Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Joshua 5:8

Now when they had finished circumcising all the nation, they remained in their places in the camp until they were healed.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

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

Adam Clarke Commentary

They abode - in the camp, till they were whole - This required several days; see the notes on Genesis 34:24, Genesis 34:25. Sir J. Chardin informs us that when adults were circumcised they were obliged to keep their beds for about three weeks, or at least during that time they are not able to walk about but with great difficulty. The account he had from several renegadoes, who had received circumcision among the Mohammedans. Is it not strange that during this time they were not attacked by the inhabitants of the land, and utterly destroyed, which might have been easily effected? See the case of the poor Shechemites, as related in Genesis 34:24-31, with the notes there. Joshua, as an able general, would at once perceive that this very measure must expose his whole host to the danger of being totally annihilated; but he knew that God could not err, and that it was his duty to obey; therefore in the very teeth of his enemies he reduced the major part of his army to a state of total helplessness, simply trusting for protection in the arm of Jehovah! The sequel shows that his confidence was not misplaced; during the whole time God did not permit any of their enemies to disturb them. The path of duty is the path of safety; and it is impossible for any soul to be injured while walking in the path of obedience. But why did not God order them to be circumcised while they were on the east side of Jordan in a state of great security? Because he chose to bring them into straits and difficulties where no counsel or might but his own could infallibly direct and save them; and this he did that they might see that the excellence of the power was of God, and not of man. For the same reason he caused them to pass the Jordan at the time that it overflowed its banks, and not at the time when it was low and easily fordable, that he might have the better opportunity to show them that they were under his immediate care and protection; and convince them of his almighty power, that they might trust in him for ever, and not fear the force of any adversaries. In both cases how apparent are the wisdom, power, and goodness of God!

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/joshua-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The circumcision must have taken place on the day after the passage of Jordan, i. e. the 11th Nisan, and the Passover was kept on the 14th of the same month. For so long at least, they who had been circumcised would be disabled from war (compare the marginal reference), though they would not necessarily be debarred from keeping the feast. The submission of the people to the rite was a proof of faith, even though we remember that the panic of the Canaanites Joshua 5:1 would render any immediate attack from them unlikely, and that there must have been a large number of “men of war” who would not need to be circumcised at all (see the note at Joshua 5:4).

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/joshua-5.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people,.... Which seems as if it was done in one day, even on the same day they passed over Jordan, and came to Gilgal; though Bishop UsherF1Annales Vet. Test. p. 38. thinks it was the day following; and so the JewsF2Seder Olam Rabba, c. 11. p. 31. say it was on the eleventh of Nisan:

that they abode in their places in the camp till they were whole: till the wound made by circumcision was healed; now as it was on the tenth day they passed over Jordan, and came to Gilgal, where they were circumcised, there were three entire days between that and the fourteenth, when they kept the passover; during which time they kept within their tents in the camp, being unfit to move from thence, for on the third day of circumcision they were usually sore, Genesis 34:25; but being well on the fourth, were able to attend the passover. As the providence of God greatly appeared in favour of Israel, by causing a dread to fall on their enemies, that they durst not sally out of the city and attack them; so it showed great faith in Joshua, and the Israelites, to administer circumcision at this time, just as they were landed in an enemy's country; and when the waters of Jordan were returned, and there was no going back, and if they could, as they were not in a condition to fight, so not to flee.

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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.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/joshua-5.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they e were whole.

(e) For their sore was so grievous, that they were not able to move.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/joshua-5.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

when they had done circumcising all the people — As the number of those born in the wilderness and uncircumcised must have been immense, a difficulty is apt to be felt how the rite could have been performed on such a multitude in so short a time. But it has been calculated that the proportion between those already circumcised (under twenty when the doom was pronounced) and those to be circumcised, was one to four, and consequently the whole ceremony could easily have been performed in a day. Circumcision being the sign and seal of the covenant, its performance was virtually an investment in the promised land, and its being delayed till their actual entrance into the country was a wise and gracious act on the part of God, who postponed this trying duty till the hearts of the people, animated by the recent astonishing miracle, were prepared to obey the divine will.

they abode in their places … till they were whole — It is calculated that, of those who did not need to be circumcised, more than fifty thousand were left to defend the camp if an attack had been then made upon it.

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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 5:8". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/joshua-5.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.

Whole — Free from that pain and soreness which circumcision caused, it was indeed an act of great faith, to expose themselves to so much pain and danger too, in this place where they were hemmed in by Jordan and their enemies.

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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 5:8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/joshua-5.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Joshua 5:8 And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.

Ver. 8. They abode in their places in the camp till they were whole.] In confidence of God’s protection, who both secured them meanwhile from their enemies, {see Genesis 34:25-26} and soon healed them; for else how could they have, four days after, kept the Passover with joy?

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/joshua-5.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Ver. 8. And—the people—abode in their places—till they were whole They kept quiet in their tents, undisturbed by any one, till after their entire cure. The ceremony was performed the 11th of Nisan; the 13th the sore was at the worst, and on the 14th began the solemnities of the passover. As they circumcised with sharp stones, this might contribute to hasten their cure, inasmuch as those instruments occasion less inflammation than knives or razors made of metal.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/joshua-5.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Free from that pain and sore which circumcision caused, Genesis 34:25. It was indeed an act of great faith to expose themselves to so much pain and danger too in this place, where they were hemmed in by Jordan and their enemies; but they had many considerations to support their faith, and suppress their fears: the fresh experience of God’s power and readiness to work miracles for their preservation; the great consternation of all their enemies, which they might observe and rationally presume; the considerable number of the people who were above forty years old, and therefore circumcised before this time, their great general being one of this number; the time it would require for their enemies to bring together a force sufficient to oppose them.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". 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 so it was that when they had finished circumcising all the nation, they stayed in their places in the camp until they were whole.’

Having undergone the rite of circumcision all the males under forty were in some discomfort and had to rest up in the camp. It has been questioned whether a general would have carried out such an operation on his troops in such a situation, but he knew that the people of Jericho were afraid and remaining in their city, that there was no evidence of any other troop movement through the hills, and that YHWH had just revealed His power by the crossing of the Jordan. Thus such a necessary operation in order to celebrate the first Passover in the land was quite reasonable in such a situation.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/joshua-5.html. 2013.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

8.Circumcising all the people — Objection is made that it was impossible to circumcise so many, probably six or seven hundred thousand, in one day. But according to the most accurate estimates there were between two and three hundred thousand circumcised men to administer the rite, so that each would have but three or four subjects requiring the ordinance.

They abode in their places in the camp — Hebrew, they sat under themselves; that is, they remained on that spot which was under them when they first sat down. Exodus 16:29.

Till they were whole — According to the Talmud the wound was immediately treated with oil, which diminished the pain and induced a speedy healing. It is not probable that their cure was entirely effected so early as the third day, the passover; nor would it be necessary for them to be free from physical disability in order to celebrate that ordinance, since there were enough who were able to perform the labour of preparing the paschal lamb. For at least one fourth of the men had been previously circumcised, and two small families could unite. Exodus 12:14.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". "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 5:8. Till they were whole — Free from that pain and soreness which circumcision caused. It was certainly an act of great faith to expose themselves to so much pain, and danger too, in this place, where they were hemmed in by Jordan and their enemies.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/joshua-5.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Healed. The Passover lasted eight days: after which they proceeded to attack Jericho. Yet the people, unfit for war, remained at Galgal; where the camp continued a long time afterwards.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/joshua-5.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

abode. 11th to 13th Abib.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". "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 it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.

When they had done circumcising all the people. No mention is made of the two tribes and a half east of the Jordan; but it may be that the rite was performed among them at the same time. Since the number of those born in the wilderness and uncircumcised must have been immense, a difficulty is apt to be felt how the rite could have been performed on such a multitude in so short a time. But it has been calculated that the proportion between those already circumcised (under twenty, when the doom was pronounced), and those to be circumcised, was one to four, and consequently, from so great a number of persons being free to operate, the whole ceremony could easily have been performed in a day. Keil calculates that, among the million of males who entered Canaan, 338,000 must have been under 20 years of age, and were consequently circumcised ('Commentary on Joshua,' p. 139). Circumcision being the sign and seal of the covenant, its performance was virtually an infeoffment in the promised land; and its being delayed until their actual entrance into the country was a wise and gracious act on the part of God, who postponed this trying duty until the hearts of the people, animated by the recent astonishing miracle, were prepared to obey the divine will, which was the condition on which alone the terms of the national covenant would be fulfilled.

They abode in their places in the camp until they were whole. That would be several days (see the note at Genesis 34:25; Genesis 34:29). It is calculated that, of those who did not need to be circumcised, more than 50,000 were left to defend the camp, if an attack had been then made upon it.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". "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 it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.
when they, etc
Heb. when the people had made an end to be circumcised. till they were whole.
Genesis 34:25
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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Joshua 5:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/joshua-5.html.