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Jos 5:1. THE CANAANITES AFRAID.
1. 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--Under the former designation were included the people who
inhabited the mountainous region, and under the latter those who were
on the seacoast of Palestine.
Jos 5:2-12. CIRCUMCISION IS RENEWED.
2. At that time--on the encampment being made after the passage.
4-7. 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 true cause was a temporary suspension of the covenant with the unbelieving race who, being rejected of the Lord, were doomed to perish in the wilderness, and whose children had to bear the iniquity of their fathers (Nu 14:33), though, as the latter were to be brought into the promised land, the covenant would be renewed with them.
8. 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.
9. the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach
of Egypt--The taunts industriously cast by that people upon Israel as
nationally rejected by God by the cessation of circumcision and the
renewal of that rite was a practical announcement of the restoration of
the covenant [KEIL].
10. kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even--The time fixed by the law (see on Ex 12:17; Le 23:5; Nu 28:16). Thus the national existence was commenced by a solemn act of religious dedication.
11, 12. And they did eat of the old corn of the land--found in
storehouses of the inhabitants who had fled into Jericho.
Jos 5:13-15. AN ANGEL APPEARS TO JOSHUA.
13. when Joshua was by Jericho--in the immediate vicinity of that city,
probably engaged in surveying the fortifications, and in meditating the
best plan of a siege.
14. the host of the Lord--either the Israelitish people
(Ex 7:4; 12:41;
or the angels
or both included, and the Captain of it was the angel of the covenant,
whose visible manifestations were varied according to the occasion. His
attitude of equipment betokened his approval of, and interest in, the
war of invasion.