Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 3:12

Now then, take for yourselves twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Scofield Reference Index - Israel;   Miracles;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Jordan, the River;   Miracles Wrought through Servants of God;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Miracle;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ark;   Joshua the son of nun;   Miracles;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Jericho;   Joshua;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jordan ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ark;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Lachish;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Tabernacle;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Take you twelve men - See the note on Joshua 4:2.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-3.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Now therefore take ye twelve men,.... For what end and purpose is not mentioned. Abarbinel is of opinion, that they were chosen and appointed, that every man might pitch upon and take a place for his tribe to encamp in, when they came on the other side Jordan: whether this was Joshua's view or no is not certain; however, the use he made of these, thus provided by divine direction, is related Joshua 4:2,

and these were to be taken out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man; Levi not reckoned, having no part in the land; and so we find that tribe left out in other accounts, when there was a choice of twelve men out of each of the tribes, Numbers 13:4.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(e) Who would set up twelve stones in remembrance of the benefit.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-3.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

Twelve men — For the work described, Joshua 4:2,3.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-3.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 3:12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.

Ver. 12. 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. (a)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-3.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 12. Now, therefore, take ye twelve men, &c.— Whenever the Scripture speaks of the twelve tribes, that of Levi is comprised in them, except in those places which respect the division of the territories of the land of Canaan; in which last case the tribe of Levi is excluded, but that of Joseph makes two, viz. Manasseh and Ephraim. This taking a man out of each tribe was to do what we shall observe afterwards, ch. Joshua 4:2, &c.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-3.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Take you twelve men, for the work described, Joshua 4:2,3.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-3.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

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

Joshua 4:2 where the reason for choosing the men out is explained. This continues verse 11 as one sentence. Joshua is not said at this stage to have explained why the men were to be chosen out but we do not need to doubt that he said enough in order to enable the selection of the right people. The deliberate omission of the information is in order to heighten the interest of the listener. They are kept hanging on, asking themselves, ‘why were the twelve men chosen? What would they have to do?’ When the answer comes in Joshua 4:2 it will therefore have the greater impact. For as Joshua 4 demonstrates these twelve stones were an important sign for Israel, both for the present and the future. But they were already being made aware that it was something to do with the crossing of the Jordan. He wanted them to have plenty of time in advance so that they could select suitable men, men of the highest quality, for some important task not yet made clear. Joshua was a wise leader. He knew that such choices must not be rushed. He wanted the decision made early so that there would be no delay once the time came. Thus when the task did have to be done (Joshua 4:2-3) the choices would already have been decided on and there would be no hesitation. This was a wise precaution and demonstrated that Joshua was a wise leader of men, not just a spiritual robot. Levi would not be represented (see Numbers 13:4-15). They had no inheritance in the land except as YHWH’s men.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-3.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12.[

Now therefore take you twelve men — Emphasis is put on now. The election of these twelve men is to take place immediately, not after they cross the Jordan. The purpose for which they are selected is shown in Joshua 4:4-5, where it will be seen that a visible memorial of this miracle is provided for before it takes place. The men were designated at this time because they could not be elected while the people were crossing, and afterwards there would be too little time. Hence the assumption of some that this verse is brought in by mistake, being disconnected from the succeeding chapter, is utterly groundless. The men are mentioned before the moving of the ark because they were chosen then.]

Out of every tribe a man — This was done that every tribe might be represented in the memorial, and have its accredited witness of the great event.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-3.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Prepare. Hebrew, "take." But they must have been selected from the tribes, either to carry twelve stones out of the bed of the Jordan, and to place twelve others in their stead, as monuments of this stupendous miracle; (Calmet) or to accompany the priests and the ark, out of respect. (Cajetan) (Menochius)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

twelve. The number of governmental perfection See App-10.

men. Hebrew. "ish. See App-14.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-3.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(12) Take you twelve men.—These were selected beforehand and kept in readiness, that there might be no delay in the work which they had to do (Joshua 4:3).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.
4:2,9
Reciprocal: Joshua 18:4 - three;  Matthew 19:28 - the twelve

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 3:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-3.html.