Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. Now after the death of Moses--Joshua, having been already appointed
and designated leader of Israel
in all probability assumed the reins of government immediately
"after the death of Moses."
the servant of the Lord--This was the official title of Moses as
invested with a special mission to make known the will of God; and it
conferred great honor and authority.
the Lord spake unto Joshua--probably during the period of public
mourning, and either by a direct revelation to the mind of Joshua, or
by means of Urim and Thummim
This first communication gave a pledge that the divine instructions
which, according to the provisions of the theocracy, had been imparted
to Moses, would be continued to the new leader, though God might not
perhaps speak to him "mouth to mouth"
Joshua--The original name, Oshea,
which had been, according to Eastern usage, changed like those of Abram
into Jehoshua or Joshua (that is, "God's salvation") was significant of
the services he was to render, and typified those of a greater Saviour
Moses' minister--that is, his official attendant, who, from being
constantly employed in important services and early initiated into the
principles of the government, would be well trained for undertaking the
leadership of Israel.
2-9. now therefore arise, go over this Jordan--Joshua's mission was
that of a military leader. This passage records his call to begin the
work, and the address contains a literal repetition of the promise made
(De 11:24, 25; 31:6-8, 23).
3, 4. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon that
have I given you--meaning, of course, not universal dominion, but only
the territory comprised within the boundaries here specified
4. all the land of the Hittites--These occupied the southern
extremities and were the dominant tribe of Canaan. Their superior power
and the extent of their dominions are attested by the mention of them
under the name of Khita, on the Assyrian inscriptions, and still more
frequently on the Egyptian inscriptions of the eighteenth and
nineteenth Dynasties. What life and encouragement must have been
imparted to Joshua by the assurance that his people, who had been
overwhelmed with fear of that gigantic race, were to possess "all the
land of the Hittites"!
5-9. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee--Canaan was
theirs by a divine grant; and the renewed confirmation of that grant to
Joshua when about to lead the people into it, intimated not only a
certain but an easy conquest. It is remarkable, however, that his
courage and hope of victory were made to depend
on his firm and inflexible adherence to the law of God, not only that
regarding the extirpation of the Canaanites, but the whole divine code.
10-18. Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people--These
were the Shoterim
11-13. command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals--not manna,
which, though it still fell, would not keep; but corn, sheep, and
articles of food procurable in the conquered countries.
for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan--that is, the
third day, according to Hebrew idiom--the time allotted for getting
ready before the encampment in Abel-Shittim broke up and they removed
to the desert bank of the river where no victuals were available. At
the same time Joshua himself convened the two and a half tribes which
had settled east of Jordan, to remind them of their promise
to assist their brethren in the conquest of western Canaan. Their
readiness to redeem their pledge and the terms in which they answered
the appeal of Joshua displayed to great advantage their patriotic and
pious feelings at so interesting a crisis.
14. ye shall pass . . . armed--that is, officered or marshalled under
five leaders in the old and approved caravan order
all the mighty men of valour--The words are not to be interpreted
strictly as meaning the whole, but only the flower or choice of the
fighting men (see on