Joshua 5: To This Day . . .

Do you think if the Israelite men knew they were going to get circumcised upon crossing the river they still would have done it?

I don’t know. I’m just asking. Geez!

Well, apparently this generation of Israel was not so hot on cutting off their sons’ foreskins because none of them are circumcised. And we know how important that is for the men of Israel. Just ask Moses.

But circumcision wasn’t the only reference to a pervious event in Israel’s history. Joshua 5 was full of connections to the past.

  • Kings are fearing Israel because God dried up the river, just like they did after he dried up the Red Sea
  • God commanded Joshua to have all the men circumcised, just like he did with Abraham back in Genesis 17.
  • Joshua encounters a “man” who is ready for a fight, just like Jacob did.
  • The “man” tells Joshua to take his shoes off, for this is holy ground; just like Moses and the burning bush.

Why all these references? Why recall events from the past? Why remind the readers that what is happening in the story now is related to the story before?

I don’t really have answers to these questions. What do you think?

To This Day . . .

I’m noticing clues in this book about who the original audience might have been. What to the following quotes have in common?

. . . he would not let them see the land that he had sworn to their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.

And so that place is called Gilgal to this day.

. . . and they are there to this day.

It almost reads like the book of Joshua was written to explain what all the weird things in Israel are there for.

“Hey, there is a pile of rocks in that river. What is that?” “Hey, why is this place called Gilgal? That’s a weird name.”

Hmm, I think we are going to need to write a book about this. Let’s make sure it is really violent, so they’ll remember.

Ok, that last part may not be true. But the people who read this book must have known the geography of the land and had questions about it. The Narrator seems to be telling the story to someone, or to a group of people.

I kind of like that.

The Mysterious Warrior

Joshua meets a man with a sword. He finds out that this is no ordinary man, he is an AVENGER! Oh, no, he is the COMMANDER OF THE LORD’S ARMY! Which could probably beat up the Avengers, even if they have a Hulk.

I’ve always heard that this figure is a “pre-incarnate Jesus.” It makes sense seeing as how Joshua worships him and the Commander doesn’t stop him.

But what did the original readers think?

I mean, this is a strange person. He just shows up, says he is a big-shot, Joshua worships him, and then he has to take off his shoes. Like I said before, this is the same thing Moses had to do when he encountered God.

So who is this guy? And what did the Jews think of him?

Bible nerds: Assemble!

2 responses

  1. Joshua worships Him, and Joshua is not supposed to worship anyone but God. So, I think he believes he’s viewing an Incarnation.

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