Joshua 5:1-12

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016




In chapter 1 we have seen Joshua assume the leadership of the nation of Israel following the death of Moses as the Israelites were encamped east of the Jordan River.


In chapter 2 we have seen the two spies being sent to spy out Jericho and their meeting with Rahab.


In chapter 3 we have seen the miracle of the 2,500,000 Israelites crossing the Jordan River at flood stage on dry land with their flocks, herds, and possessions.


In chapter 4, we have seen two memorials being erected as a reminder of what the LORD had done in bringing the Israelites into the land of Canaan. It is important to remember things that the LORD has done.

We see –



Joshua 5:1 And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward [i.e. on the west side of the Jordan River], and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea [i.e. by the Mediterranean 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 melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.


Joshua 5:2 At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time [i.e. It does not mean that some men needed to be circumcised a second time. This is referring to the ones who were born in the wilderness but had not yet been circumcised.].


Joshua 5:3 And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.


Joshua 5:4 And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt.


Joshua 5:5 Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised.


Joshua 5:6 For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land, which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey.


I remind you of –

Numbers 13:1-31 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them. 3 And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.


Numbers 13:17-2117 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: 18 And see the land, what it is; and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; 19 And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds; 20 And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes. 21 So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath.


Numbers 13:23-3323 And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it [i.e. carried it] between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs. 24 The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence. 25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days. 26 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. 27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. 28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there [The descendants of Anak were giants.]. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan. 30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. 33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak [according to Deuteronomy 9:2 they were great (or strong) and tall], which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.


Numbers 14:1-111 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 3 And wherefore hath the LORD brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes: 7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. 8 If the LORD delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. 9 Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. 10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones [i.e. all the congregation said to stone them with stones]. And the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel. 11 And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me [i.e. how long will they not believe Me?], for all the signs which I have shewed among them?


Numbers 14:19-3819 Pardon, I [i.e. Moses] beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. 20 And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word: 21 But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. 22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times [Although “ten times” could be understood literally, it more likely means a great many times.], and have not hearkened to my voice; 23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: 24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it. 25 (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwelt in the valley.) To morrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red sea. 26 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. 28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: 29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, 30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised. 32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. 33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. 34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise [i.e. you will know my rejection]. 35 I the LORD have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die. 36 And the men, which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon the land [i.e. a bad report concerning the land], 37 Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of the men that went to search the land, lived still.


Back to Joshua 5:7

Joshua 5:7 And their children, whom he [i.e. the LORD] raised up in their stead [i.e. in their place], them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way [i.e. along the way, on the way].


Joshua 5:8 And it came to pass, when they [the use of the plural “they” indicates that Joshua did not personally circumcise all the men] had done circumcising all the people, that they [i.e. the men who were circumcised] abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole [i.e. healed].


To incapacitate the entire male population at a time when they had just crossed into enemy territory was in itself an act of faith. Militarily, it would not seem to be the thing to do at a time like this. What if the enemy were to attack? Their obeying the Lord’s commandment demonstrated that they were trusting the Lord to protect them while they were healing from the circumcision.


Without God’s protection, this would have left the Israelites vulnerable to an attack from their enemies. Circumcising this many men and boys would have taken considerable time, and it would be followed by a healing process which might have lasted for a week or two before all of them were healed.


Remember that Joshua and Caleb would have been the only two men over 60 years of age still alive in Israel at this time. All the rest had died in the wilderness. In addition the only men in Israel who were previously circumcised had been circumcised in Egypt. None had been circumcised during the previous 40 years after they left Egypt. This means that every male 40 years old and younger out of 2,500,000 people or about two-thirds of the entire male population, perhaps 1,000,000 or more men and boys, would have to be circumcised at this time. Without God’s protection, this would have left the Israelites vulnerable to an attack from their enemies. Their trust in the Lord is demonstrated by the fact that they obeyed His commandment.


Joshua 5:9 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 [lit. a rolling. Naming this place Gilgal suggests that it was because the Lord had said “This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you.”].


Gilgal was one of the places where Samuel would eventually judge the people once a year. It was also the place where Saul would be anointed as king over Israel.

Next, we see –



Joshua 5:10 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.




Joshua 5:11 And they did eat of the old corn [i.e. they ate some of the produce] of the land on the morrow [i.e. on the day] after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn [i.e. the parched grain] in the selfsame day [i.e. on the very same day].


Remember that it was harvest time when they crossed the Jordan River; so the crops would have been in the fields and readily available to them. Remember also that the inhabitants of Jericho would have been shut up in the city of Jericho for their own protection because they feared the Israelites.



Joshua 5:12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn [i.e. after they had eaten some of the produce] of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit [i.e. of the produce] of the land of Canaan that year.


Although God had provided manna for 40 years, it was no longer needed. So, God stopped sending it.