Joshua 3:2
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
After three days the officers went throughout the camp,

New Living Translation
Three days later the Israelite officers went through the camp,

English Standard Version
At the end of three days the officers went through the camp

New American Standard Bible
At the end of three days the officers went through the midst of the camp;

King James Bible
And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
After three days the officers went through the camp

International Standard Version
Three days later, the officers went throughout the camp,

NET Bible
After three days the leaders went through the camp

New Heart English Bible
It happened after three days, that the officers went through the midst of the camp;

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Three days later the officers went through the camp.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the midst of the camp;

New American Standard 1977
And it came about at the end of three days that the officers went through the midst of the camp;

Jubilee Bible 2000
And after three days, the officers went through the camp,

King James 2000 Bible
And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

American King James Version
And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

American Standard Version
And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the midst of the camp;

Douay-Rheims Bible
After which, the heralds went through the midst of the camp,

Darby Bible Translation
And it came to pass at the end of three days, that the officers went through the camp;

English Revised Version
And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the midst of the camp;

Webster's Bible Translation
And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

World English Bible
It happened after three days, that the officers went through the midst of the camp;

Young's Literal Translation
And it cometh to pass, at the end of three days, that the authorities pass over into the midst of the camp,
Study Bible
The Crossing of the Jordan
1Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and he and all the sons of Israel set out from Shittim and came to the Jordan, and they lodged there before they crossed. 2At the end of three days the officers went through the midst of the camp; 3and they commanded the people, saying, "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it.…
Cross References
Joshua 1:11
"Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, 'Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.'"

Joshua 3:3
and they commanded the people, saying, "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it.
Treasury of Scripture

And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

three days

Joshua 1:10,11 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying…

(2) After three days.--See Joshua 1:2.

(2-6) PRELIMINARY ORDERS.--The priests are to bear the ark. This was usually the duty of the Levites of the family of Kohath; but both at the passage of Jordan and the taking of Jericho, the priests were employed as bearers. The people must be sanctified, as they were in preparation for the giving of the law at Sinai (in Exodus 19). And the ark itself takes, in some sense, a fresh position. The space of 2,000 cubits was left between the head of the column of Israelites and the ark, in order that they might all see it. Up to this time, during the whole of the Exodus, they had been led by the pillar of cloud and fire. The ark had led the van ever since they left Sinai (Numbers 10:33-34). But as the cloud had moved above the ark, where all the people could see it, the head of the column might follow the ark as closely as possible, without any inconvenience. Now the cloud was no longer with them. It was a visible token of God's presence especially granted to Moses, and with him it disappeared. The ark was now to be the only leader, and therefore it must be placed in a somewhat more conspicuous position. This difference of arrangement appears to be indicated by the words in Joshua 3:4, "Ye have not passed this way heretofore." The words may mean, "You are marching over untrodden ground;" but if so, they are not more applicable to this march than to many previous marches. They may also mean, "You have not marched in this manner heretofore," and this interpretation seems more to the purpose.

It may be of use to consider here, what was the actual significance of the position assigned to the ark in Joshua. What was the ark? It was a chest containing the ten commandments, written with the finger of God on two tables of stone prepared by Moses (Deuteronomy 10:1-5; Exodus 34:1; Exodus 34:28). But the ark was made for the law, not the law for the ark. The mercy-seat above was the covering of the law--the shield between that law and the people. Between the cherubim that formed the mercy-seat, was the throne of Jehovah. But the central thing, the only thing not of human workmanship, that remained in the ark, was "the law written with the finger of God." If we would exactly describe the position before us, we must say that the Israelites marched into Jordan led by the written law of God. The same written law, borne round the walls of Jericho, was the minister of vengeance to the Canaanites, as indeed it became afterwards to Israel when incautiously handled or invoked, as at Eben-ezer (1 Samuel 4), and as at Beth-shemesh (1 Samuel 6; comp. 2 Samuel 6), and also to the Philistines (1 Samuel 5). As soon as the army of Joshua reached the centre of Canaan, this same law was written on great stones in the heart of the country and became the law of the land. It is consistent with what we have already noted (Joshua 1:1) as to the difference between Moses and Joshua, that under Moses the people should follow the cloudy pillar, and under Joshua, the written law of God. But it is a strange picture, and one that may well call up our reverent wonder, that the Israelites should pass over Jordan and assail the Canaanites, with the ten commandments carried before them, and as it were leading the way. Was not this the direct object of the conquest of Canaan, that God's law should not only have a people to obey it, but a country in which its working might be exhibited to the nations, as the law of the land?

Verse 2. - The officers. LXX., γραμματεις (see Joshua 1:10). This is evidently the history of the fulfilment of the command there given by Joshua. There he orders the officers to pass through the host; here the command is fulfilled. There is no reasonable doubt that the spies had returned before the order recorded in Joshua 1:10 had been given. Many commentators have raised objections to the order of the narrative in this and in the following chapter; and commentators like Houbigant, Masius (who says, "Narrationis ordo admodum perturbatus"), and Bishop Horsley, have suggested a different order of the verses. But Delitzsch has observed that the narrative is drawn up in a threefold order. First, the commencement of the crossing is detailed, from vers. 7-17 of this chapter; then (Joshua 4:1-14), its further progress; lastly (Joshua 4:15-24), its conclusion. And in each separate paragraph we have

(1) God's command to Joshua;

(2) Joshua's command to the people; and

(3) their fulfilment of his command.

Thus the Divine command, the human leadership, and the measures taken in obedience to that leadership are kept in close connection throughout. We need not suppose (he adds) that each separate act was enjoined at the moment when the necessity for the injunction arrived. Nor, we may add, is it necessary to suppose that every intimation given by God to Joshua is necessarily recorded in chronological order (see note on Joshua 2:1.) We are only to understand by the order followed by the sacred historian, that he desires to impress fully upon his readers how entirely every step taken by Joshua was taken at the express command of God. The idea of Paulus, Eichhorn, Ewald, Knobel, and others, that this account is compiled from two or more different documents, would not only require us to suppose great clumsiness in the compiler, if their view of his work be true, but is wholly unnecessary. The text involves no contradictions; only an amount of repetition, which is an essential feature of all the early Hebrew historical narratives, as is evident to the most casual observer, and is a proof, not of compilation, but of the antiquity of the document, and the simplicity and absence of art of the writer. Ewald has remarked that it is characteristic of the Hebrew historians to mention the termination of the event as soon as possible, and then to fill in their outline by the narration of intermediate circumstances (see chs. 1, 3, 6, 7. of the Book of Joshua). As a specimen of the way in which contradictions are manufactured, we may take Knobel's assertion that the two statements that the people came to Jordan, and that there was a space of 2,000 cubits between them and the priests, are irreconcilable. As though it were not possible that the 2,000 cubits were to be measured along the river, and that the priests were ordered to walk along the bank until it was signified to them that they had arrived at the place of crossing. For we are plainly told that this distance was to be preserved that the people might "know the way which they must go" (ver. 4). And it came to pass after three days,.... At the end of the three days they were bid to prepare food for their expedition, and to go over Jordan, Joshua 1:11,

that the officers went through the host; the camp of Israel; very probably the same as in Joshua 1:10; this was, no doubt, by the order of Joshua, and who was directed to it by the Lord. 2-4. the officers went through the host; And they commanded the people—The instructions given at this time and in this place were different from those described (Jos 1:11).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.
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OT History: Joshua 3:2 It happened after three days that (Josh. Jos) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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