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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 5

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-12

The Men of Israel Are Circumcised Joshua 5:1-12 records the circumcision of the men of Israel who came out of the forty-year wilderness journey

Joshua 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.

Joshua 5:1 Comments - This fear in the hearts of the Canaanites was a fulfilment of God's promise to the children of Israel while in the wilderness. This was prophesied in the Song of Moses (Exodus 15:14). It was also prophesied by Moses while at Mount Sinai (Exodus 23:27).

Exodus 15:14, “The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.”

Exodus 23:27, “I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.”

Joshua 5:2 At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.

Joshua 5:2 Comments - This new generation of Israel needed circumcision just as their fathers. Each individual must enter into the covenant with the Lord, just as today each member of the church much make their own personal commitment to Christ, whether their parents were saved or not.

Joshua 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.

Joshua 5:6 “men of war” Comments - The generation that was consumed in the wilderness was the men of war, and not necessarily the women and children (Numbers 14:29).

Numbers 14:29, “Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,”

Joshua 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.

Joshua 5:9 Word Study on “Gilgal” PTW says the name “Gilgal” means, “rolling.”

Verses 13-15

The Captain of the Lord of Hosts Joshua 5:13-15 records the meeting between the Lord of Hosts and Joshua.

Joshua 5:14 And he said, Nay; but as captain 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?

Joshua 5:14 Comments - Rick Joyner has some very insightful comments on the story of Joshua meeting the Lord of Hosts. He tells us it was Jesus Christ revealing Himself to Joshua. [26]

[26] Rick Joyner, The Final Quest (Charlotte, North Carolina: Morning Star Publications, 1977), 128.

“And he said, Nay” - Note that this person said that he was for neither side (Note the NAB). He came in order to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. God intervenes in man's lives to bring justice, not to take sides. God is always on the side of propagating righteousness, and because of His divine character, He judges unrighteousness. The fact that the Lord rescued Rahab the harlot (Joshua 2:1-24), and spared the Gibeonites (Josh (Joshua 9:1-27), testifies to the fact that God was not against the Canaanites. The fact that God brought out a mixed multitude from Egypt with the Israelites reveals that He was not against the Egyptians (Exodus 12:38). The fact that God blessed Hagar the Egyptian, and her son Ishmael’s descendents testifies to the fact that God was not against the Egyptians, nor the Arabs (Genesis 16:7-10). In fact, God will later judge the nation of Israel in a similar way using Assyria and Babylon and the surrounding nations because of their unrighteousness. This judgment upon the Canaanites from the sword of the Israelites was for the eternal benefit of these inhabitants, not for their eternal harm.

NAB, “He replied, “ Neither . I am the captain of the host of the LORD and I have just arrived.” Then Joshua fell prostrate to the ground in worship, and said to him, “What has my lord to say to his servant?”

“but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come” Abraham was a stranger in the land of Canaan. Therefore, God revealed Himself to Abraham as a stranger in this land so that Abraham would better understand his office and calling (Genesis 18:1-33). God revealed Himself unto Moses as “the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6). He revealed to Moses that his office and ministry was to bring God’s people out of Egyptian bondage. Moses’ name, which means, “drawn out”, indicates his ministry and anointing of bringing out God’s people from bondage. However, unto Joshua the Lord revealed Himself as the “Captain of the Host of the Lord”. This name indicated that Joshua was to walk under this anointing as a warrior and lead God’s people into battle.

Exodus 3:6, “Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.”

Joshua 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.

Joshua 5:15 Comments - Note a similar situation for Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 5:3. Angels did not speak with such authority and holiness in the Scriptures. This appears to be the pre-incarnate Christ. Or it may possible be Michael, the archangel.

Exodus 5:3, “And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Joshua 5". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/joshua-5.html. 2013.
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