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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Joshua 4

 

 

Verse 1

Joshua 4:1 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,

Ver. 1. And it came to pass, when all the people.] Heb., All the nation; Goi, so the Israelites are here and elsewhere called. The Jews, then, have no reason to reproach Christians by that name, calling us Goiim and Mamzer Goiim, bastardly heathens.

Were clean passed over.] Without the least opposition of the Canaanites, who were intimidated and infatuated.


Verse 2

Joshua 4:2 Take you twelve men out of the people, out of every tribe a man,

Ver. 2. Out of every tribe a man.] For the two tribes and half planted beyond Jordan were also concerned, as being of the same body and way of worship. See Joshua 22:30.


Verse 3

Joshua 4:3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.

Ver. 3. Twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you.] This is an ancient and commendable practice, by lasting monuments to propagate and perpetuate the memory of special mercies and signal deliverances; to set up some marks and mementoes upon them, that they grow not stale or moth eaten. To this end were those new names of places, Bethel, Penuel, Gilgal, Eben Ezer, Ramath Lehi, Berachah, &c. This is the best art of memory, and a very good means both to prevent Satan - who striveth to obliterate God’s great works, or else to alienate and translate them upon himself, - to excite ourselves to duty - for it fortifieth faith, feedeth hope, nourisheth joy, - and to do good to posterity. [Psalms 48:13; Psalms 102:18]


Verse 4

Joshua 4:4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:

Ver. 4. Then Joshua called, &c.] See Joshua 4:2; Joshua 3:12.


Verse 5

Joshua 4:5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:

Ver. 5. Before the ark of the Lord your God.] A God in covenant with you, and who therefore may well expect this or any other service from you.


Verse 6

Joshua 4:6 That this may be a sign among you, [that] when your children ask [their fathers] in time to come, saying, What [mean] ye by these stones?

Ver. 6. That this may be a sign.] We stand in need of all helps. The Israelites had their fringes and phylacteries to immind them; and of all things, God cannot abide to be forgotten. [Psalms 9:16-17]


Verse 7

Joshua 4:7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.

Ver. 7. The waters of Jordan were cut off.] And again the waters of Jordan were cut off. Good things must be whetted and inculcated upon our children. [Deuteronomy 6:7] {See Trapp on "Deuteronomy 6:7"}


Verse 8

Joshua 4:8 And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.

Ver. 8. And the children of Israel did so,] i.e., The twelve select men, representing the whole people.


Verse 9

Joshua 4:9 And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day.

Ver. 9. And Joshua set up twelve stones.] Besides the first twelve: Gaudet produci haec solennitas, as Augustine said at the feast of Pentecost. So Hezekiah and the people kept other seven days. [2 Chronicles 30:23]

And they are there unto this day.] Id est, immutabili et perpetuo statuto, saith Junius: By an immutable and perpetual statute.


Verse 10

Joshua 4:10 For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over.

Ver. 10. Until everything was finished.] They would not off the ground till the work was done; but by a heroical faith, there held them, when others feared and therefore hasted away.

And the people hasted and passed over.] Partly through desire of the promised land, but principally through fear of danger, by those hideous mountains of water which hung over their heads: a ghastly sight surely.


Verse 11

Joshua 4:11 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people.

Ver. 11. That the ark of the Lord passed over.] That it might be both van and rear. "For ye shall not go out with haste" (it was weakness of faith that made this people to do so), "nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward." [Isaiah 52:12]


Verse 12

Joshua 4:12 And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them:

Ver. 12. As Moses spake unto them.] Indented with them. [Numbers 32:20; Numbers 32:27] Dilexi hominem: I loved the man, said Ambrose concerning Theodosius, because he was no less solicitous of the Church’s welfare after his decease than whilst he lived.


Verse 13

Joshua 4:13 About forty thousand prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.

Ver. 13. Passed over before the Lord.] As in his sight and presence, approving to him their hearts and practices.


Verse 14

Joshua 4:14 On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.

Ver. 14. The Lord magnified Joshua.] See Joshua 3:7.


Verse 15

Joshua 4:15 And the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,

Ver. 15. And the Lord spake unto Joshua.] See Joshua 1:1.


Verse 16

Joshua 4:16 Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.

Ver. 16. Command the priests.] They would not stir out of their station till God called them off. It is good to do all by a warrant. To be out of God’s precincts is to be out of his protection.


Verse 17

Joshua 4:17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.

Ver. 17. Come ye up out of Jordan.] Now that all the people are in safety; and stand upon the bank to behold the last act of this great miracle.


Verse 18

Joshua 4:18 And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, [and] the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as [they did] before.

Ver. 18. And it came to pass, when the priests, &c.] Not till then: as till Methuselah was deceased, the flood could not come; till Lot was housed in Zoar, Sodom could not be overthrown, &c. "He that walketh uprightly, walketh safely."

And flowed over.] Heb., Went, sc, leisurely, and by degrees, according to God’s disposal and appointment.


Verse 19

Joshua 4:19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth [day] of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.

Ver. 19. On the tenth day of the first month.] {See Trapp on "Exodus 12:3"}


Verse 20

Joshua 4:20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

Ver. 20. And those twelve.] See Joshua 4:3.


Verse 21

Joshua 4:21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What [mean] these stones?

Ver. 21. See Joshua 4:6-7.


Verse 22

Joshua 4:22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

Ver. 22. See Joshua 4:6-7.


Verse 23

Joshua 4:23 For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

Ver. 23. From before you.] Who were then in our loins, or so young that you could not be affected with it.

As the Lord your God did to the Red Sea.] Upon the review of a present mercy we should recognise former favours. Those that had passed through the Red Sea, as Caleb and Joshua, were now the less afraid of passing through Jordan. So those that have gone through the baptism of repentance and regeneration, will not fear to pass through death into heaven.


Verse 24

Joshua 4:24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it [is] mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.

Ver. 24. That all the people of the earth might know.] And acknowledge God’s power and providence: for at his own glory he aimeth in all his actions, and at the good of his people.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 4:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-4.html. 1865-1868.

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Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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