Lectionary Calendar
Monday, May 27th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 3

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-17

Chapter 3

As we get into chapter three,

Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and they came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and they lodged there before they passed over. And they commanded the people, and he said, Now when you see the ark of the covenant moving out, you stay behind it two thousand cubits: [Which is about a half mile that they were to stay behind the ark, maybe two-thirds of a mile back from the ark of the covenant.] and the Levites were to bear the ark of the covenant before the people. And then he said, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. And Joshua spoke to the priests, and he said, Take the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people. The Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so will I be with thee. And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of the Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan. And Joshua said to the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God. And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and he will without fail drive out from before you the inhabitants of the land. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passes before you into Jordan. Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, every tribe a man. And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. And so it came to pass that the people removed their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people: And as thy bare the ark and they were come to Jordan, the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan at this time overflowed all its banks during the time of the harvest.) And the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon a heap very far from the city Adam, which is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all Israelites passed over ( Joshua 3:1-17 ).

So even as God parted the Red Sea, now God stopped the Jordan River in flood season so that they were able to pass over. Now the interesting thing to me about this is when they came to the Red Sea, Moses stretched forth his rod and the Red Sea was parted. They went through on dry land, but with the Jordan the Lord is now testing their faith and developing their faith. He let the priests get their feet wet. Walking right into the edge of the river, getting their feet in the water, stepping out now really in faith. That wasn't easy I'm sure. I imagine that even Joshua himself had some anxious moments, as he saw those guys starting to wade into the water. "Now, Lord that's what You said."

But this is coming into a new relationship with God, that relationship with faith, which is so very important for every one of us to really develop in that full relationship with God, it has to be that relationship of faith. God is bringing them now into a new relationship of faith. Before they sought, before they stepped in, they saw the sea parted, but now God is letting them take one step further and saying, "Go ahead and step out before you see any evidence, before you see any signs, go ahead and step out in faith. Get your feet wet." So here is a new relationship, an exciting relationship to be sure as they stepped into the water, and as they did God caused the waters to cease flowing. God threw up a dam, and the waters of Jordan ceased, and the people all passed over.

Now they were commanded to take these stones out of the bottom of the Jordan River, where the priests were standing holding the Ark of the Covenant. When they came up on the other side, they were to put these stones in a heap. And Joshua commands them there in chapter four,


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Joshua 3". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/joshua-3.html. 2014.
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