|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:10-19 The priests with the ark did not stir till ordered to move. Let none be weary of waiting, while they have the tokens of God's presence with them, even the ark of the covenant, though it be in the depths of adversity. Notice is taken of the honour put upon Joshua. Those are feared in the best manner, and to the best purpose, who make it appear that God is with them, and that they set him before them.
Verse 10. - For. Rather, and. This verse does not give a reason for the last. The priests which bare the ark stood. This must have been a majestic sight. While the people "hasted" to cross, either that they might effect the passage during the day, or, more probably, Because they crossed in fear and trembling, partly in spite of, and partly because of, the miraculous interposition on their behalf, the priests bearing the ark of God, the visible symbol of His presence, stood solemnly still at the brink of the river, nor did they stir until every one of that mighty host had passed over. Then, when all had safely crossed, the ark of God was borne across the bed of the river, and as soon as the soles of the priests touched the highest point that the waters had reached on the other side, they returned to their place, and all was as it had been before. Well might the Israelites erect a double memorial of a scene so wonderful as this! All that Moses commanded Joshua (Deuteronomy 31:23). And the people hasted and passed over. "Unde et ego arbitror, quia nobis quoque venientibus ad baptismum salutarem, et suscipientibus sacramenta Verbi Dei, non otiose, nec segnitur res gerenda est, sed festinandum est, et perurgendum" (Orig., Hom. 5.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan,.... Though on dry ground, the waters being divided:
until everything was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua; that is, until all the people had passed over Jordan, as the Lord had ordered Joshua, to encourage them unto, and go over with them, Joshua 1:2; and which Moses, by divine direction, had given Joshua in charge to do, Deuteronomy 31:7; Kimchi interprets this of the setting up of the stones in Jordan, and the removal of the other to Gilgal, of which Moses said nothing to Joshua; and though it may be true of the former, that the priests stood in Jordan till that was done, which is not certain, yet not of the latter; for it is plain, and it is most reasonable to conclude, that the priests were come up from the midst of Jordan before Israel marched to Gilgal, or even began their march, see Joshua 4:18; and much less is this to be understood of the stones at Ebal, as others, and so referred to Deuteronomy 27:2; which was not done until after Ai was taken, Joshua 8:24. And it is not reasonable to imagine that the priests should continue in Jordan to that time; Abarbinel thinks it refers to the words in Joshua 1:3; which had been spoken by the Lord to Joshua, and had been expressed by Moses, Deuteronomy 11:24; and which he supposes were now repeated by Joshua, and the priests continued in their station until he had made an end of rehearsing them; the last clause relating to Moses is left out in the Septuagint version:
and the people hasted and passed over; not stood in fear of the waters of the river returning upon them; rather through an eager desire of setting their feet on the land of Canaan, and it may be to relieve the priests from their station as soon as might be.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Jos 4:10-13. The People Pass Over.
10. the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan—This position was well calculated to animate the people, who probably crossed below the ark, as well as to facilitate Joshua's execution of the minutest instructions respecting the passage (Nu 27:21-23). The unfaltering confidence of the priests contrasts strikingly with the conduct of the people, who "hasted and passed over." Their faith, like that of many of God's people, was, through the weakness of nature, blended with fears. But perhaps their "haste" may be viewed in a more favorable light, as indicating the alacrity of their obedience, or it might have been enjoined in order that the the whole multitude might pass in one day.
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