The Miracle at Jericho
by Wayne D. Turner
Here's another theory on how the miracle of the Jericho wall falling may have taken place in Joshua 6. This is not to diminish the miracle, but rather to show the God-given strategy that might have been responsible this historical defeat of the great walled city, Jericho.
Only 40,000 of the 600,000+ eligible fighting men were called upon for the battle. For six days, early in the morning, they were to surround the city and march around it one time. Armed men went first followed by the seven priests blowing trumpets. These musicians were followed by the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant with the remainder of the 40,000 troops behind them. The only sound heard by the inhabitants of Jericho would have been the trumpets and feet hitting the ground as they marched around.
After the second morning of an identical performance at the same time, my guess is that there was a greater turnout on the wall for that third morning. Everybody loves a parade. We know from Rahab's comments that these inhabitants of Jericho were terrified of the Israelites. They had shut their city up so that no one went in or out. By the fourth morning, more people turned out on the wall to watch the parade go by. We know from chapter 2 that houses were built on the wall (as was Rahab's house). Since the city was all closed up, if you wanted a view of the parade, you had to find a place on the wall to see it. No problem though--since the parade went all around the city each day, you could stand anywhere on the wall you wanted to get a good view.
On the seventh day, the Hebrews do something different. Instead of just one trip around the city, they make seven. Because of this, I'm guessing that by the seventh trip around the city the crowd on the wall had grown to the point that nearly everyone therein had found a good viewing spot. It probably never occurred to the architects that nearly everyone in the entire city would ever ascend the wall at one time, but they all wanted a good view of the Israelite army parade. I wonder if anyone thought to ask, "I wonder how many people that wall will hold at one time, anyway?" The Jews had followed the same procedure each day for six previous days--rather uneventful as parades go. In their state of wonderment and terror, I can imagine that the Jericho people filled every place on the wall where a view was possible, and they stood (or sat) there motionless listening to music and watching thousands of soldiers pass by.
Then, something very unexpected happened. The whole Hebrew army let out a resounding shout at the same time. Startled by the deviation from the established parade program, everyone on the wall probably jumped or scrambled at the exact moment of the shout causing an enormous jolt to the structure of the wall. The weight, the sudden jolt in reaction to the shout - it was just more than that poor wall could stand, and it collapsed under the pressure of so many people standing on it and simultaneously physically reacting to the shout. It is probably safe to conclude that many inhabitants of the city were killed immediately upon the collapse of the wall. The job for the Hebrew army after that was simply executed.
This conjecture in no way diminishes the miracle, but it does show that God's plan may have had a method we can understand. Had they not marched around Jericho the six preceding days, the crowd would not have known to gather to watch. By the seventh day, a shout was all that was necessary to cause the sudden jolt from the people on the wall sufficient to bring down the house (so to speak). What a great plan!