They consecrate themselves to the LORD God. They eat food from the Promised Land. The Commander of the LORD’s Army.
VERSE 1. When all the kings of the Amorites, who were beyond the Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, who were by the sea, heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan from before the children of Israel until we had crossed over, their heart melted, and there was no more spirit in them, because of the children of Israel.
their heart melted. The morale of the people of Canaan had utterly collapsed.
It might seem like this is the best moment to attack. However, the LORD God has other plans for them.
Prior to their attacking the enemy, the LORD God would lead Israel through three experiences:
- renew circumcision
- celebrate the Passover
- eat food from the Promised Land
VERSE 2. At that time, the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives, and circumcise again the sons of Israel the second time.”
circumcise again the sons of Israel. In the biblical narrative, circumcision is linked to the Covenant:
Acts 7:8. He gave him the covenant of circumcision. So Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him the eighth day. Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs.
Circumcision is well-documented in ancient Egypt, although the reasons are not known.
In our day, around 75% of male babies are circumcised. It is commonly held to have medical benefits, and yet there are no medical benefits at all.
VERSE 3. Joshua made himself flint knives, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.
Joshua made himself flint knives. This was not the most desirable instrument for surgery.
circumcised the sons of Israel. This will have incapacitated the entire army. Now the nation cannot defend itself.
VERSE 4. This is the reason Joshua circumcised them: all the people who came out of Egypt, who were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness along the way, after they came out of Egypt.
VERSE 5. For all the people who came out were circumcised; but all the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised.
had not been circumcised. This indicates spiritual indifference on the part of the parents.
VERSE 6. For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness until all the nation, even the men of war who came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they didn’t listen to the LORD’s voice. The LORD swore to them that he wouldn’t let them see the land which the LORD swore to their fathers that he would give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.
VERSE 7. Their children, whom he raised up in their place, were circumcised by Joshua, for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them on the way.
VERSE 8. When they were done circumcising the whole nation, they stayed in their places in the camp until they were healed.
circumcising the whole nation. Now that the males have been circumcised, they are able to take part in the Passover (see verse 10 below).
VERSE 9. The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Therefore the name of that place was called Gilgal to this day.
the reproach of Egypt. The Egyptians reserved circumcision for their own priests and upper-class citizens. And they prohibited it for their Hebrew slaves.
Without circumcision the Hebrew males would have been unqualified to participate in this important event.
Genesis 17:10. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you. Every male among you shall be circumcised.
Exodus 12:48. When a stranger lives as a foreigner with you, and would like to keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it. He shall be as one who is born in the land; but no uncircumcised person shall eat of it.
Gilgal. This word sounds like the Hebrew word for “roll.” As in “rolled away the reproach of Egypt.”
VERSE 10. The children of Israel encamped in Gilgal. They kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at evening in the plains of Jericho.
They kept the Passover. The first Passover they observed was in Egypt on the night before their deliverance.
Their second Passover was at Mount Sinai, just before they broke camp and moved toward Canaan.
And now this will be their third Passover.
Apparently they didn’t observe Passover during their years in the desert.
VERSE 11. They ate unleavened cakes and parched grain of the produce of the land on the next day after the Passover, in the same day.
of the produce of the land. They ate some of the produce of the land.
VERSE 12. The manna ceased on the next day, after they had eaten of the produce of the land. The children of Israel didn’t have manna any more, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
manna ceased on the next day. They had lived on Manna for 40 long years. Generations of people had never eaten anything else.
But now the manna ends. Now they will live from the Promised Land.
VERSE 13. When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man stood in front of him with his sword drawn in his hand. Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our enemies?”
When Joshua was by Jericho. Joshua had traveled to Jericho to reconnoiter this vast citadel.
with his sword drawn in his hand. This indicates the soldier is ready for battle.
VERSE 14. He said, “No; but I have come now as commander of the LORD’s army.” Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and worshiped, and asked him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”
NAB translation. I am the captain of the host of the LORD and I have just arrived.
I have come. It seems clear that Joshua is talking to an angel of the LORD God.
Some people speculate that this angel is the Lord Jesus Christ.
the LORD’s army. What kind of a military force did this angelic Commander lead?
Doubtless it includes not only the army of Israel, but also the angels:
2 Kings 6:16. He answered, “Don’t be afraid; for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
2 Kings 6:17. Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, please open his eyes, that he may see.” the LORD opened the young man’s eyes; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha.
Matthew 26:53. Or do you think that I couldn’t ask my Father, and he would even now send me more than twelve legions of angels?
VERSE 15. The prince of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals, for the place on which you stand is holy.” Joshua did so.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.