Joshua 5:15
And the captain of the LORD's host said to Joshua, Loose your shoe from off your foot; for the place where on you stand is holy. And Joshua did so.
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Joshua 5:15. From off thy foot — In token of reverence and subjection. Holy — Consecrated by my presence. The very same order which God gave to Moses at the bush, when he was sending him to bring Israel out of Egypt, he here gives to Joshua for the confirming his faith, that as he had been with Moses, so he would be with him.5:13-15 We read not of any appearance of God's glory to Joshua till now. There appeared to him one as a man to be noticed. This Man was the Son of God, the eternal Word. Joshua gave him Divine honours: he received them, which a created angel would not have done, and he is called Jehovah, chap. 6:2. To Abraham he appeared as a traveller; to Joshua as a man of war. Christ will be to his people what their faith needs. Christ had his sword drawn, which encouraged Joshua to carry on the war with vigour. Christ's sword drawn in his hand, denotes how ready he is for the defence and salvation of his people. His sword turns every way. Joshua will know whether he is a friend or a foe. The cause between the Israelites and Canaanites, between Christ and Beelzebub, will not admit of any man's refusing to take one part or the other, as he may do in worldly contests. Joshua's inquiry shows an earnest desire to know the will of Christ, and a cheerful readiness and resolution to do it. All true Christians must fight under Christ's banner, and they will conquer by his presence and assistance.Captain of the host of the Lord - i. e. of the angelic host, the host of heaven (compare 1 Kings 22:19; 1 Samuel 1:3, etc.). The armed people of Israel are never called "the host of the Lord," though once spoken of in Exodus 12:41 as "all the hosts of the Lord." The Divine Person intimates that He, the Prince (see the marginal references) of the Angels had come to lead Israel in the coming strife, and to overthrow by heavenly might the armies and the strongholds of God's and Israel's enemies. Accordingly, the capture of Jericho and the destruction of the Canaanites generally form a fit type of a grander and more complete conquest and excision of the powers of evil which yet waits accomplishment. (Compare with this verse Matthew 25:31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8.) 14. the host of the Lord—either the Israelitish people (Ex 7:4; 12:41; Isa 55:4), or the angels (Ps 148:2), or both included, and the Captain of it was the angel of the covenant, whose visible manifestations were varied according to the occasion. His attitude of equipment betokened his approval of, and interest in, the war of invasion.

Joshua fell on his face …, and did worship—The adoption by Joshua of this absolute form of prostration demonstrates the sentiments of profound reverence with which the language and majestic bearing of the stranger inspired him. The real character of this personage was disclosed by His accepting the homage of worship (compare Ac 10:25, 26; Re 19:10), and still further in the command, "Loose thy shoe from off thy foot" (Ex 3:5).

Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, in token of reverence and subjection: see on Exodus 3:5. The place is holy, consecrated by my presence; which when it was withdrawn, it was no more holy than any other place, the reason of its holiness being removed. And the Captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua,.... As a trial and proof of his obedience to him:

loose thy shoe from off thy foot; which is to be understood literally, as when the like was commanded Moses at Horeb, Exodus 3:5; though some interpret it figuratively; as Abarbinel,"remove from thee such thoughts that thou shall take this city by strength:"

for the place whereon thou standest is holy; because of the presence of this Person, and as long as he was there, though afterwards was as another place; the Jewish commentator, last mentioned, thinks this intimates that the city, and all in it (and all round about it), should be "cherem", devoted, and so be holy to the Lord:

and Joshua did so; loosed his shoe from his foot, in obedience to the Captain of the Lord's host, thereby giving proof of his readiness, willingness, and alacrity to serve under him.

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.
15. Loose thy shoe] “Vnlace thi schoo fro thi feet,” Wyclif. Comp. Exodus 3:5. It was a mark of reverence to cast off the sandals in approaching a place or person of eminent sanctity.Verse 15. - Loose thy shoe from off thy feet. Cf. Exodus 3:6. We have here a clear proof (see also Joshua 6:2) that He who now spoke to Joshua was a Divine Person. The loosing the shoe from the feet is regarded by Origen and other patristic commentators as emblematic of the removal of worldly engagements and pollutions from the soul. Now Jericho was straitly shut up.

When the circumcision was completed, the Lord said to Joshua, "This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you." "The reproach of Egypt" is the reproach proceeding from Egypt, as "the reproach of Moab," in Zephaniah 2:8, is the reproach heaped upon Israel by Moab (cf. Isaiah 51:7; Ezekiel 16:57). We are not to understand by this the Egyptian bondage, or the misery which still cleaved to the Israelites from Egypt, and the still further misery which they had suffered during their journey, on account of the displeasure of Jehovah (Knobel), but the reproach involved in the thoughts and sayings of the Egyptians, that Jehovah had brought the Israelites out of Egypt to destroy them in the desert (Exodus 32:12; Numbers 14:13-16; Deuteronomy 9:28), which rested upon Israel as long as it was condemned to wander restlessly about and to die in the wilderness. This reproach was rolled away from Israel with the circumcision of the people at Gilgal, inasmuch as this act was a practical declaration of the perfect restoration of the covenant, and a pledge that the Lord would now give them the land of Canaan for their inheritance. From this occurrence the place where the Israelites were encamped received the name of Gilgal, viz., "rolling away," from גּלל, to roll. This explanation and derivation of the name is not to be pronounced incorrect and unhistorical, simply because it merely preserves the subordinate idea of rolling, instead of the fuller idea of the rolling away of reproach. For the intention was not to form a word which should comprehend the whole affair with exhaustive minuteness, but simply to invent a striking name which should recall the occurrence, like the name Tomi, of which Ovid gives the following explanation: Inde Tomos dictus locus est quia fertur in illo membra soror fratris consecuisse sui (Trist. iii. 9, 33). Knobel is wrong in maintaining that the name should be explained in a different way, and that this Gilgal is the same as Geliloth (circles) in Joshua 18:17 (see the explanation given at Joshua 15:7). The word gilgal, formed from גלל, to roll, signifies primarily rolling, then a wheel (Isaiah 28:28); and if by possibility it signifies orbis also, like גּליל, this is neither the original nor the only meaning of the word. According to Josephus (Ant. Joshua 18:1, Joshua 18:4), Israel encamped fifty stadia, i.e., two hours and a half, from the Jordan, and ten stadia, or half an hour, from Jericho-that is to say, in the plain or steppe between Jericho and the Jordan, in an uninhabited and uncultivated spot, which received the name of Gilgal for the first time, as the place where the Israelites were encamped. No town or village ever existed there, either at the period in question or at any later time. The only other places in which this Gilgal can be shown to be evidently referred to, are Micah 6:5 and 2 Samuel 19:6, 2 Samuel 19:41; and the statement made by Eusebius in the Onom. s. v. Galgala, δείκνυται ὁ τόπος ἔρημος ὡς ἱερὸς θρησκευόμενος, which Jerome paraphrases thus, "Even to the present day a deserted place is pointed out at the second mile from Jericho, which is held in amazing reverence by the inhabitants of that region," by no means proves the existence of a town or village there in the time of the Israelites. Consequently it is not to be wondered at, that in spite of repeated search, Robinson has not been able to discover any remains of Gilgal to the east of Jericho, or to meet with any Arab who could tell him of such a name in this locality (see Rob. Pal. ii. pp. 287-8 and 278). On the situation of the Gilgal mentioned in Joshua 9:6; Joshua 10:6, etc., see at Joshua 8:35.
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