About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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Chapter 5 and 6

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ch. 5:1-12    ch. 5:13 - 6:27

 

Circumcision At Gilgal  (ch. 5:1 - 12)     

 

Verse 1 shows how other nations view Israel when Israel is walking and living before their God as they should.  Both the Ammorite kings and the Canaanite kings feared Israel because of the miracle of the Jordan River drying up so Israel could cross over. 

The "sea coast" mentioned in verse 1 would be the coast along the Mediterranean Sea. 

In verses 2 and 3 the Lord tells Joshua "to make flint knives" so Israeli men could be circumcised "again".  Notice the word again.  It's not that these men have already been circumcised, because they hadn't.  Those men who crossed the Red Sea into the desert were circumcised, but the children of those men weren't.  So before they could go any farther into Canaan , and before the Lord would help them conquer the land, the men had to be circumcised as God commanded the Israeli forefathers.

Notice also that the knives were made from flint stone.  I would imagine being circumcised by such a knife would not be all that pleasant.     

Verses 4 through 8 say what I've just said.  Only the men who left Egypt were circumcised, and those men, as God decreed, would never enter the promised land of Canaan, since they were disobedient.  One can safely say that disobedience to the Lord does hinder the Lord from working in one's life, even in this age of grace that we are presently living in.  Obedience to God is not just an Old Testament thing.

Verse 8 states that because of the Israeli men being circumcised, the Israelis camped at the spot where they were circumcised for three days, enough time for the men to heal.  This would have been a good time for Israel's enemies to attack them, but the Lord had better things in mind for Israel than to be attacked when their men weren't feeling well.  God will look after His people in their time of need if they obey.  It's as simple as that.

Verse 9 states that the day in which the Israeli men were circumcised was important.  That day God rolled away the reproach of Egypt.  The word "reproach" when used as a noun means "an act of rebuke and disproval".  The simple fact is thatIsrael, actually before they became a nation, went into Egypt for two reasons.  One reason was they needed food in a time of famine.  But the word reproach here suggests another reason.  Many Bible teachers believe the bondage of Israel in Egypt was a direct judgment of God on the family of Jacob for the eleven brothers mistreatment of Joseph.  This verse seems to suggest that.

In verse 10 through 12 we see that Israel spent a few days in rest and enjoyed eating the fruit of the land. Once eating the fruit of this new land, the manna that they had been eating for years, provided to them by God, disappeared.  God was now providing food through the land which He had promised their forefathers. 

The Fall Of Jericho (ch.5:13 6:27)      

 

In verse 13, as Joshua approaches Jericho, he sees a man with his sword drawn.  Joshua asks him if he was for Israel or for Jericho.    

The man with the sword answers by saying "neither", that is, at least in the NIV.  Other translations use the words "no", or, "nay", or something similar.  I tend to see the NIV's translation as a bit misleading.  The word "neither" suggests that this man is not for Israel or Jericho.  He's neutral.  The context shows this not to be so.  We should understand this reply to meaning, "no, that's not the issue why I am here".

It might even be that the man with the sword thought that Joshua viewed him as an ordinary man when his answers proves otherwise.  The man proceeds to tell Joshua that he is the "commander of the Lord's army".  This makes him no mere man.  There are two possibilities to whom this man is.  He is either an angel of the Lord, or else He is pre-incarnate Jesus.  I believe this is one of a number of times in the Old Testament where Jesus appears to people.

In response, Joshua falls face first to the ground and asks what message "his Lord" has for him.   Falling face down on the ground is an act of worship.  Those who believe this man is Jesus and not an angel suggest that if this man was an angel, he would tell Joshua not to worship him because angels are not to be worshipped.  There was something in the voice of this man, and in His presence, that told Joshua, this was no angel.

The man answers Joshua in verse 15, but not with a direct answer to Joshua's question.  The man told Joshua to take off his shoes for the ground in which he stood was now holy.  Angels don't make the ground holy.  Jesus does.  This is the same type of thing that happened to Moses at the burning bush, and most scholars say that Jesus was at the burning bush with Moses, as He is here with Joshua. 

When ground becomes holy by the immediate presence  of the Lord, any man made object, like shoes or sandals contaminate the ground.  Such holy ground as seen here didn't happened much in the Bible, and it still doesn't happen much today.  Many preachers claim holy ground, but God seldom comes to humanity as He did here with Joshua.   I believe there is a difference between God's immediate presence visiting us and the presence of the Holy Spirit visiting us.   

In chapter 6, verse 1, we note that Jericho was "tightly shut up.  No one entered the city, and no one left the city.               

Concerning Jericho scholars say that it's wall was actually two walls in one.  That is, two 15 foot wide walls joined together.  Jericho was situated on about only 12 acres.  It wasn't a big city, but it was an influential city. It was the capital city of the Ammorite community.  The springs that flowed from the city back then still flow from the city today. 

Note in verse 2 the Lord says that He has delivered Jericho into Israel's hands.  Note the past tense.  Joshua and his armies have not even begun the fight and the Lord says the city is theirs.  The easy way to understand this is not a matter of faith, or hyper faith.  We shouldn't claim things that have not happen as though they have.  The simple fact of the matter is that the Lord lives in a different time domain than we.  He is already in the future.  He has already won the battle for Joshua.

In verses 3 to 5 the Lord finally gets around to answer Joshua's question concerning what message he should receive from the Lord.  The Lord told Joshua that he and his army should march around Jericho once a day for six days.  On the seventh day, they should march around seven times.  Seven priests with ram's horns should go with them in front of the arc of the covenant. When the trumpets sound on the seventh time around on the seventh day, Israel would let out a huge shout, and the walls would fall down, and Israel would be able to enter they city with no trouble and capture it.

Can you imagine what the army, what watchmen on the wall, thought during these seven days.  They must have thought this was pretty strange.  Apparently many liberal Bible scholars think it strange too since they don't believe in the miracle that took place on the seventh day.

Concerning the ram's horn, or, trumpet, as some translations put it.  There are a couple Hebrew words translated as "trumpet", one more common than the other.  This is the less common word used here.  It's actually translated in places into English as "jubilee".  That's pretty descriptive of what's happening here.

There are a couple of things to note here about the instructions the Lord gave Joshua.  One is that the Lord told Joshua that the priests must go with the soldiers as part of the Israeli army.  This is in direct opposition to the Law of Moses.  Also, marching around Jericho on the Sabbath, which they would have because they marched for seven days, violates the Sabbath law.   Obviously Jesus is Lord of the law.

From verse 6 to the end of the chapter we see Joshua and Israel doing as the Lord told them.

The seven trumpets, the shout of Israel at the last trumpet sound reminds me of many parts of the book of Revelation and the end of this age.  Jesus returns with a shout at the end of this age with His holy ones and the world is conquered for Him.  It's clear that the number seven has Biblical significance throughout the Bible, as seen here.  Some Bible teachers actually see the whole book of Joshua as a type of the book of Revelation. They see many comparisons between the two books. 

In verse 18 we see the instructions to save Rahab and her family.  Many prophecy teachers believe that Edom and Moab will be saved from the anti-Christ because of Daniel's prophecy.  Some suggest that Rahab symbolizes Edom and Moab because they seem to take in the Jews as they flee the armies of the anti-Christ.

Another specific instruction is given in verses 18 and 19.  Israel could not take a spoil from the city, other than silver, gold, bronze, and iron.  If any thing else was taken, that would contaminate Israel and the Lord would judge them for it.

Note that verse 25 says that Rahab lived amongst Israel "to this day".  You might wonder what "this day" means. It's clear that the book of Joshua, like other Old Testament books were written after the fact.  Some suggest that Ezra edited some of these historical books of the Bible, so if that is so, Rahab's family lived among Israel even in his day, or, whenever this book was actually completed.

In verse 26 Joshua put a curse on anyone who tried to rebuild the city of Jericho.  Some might ask, was this curse from the Lord's heart, or from Joshua's heart?  Does this curse have any prophetic significance?  The answer is clear.  This curse was from the Lord and it was prophetic.  For example, in 1 Kings 16:34 a man named Hiel rebuilt the foundation to Jericho at the expense of losing his two sons in the process.  Verse 35 reminds the reader of the curse Joshua put on anyone who would attempt to rebuild the city of Jericho. 

Jericho, one of the oldest cites, if not the oldest city, in human history has been rebuilt 27 times.  One interesting note is that in 659 A.D. it was destroyed because of an earthquake. This was during the rule of the second of four consecutive Muslim leaders.         

There are seven nations in the land of Canaan for Israel to defeat. Jericho was the strongest of these peoples.

 

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