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

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-17


(vv. 1-17)

The next morning Joshua arose early and led Israel to the river. There may be a question as regards the three days spoken of in chapter 2:11 and the three days the spies hid.Whether the latter two are the same three days spoken of in chapter 2:11 seems to be rather unclear; but the spiritual lesson of three days is the most important, speaking of resurrection, thus Israel acting in "newness of life," the energy of resurrection power.

The people were told they were to follow the ark of the covenant carried by the priests (v. 3). However, they were to allow a space of 2000 cubits between them and the ark. Thus, all would be able to see the ark and recognize its leading. In other words, they would not be merely following one another. Thus, for us today also, we see Christ in the distance before us, and each individual is to be concerned to personally follow Him, yet giving Him the sole honor that belongs to Him, of being the distinct and distinguished leader of His people.

Joshua then commanded the people to sanctify themselves in view of the Lord's doing wonders among them (v. 5). Sanctification involves separation from what does not honor God and separation to God, for He was to work mightily among them. We too should be morally prepared for receiving God's blessing, by being set apart for His glory.

The time had now come for another amazing miracle of God on behalf of Israel. Joshua told the priests to take up the ark and begin the crossing of the River Jordan (v. 6).The Lord at the same time told Joshua that now He would begin to magnify Joshua in the sight of Israel in order that they might realize that as God was with Moses, so He was now with Joshua (v. 7). He is told then to instruct the priests to carry the ark and actually stand in the water at the edge of Jordan (v. 8).

Speaking to all Israel, Joshua informs them beforehand how God was going to work among them, giving the assurance by what He would do that day, that He is indeed the living God who would without fail drive out the seven nations from the land before the children of Israel. "The ark of the covenant of all the earth," he tells them "is crossing over before you into the Jordan" (v.11). They were therefore to appoint a man from each tribe as a representative (v. 12).This was in view of chapter 4:2.

Joshua assures them in advance that as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests carrying the ark would rest in the waters of Jordan, the waters would be cut off, no longer flowing, but standing as a heap upstream from them (v. 13).

Thus, neither Joshua nor the people were taken by surprise when this astounding miracle took place. The priests' feet barely dipped in the water at the edge of Jordan when the waters were cut off. It must have been a tremendous heap of waters that accumulated far upstream, especially since at that time the river was at flood stage (vv. 15-16). Typically, Jordan is the river of death (running into the Dead Sea), and the heaping up of the waters speaks of the death of the Lord Jesus, who bore the overflowing judgment of God for us at Calvary, taking all that judgment into His own bosom in order that we might have none whatever to bear. For the people passed over on dry ground, while the priests with the ark remained in the middle of Jordan until all the people had crossed over (v. 17).Thus all the power of death was defeated. So, in the cross of Christ we see death's power annulled and believers now identified with Christ in resurrection, though this is particularly seen in the stones taken from the Jordan in Chapter 4:5.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Joshua 3". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/joshua-3.html. 1897-1910.
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