Joshua 5

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. 2 At that time, the LORD said to Joshua, “Make flint knives, and circumcise again the sons of Israel the second time.” 3 Joshua made himself flint knives, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. 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. 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. 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. 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. 8 When they were done circumcising the whole nation, they stayed in their places in the camp until they were healed. 9 The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt off of you.” Therefore the name of that place was called Gilgal, to this day. 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. 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. 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. 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?” 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?” 15 The prince of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take your shoes off of your feet; for the place on which you stand is holy.” Joshua did so.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–9

How dreadful is their case, who see the wrath of God advancing towards them, without being able to turn it aside, or escape it! Such will be the horrible situation of the wicked; nor can words express the anguish of their feelings, or the greatness of their terror. Oh that they would now take warning, and before it be too late, flee for refuge to lay hold upon that hope set before them in the gospel! God impressed these fears on the Canaanites, and dispirited them. This gave a short rest to the Israelites, and circumcision rolled away the reproach of Egypt. They were hereby owned to be the free-born children of God, having the seal of the covenant. When God glorifies himself in perfecting the salvation of his people, he not only silences all enemies, but rolls back their reproaches upon themselves.

Verses 10–12

A solemn passover was kept, at the time appointed by the law, in the plains of Jericho, in defiance of the Canaanites round about them. It was a performance of the promise, that when they went up to keep the feasts, their land should be under the special protection of the Divine providence, Ex 34:24. Notice is taken of the ceasing of the manna as soon as they had eaten the old corn of the land. For as it came just when they needed, so it continued as long as they needed it. This teaches us not to expect supplies by miracles, when they may be had in a common way. The word and ordinances of God are spiritual manna, with which God nourishes his people in this wilderness. Though often forfeited, yet they are continued while we are here; but when we come to the heavenly Canaan, this manna will cease, for we shall no longer need it.

Verses 13–15

We read not of any appearance of God’s glory to Joshua till now. There appeared to him one as a man to be noticed. This Man was the Son of God, the eternal Word. Joshua gave him Divine honours: he received them, which a created angel would not have done, and he is called Jehovah, chap. 6:2. To Abraham he appeared as a traveller; to Joshua as a man of war. Christ will be to his people what their faith needs. Christ had his sword drawn, which encouraged Joshua to carry on the war with vigour. Christ’s sword drawn in his hand, denotes how ready he is for the defence and salvation of his people. His sword turns every way. Joshua will know whether he is a friend or a foe. The cause between the Israelites and Canaanites, between Christ and Beelzebub, will not admit of any man’s refusing to take one part or the other, as he may do in worldly contests. Joshua’s inquiry shows an earnest desire to know the will of Christ, and a cheerful readiness and resolution to do it. All true Christians must fight under Christ’s banner, and they will conquer by his presence and assistance.

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