Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 4:23

For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the Lord your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed;
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Gilgal;   Instruction;   Miracles;   Red Sea;   Stones;   Thompson Chain Reference - Red Sea;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Fear, Godly;   Jordan, the River;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Family;   Miracles;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Joshua, the Book of;   Pilgrimage;   Red Sea (Reed Sea);   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Jericho;   Joshua;   Quarry;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Jordan ;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Joshua, Book of;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over,.... As this is supposed to be said in future time, and to persons who were not upon the spot when this was done, and so entirely ignorant of the affair; it is not to be understood of them personally, but of the same people they were of, the people of Israel in former times, of their ancestors, and of them in them; the benefits of which they enjoyed by possessing the land of Canaan their fathers were at this time introduced into:

as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over; for though the generation of men, for the most part, was dead, that passed through the Red sea; yet as Joshua himself, and Caleb and Eleazar, and it may be some others that were not among the murmurers, were still living, for whom that miracle was wrought, this way of speaking is very properly made use of; and especially when it is observed, that there were many of the present generation then young, which passed over, and even those unborn were in and represented by their ancestors, and who enjoyed the advantages of that wonderful mercy; so these two strange events are joined together, as instances of divine power and goodness, in Psalm 114:3.

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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 4:23". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-4.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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:

Before us — That is, myself and Caleb, and all of us here present; for this benefit, though done to their fathers, is justly said to be done to themselves, because they were then in their parent's loins. It greatly magnifies later mercies, to compare them with former mercies; for hereby it appears, that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

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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 4:23". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-4.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 4:23". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-4.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 23. For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan Joshua, considering the people of God here morally, as one person, speaks to them as if they had been of the number of those who had crossed the Red Sea on dry land. He wishes, by the miracle that God had just wrought for them, to recal to their minds that which had been wrought for their fathers, that by entertaining just sentiments of gratitude, as well for the favour they had so lately received, as that of which they still reaped the blessings, though granted to their fathers, they might entirely devote themselves to their nations' perpetual benefactor. So, that hence we learn, that nothing is more reasonable and just than to see among a people children celebrating with gratitude the deliverances and blessings of heaven towards their forefathers; inasmuch as they themselves gather the fruits derived from them, either by their continuance as a body of people, or by the peculiar privileges they enjoy, and which they could not enjoy without that continuance.

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Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 4:23". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-4.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Before us, i.e. myself and Caleb, and all of us here present; for this benefit, though done to their fathers, is justly and rightly said to be done to themselves, because they were then in their parents’ loins; and their very being, and all their happiness, depended upon that deliverance.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 4:23". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-4.html. 1685.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

For YHWH your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until you were passed over, as YHWH your God did to the Sea of Reeds, which he dried up from before us, until we were passed over.”

Note the change of pronoun to ‘us’. Joshua had been present at the crossing of the Sea of Reeds when they left Egypt, and he now likened the two events. The same God had taken them through the waters then and had brought them through the waters now. He was the same God as the Great Deliverer from Egypt. The two events were constantly linked together in the people’s worship of God (see Psalms 114).

These words are not part of what is to be specifically said to the children although no doubt the gist of them would be conveyed, for, had they been, the same pronouns would have been used throughout.

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Bibliographical Information
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 4:23". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-4.html. 2013.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 4:23. Which he dried up from before us — That is, not only before Joshua himself and Caleb, then alive and present, but before the whole nation of the Israelites. For this benefit done to their fathers is justly said to be done to themselves, both because they were then in their parents’ loins, and because it was intended to redound to their advantage, and that of their posterity, to the latest generations. It greatly magnifies later mercies to compare them with former mercies; so, hereby it appears that God is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 4:23". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-4.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

which He dried up., Exodus 14:21.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 4:23". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-4.html. 1909-1922.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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:
as the Lord
The parents must take that occasion to tell their children of the drying up of the Red Sea forty years before: "As the Lord your God did to the Red Sea." It greatly magnifies later mercies to compare them with those before enjoyed; for, by making the comparison, it appears that God is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. Later blessings should also bring to remembrance former mercies, and revive thankfulness for them.
which he dried
Exodus 14:21; Nehemiah 9:11; Psalms 77:16-19; 78:13; Isaiah 43:16; 63:12-14
Reciprocal: Exodus 10:1 - that I;  Joshua 24:11 - And ye;  Habakkuk 3:10 - the overflowing;  1 Corinthians 10:1 - and all

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 4:23". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-4.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

"Handfuls of Purpose"

For All Gleaners

"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."Joshua 4:23

This presents God as doing the little and doing the great: in the one case he dried up a river; in the other case he dried up a sea.—The idea to be kept steadily before the mind Isaiah, that it is the same God that worketh all in all.—Omnipotence is as much required in the drying up of the Jordan as in the dividing of the Red Sea; and the Omnipotence that divided the Red Sea condescended to dry up the river.—Every action on the part of God must of necessity be a condescension.—When God made the universe he humbled himself.—When God made man he subjected the Deity to degradation.—This must not be looked upon in the light of experiment, but in the light of necessity. Terms which seem to indicate the contrary are merely terms of accommodation, and not terms which express the essence of things.—We are to reason from the greater to the less; thus, if God dried up the Red Sea, he will also dry up the Jordan; if God enabled us to kill a lion, he will enable us to slay a man; if God enabled us to climb a mountain, he will not forsake us when we have to pass over a molehill.—The text is an appeal to memory as well as an appeal to confidence.—That we may live well in the future we should live steadfastly in the past.—The witness of God"s personality and presence in life must be found in a man"s own experience; he can only assent to them with the intellect, but he can claim them as verities, and affirm them as the truest facts of life only in proportion to the richness of his personal experience in divine things. Thus growing life should be growing religiousness; old age should be itself an argument; memory should be a library of exposition and defence.—What is forgotten so soon as grace or favour even on the part of man to man? It is even so with God.—We forget that our whole life has been a miracle. We forget this in proportion as we draw a line beyond which our recollection is not permitted to go— Recollection must be helped by association or analogy.—Thus we can go back to our own infancy by carefully regarding the infancy of others, marking its frailty and its continual exposure to fatal danger.—Life regarded thus from the beginning to its end becomes itself a piece of work which no human hands could have executed, a very miracle of mystery and beauty.—The Old Testament saints in particular were accustomed to reason from the past to the future. David did so in relation to Goliath. That is but a typical instance. Job did so when he contended that, as God had been with him in six troubles, he would not forsake him in seven; or when God himself affirmed this to be the line of his treatment of mankind.—Our own hymn-writers have celebrated this truth in many a soothing and encouraging line,—"His love in time past forbids me to think," etc.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 4:23". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/joshua-4.html. 1885-95.