The whole of Luke 19 is directed at an extended metaphor – Jerusalem is Jericho, and Jesus is calling for the shouting that brings down the walls.
The first post in this set [HERE] showed the similarities between Zaccaeus and Rahab.
The second post [HERE] showed the similarities between the Parable of the Ten Minas and the allotment of the land in Josh 11-20.
What does seeing this pattern buy for us by way of interpretation now? It helps us to see that Jesus is threatening the City of Jerusalem and its leaders. The rest of Luke 19 confirms this theory. Let’s begin with the parable, and work down to the end of the chapter. And unlike Achan, we can keep any treasure we find along the way.
THE TEN MINAS (Luke 19.11-27)
A king in form of a pillar of cloud led his servants into a land he already owned. He was already mad at the Canaanites for their sin against him. He told his servants to be faithful in their work of conquest. Some cities were defeated and in other places the inhabitants remained as a thorn in the side of the sinful Hebrews who had become unfaithful.
To the tribes faithful in conquest, came cities free of banned inhabitants. To the lazy tribes he gave a lasting presence of Gentiles to punish them. While this discipline fit God’s hesitant people, the harshest treatment was still the ban enacted against the natives. And we find the same in Luke’s Minas:
“But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.” (Luke 19.27)
That’s who it was about in the JOSHUA context. Who is it directed at in the Jesus context?
It might be tempting to say that the Pharisees were servants who, though they had God’s message, kept it wrapped up in a handkerchief, away from outsiders.
But I think the Pharisees, and Sadducees, that is, the temple rulers, they are the ones to blame as “these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them” and due to that, they will be “slaughter[ed] before him [Jesus].”
I have grown expect such threats as clues hinting toward judgment in AD 70. And if the ruling class in Jerusalem are comparable to the Canaanites, then that would mean Jerusalem, or the Temple, is identifiable with Jericho.
Well, we’re in luck. As we move on, we find that Jesus just “passed through” and found himself a repentant sinner IN JERICHO. Zacchaeus is Rahab. Now remember that Rahab is a foil to Achan.
Rahab was a surprise guest at God’s banquet because she was a sinner. But she had faith, and received the spies, and sided with God. Ironically, Achan, as a warrior-Hebrew, was expected to be righteous, but he was shown unfaithful by his stealing the banned items. Fast forward to the New Testament, and Zacchaeus is the surprisingly accepted sinner, a Jew in tax-league with the enemy, Rome. But faith and repentance brought him into safety. The Sadducees on the other hand, like in Achan’s irony, were supposed to be holy, but were in league with Romans, and didn’t want Jesus to reign as king.
THE ROCKS CRY OUT (Luke 19.28-39)– MORE EVIDENCE FOR JERUSALEM AS THE NEW JERICHO
In the Parable of the Minas, destruction comes when the King comes home to his land to reign. And coincidentally, the triumphal entry of Jesus is next story in the chapter. It is the event whereby Jesus comes home to reign, so to speak. So we begin to look here for Joshua and Jericho language to see if our trend continues, and it does:
37As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives— the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen,38saying, ”Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40He answered, ”I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Luke 19.37-40)
20So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.” (Josh 6.20)
SILENCE AND A SHOUT
Why are the disciples to be rebuked? This has several answers, one from the literal level of the immediate context, but there is also an answer borne out of the narrative overlap between Lk 19 and Jsh 6. Obviously, in Jesus day, the Pharisees were jealous of Jesus, and wanted the claims the disciples were making to be shut down. BUT, narratively speaking, when we compare the literature, we can say that the disciples are to be rebuked for speaking during the march around Jericho. It is as if the Pharisees piously remind the disciples that conquerors should be quite while marching. But this is too late in the game. Jesus, in effect says to the Pharisees, “We are way past the silent stage, don’t you remember that on the last day of the march there was shouting and the falling of stones?”
STONES FALLING TO GLORIFY GOD
The stones that would cry out are the stones of Jericho’s wall, that is, the stones of the wall of Jerusalem. If the silent walkers and the trumpets don’t convince you that Jesus is who he calls himself, then maybe the shouting will. If the shouting of victory Psalms (Ps 118) won’t convince you, then maybe the miracle of the falling walls will show you. In Joshua 6, the shouting happens right before the fall. So if our narrative trend continues, we would expect something related to the fall of Jericho/Jerusalem. Well, here it is (Luke 19.41-44):
ENEMIES ON THE MARCH – Luke 19.41-44
41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42saying, ”Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
So: Jerusalem will be surrounded the way that Jericho was surrounded. The surrounding army will tear down your walls.