Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 5:4

This is the reason why Joshua circumcised them: all the people who came out of Egypt who were males, all the men of war, died in the wilderness along the way after they came out of Egypt.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Gilgal;   Revivals;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Circumcision;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Gilgal;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Circumcision;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Bochim;   Joshua;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Circumcision;   Crimes and Punishments;   Joshua, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Jericho;   Joshua;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Circumcision;   Gilgal;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Journeyings of israel from egypt to canaan;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Gilgal;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Conquest of Canaan;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Joshua, Book of;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Circumcision;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

This is the cause why Joshua did circumcise - The text here explains itself. Before the Israelites left Egypt all the males were circumcised; and some learned men think that all those who were born during their encampment at Sinai were circumcised also, because there they celebrated the passover; but after that time, during the whole of their stay in the wilderness, there were none circumcised till they entered into the promised land. Owing to their unsettled state, God appears to have dispensed, for the time being, with this rite; but as they were about to celebrate another passover, it was necessary that all the males should be circumcised; for without this they could not be considered within the covenant, and could not keep the passover, which was the seal of that covenant. As baptism is generally understood to have succeeded to circumcision, and the holy eucharist to the passover, hence, in the Church of England, and probably in most others, no person is permitted to receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper till he has been baptized.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 5:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-5.html. 1832.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise,.... Or the reason of the command given him to circumcise the children of Israel at this time, namely, what follows:

all the people that came out of Egypt that were males, even all the men of war; meaning such that were twenty years old, and upwards:

died in the wilderness, by the way, after they came out of Egypt; not directly, but in a course of forty years, as they journeyed through the wilderness; this is to be understood with an exception of Joshua, Caleb, Eleazar, &c. but then there was a large number who were under twenty years of age, that came out of Egypt, and were now living.

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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 5:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-5.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.

Out of Egypt — This is to be restrained to such as were then above twenty years old, and such as were guilty of that rebellion, Numbers 14:1-25, as it is expressed below, Joshua 5:6.

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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 5:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-5.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 5:4 And this [is] the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, [that were] males, [even] all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.

Ver. 4. Died in the wilderness by the way.] There their carcasses fell for their rebellion; and a new generation rose up which were now to be circumcised, that they might be in case to keep the passover.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 5:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-5.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

This is to be restrained to such as were then above twenty years old, and such as were guilty of that rebellion, Num 14, as it is expressed below, Joshua 5:6.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 5:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/joshua-5.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4.And this is the cause — As this book contains not only a record of events, but also ascribes a rational cause to each, it may be classed among philosophical histories.

All the people — This expression is limited first to the males, and then to those of military age, from twenty years old and upwards. Numbers 14:29-32.

Died in the wilderness — Because of their rebellion against Jehovah, and the cowardice displayed when the panic-stricken spies made their exaggerated report. Numbers 14:21-35. Caleb and Joshua were the only exceptions to this sweeping sentence. Numbers 26:64-65.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 5:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/joshua-5.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Joshua 5:4. All that came out of Egypt that were males died — This is to be restrained to such as were then above twenty years old, and such as were guilty of the rebellion mentioned Numbers 14., as it is expressed Joshua 5:6.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 5:4". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-5.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Second. Hebrew, "this is the thing, (the cause why) Josue gave circumcision."

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 5:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-5.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

men. Hebrew, plural of "ish or "enosh. App-14.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 5:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/joshua-5.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.

This is the cause why Joshua did circumcise. The omission to circumcise the children born in the wilderness might have been owing to the incessant movements of the people; but it is most generally thought that the nation, being regarded as for a time disowned by God, was forbidden to take the sign of the covenant, to neglect which in other circumstances would have been visited with the severest penalties. The true cause was a temporary suspension of the covenant with the unbelieving race, who, being rejected of the Lord, and excommunicated, were thrust back into the standing-ground of the unclean (Josephus, 'Antiquities,' b. 5:, ch.

i., sec. 4), and doomed to perish in the wilderness, and whose children had to bear the iniquity of their fathers (Numbers 14:33), though, as the latter were to be brought into the promised land, the covenant would be renewed with them. 'When Joshua led them across the Jordan-that is, when God was about to establish the covenant-it was discovered that the former had all died, while the latter only remained alive. The covenant, therefore, was really established with those who were uncircumcised, but had obeyed the voice of the Lord: it had been refused to those who, although circumcised yet were a stiff-necked generation. At the same time, on these persons who thus received an earnest of the covenant, because they hearkened to Yahweh, the sign was affixed, to denote that they were introduced to the covenant' ('Israel after the Flesh,' pp. 16, 25; Havernick's 'Introduction,' p. 157).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 5:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/joshua-5.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) The cause why Joshua did circumcise.—As the narrative stands it is not quite obvious why uncircumcision is called “the reproach of Egypt,” whereas all the people born in Egypt were circumcised. The uncircumcision attached to those who were born in the wilderness, during the years of wandering. But that period of wandering, between the departure from Kadesh-barnea and the return to Kadesh (thirty-seven and a half years, Numbers 15-19, inclusive), is a kind of blank in the story of the Exodus. The five chapters which belong to it in the Book of Numbers contain no note of progress as to time or place. The people had “turned back in their hearts to Egypt” (Acts 7:39; Numbers 14:4), and were bearing the reproach of their apostasy all those years, “the reproach of Egypt.” Suffering under the “breach of promise” of Jehovah (Numbers 14:34), they appear to have omitted the sign of the covenant, as though they were no longer the people of God. The passage of Jordan was the practical proof of Israel’s restoration to Divine favour, and they were brought into covenant with Him once more.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Joshua 5:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/joshua-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.
All the
Numbers 14:22; 26:64,65; Deuteronomy 2:16; 1 Corinthians 10:5; Hebrews 3:17-19
Reciprocal: Genesis 17:10 - Every

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 5:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-5.html.