The Old Testament account of the Israelites capturing the Canaanite city of Jericho inspired the song.
Chapter six of the Old Testament book of Joshua recounts how Joshua, the leader of the Israelite tribes after the death of Moses, led the Israelites across the Jordan River into the land God had promised them. Jericho was the first city they came across, and with its fortified walls up to 25 feet high and 20 feet thick, it was a symbol of military power and strength – the Canaanites considered it invincible. But God told Joshua that Jericho was already delivered into his hands, and after marching round the city seven times, the walls collapsed.
The traditional African American spiritual "Joshua Fought The Battle Of Jericho
" tells the same Biblical story.