Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 5:15

The captain of the Lord's host said to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Angel (a Spirit);   Church;   God Continued...;   Jericho;   Jesus Continued;   Shoe;   Vision;   Worship;   Scofield Reference Index - Sanctify;   Thompson Chain Reference - Awe;   Godly Reverence;   Reverence;   Reverence-Irreverence;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Feet, the;   Shoes;   Titles and Names of Christ;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Debir;   Sandals;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Hosts;   Joshua the son of nun;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Angel;   Angel of the Lord;   Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Adore;   Angel;   Captain;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Angels;   Bochim;   Foot;   Joshua;   Priest;   Sabaoth, Lord of;   Sandal;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Dress;   Foot;   Jericho;   Trinity;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Foot;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Captain;   Shoes;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Captain;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Angels;   Sandal;   Tabernacle;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Joshua;   Priest;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Barefoot;   Dress;   Foot;   Joshua (2);   Joshua, Book of;   Shoe;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Adoration, Forms of;   Angelology;   Barefoot;   Costume;   Holiness;   Names of God;   Sandals;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for February 28;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, etc. - These were the same words which the angel, on Mount Sinai, spoke to Moses; (see Exodus 3:5-8;); and from this it seems likely that it was the same person that appeared in both places: in the first, to encourage Moses to deliver the oppressed Israelites, and bring them to the promised land; in the second, to encourage Joshua in his arduous labor in expelling the ancient inhabitants, and establishing the people in the inheritance promised to their fathers. There is scarcely a more unfortunate division of chapters in the whole Bible than that here. Through this very circumstance many persons have been puzzled to know what was intended by this extraordinary appearance, because they supposed that the whole business ends with the chapter, whereas, it is continued in the succeeding one, the first verse of which is a mere parenthesis, simply relating the state of Jericho at the time that Joshua was favored by this encouraging vision. We may draw two useful reflections from the subjects of this chapter: -

  1. As the manna had now failed, the people always greatly addicted to incredulity, might have been led to imagine that God had now given them up, and would be no longer in their armies, had he not given them this strong assurance, that the Angel of his presence should be with them as the guide and protector of the whole camp; for Joshua undoubtedly informed them of the encouragement he had received from the captain of the Lord's host.
  • By this vision he showed them that their help came from himself, and that it was not by human might or power, but by the Lord of hosts, they were to have the victory over all their adversaries; and he gave them the most convincing proof of this in the miraculous destruction of Jericho. By this means he continued to keep them dependent on his arm alone, without which dependence the spirit of religion could not have been preserved among them.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 5:15". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-5.html. 1832.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    And the Captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua,.... As a trial and proof of his obedience to him:

    loose thy shoe from off thy foot; which is to be understood literally, as when the like was commanded Moses at Horeb, Exodus 3:5; though some interpret it figuratively; as Abarbinel,"remove from thee such thoughts that thou shall take this city by strength:"

    for the place whereon thou standest is holy; because of the presence of this Person, and as long as he was there, though afterwards was as another place; the Jewish commentator, last mentioned, thinks this intimates that the city, and all in it (and all round about it), should be "cherem", devoted, and so be holy to the Lord:

    and Joshua did so; loosed his shoe from his foot, in obedience to the Captain of the Lord's host, thereby giving proof of his readiness, willingness, and alacrity to serve under him.

    Copyright Statement
    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.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 5:15". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-5.html. 1999.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    REFLECTIONS

    My soul! in the perusal of this chapter, stand still and see the salvation of God! Behold how thy God puts terror in the hearts of his and thy enemies! when thy God, thy Jesus, shall have conducted thee over Jordan, their hearts shall melt away, neither shall they have the spirit anymore to make their attacks upon thee. In the consciousness of this, I would say, Lord! grant me the true circumcision of the Spirit! lead me, blessed Jesus, to the banqueting house of thy love, and may my soul keep the feast of the true passover, testifying to the whole congregated world of angels and of men, that I seek salvation only in thy blood and righteousness. And when the manna of ordinances shall cease: when, O my Saviour, I shall have done with my day and generation here below: bring me to that country, that promised land and city, whose builder and maker is God: and give me to eat of that hidden manna, which thou hast promised to all thy people. Precious Jesus! do thou manifest thyself to me, as thou didst to thy servant Joshua, as the Captain of the Lord's host; and the captain of my salvation. Was it not in these several appearances of thine? Was it not to give Old Testament saints a token of thy favor, and of the good will thou hadst towards our nature? Was it not to convince them that thou wast longing for the time, when as really and properly man, thou wouldest bear our nature, and perform that great work, which for our redemption sake thou hadst engaged to do, in the covenant made between thy Father and thyself? And now thou hast really and truly become man, and finished the work the Father gave thee to do, wilt thou not to me, and to all thy New Testament believers, agreeably to thy promise, manifest thyself to our souls, otherwise than thou doest to the world? Come dear Jesus, come to my soul in ordinance seasons, in the sweet promises of thy word, in the tokens of thy providences; comfort me, strengthen me, cheer my heart, revive my poor languishing frame, brighten up my evidences, warm my whole soul with thy love; and let me see, and my sole happiness be found in this, that thy love is shed abroad, from thine heart to mine, and that thou, and thou alone, art formed there, the only hope of glory!

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    Bibliographical Information
    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Joshua 5:15". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/joshua-5.html. 1828.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

    From thy foot β€” In token of reverence and subjection.

    Holy β€” Consecrated by my presence. The very same orders which God gave to Moses at the bush, when he was sending him to bring Israel out of Egypt, he here gives to Joshua, for the confirming his faith, that as he had been with Moses, so he would be with him.

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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 5:15". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-5.html. 1765.

    Scofield's Reference Notes

    holy

    Trans. "consecrated," Joshua 6:19 in R.V. "holy."

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    These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.
    Bibliographical Information
    Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Joshua 5:15". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/joshua-5.html. 1917.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    Joshua 5:15 And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest [is] holy. And Joshua did so.

    Ver. 15. Loose thy shoes.] Deny thyself wholly, and put thy confidence in my power and prowess. Frustra nititur qui Christo non innititur. Among the Turks no man may come into the church, besides the Grand Seignior, with his shoes on, but must leave them at the door, or give them to their servants to keep. (a)

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    Bibliographical Information
    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 5:15". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-5.html. 1865-1868.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, in token of reverence and subjection: see on Exodus 3:5. The place is holy, consecrated by my presence; which when it was withdrawn, it was no more holy than any other place, the reason of its holiness being removed.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 5:15". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-5.html. 1685.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    And the Captain of YHWH's host said to Joshua, “Put off your shoe from off your foot, for the place on which you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.’

    Compare for this incident Exodus 3:5 where Moses too was told to remove his shoes for the same reason. And like Moses Joshua, aware that he was in a heavenly presence, and that nothing earthly must contaminate the place, removed his shoes. His clothing had been ‘sanctified’ prior to crossing the Jordan (Joshua 3:5). But while YHWH was revealed there the ground was ‘holy’, as Sinai had been when YHWH appeared on it. No human being dared therefore be there except with His express permission, and no man made materials must touch the sacred earth.

    We note that there was no direct reply to Joshua’s question. No reply was needed. The drawn sword was God’s answer. They were to go forward in His name, seize the country and destroy and drive out the evil Canaanites, accomplishing in one stroke two vital things, the inheritance of the land by Israel as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:6) and God’s judgment on, and annihilation of, sin and iniquity. This was the vision. Both were equally important. It was the failure to do the second which would prevent the fulfilling of the first. We may be inclined to draw most help from this passage from the idea that God is with us, but we must not overlook the drawn sword, expressive of God’s hatred of sin. That is a warning that sin must not be treated lightly. Thus was renewed Joshua’s intimate experience of YHWH (Exodus 24:13; Exodus 33:11).

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    Bibliographical Information
    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 5:15". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-5.html. 2013.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    Joshua 5:15. From off thy foot — In token of reverence and subjection. Holy — Consecrated by my presence. The very same order which God gave to Moses at the bush, when he was sending him to bring Israel out of Egypt, he here gives to Joshua for the confirming his faith, that as he had been with Moses, so he would be with him.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 5:15". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-5.html. 1857.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Worshipping. Not with divine honour, but with a religious veneration of an inferior kind, suitable to the dignity of his person. (Challoner) --- He styles the angel Adonai, which is a title frequently given to men; and hence he does not seem to have designed to give him supreme worship. (Calmet) --- If he did, (Haydock) it was referred to God. (Calmet) (Exodus xx.)

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    Bibliographical Information
    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 5:15". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-5.html. 1859.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    And the captain of the LORD's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

    For the place whereon thou standest is holy, [ qodesh (Hebrew #6944) huw' (Hebrew #1931)] - it is holiness (Exodus 3:5). For the place whereon thou standest is holy, [ qodesh (Hebrew #6944) huw' (Hebrew #1931)] - it is holiness (Exodus 3:5).

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    Bibliographical Information
    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 5:15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-5.html. 1871-8.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
    Loose
    Exodus 3:5; Acts 7:32,33; 2 Peter 1:18
    And Joshua
    Many persons have been puzzled to know what was intended by this extraordinary appearance of the angel to Joshua, because they supposed that the whole business ends with the chapter; whereas it is continued in the succeeding one, the first verse of which is a mere parenthesis, simply relating to the state of Jericho at the time when Joshua was favoured with this encouraging vision; by which he was shewn that their help came from God alone, and that it was not by human might or power, but by the Lord of hosts they were to obtain the victory. Reciprocal: Genesis 28:16 - and I:1 Samuel 5:5 - tread;  1 Samuel 10:1 - captain;  2 Kings 20:5 - the captain;  Ecclesiastes 5:1 - thy foot;  Isaiah 20:2 - put;  Daniel 8:11 - the prince;  Hebrews 2:10 - the captain

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    Bibliographical Information
    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 5:15". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-5.html.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    15.Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, etc To give additional sanctity to the vision, the great Angel requires as a sign of reverence and fear that Joshua put off his shoes. Moses relates, (Exodus 3:5) that the same command was given to him on Mount Sinai, and for no other reason than that the Lord there manifested his glory. For one place cannot have a greater sanctity than another, except God deigns specially to make it so. Thus Jacob exclaims, (Genesis 28:17 (60)) that the place where he had known God more nearly is the house of God, a dreadful place, and the gate of heaven. Here, therefore, when God orders his holy servant to take off his shoes, he by this ceremony attests the reality of his presence, and adds more weight to the vision; not that nakedness of feet is of itself of any value in the worship of God, but because the weakness of men requires to be aided by helps of this kind, that they may the better excite and prepare themselves for veneration. Moreover, as God by his presence sanctifies the places in which he appears, I think it probable that the expression, holy ground, is in part commendatory of the excellence of the land of Canaan, which God had chosen for his own habitation and the seat of his pure worship. Hence in various passages it is called β€œhis rest.” (Psalms 95:11, and Psalms 132:14 (61)) In the end of the verse Joshua is praised for his obedience, that posterity might learn by his example to cultivate pure piety in that land. There seems thus to be a kind of tacit comparison or antithesis, by which the land of Canaan is extolled above all other countries. (62)

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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Joshua 5:15". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/joshua-5.html. 1840-57.