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Joshua Five

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Joshua 5:1 And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.

Joshua 5:2 At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.

Joshua 5:3 And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.

Joshua 5:4 And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.

Joshua 5:5 Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised.

born in the wilderness. Evidently the young men under twenty years of age had been circumcised in Egypt. It was only those males actually born during the wilderness sojourn that had to be circumcised at this time.

Joshua 5:6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not show them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.

Joshua 5:7 And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.

Joshua 5:8 And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.

Joshua 5:9 And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day.

called Gilgal. Apparently Gilgal means “rolling away.” The location was near Jericho on the east.

Joshua 5:10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.

the fourteenth day. God had providentially ordered events so that the children of Israel crossed the Jordan on the tenth day of the first month (the anniversary of the selection of the Passover lamb), then keeping the Passover itself on its proper date (Exodus 12:3, 6).

Joshua 5:11 And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.

Joshua 5:12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

the manna ceased. The “bread from heaven” (John 6:31, 32) ceased as suddenly and miraculously as it had begun (Exodus 16:4, 15). God does not dispense miracles capriciously, but always only with a redemptive purpose. The manna was essential for survival of His people during their sojourn in the wilderness, but not afterwards. God's laws by which natural processes are ordered are good laws, so miraculous intervention therein is only rarely necessary.

Joshua 5:13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?

Joshua 5:14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

Joshua 5:15 And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

the Lord's host. Unseen by the Israelites, there was a host of angels accompanying them as they prepared to fight the Canaanites (Note similar references to God's hosts in Genesis 32:1-2; 2 Kings 6:16-17; 7:6; etc.).