Chapter four begins with the creation of a memorial to the crossing of the Jordon on dry ground. Twelve stones were chosen from the river bed and set up as a memorial on the shore. This would remind the Jewish descendents of what happened when God led them in. The rocks are “here to this day.” This statement and one stating that Rahab is still alive (6:25) indicates that these events were recorded shortly after they took place. This event not only spoke to the Israelites but literally put the fear of God into the nations of this land: “all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites” (5:1).
While the Israelites had been in the wilderness they were not circumcising their sons on the eighth day so it was required they undergo this before settling in the land. Not surprisingly, they remained there until everyone had healed from the flint knife experience. Now that they were in the land the manna from heaven stopped and they ate of the land’s produce instead. God provided both, but the land replaced the manna provision.
The story of the fall of Jericho is quite well known, but two things stand out. First, the people did not physically capture the city through warfare but through faith. They marched around the city for seven days running and on the seventh day God defeated the city by causing its walls to collapse. Secondly, they were to “keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it” (6:18). This meant that all the valuable metals were to be given to the Lord’s house and all the living valuables were to be slain. The people had not worked for this victory, nor were they allowed to receive any of the spoils.