Joshua 1:11
Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.
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(11) Prepare you victuals.—The question may be asked, what preparation is intended, since they had the manna, which did not cease until several days after they passed the Jordan. But it does not seem possible to assign any other meaning to the word except that of provision for a journey or for a warlike expedition. Perhaps the order was intended to prepare the Israelites for the transition from the manna to other food. It may be also that the manna which supported them in their pilgrimage through the wilderness was not so fit to sustain them in the warfare which they were about to begin. For the phrase itself, compare Exodus 12:39 : “They were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.” When there was a difficulty in obtaining other provision, God gave His people manna. Now, when they could easily provide food for themselves, He would not support them in idleness; and perhaps this is the common-sense view of the order given in the text. If called to any expedition which would take them far from the camp, the manna would not be within reach of all.

1:10-15 Joshua says to the people, Ye shall pass over Jordan, and shall possess the land; because God had said so to him. We honour the truth of God, when we stagger not at the promise of God. The two tribes and a half were to go over Jordan with their brethren. When God, by his providence, has given us rest, we ought to consider what service we may do to our brethren.Prepare you victuals - The order was probably given with the knowledge that the manna would cease when the host crossed the Jordan Exodus 16:35, and possibly because amidst their preparations there might not be opportunity to gather it in sufficient quantity. Nor does it appear that manna ever formed the whole and sole sustenance of the people. (Compare Numbers 20:1 note.)

It is the view of the majority of commentators - Jewish and Christian, ancient and modern - that the "three days" here named are identical with those of Joshua 3:2; and that the command of Joshua in the text was not in fact given until after the return of the spies. Here, as elsewhere in the Hebrew historical books and frequently in the Gospels, the order of time is superseded by the order of thought. For the purpose if the writer was not historical merely; it was, on the contrary, mainly religious and theoretical. Intending, then, to exhibit God as accomplishing His promises to the covenant-people, he begins by informing us that God gave the word and set Joshua and the host actually in motion to take possession of their inheritance. Having placed this leading fact in the forefront, he returns to mention in Joshua 2 certain transactions closely relevant to the early stages of Joshua's conquests, but which had in fact happened before the camp was removed from the plains of Moab and immediately after the expiration of the thirty days' mourning for Moses. Deuteronomy 34:8. The order of events was probably the following - 3rd Nisan, the spies are sent out Joshua 2:1; 6th, the spies return Joshua 2:23; 7th, the camp is removed from Shittim to the bank of Jordan Joshua 3:1, and the command Joshua 1:11 is issued; 10th, the river is crossed Joshua 4:19.

11-13. command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals—not manna, which, though it still fell, would not keep; but corn, sheep, and articles of food procurable in the conquered countries.

for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan—that is, the third day, according to Hebrew idiom—the time allotted for getting ready before the encampment in Abel-Shittim broke up and they removed to the desert bank of the river where no victuals were available. At the same time Joshua himself convened the two and a half tribes which had settled east of Jordan, to remind them of their promise (Nu 32:1-42) to assist their brethren in the conquest of western Canaan. Their readiness to redeem their pledge and the terms in which they answered the appeal of Joshua displayed to great advantage their patriotic and pious feelings at so interesting a crisis.

Prepare you victuals; for although manna was given them to supply their want of ordinary provisions in the wilderness; yet they were allowed, when they had opportunity, to purchase other provisions, and did so, Deu 2:6,28. And now having been some time in the land of the Amorites, and together with manna used themselves to other food which that country plentifully supplied them with, they are warned to furnish themselves therewith for their approaching march.

Within three days.

Quest. How can this be, when the spies, who were not yet sent away, continued three days hid in the mountains, Joshua 2:22, and the people passed not over till three days after the spies returned? Joshua 3:2.

Answ. These words, though placed here, seem not to have been delivered by Joshua till after the return of the spies; such transpositions being so frequent in Scripture, that interpreters have formed this general rule, that there is no certain order, no former nor latter, in the histories of the Scripture. And hence it comes that these three days mentioned here below, after the history of the spies, are again repeated, Joshua 3:2. Besides, the Septuagint render the words yet three days; and the Chaldee, in the end of three days; others, after three days, as it is Joshua 3:2. Or these three days may be the same with those Joshua 2:22, and the matter may be conceived thus: Joshua gives the people notice of their passage over Jordan within three days here, and at the same time sends away the spies, who return ere those three days be ended. For the three days, Joshua 2:22, may be understood of one whole day, and part of two other days, as it is in that famous instance, Matthew 27:63, of which see more on that place, and on Matthew 12:40. The spies came to Jericho in the evening of the first day, and intended to lie there, Joshua 2:8; but being disturbed and affrighted by the search made after them, they go away that night into the mountains, and there abide the time mentioned. Joshua having delivered this message from God to the Israelites, and sent away the spies, removes from Shittim to Jordan, Joshua 3:1, being sufficiently assured of his safe passage over Jordan, whatsoever became of the spies; and after those three days mentioned here were past, Joshua 3:2, he sends the officers to the people with a second message about the manner of their actual passing over.

Pass through the host,.... The whole camp of Israel, consisting of six hundred thousand fighting men:

and command the people; even all the people of Israel; this includes women as well as men, for the one, as well as the other, were to do what follows, and especially it may seem the business of the former:

saying, prepare ye victuals; this must be understood; as Kimchi observes, of other sorts of food besides bread; for they had manna, the bread of heaven, which fell about their tents every morning, so that they were sufficiently provided with that always, and which did not cease until they had entered the land, even until the sixteenth of Nisan, Joshua 5:12; though indeed, as Abendana observes, that might be said to be prepared, it being ground in mills, and beat in mortars, and made cakes of, Numbers 11:8; but rather this designs meat and other provisions, which being upon the borders of Moab and Midian, they could furnish themselves with for their money; and besides, they were in the possession of a fine country, of Bashan and Gilead, they had taken from Sihon and Og. Jarchi interprets it of everything fit for journeying, and arms for war, with which they were supplied from the spoils of their enemies, the Egyptians at the Red sea, Amalek at Rephidim, and the Amorites and Midianites lately smitten by them; and to this sense Josephus (m) seems to agree:

for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan: or at the end of three days, as the Targum of Jonathan; and so Jarchi, while there are yet three days, after that ye shall pass over: but here arises a difficulty to be reconciled, how this could be done three days after, when the spies, which Joshua is afterward said to send into the land, stayed three days in the mountains, besides the time of their going, and returning, and stay at Rahab's house; and it was not till after their return that the camp began to move; to which it may be observed, that though the affair of the spies is afterward related, they might have been sent by Joshua before this order was given to prepare for the journey, and of this opinion are several of the Jewish writers (n): this being the case, they might return before the expiration of these three days, at the end of which Joshua, with the whole host, moved, agreeably to these orders:

to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it; which must be a great inducement and encouragement to them to observe his instructions, and go over with him.

(m) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 1. sect. 1.((n) Jarchi, Ben Gersom, & Abarbinel in loc.

Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for {g} within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the LORD your God giveth you to possess it.

(g) Meaning, from the day that this was proclaimed, Jos 3:2.

11. Prepare you victuals] The word denotes (a) food got in hunting; (b) food of any kind, especially provisions for a journey. Comp. Exodus 12:39, “neither had they prepared for themselves any victual;” Joshua 9:11; Joshua 9:14; Jdg 7:8, “So the people took victuals in their hands, and their trumpets;” 1 Samuel 22:10, “And he inquired of the Lord for him, and gave him victuals.” The need of the provision on this occasion is explained by the cessation of the Manna. See below, ch. Joshua 5:12.

within three days] Comp. ch. Joshua 3:1-2. The order appears to have been given on the 7th day of the month Nisan, for the people crossed the Jordan on the 10th. The expedition, therefore, of the spies occupied from the 5th to the 8th of the month, and the message to the eastern tribes was sent during the same interval.

Verse 11. - Prepare you victuals. Literally, game, the term being applied to meat obtained by hunting. Thus it is applied by Isaac to Esau's venison in Genesis 27. Here it means food of any kind, but especially animal food. It is therefore obvious that the miraculous supply of manna was soon to cease (cf. Joshua 5:12). Within three days. Much difficulty has been created here by the fact that another three days are mentioned in chap. 3:2 as elapsing after the return of the spies, which has been supposed to have taken place between this command and the period then mentioned. Three more days were spent (Joshua 2:22) by the spies in eluding the pursuit of the men of Jericho - one day in going thither, and one more in returning to Moses. Consequently eight days, if not more (see Joshua 3:7), must have elapsed between this proclamation and the actual crossing of the Jordan. But when we remember that the Hebrew language possesses no pluperfect tense, that there are many instances, such as (very probably) Genesis 12:1, and more certainly Genesis 3:1; Genesis 6:6; Genesis 20:18; Genesis 26:18, 32, where the Hebrew narrative has clearly departed from the chronological order, and that the chronology is obscured by this chasm in the Hebrew linguistic system, we may suppose that the narrative in the second chapter is parenthetical, and relates to events which occurred before the occasion now spoken cf. This is the view taken by Josephus and the Rabbis, and our translators have adopted it in the margin - a proceeding which, as their preface shows, may frequently be held to imply that in their opinion it is the preferable interpretation. It is energetically impugned by Keil, who maintains that there are insuperable difficulties in the way of this arrangement. He does not, however, make out a very powerful case against the simple explanation of Cornelius a Lapide, that the spies left the camp on the 3rd Nisan, returned on the 6th, that Joshua gave his order on the 7th, and that on the 10th (Joshua 4:19) the crossing was effected. Stripped of all verbiage, Keil's argument appears to amount simply to this, that it was not likely that the account of the narrative would be thus interrupted by an account of a transaction out of its proper chronological order. It may be added that it seems doubtful whether we must not render the word למַר in ver. 12, by the pluperfect, for it seems very probable that the word of command to the two tribes and a half who had obtained their inheritance beyond Jordan had been given before this, and that therefore it may have preceded the command given to the spies, in which case one of Keil's chief objections fails to the ground. Other explanations than that of Cornelius a Lapide have been suggested. Thus Kimchi supposes that the spies left on the 5th Nisan and returned on the 8th; while Masius supposes that they were sent out simultaneously with these orders. Augustine's explanation, that Joshua did not speak by revelation, but was influenced by human hope, is noticeable, as proving that the early fathers did not always take the strictest view of inspiration. Joshua 1:11Joshua 1:10-11

Preparations for Crossing the Jordan. - Joshua 1:10-11. For the purpose of carrying out the commands of the Lord, Joshua first of all directed the officers of the people (shoterim: see at Exodus 5-6), whose duty it was, as the keepers of the family registers, to attend not only to the levying of the men who were bound to serve in the army, but also to the circulation of the commands of the general, to issue orders to the people in the camp to provide themselves with food, so that they might cross the Jordan within three days, and take the land that was promised them by God. By zedah, provision for a journey (Genesis 42:25, etc.), we are not to understand manna, for that had already ceased (see at Joshua 5:12), but simply the natural produce of the inhabited country. The expression "in three days," i.e., as we may see from comparing Genesis 40:13, Genesis 40:19, with Genesis 40:20, on the third day from the publication of the command, "will ye go over the Jordan," is not to be regarded as a prediction of the time when the crossing actually took place, but to be taken as the latest time that could be allowed to the people to prepare for crossing: viz., in this sense, "Prepare you victuals for crossing over the Jordan within three days," i.e., that you may be able to leave Shittim within that time, to cross over the Jordan, and commence the conquest of Canaan. If we understand the words in this way, they are in perfect harmony with Joshua 2 and 3. According to Joshua 2, Joshua sent out spies from Shittim to Jericho, who were obliged to hide themselves for three days in the mountains after their flight from that city (Joshua 2:22), before they could return to the Israelitish camp; so that they were absent three or four days at any rate, and came back at the earliest in the evening or night of the fourth day after they had been sent out. It was not till the morning after this that the Israelites left Shittim and proceeded to the Jordan, where they halted again. Then, three days afterwards, they went across the river (Joshua 3:1-2), so that at least 4 + 1 + 3, i.e., eight whole days must have intervened between the day when the spies were sent out and the day on which the people crossed the river. Joshua no doubt intended to proceed to the Jordan and cross it within three days after despatching the spies; he therefore sent the spies to Jericho on the same day on which he issued the command to the people to prepare for crossing within three days, so that he might reasonably hope that they would fulfil their commission and return in two or three days. But as they were compelled to hide themselves for three days in the mountains, in consequence of the unexpected discovery of their arrival in Jericho, and the despatch of men in pursuit of them, Joshua could not remove with the people from Shittim and proceed to the Jordan till the day after their return; and even then he could not cross the river at once, but waited three days after reaching the bank of the river before he crossed to the other side (vid., Joshua 3:1.).

(Note: In this way the different statements in the three chapters harmonize perfectly well. But the majority of commentators have arranged the order of succession differently and in a very arbitrary way, starting with the unwarrantable assumption that the time referred to in this verse, "within three days," is identical with that in Joshua 3:2, "it came to pass after three days." Upon the strength of this groundless assumption, Knobel maintains that there is great confusion in the order of succession of the events described in Joshua 1-3, that Joshua 1:11 is irreconcilable with Joshua 3:1-6, and that accounts written by three different authors have been mixed up together in these chapters. (For the different attempts to reconcile the accounts, see Keil's Commentary on Joshua, pp. 72-75, note, Eng. trans. Clark, 1857.))

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