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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 5

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-15

Chapter 5

Now in chapter five we read where all of the adult males were at this point circumcised. It was a rite that they did not follow while they were in the wilderness. So that those who were born in the wilderness, now were men, did not go through the rite of circumcision. But now that they are to enter into the land, the circumcision was always a type of the cutting away of the heart after the flesh. God wanted a people whose heart was after the Spirit. So it was a symbolic act. God said, "Circumcise your hearts"( Deuteronomy 30:6 ). In other words, cut away from your heart that longing or desiring after the flesh.

Paul in the book of Romans speaks of the error of the Jews in observing a rite without the reality. Though they'd gone through the rite of circumcision, yet their hearts were after fleshly things; thus, there was an inconsistency there. Now that they're gonna enter into this new relationship with God, coming into the land, because it is to typify a new relation after the Spirit, which is that new relationship that God wants to bring you into; a life of victory over the flesh.

So it was necessary that they go through the rite of circumcision, and all, of the adult males be circumcised in order that they might cut away the flesh; and thus, signify the fact that they were gonna walk after the Spirit and a heart after God. So as I said, it was not done in the wilderness and so it was done after they entered into the land. The first thing was this circumcision in order that they might again declare themselves a people unto God, to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.

And so God said, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off of you. Therefore the name of the place is called Gilgal ( Joshua 5:9-10 ),

Which means a rolling, because God there rolled away that reproach of Egypt, which is a type of the flesh, and the life after the flesh. They longed for the flesh pots of Egypt. Egypt always is symbolic of living after the flesh and lusting after the flesh.

So Israel encamped in Gilgal, they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho ( Joshua 5:10 ).

So this is the first Passover in the Promised Land. They came in just four days beforehand, circumcised themselves, and now are beginning this new relationship with God observing the Passover now in the new land.

And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the Passover, the unleavened cakes, the parched corn in the selfsame day. 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 ( Joshua 5:11-12 ).

So again, coming in now to a new diet. The life of the Spirit is a life of variety. It's a life of excitement. It really is thrilling to walk after the Spirit and live after the Spirit. You never know what God has planned for you today. It's just an exciting life, a life of variety. I never lack for excitement. Walking after the Spirit is the most exciting experience in the world. So they are leaving now the old manna, that monotonous kind of a diet, and now going to begin to eat of the fruits of the land that God has promised as they come into now the land of Canaan.

I love verses thirteen through fifteen.

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and he looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said to him, Are you for us, or for our enemies? And he said, Not for your enemies; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and worshiped, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place where you stand is holy. And Joshua did so ( Joshua 5:13-15 ).

Here Joshua met Jesus, Jesus the Captain of the Lord's host. You see, if it were an angel then He would've refused his worship. John several times in the book of Revelation tried to worship the angel, and he said, "Stand up worship the Lord." The Lord said, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only." Therefore the Captain of the Lord's host is none other than Jesus who is standing there ready to lead him into the land of promise. "As the Captain of the Lord's host have I come." Joshua fell on his knees, his face, and said, "What do you want me to do Lord?" Much like Paul the apostle. "Lord, what will You have me to do?"

Now here is a true picture of leadership. The finest leader is the man who is lead. The finest ruler is a man who is ruled. God chose Joshua for a leader to rule over the people of Israel because Joshua was ruled over by the Lord; the proper chain of command. No man is fit to rule who is not ruled. That's the tragedy of history where we have had despots upon the throne. These autocratic, despotic rulers who did not feel a responsibility to anybody else, but became the final authority within themselves, they became tyrants. The people always suffer under the rule of such people. But those who have a consciousness of the fact that they are ruled, those who have submitted themselves to His throne, are able to reign upon their thrones. But you've got to have that chain of command.

When the centurion came to Jesus and sought that Jesus would heal his daughter who was very sick, Jesus said, "I will come to your house."

He said, "Oh no Lord, that isn't necessary. I'm not worthy that you should come to my house. For you see, I understand authority, I also am a man of authority having under me, men." "I am also a man", he said, "under authority, having under me men." He sees the chain. "I'm a man who is under authority, but I have under me men." He recognized the position of Jesus. Having submitted to the Father, a man under authority, yet having authority himself.

So I can say to one man, "Do this", and he'll do it, to another, "do that", and he does it. I have authority, but I'm under authority. "I know that You have authority, and all You have to do is speak the word, and my servant will be healed." God said, "All right. That's far out. I haven't seen this kind of faith among the Israelites." A man who recognized what true authority is. Oh, that we would realize that we don't have any right to rule unless we ourselves are ruled.

So Joshua, the leader over the people and yet being led. "What do you want me to do Lord?" The real heart of a servant. So the Lord didn't have much for him to do, "Just take your shoes off. The ground where you're standing is holy." So much as the Lord spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, the command to remove his sandals, so also to Joshua. So as the Captain of the Lord's host, to lead the people of God into the conquest of the land.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Joshua 5". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/joshua-5.html. 2014.
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