Joshua and the Walls of Jericho
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Uses the copper penny and nail experiment to teach the story.
“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10 NIV
While Joshua was the leader of the Israelites, God performed several miracles. Joshua 4:24 states “He did this so that all the nations of the earth will realize that Jehovah is the mighty God, and so that all of you will worship him forever.” The students will also learn that through faith in God we receive everlasting protection. While we live, and even after we die God keeps us safe in His care. In today’s story, God kept only Rahab and her family alive out of all the inhabitants of Jericho. God kept Rahab safe because she recognized that Jehovah was the one true God. She chose to protect God’s people and dared to ask them to spare her and her family. This powerful story is included in Hebrews 11:30-31 “It was faith that brought the walls of Jericho tumbling down after the people of Israel had walked around them seven days, as God had commanded them. By faith—because she believed in God and his power—Rahab the harlot did not die with all the others in her city when they refused to obey God, for she gave a friendly welcome to the spies.”
- Read over the experiment.
- Read the scripture.
- Gather the materials.
- Several animal skins.
- Illustrations and pictures of excavations of ancient Jericho from ChristianAnswers.net
- Poster of bible references and archaeological proofs.
- Copper Pennies and Nail Experiment: A jar; ¼ cup vinegar; A pinch of salt, 10-20 copper pennies; an iron nail, scouring powder.
Opening-Welcome and Lesson Introductions:
Greet the children and introduce yourself.
Thank you Lord, for bringing us together this morning to learn more about you. Bless us, and please bless our church. And all God’s children said, AMEN.
Earlier this year, we learned about the Creation of the world. Who can tell me what was the last thing that God created?
That’s right. The last creature God brought into being was humans. And for thousands of years, God has gone right on creating new people. In Psalms 139:13-14 we read: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body, and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it.” One of the amazing parts of an animal body is skin. Here are several animal skins that you can pass around and touch.
What are several things that skin does for animals, and for you?
- Allows for respiration and temperature control.
- Holds our bodies together.
Protection: Keeps enemies (germs, etc.) out!
The skin is our body’s protection from the outside world. It keeps out dirt, water and germs, as well as shielding us from the sun’s burning rays. The tough outer layer of the skin, called the epidermis, is waterproof and germproof. It provides excellent protection from our enemies, which take the form of bacteria, viruses, etc. God knew our delicate inward parts needed protection, so he created skin!
The citizens of ancient Jericho realized that they, too, needed protection from their enemies. They built a great wall to keep neighboring tribes out. It was actually a double wall, built about 30 feet high. The outer wall was six feet think. Fifteen feet away, the inner wall was twelve feet thick. The two walls were linked together by houses built across the top. The foundation for this mighty wall was faulty and uneven, consisting of brick 4 inches thick and 1 to 2 feet long, laid in mud mortar.
Does that sound like a strong wall to you? The people who lived in this city were quite sure that they were very safe there. Joshua and his army was concerned about how to capture this city. Joshua sent out two spies who stopped to spend the night at an inn operated by Rahab, on top of the city wall.
The Bible tells us that Rahab was a harlot. Like the other people in the city of Jericho, Rahab did not believe in the one true God, or follow his laws. However, Rahab had heard that the people of Israel were ready to cross the Jordan River and enter the land of Caanan. She had heard the story of how their Lord made a path through the Red Sea for them when they left Egypt! (Joshua 2:10) She heard and believed that their God was the one true God. Her decision to believe changed the lives of Rahab and her family.
Dig-Main Content and Reflection:
Copper Penny Experiment: Step 1
Let’s pretend that these old, drab copper pennies represent Rahab and her kin. Here is a jar that holds ¼ cup of vinegar and a pinch of salt. Let’s say that this solution represents the living Word of God. We’ll add the pennies to the solution, and let them stand for a few minutes.
Soon after the two spies arrived at Rahab’s house on the city wall, the king of Jericho was told that two suspicious men were lodging there,. He immediately sent the police to Rahab’s home. Rahab told the police that the men had recently left, but perhaps they could catch up with them.
However, Rahab had hidden the spies beneath piles of flax on the roof of her house. She went up there and told the men that she had heard of the mighty acts of their God. Rahab pleaded with the men; “Your God is the supreme God of heaven, not just an ordinary god. Now I beg for this one thing . . . when Jericho is conquered you will let me live, along with my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all their families.” Joshua 2:11-13.
Rahab let the men down the wall by a red rope from her window. She instructed them to escape to the mountains and hide for several days, then go on their way. Before the men left they told Rahab to hang the same red rope from her window when their army came to conquer Jericho. They promised that as long as she did not betray them, all of her family staying in Rahab’s home with her, would be spared. Rahab did not know exactly what would happen next. But she knew she wanted to be on the side of Israel.
Copper Pennies and Nail Experiment: Step 2
Here is an ordinary nail (cleaned with scouring powder, and rinsed). Rahab committed herself into God’s care. What will happen to this nail will show us how God works his power in Rahab’s life. (And in ours!) Let’s add it to the solution (of vinegar, salt, and pennies), let it sit for 15 minutes, and see what happens to the nail.
Now let’s let some archaeologists tell us what happened when Joshua and his army returned to Jericho.
Scientists discover proof, the wall of Jericho DID fall!
Perhaps one of you can tell me what an archaeologist does? Like Indiana Jones, archaeologists are scientists that dig up ancient cities, graves and man-made objects from long ago. Through careful study, archaeologists have discovered that the Bible is extremely accurate. They dug up the ancient city of Jericho and found that it perfectly matches the eyewitness account given in the biblical book of Joshua.
What the Bible Says, and What Archaeologists Discovered:
Use the prepared poster from information found at http://christiananswers.net/q-abr/jericho-kids.html and Joshua 5:13-6:20 to review the story of the fall of Jericho, and to teach the students how archaeologists proved that the Book of Joshua accurately recorded history. Involve the students in reading the scripture and comparing it to what the archaeologists discovered.
We learned that, according to several teams of archaeologists, the strong double wall of Jericho actually did fall down, just like the Bible says. It was a miracle, we know! The Israelite army marched around the city seven times, the priests blew their trumpets, the people shouted, and at that very moment, the walls came tumbling down!! Scientists always wonder, how and why did this happen? The most likely explanation is an earthquake. But the nature of the earthquake was unusual, because Rahab’s home on the city wall was miraculously spared.
Some people have raised the question; could the loud noise from the simultaneous shouts and trumpet blasts have caused the walls to collapse? Were the citizens of Jericho defeated by decibels? Physics is a special kind of science study. It is defined as the science of matter and energy and of interactions between the two.
Physicists have studied some interesting effects of sound vibrations. Even small sounds make vibrations you can feel. People who are deaf cannot hear a band playing, but they can feel the vibrations of the music. Imagine the powerful vibrations that could happen if a large group of people blew on horns and shouted, all at exactly the same time.
When vibrating energy emanates as sound waves from an object, it can actually energize other objects to vibrate. The effect is rather amazing, as you are causing movement in another object without touching it. Perhaps you have heard that sometimes when objects are vibrated at their natural frequency, they can actually be destroyed with just a small energy input provided over a long period of time. An example of this would be a singer shattering a wineglass. In the case of the wineglass, the singer was able to sing, and hold the wineglass's natural resonant frequency until failure resulted.
Could something like this have happened at Jericho, so many years ago? If so, isn’t it amazing how God orchestrated the whole event! After Moses died, God told Joshua that it was now his job to lead the people of Israel. He told Joshua to be careful to obey all the laws (The Ten Commandments) that God had taught them through Moses. When the time came for the people to capture Jericho, a man appeared to Joshua. He said “I am the Commander-in-Chief of the Lord’s army.” Joshua fell to the ground and said, “Give me your commands.” Then the Lord told Joshua exactly what to do. Let’s read about it in Joshua 6:2-5.
Joshua did exactly what God told him to do, and the walls fell down, just like the Lord said they would. Whatever the force was that destroyed the city, it was an amazing miracle. And Rahab was spared, because she dared to believe in the God of Israel.
Copper Pennies and Nail Experiment: Step 3
I’m curious what happened to the pennies and to the nail in our solution. Let’s check it out. What has happened?
- The acid of the vinegar cleaned the copper pennies.
- The copper formed a compound, with the vinegar. The compound is copper acetate.
- The copper in the copper acetate covered the iron nail with copper.
The drab pennies have become clean and shiny. God washed away Rahab’s sins in much the same way. Each of us needs God’s forgiveness too, and God makes us bright and clean. And what has happened to the ordinary iron nail? It has become a beautiful copper nail. God made Rahab into beautiful woman of faith. She married Salmon, a Hebrew man, and in Matthew she is listed as one of the ancestors of Jesus, God’s Son. Her story of faith is told in Hebrews 11:30. “It was faith that brought the walls of Jericho tumbling down after the people of Israel had walked around them seven days, as God had commanded them. By faith—because she believed in God and his power—Rahab the harlot did die with all the others in her city when they refused to obey God, for she gave a friendly welcome to the spies.”
What was God’s mightiest act? The destruction of the thick walls of Jericho? Or the way God took a prostitute, transformed her into a forgiven faithful woman who would be the great-great-great . . . grandmother of God’s son, Jesus?
Mighty God, thank you for strong, protecting power. Like Joshua and Rahab, we believe in you. Thank you for the joy that comes from knowing that our names our written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. And all God’s children said, AMEN..
Invite the learners to take a shiny, clean penny home with them, as a reminder of God’s mighty act, the complete forgiveness of all our sins.
- Fun Funding Out, by Neil Morris, ISBN 0760736537 p. 120-121 (skin)
- Bible Mapbook, by Simon Jenkins Lion Publishing ISBN: 0745951252 p. 28-31
- Halley’s Bible Handbook, Published by Zondervan ISBN: 0-310-22479-9 p.157-167
- Science Wizardry for Kids, by Margaret Kenda and Phyllis S. Williams, Publisher: Barron's Educational Series (September, 1992) ISBN: 1417600985 p. 34
- Vibration information: http://www.sound-physics.com/Sound/Forced-Vibration/
- Poster prepared by Patti from the following information found at http://christiananswers.net/q-abr/jericho-kids.html
A lesson written by Kirsten from: Augustana Lutheran Church
Saint James, Minnesota
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