that he had promised their ancestors. 7 The sons of these men had never been circumcised, and it was this new generation that Joshua circumcised.
8 After the circumcision was completed, the whole nation stayed in the camp until the wounds had healed. 9 The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have removed from you the disgrace of being slaves in Egypt.” That is why the place was named Gilgal,[a] the name it still has.
10 (B)While the Israelites were camping at Gilgal on the plain near Jericho, they observed Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month. 11 The next day was the first time they ate food grown in Canaan: roasted grain and bread made without yeast. 12 (C)The manna stopped falling then, and the Israelites no longer had any. From that time on they ate food grown in Canaan.
Joshua and the Man with a Sword
13 While Joshua was near Jericho, he suddenly saw a man standing in front of him, holding a sword. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you one of our soldiers, or an enemy?”
14 “Neither,” the man answered. “I am here as the commander of the Lord's army.”
Joshua threw himself on the ground in worship and said, “I am your servant, sir. What do you want me to do?”
15 And the commander of the Lord's army told him, “Take your sandals off; you are standing on holy ground.” And Joshua did as he was told.
The Fall of Jericho
6 The gates of Jericho were kept shut and guarded to keep the Israelites out. No one could enter or leave the city. 2 The Lord said to Joshua, “I am putting into your hands Jericho, with its king and all its brave soldiers. 3 You and your soldiers are to march around the city once a day for six days. 4 Seven priests, each carrying a trumpet, are to go in front of the Covenant Box. On the seventh day you and your soldiers are to march around the city seven times while the priests blow the trumpets. 5 Then they are to sound one long note. As soon as you hear it, all the people are to give a loud shout, and the city walls will collapse. Then the whole army will go straight into the city.”
6 Joshua called the priests and told them, “Take the Covenant Box, and seven of you go in front of it, carrying trumpets.” 7 Then he ordered the people to start marching around the city, with an advance guard going on ahead of the Lord's Covenant Box.
8-9 So, just as Joshua had ordered, an advance guard started out ahead of the priests who were blowing trumpets; behind these came the priests who were carrying the Covenant Box, followed by a rear guard. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 10 But Joshua had ordered the people not to shout, not to say a word until he gave the order. 11 So he had this group of men take the Lord's Covenant Box around the city one time. Then they came back to camp and spent the night there.
12-13 Joshua got up early the next morning, and for the second time the priests and soldiers marched around the city in the same order as the day before: first, the advance guard; next, the seven priests blowing the seven trumpets; then, the priests carrying the Lord's Covenant Box; and finally, the rear guard. All this time the trumpets were sounding. 14 On this second day they again marched around the city one time and then returned to camp. They did this for six days.
15 On the seventh day they got up at daybreak and marched seven times around the city in the same way—this was the only day that they marched around it seven times. 16 The seventh time around, when the priests were about to sound the trumpets, Joshua ordered the people to shout, and he said, “The Lord has given you the city! 17 The city and everything in it must be totally destroyed as an offering to the Lord. Only the prostitute Rahab and her household will be spared, because she hid our spies. 18 But you are not to take anything that is to be destroyed; if you do, you will bring trouble and destruction on the Israelite camp. 19 Everything made of silver, gold, bronze, or iron is set apart for the Lord. It is to be put in the Lord's treasury.”
20 (D)So the priests blew the trumpets. As soon as the people heard it, they gave a loud shout, and the walls collapsed. Then all the army went straight up the hill into the city and captured it. 21 With their swords they killed everyone in the city, men and women, young and old. They also killed the cattle, sheep, and donkeys.
22 Joshua then told the two men who had served as spies, “Go into the prostitute's house, and bring her and her family out, as you promised her.” 23 So they went and brought Rahab out, along with her father and mother, her brothers, and the rest of her family. They took them all, family and slaves, to safety near the Israelite camp. 24 Then they set fire to the city and burned it to the ground, along with everything in it, except the things made of gold, silver, bronze, and iron, which they took and put in the Lord's treasury. 25 (E)But Joshua spared the lives of the prostitute Rahab and all her relatives, because she had hidden the two spies that he had sent to Jericho. (Her descendants have lived in Israel to this day.)
26 (F)At this time Joshua issued a solemn warning: “Anyone who tries to rebuild the city of Jericho will be under the Lord's curse.
Whoever lays the foundation will lose his oldest son;
Whoever builds the gates will lose his youngest.”
27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame spread through the whole country.
7 The Lord's command to Israel not to take from Jericho anything that was to be destroyed was not obeyed. A man named Achan disobeyed that order, and so the Lord was furious with the Israelites. (Achan was the son of Carmi and grandson of Zabdi, and belonged to the clan of Zerah, a part of the tribe of Judah.)
2 Joshua sent some men from Jericho to Ai, a city east of Bethel, near Bethaven, with orders to go and explore the land. When they had done so, 3 they reported back to Joshua: “There is no need for everyone to attack Ai. Send only about two or three thousand men. Don't send the whole army up there to fight; it is not a large city.” 4 So about three thousand Israelites made the attack, but they were forced to retreat. 5 The men of Ai chased them from the city gate as far as some quarries and killed about thirty-six of them on the way down the hill. Then the Israelites lost their courage and were afraid.
6 Joshua and the leaders of Israel tore their clothes in grief, threw themselves to the ground before the Lord's Covenant Box, and lay there till evening, with dust on their heads to show their sorrow. 7 And Joshua said, “Sovereign Lord! Why did you bring us across the Jordan at all? To turn us over to the Amorites? To destroy us? Why didn't we just stay on the other side of the Jordan? 8 What can I say, O Lord, now that Israel has retreated from the enemy? 9 The Canaanites and everyone else in the country will hear about it. They will surround us and kill every one of us! And then what will you do to protect your honor?”
10 The Lord said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on the ground like this? 11 Israel has sinned! They have broken the agreement with me that I ordered them to keep. They have taken some of the things condemned to destruction. They stole them, lied about it, and put them with their own things. 12 This is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies. They retreat from them because they themselves have now been condemned to destruction! I will not stay with you any longer unless you destroy the things you were ordered not to take! 13 Get up! Purify the people and get them ready to come before me. Tell them to be ready tomorrow, because I, the Lord God of Israel, have this to say: ‘Israel, you have in your possession some things that I ordered you to destroy! You cannot stand against your enemies until you get rid of these things!’ 14 So tell them that in the morning they will be brought forward, tribe by tribe. The tribe that I pick out will then come forward, clan by clan. The clan that I pick out will come forward, family by family. The family that I pick out will come forward, one by one. 15 The one who is then picked out and found with the condemned goods will be burned, along with his family and everything he owns, for he has brought terrible shame on Israel and has broken my covenant.”
- Joshua 5:9 This name sounds like the Hebrew for “removed.”
The Lost Sheep(A)
15 (B)One day when many tax collectors and other outcasts came to listen to Jesus, 2 the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law started grumbling, “This man welcomes outcasts and even eats with them!” 3 So Jesus told them this parable:
4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them—what do you do? You leave the other ninety-nine sheep in the pasture and go looking for the one that got lost until you find it. 5 When you find it, you are so happy that you put it on your shoulders 6 and carry it back home. Then you call your friends and neighbors together and say to them, ‘I am so happy I found my lost sheep. Let us celebrate!’ 7 In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine respectable people who do not need to repent.
The Lost Coin
8 “Or suppose a woman who has ten silver coins loses one of them—what does she do? She lights a lamp, sweeps her house, and looks carefully everywhere until she finds it. 9 When she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, and says to them, ‘I am so happy I found the coin I lost. Let us celebrate!’ 10 In the same way, I tell you, the angels of God rejoice over one sinner who repents.”
The Lost Son
11 Jesus went on to say, “There was once a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to him, ‘Father, give me my share of the property now.’ So the man divided his property between his two sons. 13 After a few days the younger son sold his part of the property and left home with the money. He went to a country far away, where he wasted his money in reckless living. 14 He spent everything he had. Then a severe famine spread over that country, and he was left without a thing. 15 So he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him out to his farm to take care of the pigs. 16 He wished he could fill himself with the bean pods the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything to eat. 17 At last he came to his senses and said, ‘All my father's hired workers have more than they can eat, and here I am about to starve! 18 I will get up and go to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against God and against you. 19 I am no longer fit to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired workers.”’ 20 So he got up and started back to his father.
“He was still a long way from home when his father saw him; his heart was filled with pity, and he ran, threw his arms around his son, and kissed him. 21 ‘Father,’ the son said, ‘I have sinned against God and against you. I am no longer fit to be called your son.’ 22 But the father called to his servants. ‘Hurry!’ he said. ‘Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet. 23 Then go and get the prize calf and kill it, and let us celebrate with a feast! 24 For this son of mine was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’ And so the feasting began.
25 “In the meantime the older son was out in the field. On his way back, when he came close to the house, he heard the music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him, ‘What's going on?’ 27 ‘Your brother has come back home,’ the servant answered, ‘and your father has killed the prize calf, because he got him back safe and sound.’ 28 The older brother was so angry that he would not go into the house; so his father came out and begged him to come in. 29 But he spoke back to his father, ‘Look, all these years I have worked for you like a slave, and I have never disobeyed your orders. What have you given me? Not even a goat for me to have a feast with my friends! 30 But this son of yours wasted all your property on prostitutes, and when he comes back home, you kill the prize calf for him!’ 31 ‘My son,’ the father answered, ‘you are always here with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.’”
A Song for a Festival[a]
81 Shout for joy to God our defender;
sing praise to the God of Jacob!
2 Start the music and beat the tambourines;
play pleasant music on the harps and the lyres.
3 (A)Blow the trumpet for the festival,
when the moon is new and when the moon is full.
4 This is the law in Israel,
an order from the God of Jacob.
5 He gave it to the people of Israel
when he attacked the land of Egypt.
I hear an unknown voice saying,
6 “I took the burdens off your backs;
I let you put down your loads of bricks.
7 (B)When you were in trouble, you called to me, and I saved you.
From my hiding place in the storm, I answered you.
I put you to the test at the springs of Meribah.
8 Listen, my people, to my warning;
Israel, how I wish you would listen to me!
9 (C)You must never worship another god.
10 I am the Lord your God,
who brought you out of Egypt.
Open your mouth, and I will feed you.
11 “But my people would not listen to me;
Israel would not obey me.
12 So I let them go their stubborn ways
and do whatever they wanted.
13 How I wish my people would listen to me;
how I wish they would obey me!
14 I would quickly defeat their enemies
and conquer all their foes.
15 Those who hate me would bow in fear before me;
their punishment would last forever.
16 But I would feed you with the finest wheat
and satisfy you with wild honey.”
- Psalm 81:1 HEBREW TITLE: By Asaph.
13 Wise children pay attention when their parents correct them, but arrogant people never admit they are wrong.