Joshua 6:26

26 At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: “Cursed before the LORD is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: “At the cost of his firstborn son he will lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates.”

Read Joshua 6:26 Using Other Translations

And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.
Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, "Cursed before the LORD be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho. "At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates."
At that time Joshua invoked this curse: “May the curse of the LORD fall on anyone who tries to rebuild the town of Jericho. At the cost of his firstborn son, he will lay its foundation. At the cost of his youngest son, he will set up its gates.”

What does Joshua 6:26 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Joshua 6:26

And Joshua adjured [them] at that time
When the city was burnt and spoiled; not that he adjured the people individually, or one by one, which was not very practicable, but in a general way:

saying, cursed [be] the man before the Lord;
let him be cursed by him with the curses written in the book of the law; and let him be driven from him, from his presence, as Cain was:

that riseth up, and buildeth this city Jericho;
that rises up in future time, and rebuilds it; for it cannot be thought that after such an adjuration anyone would start up quickly, and rebuild it:

he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his
youngest [son] shall he set up the gates of it;
that is, while he is laying, or as soon as he has laid the foundation of the city, his eldest son should die; and as he went on with the building, other sons of his, if he had more than two, should be taken away by death likewise; and by the time he has finished it, signified by setting up the gates of it, both for ornament and security, his youngest and last son should die also; so that his whole posterity should be taken alway, as a curse of God upon him for rebuilding the city; which was fulfilled in Hiel the Bethelite, the rebuilder of this city in the times of Ahab, five or six hundred years after this adjuration was made, when either it was forgotten, or, however, little regarded: Maimonides observes {g}, that this was made that the miracle might remain in perpetual memory, for whoever should see the wall sunk in the earth, it would be plain and clear to him that this was not the form of a building demolished, but that it fell by a miracle; and yet this city became a very flourishing one in later times; we soon hear of the school of the prophets in it, ( 2 Kings 2:5 ) ; here, Strabo F8 says, was a royal palace, where, as Josephus F9 relates, Herod died, and who speaks of an amphitheatre and hippodrome in it; in this city sometimes the sanhedrim sat, and a great number of the stationary priests dwelt, even half a station, twelve thousand of them, all which is observed by Dr. Lightfoot F11; our Lord himself honoured it with his presence, ( Luke 19:1 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F7 Maimon. Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 50.
F8 Geograph. l. 16. p. 525.
F9 Antiqu. l. 17. c. 8. sect. 1. 2.
F11 Chorograph. Cent. c. 47.
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