Joshua 5 has some interesting texts which speak of melted hearts v1; the hill of the foreskins v3;; milk and honey v6; passover and old corn v10-11; and the captain of the host of the LORD. As well as circles and trumpets and the ram’s horn.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
As you listen reflect on the richness of these words. Max McLean reads the text here.
I’ve added a fair bit of the commentary of both old john Gill and Adam Clarke which helps to explain the texts.
Jos 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.
Jos 5:2 At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.
Jos 5:3 And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.
Joshua 5:3 Gill
And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel,…. Not that Joshua circumcised them himself, any more than he made the knives himself, but he ordered both to be done, and took care that they were done. And as any that had skill might make the knives, so might any circumcise; circumcision was not restrained to any order of men, not to the priests and Levites, but any might perform it; so that though the number to be circumcised was great, it might soon be finished: and this was done
at the hill of the foreskins; as the place was afterward called from hence; these being heaped up one upon another, made a hill of them, as the Jews say (y), being covered with dust. This circumcision performed by Joshua, or his orders, was typical of the spiritual circumcision without hands, which those that believe in Jesus, the antitype of Joshua, partake of.
Jos 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.
Jos 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.
Jos 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 shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.
Jos 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.
Jos 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.
Jos 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.
(2.) The place in “the plains of Jericho,” “in the east border of Jericho,” where the Israelites first encamped after crossing the Jordan (Jos 4:19, Jos 4:20). Here they kept their first Passover in the land of Canaan (Jos 5:10) and renewed the rite of circumcision, and so “rolled away the reproach” of their Egyptian slavery. Here the twelve memorial stones, taken from the bed of the Jordan, were set up; and here also the tabernacle remained till it was removed to Shiloh (Jos 18:1). It has been identified with Tell Jiljulieh, about 5 miles from Jordan. Eatons
Jos 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.
Jos 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.
Adam Clarke explains the old corn this way, meaning produce of the land and likely the early harvest of barley.
Theydideatoftheoldcornoftheland – The Hebrew word עבור abur, which we translate old corn, occurs only in this place in such a sense, if that sense be legitimate. The noun, though of doubtful signification, is evidently derived from עבר abar, to pass over, to go beyond; and here it may be translated simply the produce, that which passes from the land into the hands of the cultivator; or according to Cocceius, what passes from person to person in the way of traffic; hence bought corn, what they purchased from the inhabitants of the land.
Onthemorrowafterthepassover – That is, on the fifteenth day; for then the feast of unleavened bread began. But they could neither eat bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, till the first-fruits of the harvest had been waved at the tabernacle; (see Lev 23:9, etc.); and therefore in this case we may suppose that the Israelites had offered a sheaf of the barley-harvest, the only grain that was then ripe, before they ate of the unleavened cakes and parched corn.
Gill adds: Joshua 5:11
And they did eat the old corn of the land,…. That of the last year, as some versions (g), which agree with ours; in which they seem to follow the Jewish writers, who, as particularly Kimchi, Gersom, and Ben Melech, interpret it of the old corn, for this reason, because they might not eat of the new until the wave sheaf was offered up, Lev 23:10; of which old corn they suppose the unleavened cakes were made, and was also parched corn, though that word the Septuagint version translates “new”; and indeed were it not for the above law, there does not seem to be any reason for rendering it old corn, only corn of the land, as the Septuagint does; and there is some difficulty how they should get at the old corn, which it may be supposed was laid up in the granaries, when Jericho was close shut up, and none went in or out; unless they met with it in some of the villages near at hand, or it was brought them by the traders in corn, of whom they bought it, or found it in some houses and barns without the city:
on the morrow after the passover; which Kimchi and Ben Gersom say was on the fifteenth of Nisan, the passover being on the fourteenth; but if the morrow after the passover is the same with the morrow after the Sabbath, Lev 23:11; that was the sixteenth of Nisan; and so Jarchi here says, this is the day of waving the sheaf, which was always done on the sixteenth: it is difficult to say which day is meant; if it was the sixteenth, then it may refer to what they ate on that day, after the sheaf was offered (h); if it was the fifteenth, it seems necessary to understand it of the old corn; and such they must have to make their unleavened cakes of, both for the passover on the fourteenth, and the Chagigah, or feast of unleavened bread, which began the fifteenth, as it follows:
Jos 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.
Jos 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?
Jos 5:14 And he said, Nay; but ascaptain 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?
Jos 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.
And who was this “man” and what authority did he have that Joshua fell and worshiped, even taking off his shoes, as Moses did at the burning bush? Remember the LORD has already been speaking to Joshua, see v2.
Gill again captures the truth in this and how our understanding is completed in the next chapter.
and, behold, there stood a man over against him; not a mere man, nor a created angel in an human form, but a divine Person in such a form, even the Son of God, who frequently appeared in this manner to the patriarchs; as is clear from the worship paid unto him by Joshua, by his calling him Lord, and owning himself to be his servant; and by the ground on which he stood, being holy through his presence, as well as by his title, the Captain of the Lord’s host. Jarchi says, this is Michael, which, if understood of Michael the uncreated angel, the head of all principality and power, is right, who is always meant by Michael, whenever he is spoken of in Scripture; and so this is interpreted by the ancient Jews (k) of the Angel the Redeemer:
with his sword drawn in his hand; who sometimes is said to have a twoedged one come out of his mouth, and sometimes one girt on his thigh, and here with one drawn out of the scabbard, to justify the war with the Canaanites, and to encourage Joshua to proceed in it. His sword has been drawn against his enemies, and those of his people from the beginning, ever since the fall of man, when enmity commenced between him and the seed of the serpent; it appeared drawn when here on earth combating with all our spiritual enemies, and will never be put up until all enemies are put under his feet:
and Joshua went unto him; which showed great courage, presence of mind, and magnanimity:
and said unto him, art thou for us, or for our adversaries? by his appearing in this warlike posture, he concluded it was to take on one side or the other, either on the side of Israel, or of the Canaanites; and he seemed to suspect that it was on the side of the latter, and that he was one that was come to defy the armies of Israel, as Goliath afterwards did, 1Sa 17:8; and to engage in a single combat with Joshua their general, and so decide the war; in which, had this been the case, Joshua was ready to fight with him.
Clarke says it this way.
Therestoodamanoveragainsthim – It has been a very general opinion, both among the ancients and moderns, that the person mentioned here was no other than the Lord Jesus in that form which, in the fullness of time, he was actually to assume for the redemption of man. That the appearance was supernatural is agreed on all hands; and as the name Jehovah is given him, (Jos 6:2), and he received from Joshua Divine adoration, we may presume that no created angel is intended.
Joshua 5:14 Clarke
ButascaptainofthehostoftheLordamInowcome – By this saying Joshua was both encouraged and instructed. As if he had said, “Fear not; Jehovah hath sent from heaven to save thee and thy people from the reproach of them that would swallow thee up. Israel is the Lord’s host; and the Lord of hosts is Israel’s Captain. Thou thyself shalt only be captain under me, and I am now about to instruct thee relative to thy conduct in this war.”
And the Captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua,…. As a trial and proof of his obedience to him:
loose thy shoe from off thy foot; which is to be understood literally, as when the like was commanded Moses at Horeb, Exo 3:5; though some interpret it figuratively; as Abarbinel,”remove from thee such thoughts that thou shall take this city by strength:”
for the place whereon thou standest is holy; because of the presence of this Person, and as long as he was there, though afterwards was as another place; the Jewish commentator, last mentioned, thinks this intimates that the city, and all in it (and all round about it), should be “cherem”, devoted, and so be holy to the Lord:
and Joshua did so; loosed his shoe from his foot, in obedience to the Captain of the Lord’s host, thereby giving proof of his readiness, willingness, and alacrity to serve under him.
Adam Clarke has this insight.
Loosethyshoefromoffthyfoot, etc. – These were the same words which the angel, on Mount Sinai, spoke to Moses; (see Exo 3:5-8); and from this it seems likely that it was the same person that appeared in both places: in the first, to encourage Moses to deliver the oppressed Israelites, and bring them to the promised land; in the second, to encourage Joshua in his arduous labor in expelling the ancient inhabitants, and establishing the people in the inheritance promised to their fathers. There is scarcely a more unfortunate division of chapters in the whole Bible than that here. Through this very circumstance many persons have been puzzled to know what was intended by this extraordinary appearance, because they supposed that the whole business ends with the chapter, whereas, it is continued in the succeeding one, the first verse of which is a mere parenthesis, simply relating the state of Jericho at the time that Joshua was favored by this encouraging vision. We may draw two useful reflections from the subjects of this chapter: –
1. As the manna had now failed, the people always greatly addicted to incredulity, might have been led to imagine that God had now given them up, and would be no longer in their armies, had he not given them this strong assurance, that the Angel of his presence should be with them as the guide and protector of the whole camp; for Joshua undoubtedly informed them of the encouragement he had received from the captain of the Lord’s host.
2. By this vision he showed them that their help came from himself, and that it was not by human might or power, but by the Lord of hosts, they were to have the victory over all their adversaries; and he gave them the most convincing proof of this in the miraculous destruction of Jericho. By this means he continued to keep them dependent on his arm alone, without which dependence the spirit of religion could not have been preserved among them.
Sorry for the run-on text, the formatting in my copy of Clarke is messing with me.
Anyway the chapter continues on into the 6th. Where we immediate see how the people mentioned back in verse 1 reacted and what the commands of the “Captain” were. Note: the M’Cheyne selection today is just the first 5 verses..but feel free to listen to the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say.
Jos 6:1 Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
Jos 6:2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
Jos 6:3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
Jos 6:4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
Jos 6:5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.