Joshua 5:14
Parallel Verses
New International Version
"Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?"

New Living Translation
"Neither one," he replied. "I am the commander of the LORD's army." At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. "I am at your command," Joshua said. "What do you want your servant to do?"

English Standard Version
And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?”

New American Standard Bible
He said, "No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?"

King James Bible
And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Neither," He replied. "I have now come as commander of the LORD's army." Then Joshua bowed with his face to the ground in worship and asked Him, "What does my Lord want to say to His servant?"

International Standard Version
"Neither," he answered. "I have come as commander of the LORD's Army." Joshua immediately fell on his face to the earth and worshipped, saying to him, "Lord, what do you have for your servant by way of command?"

NET Bible
He answered, "Truly I am the commander of the LORD's army. Now I have arrived!" Joshua bowed down with his face to the ground and asked, "What does my master want to say to his servant?"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
He answered, "Neither one! I am here as the commander of the LORD's army." Immediately, Joshua bowed with his face touching the ground and worshiped. He asked, "Sir, what do you want to tell me?"

Jubilee Bible 2000
And he said, No, but I am the Prince of the host of the LORD; now I am come. Then Joshua falling upon his face in the earth worshipped him and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his slave?

King James 2000 Bible
And he said, Nay; but as captain of the army of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What says my lord unto his servant?

American King James Version
And he said, No; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said to him, What said my Lord to his servant?

American Standard Version
And he said, Nay; but as prince of the host of Jehovah am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And he answered: No: but I am prince of the host of the Lord, and now I am come. Josue fell on his face to the ground. And worshipping, add: What saith my lord to his servant?

Darby Bible Translation
And he said, No; for [as] captain of the army of Jehovah am I now come. Then Joshua fell upon his face to the earth, and worshipped, and said to him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

English Revised Version
And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

Webster's Bible Translation
And he said, No; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and worshiped, and said to him, What saith my lord to his servant?

World English Bible
He said, "No; but I have come now as commander of Yahweh's army." Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and worshipped, and said to him, "What does my lord say to his servant?"

Young's Literal Translation
And He saith, 'No, for I am Prince of Jehovah's host; now I have come;' and Joshua falleth on his face to the earth, and doth obeisance, and saith to Him, 'What is my Lord speaking unto His servant?'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

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.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 14. - And he said, Nay. Many MSS. which are followed by the LXX. and Syriac versions, have לו for לאֹ here. The Chaldee and Vulgate read לאֹ, and the Masorites do not reckon this among the 15 passages in which לו is read for לאֹ (Keil). But when Keil adds that a comparison of this passage with Joshua 24:21 decides the point, he is going too far, since כִּי often stands, like the Greek ὅτι, before a quotation, in the place of our inverted commas (see, for instance, Genesis 29:33; Exodus 3:12, etc.). The various reading has no doubt arisen from the ambiguity of the passage, for it appears grammatically doubtful to which part of Joshua's question the particle of negation applies. Yet it is obvious enough practically that it is in answer to the last portion of it. But as captain of the Lord's host am I now come. Literally, "for (or but) I, the captain of the Lord's host, have now come." As though he would say, "the struggle is now imminent; the conflict is all but begun; and now, at the critical moment when my help is needed, I, the captain of the hosts of the Lord, the leader of all that vast army of unseen confederates, who are destined to marshal the forces of nature, the elements of supernatural terror and dismay, on the side of the Israelites, am come to help you." That the Lord's host must mean the angels is clear from such passages as Genesis 32:2; 1 Kings 22:19; Psalm 103:20, 21; Psalm 148:2; St. Luke 2:13 (aft 2 Kings 6:17). Hengstenberg, in his 'Christology,' illustrates by Matthew 26:53. Two opinions have been held by the early Church concerning this manifestation. The first regards it as the appearance of the Son of God in a visible form; the second supposes it to have been a created being - an angel - through whom Jehovah was pleased to manifest Himself. The former opinion was general in the earliest ages of the Church. The appearance of the Arian heresy, however, brought this interpretation into discredit. It was felt to be dangerous to admit it, lest it should lead to the notion that the Logos, however great and glorious a being he might be, however superior to all other created beings, was nevertheless removed by an infinite interval from the Supreme God Himself. The Jewish interpreters differ on the point. Maimonides and others (see next note) do not regard the appearance as a real one. The majority seem to have supposed it to have been the Archangel Michael. We will proceed to examine the scriptural and patristic evidence on the subject. That appearances, believed to be manifestations of God Himself in a visible form, are recorded in Scripture, is a fact which cannot be denied. Thus we have the voice of God (קול יְהֹוָה) walking in the garden (Genesis 3:8). Again, in ch. 15, though first God appears to Abraham in a vision, the nature of the manifestation would seem to have changed in some respects afterwards, for we read" he brought him forth abroad" (ver. 5). Again, in ch. 18, we find that Jehovah "appeared" to Abraham as he dwelt by the oaks of Mature (ver. 1), and the narrative would suggest that Jehovah Himself appeared, and two attendant angels. This is further corroborated by the fact that Abraham remains in conference with Jehovah, while the two angels who arrived in the evening at Sodom do not appear to have been spoken of as Jehovah, or to have received Divine honours from Lot. The "man" who (Genesis 32:24) wrestled with Jacob is described afterwards (ver. 30) as "God." The "angel of the Lord" who (Exodus 3:2) "appeared" unto Moses "in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush," is immediately afterwards described as Jehovah and Elohim (ver. 4), and, as in the present passage, Moses is instructed to remove his shoe from his foot in consequence of the holiness of the place in which so great a Being appeared. And here we are led to investigate the nature of that mysterious being who is described as "the angel of the Lord," the "angel," or, as the word is sometimes translated, "messenger of the covenant." He appears to Hagar (Genesis 16:7), and she immediately proceeds (ver. 13) to express her belief that it is God whom she has seen. The angel who appears to Abraham at the sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:11, 12, 18) speaks of Himself as God. The voice of the angel, again, is regarded by Leah and Rachel as the voice of God (Genesis 31:11, 16), and He calls Himself so (ver. 13). Jacob speaks of the angel as having "redeemed him from all evil" (Genesis 48:16), but here the term Goel, though it means a ransomer, is not necessarily connected with moral evil. After His appearance to Hoses in the bush He becomes the special guide of the children of Israel. His divinity is again asserted in Exodus 13:21, for the Being there spoken of as Jehovah is described in Joshua 14:19 as His angel. The solemn terms in which the God of Israel refers to him in Exodus 23:20, 21 must not be passed over. He is the "Angel of Jehovah." He is sent to "keep" Israel "in the way." They were to take heed and not rebel against Him (so LXX.); for, adds Jehovah, "My name is in His inward parts" (not בּו but בְּקִרְבּו denoting close and intimate union). Cf. ver. 93 and Exodus 32:34; Exodus 33:2. This angel is called the Face, or Faces, of the Lord (Exodus 33:14; cf. Isaiah 63:9), and is thus specially identified with the revelation of Him, like the term εἰκών in the New Testament. The angel that withstood Balaam assumes a tone of authority in harmony with this view (Numbers 22:22-35). Whether the angel at Bochim (Judges 2:1) were a Divine or human messenger does not appear from the narrative, and the word is occasionally, as in Haggai 1:13, used of a prophet. But the appearance to Gideon and Manoah has a Divine character (Judges 6:11-22; Judges 13:8-22). And the special reference to Jehovah, the angel of the covenant, in Malachi 3:1 seems to point in a special manner to the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity. This view, as has been stated, is the view of the earlier Fathers, nor does there seem any reasonable ground for its rejection by those of later date. The idea that the Logos, always the medium of the Father's revelation and impartation of Himself, in creation as in redemption, frequently took a visible form under the old dispensation in order to communicate the Divine will to mankind, does not in the least militate against the doctrine of His consubstantiality with the Father. On the contrary, it rather emphasises the fact which the New Testament teaches us throughout, that the Logos was ever the manifestation, the ἐξήγησις (John 1.) of the Father, the eternal medium whereby He communicates Himself beyond Himself. This was in the main the view of the earliest Fathers. They might use an incautious expression now and then, but they ever intended to be true to the doctrine of the Consubstantial Son of the Father, who took a visible shape to convey the Father's mind to man. Thus Justin Martyr ('Dial. cum Tryphone,' 56) cites Genesis 18:1, 2 to prove that, as he says, "there is another God under (ὑπὸ) the the Creator of all things, who is called an angel because he announces (ἀγγέλειν) whatever the Creator of all things desires him to announce." This being, he adds, "was also God before the creation of the world." He was another God than the Creator of the world in number (ἀριθμῷ), not in mind (γνώμῃ). And from the expression "the Lord rained down fire and brimstone from the Lord out of heaven" (Genesis 19:24), he deduces the belief that this Being was "Lord from beside (παρά) the Lord who is in heaven." He proceeds to cite the passages from the Old Testament which have just been mentioned, and to draw from them the conclusion which has just been drawn, that this Being was one who ministered (ὑπηρέτοῦντα) to God who is above; the word, the ἀρχή whom He begat before all creation (see. 60, 61). Similarly Theophilus ('Ad Autolycum, 2:22) says that the Word of God held a colloquy with Adam in the person (or representation, προσώπῳ) of God. Irenaeus ('Adv. Haer.,' 4:7, 4) speaks of the Being who spake to Abraham at Mamre and Moses in the bush as superior to all created angels, and as, in fact, the Word of God; though afterwards (Joshua 20:11) he modifies this statement into a manifestation of "claritatem et dispositiones patris," "secundum dispositionum ejus causas sive efficaciam." It is to be remembered that we unfortunately chiefly possess Irenaeus in a very unsatisfactory Latin dress. Similar passages may be found in Clem., 'Alex. Paed.,' 1:7; and Tertullian, 'Adv. Prax.,' 14. The latter says that God was "invisible as the Father, but visible as the Son," the latter being the means whereby the former was revealed. The passage from Clement is embodied and improved upon in a passage in the 'Apostolic Constitutions,' which presents the primitive doctrine on this point in clearer language than any other. "To Him (Christ) did Moses bear witness, and said, 'The Lord received fire from the Lord, and rained it down.' Him did Jacob see as a man, and said, 'I have seen God face to face, and my soul is preserved.' Him did Abraham entertain, and acknowledge to be the Judge and his Lord. Him did Moses see in the bush. Him did Joshua the son of Nun see, as captain of the Lord's host, for assistance against Jericho" ('Apost. Const.,' 5:20). One passage more will be cited on this point. "Who else," says Origen, in his Homily on this passage, "is the prince of the host of the virtues of the Lord, save our Lord Jesus Christ? .... Joshua would not have adored," he adds, "unless he had recognised God." The fact that the later Fathers (St. Augustine, for instance, and Theodoret, who holds that it was Michael the Archangel who appeared to Joshua) rejected this interpretation would not be sufficient to outweigh primitive testimony at once so explicit and so general, unless it were supported by the strongest arguments. The fact that it was rejected rather from prudential motives, and that such prudence was, in point of fact, entirely unnecessary, robs the later interpretation of much of its weight. Thus much at least is certain, that we may adopt the earlier one without fear of prejudicing thereby the doctrine of the divinity of Christ. Further information on this point will be found in Hengstenberg's 'Christology,' in Liddon's 'Bampton Lectures' (Lect. it.), in Bull ('Defens. Fid. Nicen.,' 1:1), and in Keil's Commentaries upon the various passages of the Old Testament, cited above. "He here appeared as a soldier, with His sword drawn in His hand. To Abraham in his tent He appeared as a traveller; to Joshua in the field, as a man of war. Christ will be to His people what their faith expects and desires" (Matthew Henry). And Joshua fell on his face. The apparition had no doubt taken Joshua by surprise. He believed himself to be alone, when suddenly he found himself confronted by a warrior, with his sword drawn. Uncertain, in those days when Divine interposition was more common than it is now, whether what he saw was a proof that he was watched by enemies, who had resolved to cut him off by surprise, or whether God had vouchsafed to appear to him, but evidently quite prepared to expect the latter, he addresses a question to the apparition, which of itself implies at least a half belief that what he saw was something above nature. He needs but the simple reply just recorded to lead him to prostrate himself in simple faith before the Mighty One who now stood before him to be the defence and shield of His people from all their adversaries. Maimonides, in his 'Moreh Nevochim,' and others (as, for instance, Hengstenberg, 'Geschichte des Reiches Gottes,' p. 209) have regarded this as a vision seen by Joshua when he was alone, plunged in deep meditation on the difficult task before him. But without denying that many of the. Divine interpositions recorded in Scripture (as, for instance, that in Genesis 22:1) took place through the inner workings of the mind as the medium of their action, yet here, as in Genesis 32, and most probably in Exodus 3, we have visible appearances of God to men in deep anxiety of heart, pondering "great matters" which were "too high for them." Whether we choose to accept or reject the historical narrative as a whole, there can be no rational ground for doubting that the Hebrew historians wrote under the full persuasion that they and their forefathers lived under a dispensation of continual Divine interpositions, sometimes taking place by secret inward intimations, sometimes through the Urim and Thummim; sometimes, at a crisis in the history of the nation or of an individual, by actual external appearances of God in a visible form, and that we have here an account of one of these. The purport of the appearance is, however, obscured by our present division of chapters. The narrative proceeds without a break as far as Joshua 6:5. Joshua 6:1 is simply parenthetical and explanatory. Thus we gather that Joshua was meditating the plan of his future campaign, and deliberating on the best mode of capturing the strong walled city close by which (ver. 13) he stood, when God appeared to him in the form of a warrior, and solved all his doubts by commanding him to prepare for a miraculous intervention of His Providence, and in the place of warlike expedients to resort to a religious ceremony, which should be the external token to all the surrounding nations that the invading host was under the protection of the Lord of heaven and earth; a fact of which they were more than half convinced by the supernatural passage of the Red Sea and the Jordan (see Joshua 2:10; Joshua 6:1).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And he said, nay,.... Not for or on the side of their adversaries was he come, as Joshua suspected at the first sight of him; the Septuagint version is, "he said unto him", taking for as it sometimes is:

but as Captain of the host of the Lord am I now come; of the host of the Lord both in heaven and in earth, angels and men, and particularly of the people of Israel, called the armies and host of the Lord, Exodus 7:4; so that though Joshua was general, Christ was Generalissimo; and so Joshua understood him, and therefore showed a readiness to do whatsoever he should command him; the spiritual Israel of God, the church, is in a militant state, and has many enemies to combat with, sin, Satan, the world, and false teachers; Christ is their Leader and Commander, the Captain of their salvation, and has all necessary qualifications or wisdom, courage, and might, for such an office; see Isaiah 55:4,

and Joshua fell on his face to the earth; in reverence of this divine and illustrious Person, whom he perceived to be what he was:

and did worship; gave him religious worship and adoration, which had he been a created angel he would not have given to him, nor would such an one have received it, Revelation 19:10,

and said unto him, what saith my Lord unto his servant? that is, what commands had he to lay upon him, and he was ready to execute them? he was heartily willing to be subject to him as the chief general of the Israelitish forces, and to consider himself, and behave, as an officer under him, and to obey all orders that should be given.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

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).

Joshua 5:14 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Passover at Gilgal
13Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand, and Joshua went to him and said to him, "Are you for us or for our adversaries?" 14He said, "No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?" 15The captain of the LORD'S host said to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy." And Joshua did so.
Cross References
Genesis 17:3
Abram fell facedown, and God said to him,

Psalm 24:10
Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty-- he is the King of glory.
Treasury of Scripture

And he said, No; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said to him, What said my Lord to his servant?

but as captain. or, Prince

Exodus 23:20-22 Behold, I send an Angel before you, to keep you in the way, and to …

Isaiah 55:4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and …

Daniel 10:13,21 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty …

Daniel 12:1 And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands …

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, …

Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against …

Revelation 19:11-14 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat …

fell on his

Genesis 17:3,17 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying…

Leviticus 9:24 And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed on the …

Numbers 16:22,45 And they fell on their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits …

Matthew 8:2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, …

Luke 5:12 And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man …

Acts 10:25,26 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his …

Revelation 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, See you …

Revelation 22:8,9 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen…

What saith

1 Samuel 3:9,10 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he …

Psalm 110:1 The LORD said to my Lord, Sit you at my right hand, until I make …

Matthew 22:44 The LORD said to my Lord, Sit you on my right hand, till I make your …

Luke 1:43 And what is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Luke 20:42 And David himself said in the book of Psalms, The LORD said to my …

Philippians 3:8 Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency …

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