|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-6 The Israelites came to Jordan in faith, having been told that they should pass it. In the way of duty, let us proceed as far as we can, and depend on the Lord. Joshua led them. Particular notice is taken of his early rising, as afterwards upon other occasions, which shows how little he sought his own ease. Those who would bring great things to pass, must rise early. Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty. All in public stations should always attend to the duty of their place. The people were to follow the ark. Thus must we walk after the rule of the word, and the direction of the Spirit, in everything; so shall peace be upon us as upon the Israel of God; but we must follow our ministers only as they follow Christ. All their way through the wilderness was an untrodden path, but most so this through Jordan. While we are here, we must expect and prepare to pass ways that we have not passed before; but in the path of duty we may proceed with boldness and cheerfulness. Whether we are called to suffer poverty, pain, labour, persecution, reproach, or death, we are following the Author and Finisher of our faith; nor can we set our feet in any dangerous or difficult spot, through our whole journey, but faith will there see the prints of the Redeemer's feet, who trod that very path to glory above, and bids us follow him, that where he is, we may be also. They were to sanctify themselves. Would we experience the effects of God's love and power, we must put away sin, and be careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
Verse 1. - And Joshua rose up early in the morning, i.e., after the return of the spies, and most likely (see Joshua 1:10, 11) on the morning on which the announcement was made to the children of Israel that they were to cross the Jordan. "This newes is brought but overnight, Joshua is on his way by morning, and prevents the sunne for haste. Delays, whether in the business of God or our owne, are hatefull and prejudiciall. Many a one loses the land of promise by lingering; if we neglect God's time, it is just with Him to crosse us in ours" (Bp. Hall). And they removed from Shittim. Literally, from the acacias (see note on Joshua 2:1). To do this completely, and to be quite ready for the crossing, would, as Rosenmuller thinks, require the greater part of three days. But it adds that "they lodged (לִין) there before they passed over." But this need be no difficulty. The great mass of the people could easily leave the acacia meadows on the higher ground, and encamp on the brink of the Jordan, while the remaining two days might be spent in making the necessary arrangements for the crossing. For we must remember (as Keil observes) that, not only a body of armed men, but their women and children, and all their possessions, had to be led safely across. "Though they were not told how they should pass the river, yet they went forward in faith, having been told (Joshua 1:11), that they should pass it" (Matthew Henry).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Joshua rose early in the morning,.... The morning after the spies had returned and made their report; which, as Kimchi rightly observes, was the ninth of Nisan; for on the morrow, which was the tenth, the people passed over Jordan, see Joshua 3:5. Moses, according to the Jewish writers, died on the seventh of Adar or February; the thirty days of his mourning ended the seventh of Nisan or March; two days before they were ended the spies were sent, who returned on the eighth day of the month; and the morning following Joshua rose early, which shows his readiness and alacrity to proceed in the expedition he was directed and encouraged to:
and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan; from Shittim in the plains of Moab, to the river Jordan:
he and all the children of Israel; he as their general, and they an army of six hundred thousand fighting men under him, besides women and children, and others that came along with them:
and lodged there before they passed over; lay there encamped a night before they passed over the river Jordan.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Jos 3:1-6. Joshua Comes to Jordan.
1. Joshua rose early in the morning—On the day following that on which the spies had returned with their encouraging report. The camp was broken up in "Shittim" (the acacia groves), and removed to the eastern bank of the Jordan. The duration of their stay is indicated (Jos 3:2), being, according to Hebrew reckoning, only one entire day, including the evening of arrival and the morning of the passage; and such a time would be absolutely necessary for so motley an assemblage of men, women, and children, with all their gear and cattle to make ready for going into an enemy's country.
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