(Circumcision, the seal of the covenant in their flesh, was neglected in the wilderness wanderings.
They were hereby owned as freeborn children of God, the reproach of the bondage in Egypt being removed.)
God is jealous for the honor of His people and is ready to roll away whatever reproach they may for a time lie under,
if they become circumcised in heart.
1 And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the 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.
2 ¶ At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time.
3 And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins.
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.
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.
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.
7 And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised them by the way.
8 And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the people, that they abode in their places in the camp, till they were whole.
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.
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.
11 And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.
12 ¶ And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
13 ¶ And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
Joshua 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Joshua 5:1-12 – Renewing the Covenant with God
Evidently the people of Canaan realized that they were entering into conflict with God Almighty. This made their bitter resistance less excusable. But before Israel could go forward into the campaign, they must undergo that initial rite which from the days of Abraham had separated them unto God, Genesis 17. The outbreak at Kadesh had practically annulled that relationship, which now must be renewed, Numbers 14.
Before we can serve God’s high purposes in the world, we must be separated from sin. The old nature must be denied and put away, and the new nature, which is holy, harmless and separate from sin, must become ours. Nothing but death can meet the case, Colossians 2:11; II Corinthians 7:1.
The circumcised soul alone may eat of the Passover, which is Christ. We need to feed on Him, keeping the daily feast with joy, I Corinthians 5:7-8; John 6:51, 54. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Joshua 5:13—Behold, there stood a Man.
When Jericho, its fortifications looming dark through the night, must be assailed, then the Divine Man may be looked for. Only let circumcision do its keen work of separation, so that there be nothing of the flesh with its energy and pride to vaunt itself before God; then, as we stand face to face with some imminent peril, God will be revealed as our very present help. Not weeks before our need, not before the Jordan has been crossed in faith, not before circumcision has been performed; but when all God’s demands have been met, and tomorrow calls for action, then behold there will stand the Man Christ Jesus, not by Himself, but as Captain of the Lord’s host, awaiting with mighty legions on the wing for his least word.
It is sometimes thought that the Divine Warrior had come to supersede Joshua; this is not so. He was Prince of another host than Israel. His host was the celestial armies, which were going forth to war against Canaan. As long as Israel was true to God, these were its allies. Look up, Christian soul! Thou thinkest thyself alone; or countest sorrowfully thy poor array; but in very deed the Man of Calvary and of the throne is beside thee. All heaven owns His authority, and will supplement thine efforts. Be reverent, obedient, full of faith and prayer. Keep step with the goings forth of God. Thou shalt have light work to do. Before the impact of His might, thy Jericho shall fall. The battle is not to the strong, nor the race to the swift; but each to those who are living lives separate from the world, and dedicated to God. The vessels which are meet for the Master’s use are pure ones. Cleanness, rather than cleverness, is the prime condition of successful service. —Our Daily Homily