Joshua 5:1

(1) The Amorites . . . and . . . Canaanites.--Two principal nations seem to be here mentioned as representatives of the rest.

We.--See Note on Joshua 5:6.

Verse 1. - Which were on the side of Jordan westward. A large portion of the territory of the Amorites had, as we have seen (Joshua 3:10), been already conquered. The remaining tribes on the other side Jordan were apprehensive of the same fate. For "on the side," the original has "across." Having hitherto written of Israel as on the eastern side of Jordan, he continues the same expression after he has narrated the crossing. But writing as he did on the west side of Jordan, and for readers the vast majority of whom were on the west side of Jordan, he adds the expression "westward" (literally, seaward) to prevent any possibility of mistake. Until we were passed over. The Masorites, in the Keri, have corrected the text (Chethibh) into "until they were passed over." Kennicott states that this reading is confirmed by twenty-seven Hebrew MSS., which have probably adopted the reading from the Masoretic correction. The LXX. accepts the Chethibh. The probability, however, is that this is one of the many instances of a conjectural emendation of a difficult passage, it not having been seen that the historian was either quoting a document contemporary with the events described, or more probably using the word to identify himself as an Israelite with the acts of his fathers in past times. This is the opinion of Rabbi David Kimchi. Knobel refers to Psalm 66:6. See also ver. 6 of this chapter, and Joshua 24:5, 6, 7; Judges 11:17; cf. 19. We must not, then, assume from this passage that the Book of Joshua was written by one who himself had a share in the events recorded, in the face of many indications we have of a later origin (see Joshua 4:9, etc.). A fuller discussion of this subject will be found in the introduction. Their heart melted. Confirming what Rahab had said (Joshua 2:11). Similar terror has often been struck into the hearts of peoples, especially of peoples enervated by habits of licentious indulgence, by the approach of enemies who have successfully and rapidly overcome obstacles deemed insurmountable. Such an effect was produced in Persia by Alexander's victories at the Granicus and Issus. Such an effect, again, was produced in Italy by the tidings of the approach of Alaric and Attila. If we may trust the monk of St. Gall, a similar terror fell on the degenerate Lombards at the approach of Charles the Great, after his daring passage of the Alps. In this case the miraculous element was added, and the inhabitants of Canaan, and of Jericho especially, remained for the time panic stricken, not daring to combine to strike a blow against these daring invaders, who in addition to their bravery seemed under the special protection of Heaven. When they had recovered from the consternation into which the passage of the Jordan had thrown them, the sense of an imminent danger forced them at last to make an effort at resistance (see ch. 10.).

5:1-9 How dreadful is their case, who see the wrath of God advancing towards them, without being able to turn it aside, or escape it! Such will be the horrible situation of the wicked; nor can words express the anguish of their feelings, or the greatness of their terror. Oh that they would now take warning, and before it be too late, flee for refuge to lay hold upon that hope set before them in the gospel! God impressed these fears on the Canaanites, and dispirited them. This gave a short rest to the Israelites, and circumcision rolled away the reproach of Egypt. They were hereby owned to be the free-born children of God, having the seal of the covenant. When God glorifies himself in perfecting the salvation of his people, he not only silences all enemies, but rolls back their reproaches upon themselves.And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward,.... On the side the Israelites were now on; and this is observed, to distinguish them from the other kings of the Amorites beyond Jordan, on the eastern side, who were already conquered by the Israelites, Sihon and Og, who seem to be a colony that went over from the Amorites in Canaan, and possessed themselves of that part of the land of Moab. These seem to be put for several others of the nations of the land not mentioned, who doubtless were as much dispirited as they; and they are the rather mentioned, because they were a principal nation, and a very powerful and warlike one, see Amos 2:9.

and all the kings of the Canaanites which were by the sea; the Mediterranean sea; the Septuagint version calls them the kings of Phoenicia; and that which was strictly and property so lay on that coast, in which were the cities of Tyre and Sidon, though the whole land of Canaan was sometimes so called; unless this is to be understood, either of the dead sea, or of the sea of Galilee; of which Canaanites, see Numbers 13:29; however, be they the one or the other, or both, as most likely, when they

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; they lost all their courage, and never recovered it any more; concluding it was all over with them, since such wonderful things were done for them by the Lord: the word "we" shows that the writer of this history was one that passed over Jordan, and who can be supposed but Joshua himself? this circumstance, I think, strongly corroborates that opinion.

Joshua 4:24
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