Joshua 5:1
Now when all the Amorite kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the coast heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted and their spirits failed for fear of the Israelites.
Divine Control Over AllW. Seaton.Joshua 5:1

The passage of the Jordan has been called a "priestly miracle," a natural event "turned into a miracle" by the historian for the sake of exalting the priestly office. We fail, however, to see that any such special prominence has been given to the priestly clement. It is the ark that is the medium of the miracle working power, the priests are but its servants and attendants. The ark, as the symbol and throne of the Divine presence, is the centre around which all the supernatural glory of the incident gathers. Indeed, there is rather a notable subordination of the priestly element at this period of Hebrew history. Joshua did not belong to the priestly order any more than Moses did. There was no sacerdotal rule. The twelve men who gathered these memorial stones from the bed of the river were not priests, but men chosen by the tribes for that particular work. The priestly functions were not those most brought into prominence by these incidents. There is no sign of anything like undue homage being paid to the priesthood at that period, and even as regards the religion of the people it was, as Stanley says, "a part of the mechanism of that religion rather than its animating spirit." The raising of these stones, then, to commemorate the great event that had just taken place, was the act of the whole people through their chosen representatives. Two piles of stones were raised: the one by direct Divine command; at Gilgal, where the Israelites rested for the night after the passage, and where they observed their first passover in the land of Canaan; the other, apparently without Divine command, on the other side, at the spot where the feet of the priests first touched the brink of the flooded river. The words of Joshua present them in two lights before us:

(1) As a memorial for the men of that generation, and

(2) as a means of instruction for their children.

I. A MEMORIAL FOR THAT GENERATION. The wisdom of God is seen in the command to raise such a memorial. It meets that weakness in human nature by which it comes to pass that the most sacred impressions are prone to die - the lapse of time and the succeeding waves of circumstance obliterate them. Most Divine institutions have rested on this principle. God "set his bow in the cloud" a sign and pledge of His faithfulness. The Sabbath was intended to quicken in men the sense of their Divine relations and their longing for the "rest that remaineth." The passover and other feasts were to be "for memorials;" and when Christ said to His disciples, "Do this in remembrance of me," He asserted the same principle. The sign was to be a stimulus to spiritual apprehension and a help to faith. The history of the olden times is full of examples of the way in which men, as by a natural instinct, have sought to create for themselves some permanent record of the most momentous experiences of their life, by the names they gave to certain scenes, or by the erection of altars, etc. (Abraham at Mount Moriah, "Jehovah Jireh," Genesis 22:19; Jacob at Bethel, Genesis 28:18; Moses at Rephidim, Exodus 17:14; Samuel at Mizpeh, "Ebenezer," 1 Samuel 7:12). All memorials of this kind have their outlook towards the past and towards the future. They serve a double purpose; they keep alive precious memories and awaken buoyant hopes, they excite gratitude and strengthen faith. We do well to set up such way marks in the pilgrimage of our life. Their value lies not so much in the fact that they record the extraordinary - that which happened once and is not likely to happen again - but rather in the fact that they link the past with the future. They show us that through all change something abides. Our nature is the same in its needs, dangers, responsibilities; God is the same in His loving regard for us and His power to deliver. Every passing experience of His grace is a pledge that He will not fail us in emergencies yet to come. Anything is good that deepens this impression, provokes to thankfulness, and rebukes distrust. The darkest passages in our history thus 'leave benedictions behind them, are transformed into occasions of triumphant joy:

"Out of our stony griefs
Bethels we raise."

II. A MEANS OF INSTRUCTION FOR THEIR CHILDREN. "When your children shall ask their fathers," etc. A glimpse here of the simplicity and sanctity of domestic relations which was so important a feature of ancient Hebrew life. The authority of the father over his children almost absolute and unlimited. Something terrible in its despotism, if it had not been modified and softened by certain provisions defining parental duty. Instruction in the sacred traditions of the nation, its memories and hopes - an obligation continually enforced (see Exodus 12:26, 27; Exodus 12:14; Deuteronomy 6:7-20, et seq.).

1. The beauty and worth of a spirit of inquiry in children. It is natural for the child to ask questions. A boundless realm of mystery lies all around the awakening mind, and an irresistible instinct moves it to inquire, "Why these things? What mean ye by these services?" The contact of mind with mind is needful in order to development, and of whom should the children ask, but of "their fathers," for the solution of the problems that perplex them? The most notable chapter, the only recorded chapter, in the early development of Jesus is that scene in which we behold Him in the temple, "sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions."

2. The generous, sympathetic response this spirit of inquiry should meet with. No tender sensibility of childhood is to be suppressed, least of all any that may lead to the discovery of truth. The inquisitiveness of the child is a precious faculty that demands to be rightly directed. The indifference of many parents to the stirrings of the spirit of inquiry in their children arises from selfish indolence, and is a cruel wrong. No doubt children will often ask questions which the wisest cannot answer, but at least let the difficulty be frankly confessed; let the ground and reason of it be defined in a way adapted to the young intelligence. The very disappointment then becomes a means of Divine instruction. The higher interests of our being - the laws of God's government, the revelations of His love, the workings of His Providence and Spirit - let these especially be unfolded. What nobler office can any parent perform than to mediate between the mind of his child and the mystery of the Unseen - to lift up the veil that hides God's glory, to explain and justify His ways, to be the medium of His truth and Spirit to the young requiring soul?

3. The practical result at which all instruction should aim. "That ye might fear the Lord your God forever." The miracle, the memorial, the teaching, all find here their ultimate issue. All subordinate purposes must lead on to this - the showing forth of God's glory, and the submission of His intelligent creatures to Him in reverence and godly fear. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter," etc. (Ecclesiastes 12:13). ? W.

Their heart melted... because of the children of Israel.
Kings and princes, captains and nobles, are most perfectly under the control of God; not only their counsels and operations, but their very spirits are subject to the influence of His secret and all-pervading dominion; they are restrained by cowardice, or incited by courage; intimidated by fear, or emboldened by valour, as best may promote the purposes of Providence and the interests of the Church. More has often been effected by this, wherein has appeared no human agency, than could have been by all the advantages of physical strength. It has been seen in the procedure of the Divine government, and opening of the secret counsels of heaven, that turns the most peculiar and results the most momentous have proceeded from this invisible working of God. But for this, the condition of Israel, as frequently appeared in review, would have inspired their adversaries, and, in the mere opposing of force to force, insured to them triumph. A spirit of blindness and infatuation has been permitted to seize the enemies of the Church, and to fall upon the powers of the world, or the Lord's people had again and again been swallowed up. The expedients of infinite wisdom, and resources of almighty power, never fail: they are innumerable, and always at command; not confined to the common laws of nature, but comprehend the secret dominion of spirits, and that unlimited range of omnipotence, by which, in special operations, all things are possible with God, and present to instant adoption, as the purposes of His love may require, or the counsel of His will determine.

(W. Seaton.)

Amorites, Canaanites, Israelites, Joshua
Canaan, Egypt, Gibeath-haaraloth, Gilgal, Jericho, Jordan River
Across, Along, Amorite, Amorites, Beyond, Canaanite, Canaanites, Coast, Courage, Crossed, Dried, Dry, Face, Heart, Hearts, Israelites, Jordan, Kings, Longer, Melted, News, Pass, Passed, Passing, Presence, Sons, Spirit, Till, Towards, Waters, West, Westward
1. The Canaanites are afraid
2. Joshua renews circumcision
10. The Passover is kept at Gilgal
12. manna ceases
13. An angel appears to Joshua

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Joshua 5:1

     4819   dryness
     4857   west

The Captain of the Lord's Host
And he said, Nay, but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. JOSHUA v. 14. The army of Israel was just beginning a hard conflict under an untried leader. Behind them the Jordan barred their retreat, in front of them Jericho forbade their advance. Most of them had never seen a fortified city, and had no experience nor engines for a siege. So we may well suppose that many doubts and fears shook the courage of the host, as it drew around the doomed city. Their chief had his own heavy burden.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Whether the Rite of Circumcision was Fitting?
Objection 1: It seems that the rite of circumcision was unfitting. For circumcision, as stated above ([4474]AA[1],2), was a profession of faith. But faith is in the apprehensive power, whose operations appear mostly in the head. Therefore the sign of circumcision should have been conferred on the head rather than on the virile member. Objection 2: Further, in the sacraments we make use of such things as are in more frequent use; for instance, water, which is used for washing, and bread, which we
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Circumcision Bestowed Sanctifying Grace?
Objection 1: It seems that circumcision did not bestow sanctifying grace. For the Apostle says (Gal. 2:21): "If justice be by the Law, then Christ died in vain," i.e. without cause. But circumcision was an obligation imposed by the Law, according to Gal. 5:3: "I testify . . . to every man circumcising himself, that ne is a debtor to do the whole law." Therefore, if justice be by circumcision, "Christ died in vain," i.e. without cause. But this cannot be allowed. Therefore circumcision did not confer
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Stones Crying Out
'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 over. 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
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Torments of Giant Bad Feelings
THE TORMENTS OF GIANT BAD FEELINGS I am just a bundle of feelings. I never imagined one could have such a variety of them as I am now experiencing. Most of them are bad ones and I am greatly disturbed by them. Really, I doubt whether I am sanctified, on account of the feelings I have. Do sanctified people always feel joyful? I have heard that they do, and if it is true that they do, then I am not sanctified. Big doubts take up company with me every morning, and so long as I feel as I do I do not
Robert Lee Berry—Adventures in the Land of Canaan

Gilgal, in Deuteronomy 11:30 what the Place Was.
That which is said by Moses, that "Gerizim and Ebal were over-against Gilgal," Deuteronomy 11:30, is so obscure, that it is rendered into contrary significations by interpreters. Some take it in that sense, as if it were near to Gilgal: some far off from Gilgal: the Targumists read, "before Gilgal": while, as I think, they do not touch the difficulty; which lies not so much in the signification of the word Mul, as in the ambiguity of the word Gilgal. These do all seem to understand that Gilgal which
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

Of Preparation.
That a Christian ought necessarily to prepare himself before he presume to be a partaker of the holy communion, may evidently appear by five reasons:-- First, Because it is God's commandment; for if he commanded, under the pain of death, that none uncircumcised should eat the paschal lamb (Exod. xii. 48), nor any circumcised under four days preparation, how much greater preparation does he require of him that comes to receive the sacrament of his body and blood? which, as it succeeds, so doth it
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Peaceable Principles and True: Or, a Brief Answer to Mr. D'Anver's and Mr. Paul's Books against My Confession of Faith, and Differences in Judgment About Baptism no Bar to Communion.
WHEREIN THEIR SCRIPTURELESS NOTIONS ARE OVERTHROWN, AND MY PEACEABLE PRINCIPLES STILL MAINTAINED. 'Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?'--Psalm 58:1 SIR, I have received and considered your short reply to my differences in judgment about water baptism no bar to communion; and observe, that you touch not the argument at all: but rather labour what you can, and beyond what you ought, to throw odiums upon your brother for reproving you for your error,
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Fragrant Spices from the Mountains of Myrrh. "Thou Art all Fair, My Love; There is no Spot in Thee. " --Song of Solomon iv. 7.
FRAGRANT SPICES FROM THE MOUNTAINS OF MYRRH. HOW marvellous are these words! "Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee." The glorious Bridegroom is charmed with His spouse, and sings soft canticles of admiration. When the bride extols her Lord there is no wonder, for He deserves it well, and in Him there is room for praise without possibility of flattery. But does He who is wiser than Solomon condescend to praise this sunburnt Shulamite? Tis even so, for these are His own words, and were
Charles Hadden Spurgeon—Till He Come

The book of Joshua is the natural complement of the Pentateuch. Moses is dead, but the people are on the verge of the promised land, and the story of early Israel would be incomplete, did it not record the conquest of that land and her establishment upon it. The divine purpose moves restlessly on, until it is accomplished; so "after the death of Moses, Jehovah spake to Joshua," i. 1. The book falls naturally into three divisions: (a) the conquest of Canaan (i.-xii.), (b) the settlement of the
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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