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Bible Commentaries
Joshua 3

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

And Joshua rose early in the morning, — viz., Of the ninth day of the first month, called Abib; as on the tenth day Joshua 4:19 - which was the day wherein the paschal lamb was set apart - the Israelites entered the land of Canaan under the command and conduct of Joshua, who was a type of Jesus Christ, by whom we have "the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:14

Removed from Shittim. — In the plains of Moab. See Joshua 2:1 .

Verse 2

And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

After three days,i.e., Three days after that they were commanded to provide victuals. A mandato illo de parando viatico. - Trem. Joshua 1:11

Verse 3

And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.

When ye see the ark of the covenant. — Which represented that angel of the covenant, Christ Jesus.

And the priests the Levites bearing it. — The Koathites properly and ordinarily did this office, Numbers 3:31 which as it had more honour, so more burden and danger. Numbers 4:15

Fructus honos oneris, fructus honoris onus.

And go after it. — God must and may be followed without peril. Magnus est animus qui se Deo tradidit, saith Seneca.

Verse 4

Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed [this] way heretofore.

Yet there shall be a space. — That you may know the distance, and show your reverence. See Exodus 19:12 . As also,

That you may know the way by which you must go,i.e., Ut ignari vice tuto vado transire possitis, that ye may have a sure and safe passage through the river discovered unto you.

Verse 5

And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.

Sanctify yourselves. — By ceremonial and spiritual purifications, doing your utmost to bring your hearts to a holy temper, that ye may make the best of the ensuing miracle.

Verse 6

And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up 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.

And went before the people. — To the further side of the river, say some; to the middle only, say others, as Joshua 3:17 the pillar of cloud still going before them for a guide, as some conceive, but others doubt.

Verse 7

And 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] I will be with thee.

This day will I begin to magnify thee, — viz., In the esteem of the people. It is God that giveth honour; he fashioneth men’s opinions: he caused that "whatsoever David did pleased the people."

Verse 8

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 Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

Ye shall stand still in Jordan. — "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord which he will show you today," as Exodus 14:13 . Believe and prosper: consent and obey, and ye shall eat the good things of the land.

Verse 9

And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the LORD your God.

Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God. — For miracles do but excite men; they do but as the bells that call us to the sermon, they cannot work faith in us: but faith cometh by hearing.

Verse 10

And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God [is] among you, and [that] he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

Hereby ye shall know that the living God. — "Living" and "giving," as 1 Timothy 6:17 . "Trust in the living God, who giveth us all things richly to enjoy."

The Canaanites, and the Hittites, … — To these seven were those ten nations Genesis 15:19 reduced, belike, either by mixture, or diminution of some of them.

Verse 11

Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.

Behold the ark of the covenant, even the Lord of heaven and earth. — Where the ark is, and where the ordinances are, there God is: hence the ark is called God’s face, Psalms 105:4 yea, God’s self. Psalms 132:5

Verse 12

Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.

Now therefore take you twelve men,i.e., Now make choice of them for that service afterwards to be performed. Joshua 4:4 Potior est testis oculatus unus quam auriti decem. Plaut.

Verse 13

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.

That the waters of Jordan shall be cut off. — A wonderful work of God, and much admired by the psalmist; Psalms 114:3 ; Psalms 114:5 as was that - and worthily if it were true - by the philosopher, when from the hill Etna there ran down a torrent of fire that consumed all the houses thereabout; in the midst of those fearful flames, God’s special care of the godly, saith he, shined most brightly: ο γαρ πυρος ποταμος εξεχισθη , for the river of fire was divided, and a kind of lane made for those who ventured to rescue their aged parents, and pluck them out of the jaws of death. Aristot., De Mundo, cap. vi.

Verse 14

And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;

And it came to pass. — In Joshua 3:13 it was, "And it shall come to pass." "The word of God cannot be broken"; John 10:35 all must be fulfilled that is foretold.

Verse 15

And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)

For Jordan overfloweth his banks. — Ordinarily every year; either ex fiuminis natura, Tremell. by the nature of this river, see 1 Chronicles 12:15 as it is also of the Nile, Perinde at Nilus messis tempore alveos excedens et exundans maltum terrae irrigat . - Aristeas. or else by the melting of the snow from the mountains: the like whereunto befalleth Tigris and Euphrates.

At the time of harvest. — Barley harvest. Compare Leviticus 23:10 . So that the Israelites were brought into the land at the best time. And "herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth." John 4:37

Verse 16

That the waters which came down from above stood [and] rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that [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.

That is beside Zaretan. — A city in the tribe of Ephraim, 1 Kings 4:12 ; 1 Kings 7:46 called also Zererath in Judges 7:22 , and Zereda in 1 Kings 11:26 .

Failed, and were cut off. — Quickly perished in the lake Asphaltites, or Dead Sea, Tanquam si repente fuissent dissectae gladio, ut Job 6:15 , as if they had been suddenly cut in twain with a sword, Tremell.

And the people passed over. — Not by bridges or boats, but on foot, dry shod, though in such an inundation.

Right over against Jericho. — The place being therehence called Bethabara, as some think, John 1:28 or Traiectum, the place of passage. Here baptism was first administered, John 1:28 where it had been foreshadowed. Christ is the true Bethabara. Ephesians 2:18

Verse 17

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 the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

And all the Israelites passed over. — He was a bold Israelite that first set foot on the water: but no "Israelite indeed" need fear to pass through corporal death, having the ark of God’s covenant in his eye, to take possession of the heavenly Canaan.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 3". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/joshua-3.html. 1865-1868.
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