|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 5. - Sanctify yourselves. The Hithpahel, which is used here, is frequently used of ceremonial purification, as in Exodus 19:22; 1 Chronicles 15:12, 14; 2 Chronicles 5:11; and especially 2 Samuel 11:4. It is also connected with purification, but ironically, in Isaiah 66:17. Tomorrow. These words were uttered while all was in preparation. We learn from ver. 7, though it is not expressly stated, that the actual crossing took place the next day. We ought, probably, to place this verse in a parenthesis, and to translate "Joshua had said," because the sanctification (see Exodus 19:10, 14) involved some definite period. Knobel, however, assumes, as usual, that there is at least a faulty arrangement here. Wonders, or rather, miracles, from פָלָא to separate, distinguish. They were, therefore, acts distinguished from the ordinary course of God's providence. We may observe that, while among the Canaanites all was terror and confusion, m the camp of Joshua all was confidence and faith. "Either successe or discomfiture begins ever at the heart. A man's inward disposition doth more than presage the event. If Satan see us once faint, he gives himselfe the day. There is no way to safety, but that our hearts be the last that shall yield" (Bp. Hall).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Joshua said unto the people,.... On the third day; and the thirtieth day of the mourning for Moses, Jarchi says, was the first of the three days, and that being the seventh day of the month, this must be the ninth, as it is most clear the morrow was the tenth:
sanctify yourselves; in a ceremonial sense, by washing their bodies and their clothes, and abstaining from their wives; and in a moral sense, by acts of religion and devotion, by prayer and meditation, and the exercise of repentance and, good works: it may denote that sanctification is necessary to our passage over Jordan, or through death to the heavenly Canaan, for without holiness no man shall see the Lord:
for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you: in their sight and presence, and for them, by dividing the waters of Jordan, that they might pass through it as on dry land; this, as Kimchi says, was the tenth of Nisan, as is plain from Joshua 4:19.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. Joshua said unto the people—rather "had said," for as he speaks of "to-morrow," the address must have been made previous to the day of crossing, and the sanctification was in all probability the same as Moses had commanded before the giving of the law, consisting of an outward cleansing (Ex 19:10-15) preparatory to that serious and devout state of mind with which so great a manifestation should be witnessed.
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