« PreviousContinue »
on this occasion bears honourable testimony to their faith, and ought not to pass unnoticed. When all had passed, the priests also went up with the ark out of the channel; and no sooner had they left it than the suspended waters above returned to their place, and overflowed the banks as before. Professor Jahn informs us (but we do not know on what authority) that when the river is thus overflowed, its breadth is nearly two hundred fathoms, and its greatest depth fourteen feet. (Heb. Commonwealth,' b. iii. § 19.)
The following observations on this most impressive transaction are from Dr. Hales's New Analysis of Chronology,' vol. i. 412:-"The passage of this deep and rapid, though not wide river, at the most unfavourable season, was more manifestly miraculous, if possible, than that of the Red Sea ; because here was no natural agency whatsoever employed; no mighty wind to sweep a passage, as in the former case; no reflux of the tide, on which minute philosophers might fasten to depreciate the miracle. It seems, therefore, to have been providentially designed to silence cavils respecting the former; and it was done in the noon-day, in the face of the sun, and in the presence, we may be sure, of the neighbouring inhabitants; and struck terror into the kings of the Amorites and Canaanites, westward of the river, 'whose hearts melted, neither was there any spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.”” (Josh. v. 1.)
1 Twelve men are appointed to take twelve stones for a memorial out of Jordan. 9 Twelve other stones are set up in the midst of Jordan. 10, 11 The people pass over. 14 God magnifieth Joshua. 20 The twelve stones are pitched in Gilgal.
3 And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night.
4 Then Joshua called the twelve men, whom he had prepared of the children of Israel, out of every tribe a man:
5 And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take you up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel:
AND it came to pass, when all the people
6 That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?
7 Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.
8 And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them
unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there.
9 And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood and they are there unto this day.
10 ¶ For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the LORD commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed
11 And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the LORD passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people.
12 And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed before the children of Israel, as Moses spake unto them:
13 About forty thousand 'prepared for war passed over before the LORD unto battle, to the plains of Jericho.
14 On that day the LORD magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.
15 And the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying,
16 Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.
17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.`
18 And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests' feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, Heb. picked up
'Deut. 27. 2. 2 Chap. 3. 12. 3 Heb. to-morrow. 4 Num. 32. 27. 5 Or, ready armed.
and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.
19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border
20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.
21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?
7 Heb. went. 8 Heb. to-morrow.
Exod 14. 21.
10 Heb. all days.
Verse 9. "Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan."-In the command given to Joshua, there is nothing said concerning these twelve stones to be set up in the midst of Jordan. It is also difficult to discover what purpose they could answer, under the water. Some commentators suppose that the stones were placed one upon another, so as to form a heap that appeared above water, or was at least visible through the water, when the river was low; but if so, it would seem that a heap thus loosely set up must soon be swept away by the rapidity of the stream. The Arabic has not the verse, and the Syriac reads it so as to make it refer to the stones taken out of Jordan, making it a continuation of the description of the manner in which the Lord's commands were fulfilled, as: “Thus Joshua set up the twelve stones which they had taken from the midst of Jordan," &c. This is the reading followed by Kennicott: Boothroyd translates as in our version, but puts it in brackets, as of doubtful authority. It is very possible, however, that the text is correct, though we do not very clearly understand it. It may be that the stones were not intended to be visible, and that they were set up to replace those that had been taken out, in order to give an idea of completeness to the trans
22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.
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 :
24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever.
13. "About forty thousand prepared for war.”—At the second census, a little prior to the passage of the Jordan, the adult males in the tribe of Reuben were 43,730; in Gad, 40,500; and the half tribe of Manasseh must have had from 20.000 to 30,000 more: and yet, although the obligation to military service was universal, and the two and half tribes held their lands beyond Jordan on the condition of assisting their brethren in the conquest of Canaan, only 40,000 out of about 100,000 went to the war: and nevertheless they were held to have fulfilled the obligation they had incurred. This illustrates a point in the military history of a nation. At first, while their numbers are few, all go to the war; but when they so increase as to be unmanageable as a military force, difficult to bring into action, and unable to keep the field beyond a few days, a levy from the general body begins to be made of the number of men suited to the exigencies of the occasion. We see this principle regulates here the demand upon the services of the two and half tribes, more than half whose numbers remained behind to protect and provide for the families settled in the new country. Indeed, such partial levies occurred in the very first military undertakings of the Hebrews, as in their war with the Amalekites, when Joshua selected the men he required (Exod. xvii. 9, 10); and in that with the Midianites, when a thousand men were levied from each tribe (Num. xxxi. 1-6). The whole body of the people were never expected to take the field except on very extraordinary occasions (see Josh. viii. 7, 11, 12; Jud. xx.; 1 Sam. xi. 7); and on all these occasions the war was terminated in a few days.
20. "Those twelve stones....did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.”—The definite object of this proceeding is explained in the following verses: and the principle exemplified by such memorials has already given occasion to remark in the note to Gen. xxxv. 20 (see also xxviii. 18). Josephus says that an altar was constructed with the twelve stones; and as the stones were not, singly, larger than one man could carry, this seems not unlikely. However, we have seen, in the note above referred to, that it was. and still is, a custom to set single stones as memorials of remarkable events. In the present instance, the stones, if set somewhat apart in an orderly manner and conspicuous situation, would seem likely to convey a more distinct reference to the twelve tribes than if united to form one altar.
1 The Canaanites are afraid. 2 Joshua reneweth circumcision. 10 The passover is kept at Gilgal. 12 Manna ceaseth. 13 An Angel appeareth to
AND it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart
1 Or, knives of flints. 2 Exod. 4. 25.
9 And the LORD said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called 'Gilgal unto this day.
That is, rolling.
Mum 14 23. Heb, when the people had made an end to be circumcised.
10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.
11 And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.
12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
and looked, and, behold, there stood 'a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
13 ¶ And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes
7 Exod. 23. 23. 8 Or, prince.
Verse 3. “Hill of the foreskins.”—Better as a proper name, “Gibeah-haaraloth.”
9. "The reproach of Egypt."—It is not agreed what this means; but it is usually thought to refer to circumcision;-either because, circumcision being a sign of the patriarchal covenant with God, it was a matter of reproach to them that they should have remained uncircumcised like the Egyptians; or else, on the supposition that the Egyptians themselves were a circumcised people (see the note on Gen. xvi. 10), that they had, by neglecting the rite, exposed themselves to a participation in the contempt and dislike with which the people of Egypt regarded uncircumcised nations. Some, however, interpret it to mean, that they had at last been brought to a condition in which to begin their career as an independent nation-in which they might regard themselves as completely freed from the bondage of Egypt and the miseries of Arabia-and in which they could no longer be reproached as the fugitive slaves of the Egyptians, wandering in the desert without home or country.
"The place is called Gilgal."-This word, as explained here, means a rolling away, or removal; but Josephus, followed by some others, understands it to mean liberty, in allusion to the third of the interpretations given to the preceding clause. We do not know that there exists any local indication of the precise site of Gilgal. It must have been at some point between the Jordan and Jericho, and seemingly, nearer to the latter than the former. Josephus says that the first encampment in Canaan was fifty furlongs from the river and ten from Jericho. Jerome also states that in his time the place was shown at the distance of about two miles east of Jericho, and was held in much veneration by the inhabitants of the country. In later portions of the sacred history, we find here a town, also called Gilgal, which seems to have been of considerable importance. It was one of those comprehended in the annual circuit which Samuel was accustomed to make in his character of chief ruler or judge (1 Sam. vii. 16). It was also a place where sacrifices were offered (1 Sam. x. 8); and Saul, the first king of Israel, was there crowned (1 Sam. xi. 15). It is mentioned on several other occasions. After the division of the kingdom, Gilgal, as belonging to Benjamin, was in the kingdom of Judah; but, being close on the frontier towards Israel, it seems to have been infected by the prevailing idolatry of that kingdom, and, as a notorious seat of idolatrous iniquities, its name is, in Amos v. 4, coupled with that of Bethel in crime and condemnation. (See also Hos. xii. 11.) Mr. Buckingham, who, with much probability, inclines to place the site of Jericho more westward than other travellers, thinks that Gilgal was probably near Rihhah, a village about three or four miles from the Jordan, which is commonly considered to occupy the site of Jericho itself. On this, see further in the note to 1 Kings xvi. 34.
10. "The plains of Jericho."-The plains or plain of Jericho, are a portion of that great plain or valley through which the Jordan flows, and which is called the plain of the Jordan. (See Gen. xiii.) The plain of Jericho lies between the Jordan and the high mountains which enclose its valley on the west. Justin thus describes the valley :-“ It is a valley like a garden which is environed with continual hills, and, as it were, enclosed with a wall. The space of the valley containeth 200,000 acres; and it is called Jericho. In that valley there is a wood, as admirable for its fruitfulness as for delight, for it is intermingled with palm-trees and opobalsamum. The trees of the opobalsamum have a resemblance like to fir-trees, but they are lower, and are planted and husbanded after the manner of vines. On a set season of the year they do sweat balsam. The darkness of this place is eside as wonderful as the fruitfulness of it; for although the sun shines nowhere hotter in the world, there is naturally a moderate and perpetual gloominess of the air." Buckingham, who cites this account from Justin, says that the situation, boundaries, and local features are accurately given in these details; and adds, "Both the heat and gloominess were observed by us; though darkness, in the sense in which we generally use it, would be an improper term to apply to this gloom." The palm-trees of the district are mentioned in Scripture, Jericho being in several places called "the city of palm-trees;" which shows that it was a palm-growing district, as in such districts palms are always planted in and around the towns. By this also it was distinguished from other parts of Canaan which are less favourable than this low and hot district to the culture of the palm. Jericho was therefore the "city of palm-trees" on account of the peculiarity of this circumstance. At present there are no palm-trees or balsam trees, or few trees of any kind, in the plain; the parched, barren, and desolate appearance of which fully entitles it to be called "a desert." And this is the condition of a region which Josephus, equally with Justin, describes as the most fertile of Judæa. But districts circumstanced like this, always suffer much more than others, when forsaken or neglected by man.
11. "Old corn... •.•.parched corn.”-This verse seems intended to show the abundant supply of bread, naturally produced, which the Israelites now obtained, as accounting for the cessation of the manna, which was no longer necessary. The want which gave occasion to the miraculous supply of food was particularly mentioned; and now the abundance, which occasions it to be discontinued, is mentioned with equal precision. The Hebrews had now old corn, which the people of the plain, who, we may be sure, had fled into the city, left behind them in their houses and barus.
And they had also new corn; for it was now the time of barley harvest, and the people must either have recently reaped their corn, or they had left it standing, and the Hebrews cut it down. The former seems more probable. As the parched corn seems to be used in opposition to old corn; it probably means the new ears of corn, roasted and eaten. This very simple and primitive preparation is very well relished in the East: and many a poor traveller manages to derive his principal subsistence from the ears of corn which he gathers from the fields through which he passes, and prepares in this fashion. The Hebrews may have thus employed not only the ripe ears of barley, but the unripe ears of wheat; indeed, that they did the latter exclusively, is perhaps the preferable supposition: for the unripe ear, with its grain soft and juicy, is more relished than that which is ripe and hard. Another principal preparation, much and constantly in use in Western Asia, is burgoul; that is, corn first boiled, then bruised in the mill to take the husk off, and afterwards dried or parched in the sun. It is thus preserved for use, and employed for the same purposes as rice-chiefly boiled, to form a pillau, the standard dish of the East. It is thus used as a substitute for rice in places where that favourite grain is not grown, or, when imported, is too dear for common use. It forms a very good dish: which we have eaten with pleasure, after having had the appetite cloyed with the continual recurrence of the rice-pillau. The meal of parched corn is also much used, particularly by travellers, who mix it with honey, butter, and spices, and so eat it ; or else mix it with water only, and drink it as a draught—the refrigerating and satisfying qualities of which they justly extol.
15. "Loose thy shoe from off thy foot."-See the note on Exod. iii. 5.
1 Jericho is shut up. 2 God instructeth Joshua how to besiege it. 12 The city is compassed. 17 It must be accursed. 20 The walls fall down. 22 Rahab is saved. 26 The builder of Jericho is cursed.
Now Jericho 'was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in.
2 And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.
3 And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days.
4 And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams' horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.
5 And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.
6 And Joshua the son of Nun called the priests, and said unto them, Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD.
7 And he said unto the people, Pass on, and compass the city, and let him that is armed pass on before the ark of the LORD.
8 And it came to pass, when Joshua had spoken unto the people, that the seven priests bearing the seven trumpets of rams' horns passed on before the LORD, and blew
1 Heb. did shut up, and was shut up. 2 Heb, under it. 3 Heb. gathering host. ♦ Heb, make your voice to be heard.
5 Or, devoted.