Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 3:5

Then Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Tabernacle;   Scofield Reference Index - Miracles;   Thompson Chain Reference - Joshua;   Miracles;   Sanctification;   Wonders;   The Topic Concordance - Sanctification;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Jordan, the River;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - War, Holy War;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Presence of God;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Jericho;   Joshua;   War;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ark;   Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Lachish;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Wonder;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Miracle;   Sacrifice;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Sanctify yourselves - What was implied in this command we are not informed; but it is likely that it was the same as that given by Moses, Exodus 19:10-14. They were to wash themselves and their garments, and abstain from every thing that might indispose their minds from a profitable attention to the miracle about to be wrought in their behalf.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 3:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-3.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Joshua said unto the people,.... On the third day; and the thirtieth day of the mourning for Moses, Jarchi says, was the first of the three days, and that being the seventh day of the month, this must be the ninth, as it is most clear the morrow was the tenth:

sanctify yourselves; in a ceremonial sense, by washing their bodies and their clothes, and abstaining from their wives; and in a moral sense, by acts of religion and devotion, by prayer and meditation, and the exercise of repentance and, good works: it may denote that sanctification is necessary to our passage over Jordan, or through death to the heavenly Canaan, for without holiness no man shall see the Lord:

for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you: in their sight and presence, and for them, by dividing the waters of Jordan, that they might pass through it as on dry land; this, as Kimchi says, was the tenth of Nisan, as is plain from Joshua 4:19.

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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 3:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-3.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Joshua said unto the people — rather “had said,” for as he speaks of “to-morrow,” the address must have been made previous to the day of crossing, and the sanctification was in all probability the same as Moses had commanded before the giving of the law, consisting of an outward cleansing (Exodus 19:10-15) preparatory to that serious and devout state of mind with which so great a manifestation should be witnessed.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 3:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-3.html. 1871-8.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

This sanctifying the people meant to set themselves apart from all worldly concerns. It is suitable and proper to withdraw from communion with men, in order to enjoy communion with God. And when our God is about in a more especial manner to come to bless his people, well may they be found waiting the Lord's approach. James 4:8.

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Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 3:5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-3.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

And Joshua said — Or rather, had said, the day before their passage; for it follows, to-morrow.

Sanctify yourselves — Both in soul and body, that you may be meet to receive such a favour, and with more reverence observe this great work, and fix it in your hearts.

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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 3:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-3.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 3:5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.

Ver. 5. 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.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 3:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-3.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 5. And Joshua said unto the people He also spake to the people the night before their passage over the Jordan; and as the matter was important, it is very evident that he went himself from tribe to tribe to give the orders in question.

Sanctify yourselves Though the sacred historian does not say in what this sanctification was to consist, there is scarcely room to doubt that it was in the same things as God had already required on similar occasions; Genesis 35:2. Exodus 19:10-11. Numbers 9:18. But to these purifications we are to add the purification of the mind and heart, of which the former were but symbols and assistants. The essential point was, to prepare themselves, by recollection and prayer, to behold the marvellous effects of the divine power with becoming respect, fear, gratitude, confidence, and devotion; without which, in vain had the Israelites washed their clothes, and shunned all kinds of corporeal impurities: so that there is no doubt that the purification of the soul was what Joshua principally required of them.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 3:5". 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

Joshua said, or rather had said, to wit, the day before their passage; for it follows,

to-morrow. Sanctify yourselves, both in soul and body, that you may be meet to receive such a favour, and with more attention and reverence observe and ponder this great work, and fix it in your hearts and memories. See Poole "Exodus 19:10"; See Poole "Leviticus 20:7".

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 3:5". 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

And Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow YHWH will do wonders among you.” ’

The uniqueness of the occasion is again stressed here. They were about to see the wonders of YHWH. They must therefore be ‘sanctified’ in preparation for it. This would include washing their clothes thoroughly and abstaining from sexual contact (Exodus 19:10; Exodus 19:15; Genesis 35:2).

“Tomorrow YHWH will do wonders among you.” This was the reason for the special requirements. They were to behold the wondrous working of YHWH that previously they had only heard about. YHWH was about to come near and manifest Himself. Compare Exodus 4:13 where Moses also spoke of seeing the deliverance of YHWH. So they were to be sanctified ‘lest YHWH break forth on them’ (Exodus 19:22).

The similarity between this and the crossing of the Sea of Reeds was to be recognised. They had left Egypt by passing though the waters, they would enter Canaan by passing through the waters. It was a new beginning, a new birth, brought about by the miraculous power of YHWH. In a sense it was the adoption of the new generation of Israel. We must not read cleansing into this passing through the waters for that idea is not prominent in the Old Testament. They spoke rather of the power and manifestation of YHWH - Psalms 114:3; Psalms 114:5; Psalms 114:7. In the Old Testament water spoke of new life and deliverance (Isaiah 44:3-5; Isaiah 32:15). You could always tell where there was water, because there there was fruitfulness and life. (Washing with water in the ritual was always preparatory to cleansing, not a vehicle of cleansing in itself unless it was sprinkled with the ashes of a heifer and thus became ‘cleansed water’).

This revealing of wonders was deliberate on the part of YHWH. At this time of the year (April) the Jordan overflowed its banks. At any other time the fords could have been used to cross it, but not at this time. The Israelites were to cross the Jordan when the river was at its widest and deepest, and was flowing its swiftest. They were not, of course, aware of this. They were not familiar with the Jordan. As the snow on Mount Hermon melts and the rainy season ends, the Jordan rises at this season to a depth of 10-12 feet (3-4 metres) and floods to a width of 300-360 feet ( 100 metres) at this point, unlike the slow moving, turgid river of the dry season.

But in this crossing of the Jordan there was a divine necessity. It could not wait. It was to be the springboard to which they would look back and remember that YHWH was with them. Whenever they doubted they would remember the crossing of the Jordan, and how YHWH had therefore put the land at their disposal. And it was to be the complete validation before the people that Joshua was the new Moses (verse 7).

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Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 3:5". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-3.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5.Sanctify yourselves — By sacred ablutions and observances, and by a change of raiment where the washing of the raiment was impracticable. Compare the marginal references.

The Lord will do wonders among you — He will open a passage through the Jordan as he did through the Red Sea, and lead his people through dry-shod. The miracle of the Red Sea was a wonder whose name had been noised abroad for forty years, (Joshua 2:10,) and this at the Jordan was to be like it.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 3:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-3.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 3:5. And Joshua said — He himself also, as well as the officers, by his direction, spake to the people the day before their passage; and as the matter was very important, he probably went himself from tribe to tribe, to give the orders here mentioned. Sanctify yourselves — Not only wash your clothes, and shun all kinds of bodily impurities, (see Genesis 35:2; Exodus 19:10; Numbers 9:10,) but purify your minds and hearts, by repentance, and faith, and new obedience, without which the external purifications of your bodies and garments will be of little avail. In other words, prepare yourselves by seriousness, recollection, and prayer, that you may behold with proper regard, reverence, and gratitude, and may fix in your hearts, the wonderful display which is about to be made of the divine power in your behalf, and that you may be meet to receive so great a favour as is now about to be conferred upon you.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 3:5". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-3.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Sanctified, as Moses had required at Mount Sinai, (Exodus xix. 10, 15,) ordering the people to wash their garments, and to abstain from their wives, that by this exterior purity, they might be reminded not to neglect that of the soul, without which they would derive but small benefit or instruction from the greatest miracles.

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 3:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-3.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

Joshua said unto the people - rather 'had said;' for, as he speaks of "tomorrow," the address must have been made previous to the day of crossing, and the sanctification was in all probability the same as Moses had commanded before the giving of the law, consisting of an outward cleansing (Exodus 19:10-15), preparatory to that serious and devout state of mind with which so great a manifestation should be witnessed.

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 3:5". "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 Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you.
Sanctify
7:13; Exodus 19:10-15; Leviticus 10:3; 20:7; Numbers 11:8; 1 Samuel 16:5; Job 1:5; Joel 2:16; John 17:19
the Lord
13,15; Psalms 86:10; 114:1-7
Reciprocal: Exodus 19:23 - Set bounds;  Joshua 11:6 - morrow;  2 Kings 7:1 - To morrow

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 3:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-3.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

5.And Joshua said, etc Some unwonted manifestation of divine power in bringing assistance behooved to be held forth, lest the backwardness arising from hesitancy might produce delay; and yet, in order that the Israelites might depend on the mere counsel of God, Joshua does not yet plainly point out the special nature of the miracle, unless, indeed, we choose to read what follows shortly after, as forming part of one context. Herein lies the true test of faith, to lean so on the counsel of God, as not to keep inquiring too anxiously concerning the mode of action or the event. As the word קדש means sometimes to prepare, and sometimes to sanctify, and either meaning is not inappropriate, I thought it best to leave a free choice. For faith prepares us to perceive the operation of God; and in those times, when God manifested himself to men more nearly, they consecrated themselves by a solemn rite; thus we see how Moses, on the promulgation of the Law, sanctified the people as God had commanded. The view taken by some expositors, that the people were thus commanded to purge themselves from defilement’s, merely in order that nothing might impede the passage of the Jordan, seems to be too confined.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 3:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-3.html. 1840-57.