- Wesley Bible Commentary
- Joshua 5
John Wesley's Notes on the Bible
Read Joshua 5
The Canaanites terrified, ver. 1. Circumcision renewed, ver. 2-9. The passover kept, ver. 10. The Israelites eat corn, and the manna ceases, ver. 11-12. Christ appears to Joshua, ver. 13-15.
Verse 1. Amorites - These and the Canaanites are mentioned for all the
rest, as being the chief of them for number, and power, and
courage. Westward - This is added to distinguish them from the
other Amorites, eastward from Jordan, whom Moses had subdued.
Canaanites - So the proper place of this nation was on both sides
of Jordan. The sea - The midland sea, all along the coast of it,
which was the chief seat of that people, though divers colonies of
them were come into, and settled in other places. Jordan - Which
was their bulwark on the east-side, where the Israelites were; for it
is very probable they had taken away all bridges near those parts;
and the Israelites having been so long in that neighbouring
country, and yet not making any attempt upon them, they were
grown secure; especially now, when Jordan swelled beyond its
ordinary bounds; and therefore they did not endeavour to hinder
their passage. Melted - They lost all their courage, and durst
attempt nothing upon the Israelites; not without God's special
providence, that the Israelites might quietly participate of the two
great sacraments of their church, circumcision and the passover,
and thereby be prepared for their high and hard work, and for the
possession of the holy and promised land; which would have been
defiled by an uncircumcised people.
Verse 2. At that time - As soon as ever they were come to Gilgal, which
was on the tenth day; and so this might be executed the eleventh
day, and that in the morning: on the thirteenth day they were sore
of their wounds, and on the fourteenth day they recovered, and at
the even of that day kept the passover. Make - Or, prepare, or
make ready, as this word sometimes used. As it was not necessary
for those who had such knives already to make others for that use;
so it is not probable that such were commanded to do so, but only
to make them sharp and fit for that work. The second time - He
calleth this a second circumcision, not as if these same persons
had been circumcised before, but with respect to the body of the
people, where of one part had been circumcised before, and the
other at this time, which is called a second time, in relation to
some former time wherein they were circumcised, either, in
Egypt, when many of the people, who possibly for fear or favour
of the Egyptians, had neglected this duty, were by the command
of Moses circumcised. Or at Sinai, when they received the
passover, Num. ix, 5, which no uncircumcised person might do.
Verse 3. And circumcised - That is, he caused this to be done; and,
because it was to be done speedily, the passover approaching, it
was necessary to use many hands in it. Children of Israel - That is,
such of them as were uncircumcised. And, though it be not
mentioned, it is more than probable, that the Israelites beyond
Jordan were circumcised at the same time.
Verse 4. Out of Egypt - This is to be restrained to such as were then
above twenty years old, and such as were guilty of that rebellion,
Num. xiv, 1-25, as it is expressed below, ver. 6.
Verse 5. Them - Either their parents, or the rulers of Israel, by Divine
permission and indulgence; because they were now on a journey,
in which case the passover also might be neglected, Num. ix, 10, 13. Rather, it was a continued token of God's displeasure against
them, for their unbelief and murmuring: a token that they should
never have the benefit of that promise, whereof circumcision was
Verse 6. The people - The Hebrew word commonly signifies the
Gentiles; so he calls them, to note that they were unworthy the
name of Israelites. Shew them - That is, not give them so much as
a sight of it, which he granted to Moses, much less the possession.
Verse 7. Circumcised - Which God would have done,
1. As a testimony of God's reconciliation to the people, and that
he would not farther impute their parents rebellion to them.
2. Because the great impediment of circumcision was now
removed, their continued travels, and frequent and uncertain
3. To prepare them for the approaching passover.
4. To distinguish them from the Canaanites, into whose land they were
5. To ratify the covenant between God and them, whereof
circumcision was a sign and seal, to assure them that God would
now make good his covenant, in giving them this land; and to
oblige them to perform all the duties to which that covenant
bound them, as soon as they came into Canaan, Exod. xii, 25 Lev.
xxiii, 10 Num. xv, 2.
Verse 8. Whole - Free from that pain and soreness which circumcision
caused, it was indeed an act of great faith, to expose themselves to
so much pain and danger too, in this place where they were
hemmed in by Jordan and their enemies.
Verse 9. The reproach of Egypt - That is, uncircumcision, was both in
truth, and in the opinion of the Jews, a matter of great reproach,
and although this was a reproach common to most nations of the
world, yet it is particularly called the reproach of Egypt, either,
1. because the other neighbouring nations, being the children of
Abraham by the concubines, are supposed to have been
circumcised, which the Egyptians at this time were not, as may be
gathered from Exod. ii, 6, where they knew the child to be an
Hebrew by this mark. Or
2. because they came out of Egypt, and were esteemed to be a sort
of Egyptians, Num. xxii, 5, which they justly thought a great
reproach; but by their circumcision they were now distinguished
from them, and manifested to be another people. Or
3. because many of them lay under this reproach in Egypt, having
wickedly neglected this duty there for worldly reasons; and others
of them continued in the same shameful condition for many years
in the wilderness. Gilgal - That is, rolling.
Verse 10. The passover - Which was their third passover: the first was in
Egypt, Exod. xii, 11-24, the second at mount Sinai, Num. ix, 1-5,
the third here; for in their wilderness travels, these and all other
sacrifices were neglected, Amos v, 25. While they were in the
wilderness, they were denied the comfort of this ordinance, as a
farther token of God's displeasure. But now God comforted them
again, after the time that he had afflicted them.
Verse 11. Old corn - The corn of the last year, which the inhabitants of
those parts had left in their barns, being fled into their strong
cities, or other remoter parts. The morrow - That is, on the
sixteenth day; for the passover was killed between the two
evenings of the fourteenth day, and was eaten in that evening or
night, which, according to the Jewish computation, whereby they
begin their days at the evening, was a part of the fifteenth day, all
which was the feast of the passover; and so the morrow of the
sixteenth day, was the morrow after the passover, when they were
obliged to offer unto God the first sheaf, and then were allowed to
eat of the rest. Parched corn - Of that year's corn. which was most
proper for that use. Self-same day - Having an eager desire to
enjoy the fruits of the land. And this corn came very seasonably;
for after the passover, they were to keep the feast of unleavened
bread, which they could not do, when they had nothing but manna
to live upon.
Verse 12. The manna ceased - Which God now withheld, to shew that
Manna was not an ordinary production of nature, but an
extraordinary and special gift of God to supply their necessity.
And because God would not be prodigal of his favours, by
working miracles where ordinary means were sufficient. The
morrow - That is, on the seventeenth day.
Verse 13. By Jericho - Hebrew. In Jericho, that is, in the territory
adjoining to it; whither he went to view those parts, and discern
the fittest places for his attempt upon Jericho. A man - One in the
appearance of a man. Drawn - In readiness to fight, not, as Joshua
thought, against him, but for him and his people.
Verse 14. As captain - I am the chief captain of this people, and will
conduct and assist thee and them in this great undertaking. Now
this person is not a created angel, but the son of God, who went
along with the Israelites in this expedition, as their chief and
captain. And this appears,
1. By his acceptance of adoration here, which a created angel
durst not admit of, Rev. xxii, 8, 9.
2. Because the place was made holy by his presence, ver. 15,
which was God's prerogative, Exod. iii, 5.
3. Because he is called the Lord, Hebrew. Jehovah, chap. vi, 2.
My Lord - I acknowledge thee for my Lord and captain, and
therefore wait for thy commands, which I am ready to obey.
Verse 15. From thy foot - In token of reverence and subjection. Holy -
Consecrated by my presence. The very same orders which God
gave to Moses at the bush, when he was sending him to bring
Israel out of Egypt, he here gives to Joshua, for the confirming his
faith, that as he had been with Moses, so he would be with him.
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