Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 3:14

So when the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan with the priests carrying the ark of the covenant before the people,
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Ark;   Miracles;   Water;   Scofield Reference Index - Israel;   Miracles;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Ark of the Covenant;   Jordan, the River;   Miracles Wrought through Servants of God;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Miracle;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Ark;   Earthquake;   Palestine;   Priest;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Water;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Jericho;   Joshua;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jordan ;   Miracles;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ark;   Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Lachish;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Tabernacle;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Ark of the Covenant;   Miracle;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents to pass over Jordan,.... Which they had pitched very near it, upon their removal from Shittim, and in which they had lodged the night past:

and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; at the distance of two thousand cubits.

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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 3:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-3.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 3:14 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;

Ver. 14. 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.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 3:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-3.html. 1865-1868.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14.And the priests bearing the ark — The word priests is the grammatical subject of the implied verb, were. [Joshua 3:14-16 should be rendered thus: And it came to pass while the people were removing from their tents to cross the Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant were before the people, and as those bearing the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the edge of the waters, (and the Jordan was full over all its banks all the days of harvest,) then stood the waters which came down from above; they rose up, one mass, very far away, in Adam, the city which is beside Zarthan, and those [waters] which came down upon the Sea of the Wilderness, the Salt Sea, were entirely cut off, and the people crossed in front of Jericho.] 15. Overfloweth all his banks — The Jordan flows in a deep valley about three quarters of a mile wide, and about fifty feet deeper than the wide plain (the Ghor) in which it lies. In this lower valley a narrow fringe of canes, intermingled with trees, runs along the edge of the river. In the ordinary swellings of Jordan the water overflows this strip of vegetation, driving the beasts of prey from their dens to ravage the surrounding country. Jeremiah 12:5. Ordinarily the lower terrace of the river was dry, and the people went unto the Jordan for wood. 2 Kings 6:2; also see note on Matthew 3:6. Dr. Robinson visited the Jordan on the 12th of May, and found the stream so swollen that the water reached to the very top of the banks, and in some places flowed a little over and covered the roots of the bushes. The river was then about forty yards wide, and from ten to twelve feet deep. But when the Israelites crossed the waters must have been higher, as it is distinctly said that they overflowed all the banks. The idea that the river was forded by this multitude is inadmissible. The fact that the spies swam the river, and that the Arabs of modern times pass over in the rainy season in a few places known only to themselves, can by no means disprove this striking and well-attested miracle.

All the time of harvest — The Hebrew word for harvest, according to Gesenius, here designates the grain harvest, in distinction from the fruit harvest. We are informed by Robinson that the barley harvest precedes the wheat harvest about two weeks. At Jericho, in the depressed valley of the Jordan, the barley was cut in the last half of April, and the wheat in the first half of May, about three weeks earlier than on the mountains of Hebron and Carmel. The reason for the overflow at this time instead of the winter — which, in that latitude, is the rainy season — is because the snow on the Lebanon, “which nourishes and pours out the Jordan,” melts at that time with the increasing heat of the summer.

Blunt observes here some undesigned coincidences with the books of Moses, which clearly demonstrate the reality and truth of this narration. In Exodus 9:31-32, we read that the hail, which fell a few days before the first passover in Egypt, smote the flax and the barley; “for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. But the wheat and the rye were not smitten, for they were not grown up.” Now the Jordan was passed on the 10th of Abib, four days before the passover, when we find the barley harvesting going on in the Jordan valley. This small circumstance, trifling though it be, confirms the truth of the account.

So minute a coincidence between two histories would not have been designed by those perpetrating literary forgeries. Again, flax is cut or pulled when in the boll, as it was in Egypt when the hail cut it down. Forty years afterwards, in about the same latitude, at the same time of the year, Rahab covers the two spies to Jericho with stalks of flax which she had spread to cure on the roof. “How very minute is this incident! Could the historian have contemplated for one moment the effect which a trifle about a flax stalk might have in corroboration of his account of the passage of the Jordan? Is it possible for the most jealous examiner of human testimony to imagine that these flax stalks were fixed upon above all things in the world for the covering of the spies, because they were known to be ripe with the barley, and the barley was known to be ripe at the passover, and the passover was known to be the season when the Israelites set foot in Canaan?”

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 3:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-3.html. 1874-1909.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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 ... To understand the scene described, we must imagine the band of priests, with the ark on their shoulders, standing on the depressed edge of the river, while the mass of the people were at a mile's distance. Suddenly the whole bed of the river was dried up-a spectacle the more extraordinary that it took place in the time of harvest, corresponding to our April or May, when 'the Jordan overfloweth all its banks.' The original word [ maalee' (Hebrew #4390)] may be more properly rendered 'fills all its banks;' its channel, snow-fed from Anti-Lebanon, or Hermon, is at its greatest height-brim full: a translation which gives the only true description of the state of Jordan in harvest, as observed by modern travelers (cf. 1 Chronicles 12:15; Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 2: p. 262; Wilson's 'Lands of the Bible,' 2:, p. 18).

The river from Jericho is, in ordinary appearance, about 50 or 50 yards in width. But as seen in harvest, it is twice as broad; and in ancient times, when the hills on the right and left were much more drenched with rain and snow than since the forests have disappeared, the river must, from a greater accession of water, have been broader still than at harvest time in the present day. Unlike other steams which are generally bordered with meadows or cultivated fields, almost to the water's edge, Jordan has at least two banks; after descending the first of which, there appears a spacious and level plain, extending to the breadth of a furlong. It is a dry expanse of sand and gravel, over which one may walk without having the least suspicion, except from the distant ripple of the waves, that any current is near; because the inner bank, which forms the boundary of the river in its natural state, is so completely overspread with thickets of willows, reeds, tamarisks, and other wild shrubs, as keep the river entirely out of view. At the annual season of harvest the volume of water in the Jordan becomes so greatly increased that the whole even of the outermost channel is covered.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 3:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-3.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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;
bearing the ark
3,6; 6:6; Deuteronomy 31:26; Jeremiah 3:16; Acts 7:44,45; 1 Corinthians 1:24,25; Hebrews 9:4
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 9:1 - to pass;  Deuteronomy 9:3 - goeth over;  Deuteronomy 31:9 - which bare;  Joshua 8:33 - priests;  Joshua 22:11 - at the passage;  Joshua 24:11 - And ye;  1 Kings 8:3 - the priests took up;  2 Kings 2:8 - were;  Psalm 66:6 - they;  Psalm 111:6 - showed

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 3:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-3.html.